Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet





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Hanging with fellow Georgia writers (from top, l-r) Tracy Walker, Heather Kolich, Donna Bowman, (bottom, middle) Janice Hardy and Paula Puckett
photo by Steve Kolich

Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
photo by Mel Hornsby

Southern Breeze Kudos Kites 09 - Donna, Robyn, Heather, Sarah, and Peggy

Robyn with Kathleen Duey, author extraordinaire http://www.kathleenduey.com

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller http://www.debbiemilleralaska.com

photo by Robyn Hood Black
Paul B. Janeczko http://www.paulbjaneczko.com

Copyright 2005-2016 ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved. Please ask permission before using any text or images on this website, except for reproducible
"4 Kids 2 Do" and "Press Kit" pages.

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Little Blog Vacay!

July 21, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday

Hi, Poetry Lovers...

Hope you're enjoying more warmth than heat, more showers than storms, more poetry than politics.... This little bloggie is going on vacation for a week or two, but I'll be back with bells on when the school bells chime in August. Maybe I can catch up on lots of great Poetry Friday posts I've been missing!

For today's Roundup, please head over to Books for Learning. Enjoy!

Poetry Friday - a Taste of the 1920s with Amy Lowell

July 14, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, Amy Lowell, ponderings, poetry, imagists, hokku



Greetings, Friends! Happy Poetry Friday. Not exactly sure how last week slipped sand-like through my fingers, but summer sometimes has that effect...

Speaking of such, I'm all about time today. Over at my art blog I have a short post about 1920s accents found on Etsy in our daughter's wedding a few weeks ago. So, time as in periods of time. That got me thinking about a book I recently bought, published in the '20s. I actually bought this one to read rather than to repurpose!

It's an edition of Amy Lowell's Pulitzer Prize-winning What's O'Clock (Houghton Mifflin Company). Isn't that a splendid title? It's from Shakespeare's King Richard III.

I'm a fan of Amy Lowell's - well, all those early 20th-Century imagists. She died in 1925, the year What's O'Clock was published, along with her biography of Keats.

I'm still exploring the poems, but because of my Lowcountry locale must share these two from the collection, as Charleston and Middleton Place (where my hubby and I stayed one weekend last fall) are just a bit up the road.


CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA


Fifteen years is not a long time,

but long enough to build a city over and destroy it.

Long enough to clean a forty-year growth of grass

            from between cobblestones,

And run street-car lines straight across the heart of

            romance.

Commerce, are you worth this?

I should like to bring a case to trial:

Prosperity versus Beauty,

Cash registers teetering in a balance against the com-

            fort of the soul.

then, to-night, i stood looking through a grilled gate

At an old, dark garden.

Live-oak trees dripped branchfuls of leaves over the

            wall,

Acacias waved dimly beyond the gate, and the smell

            of their blossoms

Puffed intermittently through the wrought-iron scroll-

            work.

Challenge and solution -

O loveliness of old, decaying, haunted things!

Little streets untouched, shamefully paved,

Full of mist and fragrance on this rainy evening.

"You should come at dawn," said my friend,

"And see the orioles, and thrushes, and mocking-

            birds

In the garden."

"Yes," I said absent-mindedly,

And remarked the sharp touch of ivy upon my hand

            which rested against the wall.

But I thought to myself,

There is no dawn here, only sunset,

And an evening rain scented with flowers.




[**NOTE/UPDATE: The Middleton Place poem below contains French references as well as words of sadness and of death. When I posted this on Thursday, it was before seeing reports of the extensive horror that occurred in Nice. Our hearts are, once again and much too soon, with the people of France.**]



THE MIDDLETON PLACE

Charleston, S. C.


What would Francis Jammes, lover of dear, dead

            elegancies,

Say to this place?

France, stately, formal, stepping in red-heeled shoes

Along a river shore.

France walking a minuet between live-oaks waving

            ghostly fans of Spanish moss.

La Caroline, indeed, my dear Jammes,

With Monsieur Michaux engaged to teach her de-

            portment.

Faint as a whiff of flutes and hautbois,

the great circle of the approach lies beneath the

            sweeping grasses.

Step lightly down these terraces, they are records of

            a dream.

Magnolias, pyrus japonicas, azaleas,

Flaunting their scattered blossoms with the same bra-

            vura

That lords and ladies used in the prison of the Con-

            ciergerie.

You were meant to be so gay, so sophisticated, and

            you are so sad,

Sad as the tomb crouched amid your tangled growth,

Sad as the pale plumes of the Spanish moss

Slowly strangling the live oak trees.


Sunset wanes along the quiet river.

the afterglow is haunted and nostalgic,

Over the yellow woodland it hangs like the dying

            chord of a funeral chant;

And evenly, satirically, the mosses move to its inef-

            fable rhythm,

Like the ostrich fans of palsied dowagers

Telling one another contendedly of the deaths they

            have lived to see.




And, finally, of course I must share a few gems from

TWENTY-FOUR HOKKU ON A MODERN THEME

(Hokku technically refers to the first verses of a renga. We would say "haiku" now, and it could be argued some of these are more "haiku-like." The imagists were influenced by Japanese poetic forms.)


            I

Again the lakspur,

Heavenly blue in my garden.

They, at least, unchanged.



            XIX

Love is a game - yes?

I think it is a drowning:

Black willows and stars.



            XXIV

Staying in my room,

I thought of the new Spring leaves.

That day was happy.




Thanks for spending YOUR time meandering through Amy Lowell poems over here today.

Please visit our Chief Rounder-Upper and wonderful poet and teacher herself, Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for today's Roundup.

[--& HUGE congrats this week to our own Irene Latham, who was just awarded the International Literacy Association (ILA) Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award! Also - still celebrating our own Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, recipient of the first Lee Bennett Hopkins SCBWI Poetry Award this spring. So much talent throughout these Poetry Friday rounds....]

Poetry Friday - All-American Dogs

June 30, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, animals, dogs, poems, ponderings




Happy Independence Day weekend!

I'm freshly returned from our daughter's lovely and very fun wedding in Greenville, SC, followed by a week of dog- & house-sitting at Morgan & Matt's new home in Georgia while the happy couple was honeymooning.

[If you like wedding pictures, photographer Sabrina Fields featured "ours" on her blog a few days ago - family pictures will be ready soon! I just put up a post about the handmade elements over at my art blog.]

The new Mr. and Mrs. Whyte are pup parents to two-year-old Cooper, who is happy now I'm sure to have both of them in the same state and the same house. Coop always reminds me of our Shepherd-hound mix, Lucky, who joined our family as a rescued 5-week-old pup in 2000 and died in 2012, with lots of adventures in those dozen years. I might have even called Cooper "Lucky" a time or two last week before I caught myself.

Do you know what the American Kennel Club calls mixed-breed dogs? (I remember being delighted many years ago when discovering this, probably at an agility trial with son Seth and his canine partner, Oliver.) They are... All-American Dogs! Isn't that great?

In fact, now they compete in many AKC events, and this year's AKC National Agility champion was, in fact, a former rescue dog (and a repeat winner!). Here's that story and you can click around more of the AKC site.

Matt and Morgan elected to have DNA testing done to see just what their All-American is made of. I would have bet, especially when he was a puppy, that Black and Tan Coonhound would have been way up there in the results, but he's mostly Boxer, with a heap or two of terrier and hound mixed in.

He's a handsome fella, whatever he is, captured in the gorgeous oil painting above by our friend Ann Goble, who surprised the newlyweds with a gift they'll cherish forever.

Since it's an All-American weekend, I thought I'd share a couple of older dog poems. The first was inspired by our All-American dog, Lucky, and the second... just a little canine fun.


Heel


A hound dog is hard
to train.
Nose on the ground, he sniffs, he pulls -
You strain.
Nose in the air as if you're not there -
You complain:
This dog has got to go!
He looks at you with soulful eyes;
you fall in love
(again).


           ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.



           I Paper-trained my Puppy


           I paper-trained my puppy -
           he reads the New York Times.
           He starts at the beginning:
           the news, the views, the crimes.

           Then he reads the comics,
           while rolling on the floor.
           He moves on to the book reviews,
           the fashion, arts, and more.

           After that he grabs a pen
           and holds it with his muzzle.
           Hewon't get up until he's done
           the daily crossword puzzle.

           I paper-trained my puppy.
           I made one small mistake.
           The puddle in the corner
           is looking like a lake.


           ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Will a canine member of your family be part of your red, white and blue celebration this long weekend? Or perhaps there's a special dog you remember? Purebred or All-American? Please do share in the comments!

And then be sure to enjoy all the great poetry rounded up for us this week by Tabatha, friend of creatures great and small, at The Opposite of Indifference

Poetry Friday - On Weddings and Home....

June 9, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, wedding poems, ponderings



Happy Poetry Friday!

As some of you know, we are gearing up for a wedding around here... just a week from - Oh, My! - tomorrow.

Our oldest child and only daughter, Morgan, will wed her long-time honey and already a member of the family, Matt. (Our youngest child and only son, Seth, has enjoyed Bro-time with Matt for as long as he and Morgan have dated.)

My initial visions of composing some lovely poem for the happy couple have flowed right into reality - meaning I still have quite a long list of other to-do's. The big things are all done, but there are many little things!

Still, I wanted to honor this "theme" before taking a wee blog break for the wedding.

Morgan just got her things moved last weekend to a great older house in Georgia they bought this spring. Matt has been painting and sprucing up the yard, and looks like their HGTV obsession over the last couple of years has taken root in their nesting instincts! So I've been thinking a lot about "home."

The poem at the top of this picture is a print we let Morgan pick out in Ireland when she was four years old. Somehow the framed picture has remained in my, um, possession. Hmmm.... Wonder if she'll claim it now that they have their own house?

Anyway, I think the art and the words by W. M. Letts are lovely:


If I had a little house,
      A white house on a hill,
With lavender and rosemary
      Beneath the window sill,
The door should stand wide open
      To people of good will.



I also thought I'd peruse a few of my cherished art-fodder tomes in my studio for something appropriate. One of my favorites, Crown Jewels OR Gems of Literature, Art, and Music from 1888, has a whole section on "The Home Circle."


Well, there were some dark, sad options (Victorian book, after all!) and then a few like this one:



My Little Wife

Our table is spread for two, to-night -
No guests our bounty share;
The damask cloth is snowy white,
The services elegant and bright,
Our china quaint and rare;
My little wife presides,
And perfect love abides." ...



[I'll spare you the rest, but be content in knowing the anonymous writer and his little wife were still happy at the end.]

While that poem drew as much smirk as smile from me, especially in a week where a woman has clinched votes needed to be the Presidential nominee from a major party, I'm not completely without sentiment. In fact, I was rather drawn in by the language and images in this poem, also without attribution (& please forgive my not attempting to format - that to-do list calleth):

The Wife to Her Husband

Linger not long. Home is not home without thee:
Its dearest tokens do but make me mourn.
O let its memory, like a chain about thee,
Gently compel and hasten thy return!

Linger not long. Though crowds should woo thy staying,
Bethink thee, can the mirth of friends, though dear,
Compensate for the grief thy long delaying
Costs the fond heart that sighs to have thee here?

Linger not long. How shall I watch thy coming,
As evening shadows stretch o'er moor and dell,
When the wild bee hath ceased her busy humming,
And silence hands on all things like a spell!

How shall I watch for thee, when fears grow stronger,
As night grows dark and darker on the hill!
How shall I weep, when I can watch no longer!
Ah! art thou absent, art thou absent still?

Yet I should grieve not, though the eye that seeth me
Gazeth through tears that make its splendor dull;
For O, I sometimes fear when thou art with me
My cup of happiness is all too full.

Haste, haste thee home unto thy mountain dwelling,
Haste, as a bird unto its peaceful nest!
Haste, as a skiff, through tempests wide and swelling,
Flies to its haven of securest rest!


Sigh. :0)

Wishing all young couples beginning their lives and homes together as much joy as their hearts can hold, and then some, and comfort in each other when clouds obscure the sun. The sun comes back out!

Please join the creative and industrious Carol today at Beyond Literacy Link for gardens-ful of poetry, and a visit by J. Patrick Lewis. Happy June to all.

Poetry Friday: Poetry Camp at Western Washington University this Fall!

June 2, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry camp, workshops, conferences, Sylvia Vardell, Janet Wong, Jack Prelutsky


Happy June, Poetry Lovers!

Let's see, June is the month for... WEDDINGS. Our own Morgan will walk down the aisle in just two weeks! Hence, most of the rest of my life is on a temporary sabbatical, though I'll try to pop in and out of Poetry Friday this month.

Today is more of a pop-out day, as we actually have another wedding to travel to this weekend. BUT, I wanted to share some excitement coming up this fall. If you are near the beautiful coast of Washington state or would like an excuse to visit, the folks at Western Washington University in Bellingham are cooking up a spectacular POETRY CAMP conference (for grown-ups!) on Saturday, Oct. 1, starring our own Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Lots of Poetry Friday folks will be participating, including yours truly. (Can't wait!) The event will also feature Washington State Poet Laureate, Tod Marshall.

AND, special guest Jack Prelutsky will offer a free public performance from 4:30-5:30 pm!

Want to know more? Click here for the schedule and registration info. It's going to be a blast!

Speaking of Washington, the wonderful Jone at Check it Out is our Poetry Friday host today. Click on over and head into summer with lots of great poetry!

Poetry Friday - Memorial Day

May 26, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, haiku, Memorial Day



We live in a military town. In fact, when you drive into Beaufort and pass the Marine Corps Air Station on your left, you'll see a billboard which says, 'The "Noise" You Hear Is The Sound Of Freedom.'

I think of that phrase when I hear the familiar roar overhead, more roars than ever since The U.S. Marine Corps opened the doors of the first dedicated F-35B Pilot Training Center here a couple of years ago, training the next generation of pilots flying the F-35 Lightning II. I remember when we first moved here, we went downtown to help welcome those new military personnel, and as usual, there was music and and lots of giddy kids running around the Waterfront Park lawn and warm speeches by local dignitaries. And fireworks. This town loves fireworks. It was fun to see such support, from both sides of the political aisle I'm certain, coming together to honor our men and women in uniform and their young families.

I really have gotten used to the sound of jets darting across the sky, almost like they are resident birds! Loud birds.

We have neighbors who are pilots, male and female, and there is certainly something about putting faces with the sounds of those jets, and with stories on the news from across the world, that makes the dedication of our service personnel more real and personal to me. I wish them safety, pray for their safe returns from deployments, and appreciate that they put themselves in harm's way to serve our country. They are very fine folks who take their work seriously, and we miss them when they are away.

This weekend, of course, we honor those men and women who have given their very lives in such service. Words fail, but we hold their families in thoughts and prayers.



Memorial Day
a flag flutters above
its shadow



©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

Frogpond, Volume 36:1, Winter 2013


Many thanks to all who serve or have served, and to those who support them.

Please join the super-talented Julie Larios today for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at The Drift Record.

Poetry FROGday - a Student Poem Postcard and More...

May 19, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, nature, poets, frog poetry, toad poetry, Jone McCulluch, Buffy Silverman


Rrrribbittt!

That’s amphibian for, “So glad you’re here!”

I’m delighted to share one of Jone MacCulluch’s 2016 student “poem postcards” today. If you’re not familiar with Jone’s terrific project, each year during National Poetry Month (April), folks can email media specialist/poet/Cybills volunteer, and all-around wonderwoman Jone to receive an illustrated poem from one of the students at her Vancouver, Washington, elementary school. Last week, Jone posted about this projects ‘ripple effects’ here.

Glad to share another ripple from an appreciative recipient!

Please celebrate with me Dakotah’s fine work, pictured above.


                       Fantastic frog
                  I am as slimy as a slug
        Jumping gliding swimming are ways I move
                I can live seven to nine years
                     Rana catesbeiana



Dakotah L.
3rd Grade



SO much to love about this poem and illustration. First, don’t you love both the poetic imagery and the scientific information presented so seamlessly here? Dakotah’s attention to structure, her syllable count and line length, but not at the expense of the poem itself? And, how brilliant is it to use the Latin name for bullfrog as a lyrical last line?!

Then there’s the art. Take a look at the wonderful facial expression on our dear bullfrog, and the hat! I love that hat. The cattails are beautiful, and the composition of the whole picture works wonderfully, with strong lines leading our eyes into and out of the poem and around all the elements.
Congratulations to Dakotah on a terrific piece!

Here’s a link to some National Geographic info about the American bullfrog.

As I prepare this post, we’re in the midst of a yearly occurrence around these parts, especially with all the recent (& current) wet weather. We have a cute plague of baby toads hopping all over yards and sidewalks. Zillions of them it seems. (That’s one on my hand in the picture.) And crazy choruses from the swampy low areas to the tops of trees at various times of the day and evening. Is this a springtime event in your corner of the world?

Not sure if these wee ones were frogs or toads (I found opposing opinions online), I did what any Poetry Friday hanger-outer would do: I emailed our own Buffy Silverman. Of COURSE she knew right away. In fact, she wrote a whole book on it! (I should have figured.)

Buffy says:

          That cute little critter is a toadlet (American toad.) We have swarms of them too, but ours are still in the toadpole stage. (HA! “toadpole”....) To be accurate, frogs and toads are really not distinct biological groups, more groupings that we use in common names.

(Hold on a sec. Let us pause, close our eyes, and delight in the word, “toadlet”.… Yep – it is in the Oxford Dictionary.)

When Buffy hosted Poetry Friday last month, she included some great pictures and an original poem paying homage to her own resident noisy toads. Here’s the link in case you missed it.

She also shared a couple of links for further hops into this field. This one from Animal Diversity Web tells us more about the little fellow on my fingers in the picture. (Did you know an American toad can eat up to 1,000 insects in one day?!) And this link at Wonderopolis explores the frog/toad question. Enjoy!

Then catch yourself a lily pad and glide on over to Margaret’s for this week’s Roundup at Reflections on the Teche. Something tells me she knows a few things about frogs and toads over there in Louisiana.

Many thanks to Dakotah, Jone, and Buffy for contributing to this fun froggy (toady) post today!

Poetry Friday: A taste of Robin Hood from Percy's RELIQUES OF ANCIENT ENGLISH POETRY

May 12, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, ballads, Robin Hood, Robyn Hood




A couple of weeks ago I was innocently checking items out of my local library (audiobooks for all my recent miles crisscrossing the state wedding planning for my daughter, including Neil Gaiman’s STARDUST - Raise your hand if you’d happily listen to Neil Gaiman read from the telephone directory in any language, or perhaps instructions about how to use a power saw… But I digress.)


Anyway, though I headed for the exit, a magnetic pull somehow overtook me and I ended up in the little room devoted to sales of donated books. I love/hate when that happens. There is always good reading in there, and sometimes I stumble upon an antique volume that’s been stored for decades on a quiet shelf in somebody’s home.


A hefty leather-bound tome with gilded letters called my name. It was Thomas Percy’s RELIQUES OF ANCIENT ENGLISH POETRY.


Could you have resisted? Me neither. This particular book was an 1873 edition, though the work was first published in 1765 by Percy (1729-1811). One of my favorite classes in college was my medieval literature class with my favorite Furman English professor, William Rogers. Sigh. Of course this book went home with me – supporting my library, of course.


My “own” name greeted me as I flipped through, what with the frontispiece sporting an illustration of “The Grave of Robin Hood.” For fun, I found a ballad about the noble outlaw. Here are a few lines for your pleasure:


(from Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne)


Lythe and listen, gentylmen,
That be of free-bore blode:
I shall you tell of a good yeman,
His name was Robyn hode.

Robyn was a proude out-lawe,
whiles he walked on grounde;
So curteyse and outlawe as he was one,
Was never none yfounde. &c.

...



It’s reassuring to know the outlaw I’m named for was a courteous fellow.

Other fun book notes: The inscription reads, "Ida, from Mama - Xmas, 1874." I wonder who they were, where they lived? Also, tucked into pages I found some dried ferns and flowers in favorite spots. From what creek bank were these plucked as bookmarks, many years ago?


Whether your tastes run to the “ancient” or contemporary or all stops in between, please take your quivers on over to Violet Nesdoly Poems, where our lovely host is rounding up this Friday the 13th.

Poetry Friday - Go Visit Poetry for Children!

May 5, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday

Greetings! I'm on the road -- I KNOW... again! ;0) -- with wedding planning for our daughter and what-not, but if you've stumbled by, I wish you a Happy Mother's Day weekend, and comfort if it's not an easy weekend for you.

Sylvia has this week's round-up along Mother's Day lines, so please go grab some great poetry at Poetry for Children.

I'll be back with bells on next week!

Poetry Friday - THANK YOU, TREES by Gail Langer Karwoski and Marilyn E. Gootman

April 28, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, nature, holidays, book tracks


Greetings, Poetry Friday Tribe! It's our last Friday of National Poetry Month for this year. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of catching up to do this weekend on all the poetic wonderfulness around the Kidlitosphere. If you're in the same boat, have no fear - Jama's Roundup of the month's activities will guide you and keep you clicking for days.

With a nod to Earth Day last week, I'd like to introduce a little book I've been meaning to highlight since it came out three years ago. It was the first rhyming children's book by award-winning author and my dear friend, Gail Langer Karwoski, and co-written by Marilyn E. Gootman. Thank You, Trees, illustrated by the multiple-award-winning Kristen Balouch and published by Kar-Ben Publishing (a division of Lerner), is a lovely rhyming romp in celebration of something akin to a Jewish Arbor Day. (Click here for the publisher's page about it and here for Amazon .)

This board book invites the very youngest readers and listeners to appreciate the trees around them and to learn about Tu B'Shevat, a festival sometimes called the "New Year for Trees."

Here is the text on the opening spread:


On Tu B'Shevat
We plant a tree.
Baskets of fruit
For you and me.

Orange, grapefruit
Peach or plum,
Lemon, mango,
Apple - yum!


©Gail Langer Karwoski and Marilyn E. Gootman


The colorful art is joyous, perfectly complementing the verse. The book garnered great reviews from The New York Times, Kirkus, and Publisher's Weekly.

Be sure to check out Gail's website for more info on this and her many wonderful, classroom-friendly books. Her work has deep roots and an expansive reach, providing lots of cover and adventure for young readers!

Our host for Poetry Friday is no stranger to the woods. In fact, be sure to read her Earth Day poem posted last week. Many thanks, Buffy, for rounding us up today.

I'm off for a weekend in the mountains, where I plan to savor poetry AND appreciate the glory and goodness of trees. Wishing you the perfect shady spot to read in! Really... have you hugged a tree today? Have you? ;0)

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Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
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In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
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A rhyming tale of a young boy's knightly adventure with an imagined dragon.
Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!
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