Hannah enjoying poetry workshop
(Scroll down this column for tags, archives and blogroll....)
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
Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller
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.
October 19, 2016
Welcome, Poetry Friday Fans!
Today we have a special treat -
Charles Ghigna, a.k.a. Father Goose®
, is in the house!
You’ll find his name on the spines of more than 100 award-winning books from publishers such as Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, and Orca, and as a byline on more than 5000 poems in anthologies, textbooks, newspapers, and magazines - including Highlights, Cricket, The New Yorker
and many more. Though he gallivants all over connecting kids and poetry, we’re happy to claim him here in the South, as he makes his home in Alabama.
This month we’re celebrating some fun new animal books running wild – just in time for any critter-crazed kids on your holiday gift list.
Just out from Animal Planet, Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals
is sure to please any budding zoologists or simply curious kids.
“The target audience is ages 8-12, but we think ALL ages will like this one”
Charles says. “It's 128 pages chock full of stunning close-up photos by some of the world's top nature photographers! You will see creatures from the bottom of the world's deepest oceans to the uninhabited jungles of the Amazon. Many of the animals have only recently been discovered!”
for a peek inside.
Charles has kindly shared the poems introducing each section.
Strange how we as humans
View creatures great and small—
For we who see their strangeness
Are the strangest ones of all!
Unusual is what we call
The weird, the fast, the rare.
We classify each creature—
But do they really care?
Gross is used instead of yuck
For words like poop and pus,
But all these animals agree—
It's only gross to us!
Cool is how we think we look
When we try to impress,
But animals are born that way—
With lots of cool finesse!
Poems ©Charles Ghigna. All rights reserved.
Need some animal-friendly titles for the younger set? Check out Charles’s recent books from Orca Books, A Carnival of Cats(2015) and A Parade of Puppies(released in August), both illustrated by Kristi Bridgeman
. These interactive board books feature rhyming texts that playfully invite young readers to guess what kind of dogs/cats are hiding on the pages. Wag, wag!
Now, how about an Extra Credit Q & A with Charles?
If you were an animal, what animal would you be & why?
An Arctic Whale. It can live for more than 200 years. That would give me a little more time to write a few more books and poems!
What's the coolest animal you've ever seen in person?
Our Golden Retriever, Honey. She was a loving, loyal, smart companion. She used to follow me up here to my treehouse and sit beside while I wrote, then follow me down the stairs for coffee breaks -- and treats.
Whenever I'd lie on the floor to do a few sit-ups, she would lie down beside me on her back.
She had quite a vocabulary. She understood words like "walk, car, food, go, stop, sit, stay -- and pizza!" We used to spell those words when she was in the room to keep her from running to the backdoor to get in the "car" or run to the front door for a "walk" -- or when we ordered "pizza." ;-)
Is your Muse diurnal or nocturnal?
I guess I'd have to say both. She's been good to me day and night. I often write late at night and into the wee hours of the morning. So far she's been a very accommodating companion.
Are you a dog person or cat person? (Or, like me, unabashedly both?)
I'm like you. I'm unabashedly both. I love dogs -- and admire cats! ;-)
My first two books and my last two books are about dogs and cats. My first books from Disney were GOOD DOGS BAD DOGS and GOOD CATS BAD CATS and a couple of my latest books are A CARNIVAL OF CATS and A PARADE OF PUPPIES.
Do you currently belong to any pets?
Yes, but not in the house. My "pets" now are all free range pets: a hawk that lives in a nearby tree and circles over the treehouse each day to say hello, multitude of squirrels and chipmunks I watch from my window, and two jeweled hummingbirds I'm watching right now at the feeder.
I would add the menagerie of monarchs that have been dancing outside my window this summer, but it looks like most of them have already started heading to their vacation homes farther south.
You mentioned "treehouse" again - do you really work in a treehouse?
Yes, I do. It's the treehouse-looking attic of my home, a 1927 red brick Tudor cottage here in Homewood, Alabama.
That is just wonderful. Thanks for visiting with us today! [Pssst – want a peek at the treehouse? Click here for a 2009 video tour created by the Homewood Library.]
The wonderful Tricia is rounding up for us this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect
[I’m gallivanting myself for Family Weekend at Seth’s college and then a week of school visits near Atlanta – will check in when I can from the Peach State!]
October 13, 2016
Hellooooo, Poetry Friends!
On the hurricane front: we were very, very fortunate. We are freshly back in our home after a week's evacuation, and with power to boot. Our older kitties and diminutive doggie did fine with all the traveling and disruptions of "normal" life.
Our house is fine, but please keep some of our neighbors in mind - Thursday afternoon we saw firsthand how trees toppled onto roofs right around us, with at least one neighbor displaced for the next few months as major repairs are needed. Some neighbors (and plenty of folks on the sea islands) are still without power. And, of course, please keep the people of NC and other states in thoughts and prayers as there has been such suffering and loss, and of course on such a massive scale in Haiti.
Our lovely little Beaufort is making strides toward normalcy, though for many folks who haven't been able to return home because of washed-out roads, life won't be the same again for quite some time, if ever. [Our beloved local beach, Hunting Island State Park, is closed for the rest of the year.] If this was a Cat 2, I surely wouldn't want to see Cat 3, 4, or 5!
On Thursday, the Publix was packed, with customers and staff swapping stories of the storm. Ditto for the hardware store. Many local business have re-opened, sporting Welcome Back
signs. Kids are happily on the loose, as schools won't re-open until Monday.
As Jeff and I began yard clean-up early Thursday evening, we ended up chatting with several neighbors out doing the same, or walking dogs, or driving by and stopping to say hello and check on us. Even our mail carrier greeted us with a "Welcome Home" as we were unloading on Wednesday.
It's been a whirlwind! I can't believe it's been two whole weeks since I had the privilege of leading a Found Poem Makerspace Activity at Poetry Camp. Click HERE
for a recap of that creative, collective adventure.
As for this blog, I was able to get winners of the JUST YOU WAIT giveaway
randomly picked, though a fulsome new post with Charles Ghigna will have to wait til next Friday. Be sure to circle back!
And now, drumroll please..... The JUST YOU WAIT winners are:
Matt Forrest Essenwine
and Linda Baie!
Congratulations! I probably have all your addresses somewhere, but in my current state of disarray, please send an email with your preferred mailing address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org , and I'll get your copies on their way to you next week.
Many thanks to Pomelo Books
for providing these copies.
For terrific poetry you don't have to wait for, please visit my beautiful friend and poetic genius Irene Latham
for this week's Roundup!
October 11, 2016
At the risk of triggering déjà vu after last week.... If this post is still up THIS Poetry Friday, we're still trying to get right-side-up after a week of evacuating ahead of Hurricane Matthew. I'm posting this Tues. night (while I'm in a house with power!), with plans to drive back home on Wednesday. As of Tuesday, our neighbor told us our house was still without power, hence my hesitation at having a post up and running in a couple of days. Rest assured, I WILL get that drawing for YOU JUST WAIT announced and celebrated after the lights are back on and the mail trucks are running.
Also, we'll still have fun with Charles Ghigna when a real post appears here again. Thanks for your patience. :0)
October 5, 2016
Greetings, Poetry Peeps! If you're landing here for Poetry Friday:
I'd planned to post about our wonderful POETRY CAMP this past weekend in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. But almost as soon as we got home to our "Atlantic Southeast," we were under evacuation orders in light of Hurricane Matthew's expected advance. So, this little Lowcountry family is hitting the road. Not sure exactly when, because my hubby is having to work on evacuation day. But soon, we will be headin' for the hills with a tiny Chihuahua, two kitties, baby pictures, passports, and whatever else one is supposed to cram into vehicles on such an occasion.
I'm thinking a real blog post is not going to happen, but I wanted to let you know I'll announce JUST YOU WAIT winners from last week in next
Be sure to circle back, as we'll have fun with Charles Ghigna on the 14th!
Thanks, and Stay Safe & Dry.... XO
September 29, 2016
Happy Poetry Friday!
I'm posting from Bellingham, Washington, where many of us are gathering for Poetry Camp
at Western Washington University this weekend. Can't wait to catch up with poetry friends, and meet many others whose work I've admired for years. Friday night I'm leading a Found Poem Mixed Media Makerspace
activity at the three-stories-of-awesome Village Books. On Saturday, I get to co-lead a workshop on picture books with Julie Larios
As if this weren't enough poetry good news, I received news at the start of the week that one of my poems was awarded "third honorable mention" in the Haiku Society of America's 2016 Henderson Haiku Contest
. Pinch me! I've posted as a picture above, but please click over to read the winning haiku and always insightful judges' comments. (This year's judges were Cor van den Heuvel and Scott Mason, so I'm beyond honored to have received an honorable mention.) My poem was:
the press and release
of the nib
©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.
I'm also delighted to share links to award-winning haiku by names you'll recognize from my blog as shining haiku stars who happen to live in our Southeast region. Tom Painting took FIRST place in the 2016 Brady Senryu Contest
, and Terri L. French was awarded second place in the
2016 HSA Haibun Award Contest
. Congratulations, Friends!
The wonderful Karen Edmisten
has the Poetry Friday Roundup today - Enjoy!
September 21, 2016
Greetings, Poetry Friday-ers!
I'm freshly back from a glorious week up at a Highlights Founders Workshop with Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard, and beautifully blogged about by Linda
. I didn't unpack my suitcase, though – I’m heading out again, this time across the entire country to end up with more of my poetry tribe! I know, I know... I AM a lucky duck. Quack.
I'll finally (!) get to meet Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell IN PERSON at Western Washington University's POETRY CAMP - an awesome conference next Saturday, Oct. 1. Several participating poets will arrive a little early, and I'll be leading a "Makerspace" found poem/mixed media workshop Friday night at a local bookstore. Can't wait!
Speaking of waiting, I'm delighted to keep the celebratory blog party going for the newest member of Sylvia and Janet's Pomelo Books
family, YOU JUST WAIT - A Poetry Friday Power Book
. The indefatigable Vardell-Wong duo has come up with a truly one-of-a-kind resource for middle school students, sprung from their POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL (an NCTE Poetry Notable published in 2013).
Taking innovative inspiration from Lee Bennett Hopkins’s “groundbreaking work in creating poetry anthologies” (from the dedication), they’ve crafted a book that is part anthology, part novella, and totally interactive. Students are going to love it. I love it. (If I’d only had this book during those couple of years I taught middle school English…)
Nutshell: Janet took a dozen poems from the PFA for Middle School
, added two dozen more original poems, and whipped up a complete narrative with living, breathing characters. Sylvia took this delectable main dish and served it up with fun side activities. Then she handed over ingredients and a bowl to the reader, offering a recipe of prompts for each chapter (and space on the pages!) to create his or her own poems.
The character names in YOU JUST WAIT
came from Julie Larios
’s gorgeous poem, “Names.”
Saturday morning means I buy pan dulce
with Tio Chepe and my cousin Lucesita
whose name means “Little Light” –
that’s what I call her, and she laughs
and pinches me and calls me “Peace”
because my name is Paz. …
(Side note - I get to present a picture book workshop next Saturday with Julie – I know, more lucky quacks! Quack quack!!)
The action part of the story comes from Paz’s trying out for the soccer team. Will she make it? Emotional connections come from relationships (cousins who are also schoolmates) between Paz, Lucesita, and Joe, who is a little older. Middle school students will see themselves in fresh, accessible poems about identity struggles, sports, fears, achievements, family, making it through the school day – and food! – to name a few themes.
Here’s some backstory from Janet:
We moved to a new town when I was a junior in high school. I felt very uncomfortable being “different-looking” in a school that was 90% white and suburban/semi-rural (after having been at a diverse urban school the previous year). My solution: to spend every lunch period in the library, reading alone. This wasn’t necessarily a bad solution, but I was very lonely until I finally started making friends a few months into the year. Something I’d love to see: lunchtime book clubs using YOU JUST WAIT to pull kids in and get them talking. Give them an excuse to join by giving them books!
YOU JUST WAIT provides an easy structure for a book club to follow; they can do one PowerPack a week.
a PowerPack, you ask?
Here are the spreads from the PowerPack which include my poem, “Locker Ness Monster.” (These small pictures don't do the type justice, but I wanted to lend a sense of how everything works together.)
The section opens with a PowerPlay
pre-writing activity - in this case, a “Pick a Number” adventure with several possible options. Next are two poems: my “Outside Poem” poem from THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL and Janet’s “Response Poem,” (this one told from Paz’s point of view, carrying the story over from the previous Power Pack as well as tying into this one).
Locker Ness Monster
Arrrgh. That’s not it.
Nothing. Nada. Nyet.
Click. That’s it!
Unlock your head,
then your fingers,
then the door.
©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.
Locked Out and Running Late
Usually I refuse to check a box.
I just let myself be blank.
But today I checked Other
and Hispanic and Asian
to get things over with because
I am in too much of a hurry
and who I really am
this very second is
and running late.
©Janet Wong. All rights reserved.
Then, a “Mentor Text” poem by Janet follows, this one again from Pax’s point of view:
4 People would never guess
7 that my mind is such a mess
2 with numbers.
6 But I can memorize a poem,
9 read and read it to make it my own.
9 And then I can use it like a code.
3 Here’s a rhyme
4 when it comes time
7 to know my number. OK, let’s see:
3 (472) 699-3473!
©Janet Wong. All rights reserved.
Last in each PowerPack is the Power2You
page, with terrific prompts created by Sylvia. In this one, it’s called “Numbers” and offers space to write under the following prompt: Write your phone number in a vertical column below. Then create a poem by writing a line for each number, adding that number of words in each line (so 9 = 9 words, 7 = 7 words, and so on). Or use another set of numbers that means something special to you.
Pretty brilliant, no? Here are some thoughts from Sylvia:
It was fun to explore this new project with Janet and think about ways to involve young people in looking at how poems work. I particularly enjoyed my role in thinking of creative "PowerPlay" and "Power2You" activities that were fun and playful and not like the usual school exercises. It was made easier by Janet's engaging poems that evoke a strong teen voice and persona. I thought about how to connect pre-writing with texting, movies and poems, and numbers and doodles, too. We hope young readers feel empowered to come at poetry in multiple ways and express themselves through their own writing.
[PowerPacks include poems by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Joseph Bruchac, Jen Bryant, Margarita Engle, Charles Ghigna, Avis Harley, Julie Larios, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Charles Waters, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Janet Wong. I'm beyond thrilled to be in such book company.]
But – WAIT! There’s MORE! Now you want your own copy, right? Janet and Sylvia are eager to get this jam-packed, brimming-with-resources, friendly-sized volume out into the world, inspiring young writers. They have tucked 5-count’em-FIVE copies right here in my blog to give away! Just leave a comment below by Wednesday, Oct. 5, and I’ll announce random winners on Friday, Oct. 7. Then don’t stray too far away – I’ll need to track down lucky ducks via email to find your real-world pond addresses.
Many thanks to Janet and Sylvia for visiting with us today and donating these wonderful books! [Don't want to leave things to chance? Click here for information on how to order this and other Poetry Friday Anthology editions.]
After commenting, be sure to go back to Reading to the Core
, where the lovely and talented Catherine is hosting our Roundup this week.
September 8, 2016
Happy Poetry Friday!
I’m especially happy this week because on Sunday, I get to go back to the sacred grounds of the Highlights Founders workshops in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, to attend The Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children
with Georgia Heard
, Rebecca Kai Dotlich
, and some of YOU!!!
Last fall, I basked in poetic wonderfulness with Georgia and Rebecca in South Florida, at their Poetry by the Sea retreat.
As we say farewell to Summer and hello to Fall, I found a couple of their poems to guide us. This past week, I saw both a hummingbird and a ladybug. I wondered how long before the hummingbird would depart to migrate… probably not long. And the ladybug – how soon before it and its many kin come knocking to get inside the front porch, or the house even, as they try to keep warm in chill months?
First, Georgia’s, from CREATURES OF EARTH, SEA, AND SKY, illustrated by Jennifer Owings Dewey (Wordsong, 1992):
from morning glories
from a straw
all day long.
©Georgia Heard. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.
And now, Rebecca’s, from LEMONADE SUN And Other Summer Poems, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (Wordsong, 1998):
than a button,
bigger than a spot
this crimson queen
with midnight polished
her ruby shell,
across the walks,
among the petals of a rose –
tenderly she goes.
©Rebecca Kai Dotlich. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.
Many thanks to Georgia and Rebecca for sharing their poems here today.
Oh! – and, speaking of summery creatures – you noticed the bottom of the photo? Yes, our Golden Silk Orb Weaver is STILL with us. She’s been a fixture all summer long, disappearing to deposit three broods of baby spiders/egg sacs, but then returning. This news will thrill some of you and horrify others. I’m actually going to miss the old gal when her time comes to leave for good. Sigh.
For a harvest of poetry for any season, please visit our amazing Amy at The Poem Farm
for this week’s Roundup. She is also celebrating the newest book from Poetry Power Team Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell - YOU JUST WAIT (Pomelo Books). I'm thrilled to have a poem included.
Next week, I’ll still be making my way back from the workshop, but be sure to drop in on the ever-wonderful Michelle, hosting the Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty.
. The Friday after that, Sept. 23, circle back here, where I’ll have another peek at YOU JUST WAIT from Pomelo Books
September 1, 2016
Well, Thursday has gotten away from me as we have found ourselves awaiting the arrival of Hermine, after her expected Florida landfall and march across Georgia. (Hope you fellow Southeastern & Florida poetry folks are safe!)
Schools and government offices are closed here Friday. I checked battery supplies and such and helped another K-Mart shopper find the flashlights... (we'd both been aimlessly circling aisles in some sort of grocery cart ballet). There were some empty spots on the display wall, but we finally found some.
With all of this in mind, I stumbled into what I think is a gorgeous poem - maybe some of you know the poet? I did not, but am happy to discover her.
I used to love the run-up to a storm
by Melanie Braverman
I used to love the run-up to a storm, watching from the porch as the grown-ups hurried to bring things in, my mother rummaging through drawers for a flashlight, cursing: nothing was where it was supposed to be in our house. ...
for the rest.
Then put on your rubber boots (or cowboy boots, you'll see...) and stomp on over to A Penny and her Jots
for this week's Roundup. Thanks for hosting, Penny!
Stay safe, and wishing you and yours a good Labor Day Weekend.
August 25, 2016
I don’t know about you, but to counteract the weight of the daily news, I could use a daily dose of Issa!
[Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) is regarded as one of the primary masters of haiku. He endured much hardship and loss, and his heartfelt poetry is known for its sensitivity to all living things.]
Wait -- Now I have
a daily dose of Issa!
For years, Issa scholar and past-president of the Haiku Society of America David G. Lanoue has offered a random Issa poem delivered to your inbox or your Twitter account (or both!) . [Here’s
a post about Dr. Lanoue (David) from my blog a couple-few years ago. A professor at Xavier University, he has translated upwards of 10,000 of Issa’s poems.]
His Issa website was launched in 2000. Click here
to get to know Issa and sign up for daily poems. After my own unsuccessful attempt a while back to receive this daily treasure (operator error, I’m certain – it’s really quite easy), I finally got myself subscribed and love reading an Issa poem each day.
Thursday’s made me smile:
at an honest man's gate
make their home
1824, translated by David G. Lanoue.
It reminded me of our summer guest I blogged about before –
the golden silk orb weaver who took up just outside the back door and is still with us. She’s apparently going to go for a third brood?
Issa wrote about spiders, too. And lots of animals. Lanoue’s book, Issa and the Meaning of Animals – A Buddhist Poet’s Perspective
(2014), offers accessible insights about this special poet and many of his haiku – a must if you are an Issa fan, a double-must if you are an animal-loving Issa fan.
Here’s one I love:
rest easy, my soot-broom
Translated by David G. Lanoue.
And one more – this goes out to my newlywed teacher-daughter Morgan. They have seen deer a few times in their in-town neighborhood in Georgia this week; a buck, twice!
the young buck’s
Translated by David G. Lanoue.
The book provides background and unlocks potential meanings for the poems, which give us beautiful imagery with or without explication. Hope you enjoyed this taste!
Are you a teacher? Click here
for David’s website pages designed just for you. You can “test” your haiku/Issa knowledge with the first link, and find out about how to share Issa’s life and poetry with kids at the second.
Also, if picture poetry books call your name, you might enjoy sharing Matthew Gollub’s Cool Melons – Turn to Frogs! – The Life and Poems of Issa
, illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone (Lee & Low, 1998, 2004). This colorful paperback combines some biography and sample poems to offer glimpses into Issa’s life and writing.
That's what’s going on in my universe this week. For the Poetry Friday Roundup and lots more poetic goodness, please visit poet and teacher extraordinaire Heidi over at My Juicy Little Universe
August 18, 2016
Hi, Friends - I'm up to my elbows in artsyletters
projects in the studio, trying to get ready for a local "Starving Artist Market" (weather willing) on Saturday. Please go check out all the great Poetry Friday offerings over at my dear friend Doraine's place, Dori Reads
Thanks again to all who BUGSCUFFLED here last week! :0)
bio, photos, interview links, etc.
Explore a poem or two or five....
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
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!
(Click here to visit Robyn's art business)
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Council of Teachers of English
Click here for KidLitosphere's links to current poetry round-up