Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet








Hannah enjoying poetry workshop

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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 2005-2014 ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved. Please ask permission before using any text or images on this website, except for reproducible
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Life on the Deckle Edge

The Slough of The R-Word...

July 22, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, ponderings, writing life, rejection


[We interrupt our currently scheduled July break to say that we don't seem to be able to stay away from Poetry Friday for that long. We are popping in with a wave before mid-August!]

Anyone who’s ever seriously burned to see their work published has dealt with it, the dreaded R-Word: rejection.

But with a quick lick of the wound and a swallow of pride – gulp –, rejection can be a very good teacher. This week I noticed an email from an editor of a haiku journal about my latest submission. Though my work had appeared in it several times, the last time I submitted, no poems were accepted, so I had a bit of trepidation. I elected to open it right there from my phone – the print would be smaller and less intimidating, right?

It was big enough:

“I'm afraid I didn't really feel anything in this batch up to your usual work. …”

Ouch. The editor did offer specific feedback about one poem, which was plagued with a “vague” reference.

I’ve been around the publishing block a few times, so at least I have a seasoned “thought” response that eventually catches up with the initial emotional response to an editorial “No.” [There’s no easy way to get this, by the way, except by actually living through a good bit of rejection along the journey.]

The mind tells the heart: “Um, it’s not personal so you’re going to have to get over yourself a little. Editors are busy folks. When they reply with specific feedback at all, it’s to be considered at the very least, and appreciated when you are ready.”

I’ve had a taste of the editorial side of the computer screen, too, as assistant editor of a children’s haiku publication a few years ago. It’s a humbling and rewarding job, and looks like I need to put that hat back on for my own work a bit more.

On the brighter side, there are three P words I’ve often used in author talks with students: practice, persistence and patience.

When I first discovered real haiku a few years ago, I was hooked and couldn’t get enough. I read book after book and subscribed to the top journals, and read online journals as well. After a year or so of reading and regular writing, I sent off what I thought were my best poems to a few of them. Nothing was accepted.

But there was encouraging feedback from a few editors, so I buckled down and spent a good hunk of the next year reading, reading, writing, and reading haiku. I submitted again. And in almost every batch, a poem or two was accepted. I rolled along with acceptances for the next year or so – my pen was golden! – until, alas, the R word reappeared.

For one journal, after a few publications, I had a whole year’s worth of rejections. Sigh. I took a breather from that one for a little while (with my move & injury thrown in last year for good measure). A few weeks ago, I closed my eyes and hit “send” on a fresh batch of haiku to that publication. To my delight, the editor sent back an acceptance.

I’m really not selling any morals or lessons here, just offering some company along the journey. If you’re edging toward the Publication World’s Slough of Despond, either back up and turn around, or lift that chin up and slog your way on through. You'll find you are not alone, and most of us have a good bit of mud on our shoes.


THE PILGRIM
by John Bunyan (1628-1688)


Who would true Valour see
Let him come hither;
One here will Constant be,
Come Wind, come Weather.
There's no Discouragement,
Shall make him once Relent,
His first avow'd Intent,
To be a Pilgrim.


Who so beset him round,
With dismal Storys,
Do but themselves Confound;
His Strength the more is.
No Lyon can him fright,
He'l with a Gyant Fight,
But he will have a right,
To be a Pilgrim.

Hobgoblin
, nor foul Fiend,
Can daunt his Spirit:
He knows, he at the end,
Shall Life Inherit
.
Then Fancies fly away,
He'l fear not what men say,
He'l labour Night and Day,
To be a Pilgrim.



Journey forth to the lovely and talented Margaret’s Reflections on the Teche where you are sure to find poetic refreshment and rejuvenation for the quest.

Poetry Friday - Here, Have a Fig...

July 3, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, ponderings


Happy July Fourth Weekend!

I hope you’ll have plenty of time outdoors with loved ones and plenty of watermelon.

We’ve been fortunate to have family and friends coming and going, and there are more visits planned as the month goes along, mainly on weekends. So I’ll be taking a wee blog break here for the rest of July and will jump back in on August 14. I will come virtually visit you all in the meantime, though -- if not always on the actual Friday!

I have a longer post over at artsyletters today, featuring a box of wooden blocks, and a box of necks, among other things. (That got your attention! I hope you’ll click over.)

Speaking of my studio, it’s upstairs in a historic building in the middle of downtown. I usually go in and out through the back. This time of year, an old fig tree - completely unobtrusive the rest of the year - takes over the universe. I was invited to help myself to her bounty last year, and I was happy to. The figs end up falling off everywhere, half-eaten by birds and bugs.

But I wonder of the birds might resent that, just a little bit…

My apologies to William Carlos Williams :


This is Just to Say to the Downtown Birds


I have taken
the figs
that hang over
the back stairs


and which
you were planning
to peck
for breakfast


Forgive me
they were easy
to pluck
and so
      very
            sweet




For all kinds of poetic bounty today, please visit the delightful Donna at Mainely Write.

Poetry Friday: Jacqueline Woodson's BROWN GIRL DREAMING and some thoughts from SC....

June 25, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, ponderings, book tracks


Greetings from South Carolina on this summertime Poetry Friday.

Just shy of a couple of weeks ago, I finally turned my attention to one of my “TBR” ’s (To Be Read’s) in my always-toppling stack. Jacqueline Woodson’s BROWN GIRL DREAMING (Nancy Paulson Books, Penguin, 2014) – with its shiny gold National Book Award Winner sticker – had even traveled with me in May, but I hadn’t cracked it open yet. I’d been anxious to read it, and it had certainly been praised on Poetry Friday in recent months.

Then the multiple-award-winning author was named our new Young People’s Poet Laureate by The Poetry Foundation at the beginning of this month, and I jumped into this autobiographical journey told in verse. I was immediately captivated – and not just by the exquisite writing. I hadn’t realized before that Jacqueline Woodson was born less than two weeks after I was in early 1963 (about 350 miles apart, and in some ways, worlds apart).

I was intrigued by how our early memories might be alike in many ways and drastically different in others. I was born in Tennessee and grew up in Florida; she was born in Ohio and grew up in Greenville, SC, and in New York. (Greenville is where I went to college, met my hubby, and where my daughter currently lives.)

I was not really aware of racial tensions as a very young child; I never saw “Whites Only” signs. They certainly might have existed in places where we traveled when I was tiny, but I would have been too young to read them. I have no recollections of races being separated in my early world.

In BROWN GIRL DREAMING, Woodson masterfully shows how the people she most loved and looked up to as a child had been affected by Jim Crow laws and racial injustice, how life was different in the North and South in the ’60s (and ’70s). Reading the book, you see through her eyes as a child trying to make sense of her family’s past and present.

She describes walking past a Woolworth’s with her grandmother in Greenville, because even after the laws changed, her grandmother had been ignored in that store before:

Acted like
I wasn’t even there.
It’s hard not to see the moment –
my grandmother in her Sunday clothes, a hat
with a flower pinned to it
neatly on her head, her patent-leather purse,
perfectly clasped
between her gloved hands – waiting quietly
long past her turn.


I remember Woolworth’s – one of the department stores of my childhood. I remember ladies wearing gloves and carrying patent-leather purses. I never remember feeling discriminated against, because that was not my reality. Of course I learned about racial inequality as I grew up and matured, but I didn’t have to endure it directly, or hear that my parents, siblings or grandparents had suffered because of it. I don’t have to battle it now.

It’s been an interesting half-century to be alive. I remember watching President Obama’s first inauguration on TV, seeing his two precious daughters and thinking they were about to move into the White House, and recalling that I had been an infant on this earth when four little girls were blown up in a church in Alabama, and I just cried.

Anyway, this month, I had been reading along in BROWN GIRL DREAMING each night when, 10 short days ago, news broke of the atrocity at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. (That’s just a little over an hour up the road from here.) I was numb. I texted my husband, who was on a church service trip with my son in another part of the state.

I cannot pretend to fathom what those families have been going through. Each of those nine souls was a shining light in their homes, communities, and in the greater world. The reactions of many of family members have demonstrated the message that love is stronger than hate. It’s been humbling and inspiring to see these grieving individuals embody such deep faith and verbalize it so simply and eloquently. Grace personified in the midst of unspeakable loss.

Of course, the timing of my reading Jacqueline Woodson’s beautiful book has made it that much more poignant for me. In case you haven’t yet read it, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that it’s only about race. It’s about joy and loss and self-discovery, about a young writer falling in love with words and finding her voice – in vivid memories from a full childhood laced with warmth and wonder.

In addition to the poems, there are black and white family photos to enjoy as well. To me, the whole book is like a carefully and lovingly designed photo album. Each poem evokes a picture's thousand words of possibilities and connections. Artfully chosen details and descriptions create a strong, sturdy, and inspiring story – especially for someone creative, of any color and of any age. Especially for any young reader who might struggle a bit with reading or writing, but who has something to say.

For more inspiring poetry this week, please visit the lovely Carol at Carol's Corner for the Roundup.

Poetry Friday - Anne Bradstreet for Father's Day...

June 18, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, history, ponderings


Greetings, Poetry Friends -

The Academy of American Poets (poets.org) email in my inbox had some suggestions for Father's Day, and because I'm a bit of a 17th-Century buff, I had to click on an offering from Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672), an unusual-for-the-times female voice of letters in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Here is the poem; I love the title:


To Her Father with Some Verses

Anne Bradstreet


Most truly honoured, and as truly dear,
If worth in me or ought I do appear,
Who can of right better demand the same
Than may your worthy self from whom it came?
The principal might yield a greater sum,
Yet handled ill, amounts but to this crumb;
My stock’s so small I know not how to pay,
My bond remains in force unto this day;
Yet for part payment take this simple mite,
Where nothing’s to be had, kings loose their right.
Such is my debt I may not say forgive,
But as I can, I’ll pay it while I live;
Such is my bond, none can discharge but I,
Yet paying is not paid until I die.



Father's Day is a mixed holiday for me, as my dad died 20 years ago, less than three months before our youngest was born, when I was almost 32. I loved him dearly; it was complicated. [Alcohol, among other things, will do that.]

My mother remarried about five years after my folks divorced, and I've been blessed to have a wonderful stepdad for 35 years now. My hubby Jeff has been close to his dad all his life, and he's still with us.

Two of my dear friends have lost their fathers since this year began, so I know the weekend is going to be difficult for them, their mothers, and their families. Two men who graduated with or near us years ago at Furman also have died unexpectedly this year, leaving behind wives and teen and young adult children. They were devoted dads.

Of course, being just down the highway from Charleston, I am numbed with other South Carolinians and citizens of the world by the senseless loss of life there Wednesday night - not just people who gave of themselves to their families but who selflessly served their community and beyond in lives that embodied faith. Our thoughts and prayers are especially with them this weekend.

I'm looking forward to Father's Day on the home front celebrating my wonderful husband, and welcoming him and our son back from a week-long church service trip in the upper part of the state, where it was triple digits most days. We'll have a special surprise here for him. And air conditioning.

Whatever this weekend holds for you and yours, I hope it brings joy - in present moments or in memories. And may we all hold up others who are shouldering tragedy or heartache. Like Anne, if we've had loving guidance, we can "pay it while [we] live," as did those precious souls gone from us in Charleston this week.

Mary Lee, the Rounder-upper of Poetry Friday Round-Up hosts, is hosting today over at A Year of Reading. Actually, she's at a writing conference on Friday, but she's left Mr. Linky to collect posts while she's away. I'm sure we'll all find poetry there to comfort, celebrate and enjoy.

Poetry Friday: Hush-a-bye, Rock-a-bye...

June 11, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, nursery rhymes


Well, last week's pairings of treatments new and old for a familiar nursery rhyme was such fun I couldn't help but want to continue in the same vein this week. Only a little different.

I'm still enjoying OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY collected by Elizabeth Hammill (Candlewick - England in 2014, US in 2015): a new chock-full treasure of 150 nursery rhymes from around the world, illustrated by 77 stellar international artists, featured recently by our good friend Irene Latham.

I've now gone crazy for one illustrator's work in particular, Olivia Lomenech Gill, who illustrated "Hush-a-bye, baby,...". She's an award-winning printmaker and artist working in northern England. Her first children's book, Michael and Clare Morpurgo's poetry anthology, WHERE MY WELLIES TAKE ME (Templar Publishing ), won the English Association 7-11 Picture Book Award and was shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal in 2014.

Take a look at her work on her website (and her agency website), and perhaps you'll be left sighing as well. Rich, sumptuous, lively, and my favorite subdued but deep color palette, with lots of gorgeous dark line!

But I digress, even if it was delicious. Back to OVER THE HILLS....

I couldn't find "proof" of the "Hush-a-bye" lullaby's origins, though it seems to be held by many that it was written by early English visitors to America, who noted how Native American mothers hung birch-bark cradles in trees, allowing the wind to rock their infants. There are other theories as well, but in OVER THE HILLS..., Gill's illustration depicts the Mayflower and pre-colonial coastline, and it's opposite a Chippewa lullaby ("Little baby, sleep,/Mother swings your hammock low...) and a lovely painting of a Native American mother and baby.

"Hush-a-bye" seems to have evolved into "Rock-a-bye" In the picture above, I placed my little volume of Kate Greenaway's MOTHER GOOSE (Frederick Warne) opened to "Rock-a-bye Baby,..." above the "Hush-a-bye" spread.
Here are the two nursery rhymes, not the same but related?:


from OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY:

"Hush-a-bye, baby,
On the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock;
When the bough breaks
The cradle will fall,
Down will come baby,
Cradle and all."




and from Kate Greenaway's MOTHER GOOSE

"Rock-a-bye baby,
Thy cradle is green;
Father's a nobleman,
Mother's a queen.
And Betty's a lady,
And wears a gold ring;
And Johnny's a drummer,
and drums for the king."



I'm betting some of you super-smart Poetry Friday-ers know more about the history of these English rhymes and lullabies than I do. If so, please share in the comments!

Here's what I remember about lullabies in my own youth. My wonderful mother sang "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," because that's the song her mother rocked her by. So that's what I sang to my own two babes for endless hours on the porch swing. Maybe they'll sing it to their own babies one day!

And my brother and I used to cackle at the following little song:

"Go to sleep,
Little creep -
I am tired and beat.
Go to sleep,
Little creep -
before I DROP YOU!"



I still remember the tune, but I'd hate for that to be my maiden voyage on Sound-Cloud, so I'll leave it at that. ;0)

Thanks for visiting, and if you're still awake, please share your own lullaby thoughts.

Then rock on over to the incomparable Jama's Alphabet Soup, where she and Mr. Cornelius have the Round-up. And blueberries, lots of yummy blueberries... mmmmm.

Student Haiku Poets of the Month Place in UN Contest

June 11, 2015

Tags: haiku, student work, Student Poet of the Month, poetry


Greetings! Apologies for the earlier confusion, but here are the UN International School haiku contest winners from our featured student poets of the month, announced last weekend in New York. I’d like to thank so many of you for supporting another year of our “Student Haiku Poet of the Month” feature, wherein we celebrate promising young poets from The Paideia School in Atlanta each month with examples of their poetry and some of their thoughts about haiku.

This monthly treat is made possible by the efforts of Tom Painting, an award-winning haiku poet and teacher or former teacher of these wonderful young writers. [Click here for a post about Tom from my blog in 2013.]

Several of them recently won awards in a big international contest – the 2015 Student Haiku Contest hosted by The United Nations International School, the Northeast Council of Teachers of Japanese, and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations.

Of our featured poets from this year and last, the following students were recognized in this year’s competition:


First place, Junior High division - Olivia Graner


creak of the door
the attic's smell
floods the hallway



©Olivia Graner. All rights reserved.

[Click here for Olivia’s Student Poet of the Month feature.]



Honorable mention, Junior High division - Cole McCord


spring cleaning
the smell
of expired milk



©Cole McCord. All rights reserved.

[Click here for Cole’s Student Poet of the Month feature.]



Second place, High school division - Marisa Schwartz


boardwalk
the taste of the ocean
in a pretzel



©Marisa Schwartz. All rights reserved.

[Click here for Marisa’s Student Poet of the Month feature.]



Third place, High School division - Emma Jones


sliding over
grandma's rough hands
soap bubbles



©Emma Jones. All rights reserved.

[Click here for Emma’s Student Poet of the Month feature.]



Paideia had winners in the elementary division and several more honorable mentions in the junior high/high school divisions. Congratulations to all these young poets, and hats off to each student who entered from all over the world.

The judge for English poems for the Elementary, Middle School, High School, and Teacher categories was John Stevenson . Submissions in the English Division came from 19 different schools/programs in the US and around the world. Finalists came from schools in New York, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, and also from Belgium, Kenya, and Japan.

Poetry Friday: How Does YOUR Garden Grow?

June 4, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, nursery rhymes, illustrators, art


Happy June!

Despite the fact that I gave away box after box of books in our big downsizing move last year, every once in a while Poetry Friday is responsible for my adding another, though I really have no place to put one.

A recent PF post by my dear buddy Irene Latham featured OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY collected by Elizabeth Hammill (Candlewick - England in 2014, US in 2015): a new chock-full treasure of 150 nursery rhymes from around the world, illustrated by 77 stellar international artists. Oh, be still my heart. Worth making room for.

I am still perusing and enjoying this delightful book. (Irene confessed: "I want to live inside it.") I thought it might be fun to take one of the rhymes and compare it to a more traditional treatment. Hence the image above with Kate Greenaway's MOTHER GOOSE ( Frederick Warne) turned to "Mary Mary, quite contrary" and the same verse featured from the new anthology.

I was immediately drawn to this whimsical, purple Mary (with stripes!) , illustrated by Niamh Sharkey. Turns out she is Ireland's second Children's Laureate (2012-2014) and has a trail of awards. She also created Disney Jr.'s animated Henry Hugglemonster. Wow!

Back to Mary.

Here is the text of the familiar rhyme.

Kate Greenaway's version:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
and cowslips all of a row.


And from the new collection:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells
and pretty maids all in a row.


Guess it all depends on whether you prefer cowslips or pretty maids, and whether you like them "in" or "of" a row!

Also in the photo are a couple of cuttings from our yard - all brand new as the garden has gotten gobs of water via thunderstorms the past few days. My hubby Jeff loves to play in the dirt, and he's planted zinnias and mums (seen here, along with a cute little yellow flower that I INSISTED we buy last year at the home and garden store, because I fell in love with the name -- butter daisy! What could be more adorable than butter daisies?!) Also coming up are the requisite daylilies, sunflowers of varying heights, calla lilies, lavender, and some purple-spikey magenta plant that looks to be a show-off.

What's in your garden? Do you live where color already abounds, or are seedlings just now pushing their way through the dirt? Wherever you are, wishing you a summer of sunshine and flowers and lots (& lots) of poetry.

Go pick out a poetic bouquet today at Buffy's Blog where wild things and growing things are always celebrated!

Poetry Friday: International Student Haiku with Kala Ramesh

May 28, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, student work, poets

Kala Ramesh

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

On this final Friday of May, we have a special treat. The talented and generous Kala Ramesh of India has dropped by to tell us a bit about herself and haiku, and to share some wonderful student poetry featured in the "Youth Corner" of The United Haiku and Tanka Society' s online publication, cattails.


Welcome, Kala! I’m thrilled you can join us today and share a bit about student haiku poets from around the world. But first, let’s get to know you a little better.

I’ve read that your professional background in India is as a musician, and that you discovered haiku in 2005. Apparently you jumped right in with both feet, and no looking back. What is it about haiku you find so captivating?


A million thanks, Robyn, for wanting to focus on “Youth Haiku” in your blog.

In answer to your question, I come from a culturally rich south India family, and began having music lessons from professionals from the age of six – the resonance is what captured me when I came into haiku. What is resonance one might ask? For me it was close to the concept of ‘rasa’ theory in Indian aesthetics. What is it that lingers in your mind long after you’ve heard a piece of melody . . . and which gives you joy? Indians call it ‘rasa’ – the resonance, the distilled emotions that happen within us.

I found that haiku worked in the same way in my mind – I would linger over a haiku to see how in just 9 or 10 words the author could say so much. When I started I had no access to haiku books. Even now you can’t find a single haiku book in any bookstore in India. Ninety-nine percent of the haiku books are self-published. Now the internet is flooded with haiku information and literature!


I’ve enjoyed reading your work in leading haiku journals. I’m struck that you plunged into English-language haiku with such vigor, when English is not your first language. Is this a particular challenge, or do haiku just “come to you” this way?

Thanks a ton, Robyn. Yes, I’m a Tamilian from South India. People wrongly assume that Hindi is our national language, but it’s not! I don’t know Hindi. In India we have around twenty-two languages, so English becomes our common tongue, and I don’t see that dependence on English decreasing. I can think in English, though my ‘thinking’ is coloured by Indian aesthetics and culture.

A few years ago, Gisele LeBlanc sent me your haiku publications for children from Katha, Haiku and My Haiku Moments. These are such colorful, fun introductions for young writers (writers of any age, really). Why do you have such a passion for nurturing haiku among young people?

Children take to haiku like fish take to water – I know this is a cliché but it gives a true picture. Children are easily malleable and haiku has some very good tools that help to hone their writing skills. Editing is so important in haiku and this tool is most needed in our fast galloping lives. Who has the patience to read through volumes of uninteresting stuff, tell me! This art of saying a lot in few words is something a child should be exposed to!

Along those lines, you currently serve as the Youth Corner Editor for “Cattails,” the online publication of the United Haiku and Tanka Society. Tell us a little about the Youth Corner, and from what corners of the world you receive submissions?

When an’ya invited me to become the “Youth Corner” editor, I had mild trepidations, for no other journal had this feature and starting off anything for the first time is always a challenge. We have nothing to fall back on. I’m now into my fourth issue and I’m happy about this little corner!

Submissions are still not coming from all parts of the world. Maybe they aren’t aware about cattails Youth Corner. I do get a few from the US. I got a lovely cartoon submission from Indonesia this time and I’m hoping children from all over the world will begin to submit their haiku to cattails Youth Corner soon.

India has opened to haiku in a big way! But all this didn’t come on a platter to me. I’ve worked hard since 2006. I approached dozens and dozens of schools and colleges, but just couldn’t get beyond the office doors! Slowly, schools opened their doors, and now respected organizations like Katha.org, Bookaroo Children’s Literary Festival, The Hyderabad Literary Festival, Muse India - online poetry site, The Central Board of Secondary Schools (CBSE) all over India, and of course the Symbiosis International University have opened not just their doors, but their hearts to haiku. It’s exciting “haiku” time for India!

I used to have a HaikuWALL in almost all my workshops, where along with the masters' haiku, the children’s haiku would be pinned up on a huge make-shift wall. Excited parents would take pictures of their child next to their first haiku! Pune Biennale 2015 offered to paint the chosen haiku on our street walls. That was the start of another venture, where we have school children’s and college students’ haiku painted on city walls in Pune and Chennai. A few of my haiku are included too. I call it the HaikuWALL India – it’s an ongoing project.


That sounds wonderful, Kala. Finally, let’s enjoy some haiku!

Robyn, I’ll proudly showcase the youngsters’ haiku. They need all the encouragement! A million thanks to you for presenting them in your blog. We need more haiku lovers like you!

Enjoy!


yawning wide . . .
I watch the leaf settle
on a bed of brown

R. Hariharan (age 14)
CBSE School, Chennai, India



still water . . .
a zebra runs away
from itself

      stira jalarasi . . .
      Vayakari dhainjaye zebra tiye
     dekhi nija pratibimba


Aditya Ashribad (age 17)
CBSE School, Orissa, India


long journey
pausing for water
I drink the moon


Iqra Raza (16 yrs)
CBSE School, Delhi, India


maple leaf parachuting down upon soldiers’ graves

Rose Anderson (age 18)
USA


broken ladder
a spider weaves a web
into the web itself


Tanvi Nishchal (age 16)
CBSE School, Delhi, India


icy night
all the city streets
clear of people


Pruthvi Shrikaanth (age 7)
United Kingdom


dancing without
knowing who holds my waist
masquerade ball


Aashna Banerjee
Symbiosis International University, Pune


war cry—
my nephew gets ready
for the pillow fight


Vividha Bhasin
Symbiosis International University, Pune


creeping up
the rocky wall—
vines


Aaliyah Saleem (5 1/2 yrs)
USA

All poems are copyright their respective authors.


I want to end this collection of children’s haiku on a high. I am ecstatic to announce that one of my students, Jhanvi Tiwari, was awarded an Honourable Mention in the international 2014 ANNUAL MOON VIEWING HAIKU CONTEST, a competition held by the Australian Haiku Society.

Congratulations to Jhanvi for this lovely haiku!

hunter’s moon
a werewolf growls in
nani’s* stories


Jhanvi Tiwari
Symbiosis International University.
*Nani – maternal grandmother in Hindi


And lastly how can I not include a school student’s work picked up by Don Wentworth for Wednesday Haiku!


windy day…
the pages turn
to the last line


Sneha Mojumdar (15 yrs)
CBSE School, Delhi.


Sneha, studying in Sanskriti School Delhi, wrote this haiku during the Katha Utsav haiku workshop I conducted in December 2014. I vividly remember exclaiming that it was beautiful when Sneha read this haiku out.

Don Wentworth of Wednesday Haiku says:
My very best to Sneha ... a deep bow from me to honor a spirit that cuts so quickly to the essence. And thank you for your wonderful work with your students, Kala. With this type of devotion, the future is assured.



Many thanks, Kala – and I will agree with Don. Thank you for all you do to promote haiku among young readers and writers.


Kala has also kindly provided the following links:

Premier issue cattails Winter 2013
cattails May 2014.
cattails September 2014.
cattails January 2015. (Note - In this issue, you’ll find that Kala chose a haiku by one of our Haiku Student Poets of the Month, Emma Jones, as one of the “Editor’s Favourites.”)
cattails May edition is expected to go online soon.
Wednesday Haiku link – Yesha Shah & Sneha Mojumdar: Wednesday Haiku, #205.

What’s that, readers? You’d like to read some of Kala’s work as well? Have no fear. You will find it in leading haiku journals, and I’ve also asked her to please visit again in the fall to share her haiku.

For more great poetry of all kinds today, please visit the lovely Margaret at Reflections on the Teche, where she’s rounding up Poetry Friday as she winds up the school year.

Poetry Friday: On the Haiku Road with Jack Kerouac

May 21, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, haiku, HSA, poets, conferences, workshops

Top: Robyn and award-winning poet and conference speaker Stanford M. Forrester, editor of bottle rockets and past president of the HSA;
Center: Current HSA President David G. Lanoue, poet and teacher Tom Painting, and poets Ray and Terri French (current Southeast Regional Coordinator for the HSA).
Bottom: Kerouac memorobilia displayed at The Kerouac Project house in Orlando.

Confession: I've only read a few excerpts of Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD and other novels. Unfiltered stream-of-conscious accounts of unbridled lives of the Beats (with no white space!) isn't quite my cup of tea. However, I was intrigued when my son gave me a copy of JACK KEROUAC - BOOK OF HAIKUS, edited and with an introduction by Regina Weinreich (Penguin, 2003) a year or two ago. And one of the houses Kerouac lived in (in 1957) is smack-dab in the middle of my old stomping grounds in the College Park area of Orlando, just a couple of miles from my folks' current home.

So when I learned the second quarterly meeting of the Haiku Society of America (HSA) would be coming to the Southeast, and to Orlando and the Kerouac house specifically, I signed up right away.

What a terrific weekend of learning, writing, and camaraderie!

The day began and ended with presentations by former HSA president, award-winning poet, and bottle rockets press editor Stanford M. Forrester of Connecticut. He did a wonderful job explaining how important Kerouac's role was in the development of haiku here in the states, noting that Kerouac drew mainly on Zen rather than Tibetan Buddhism, and that he "exchanged dogma for a more 'free-wheeling' life."

One of Kerouac's haiku that we looked at was this:


In my medicine cabinet
      the winter fly
Has died of old age



I'd remembered it from Weinreich's book and it was one of my favorites. I liked it even more after Stanford pointed out that to open the medicine cabinet, the speaker would likely encounter an mirror. Of course! Makes the poem even richer.

The middle of our day included a trip from Rollins College (where the lectures and meeting were held) to the cottage in College Park where Kerouac and his mother lived in 1957 - in the back part of the house, not the whole cottage. It has been preserved with generous support of some savvy volunteers, who administer residencies for selected writers four times a year (one per season). The folks from The Kerouac Project who gave us a tour (the current writer-in-residence was out of town and so we could see the house) joined us in many conversations and couldn't have been more welcoming. Several of us bought Bob Kealing's book, KEROUAC IN FLORIDA: : Where The Road Ends, which chronicles Kerouac's life in several houses there until his death in St. Petersburg in 1969 at the age of 47.

After a picnic lunch in the yard, we made the short trek by foot to Lake Adair, where I spent many an afternoon as a teenager. This was our "ginko walk" - poets walking together to soak up inspiration from the surroundings and compose haiku, perhaps with sketchbooks or cameras in tow. Cypress knees, red-winged blackbirds, and a circling osprey gave us plenty to work with on a sunny day.

Kerouac and fellow writers often composed haiku during their road trips. How fitting that HSA President David G. Lanoue and three more folks making up the New Orleans contingent did the same during their long, long drive. The result was a lively renku read during Saturday evening's poetry reading at a local watering hole, where 20-somethings huddled over laptops with beer or coffee, strung lights and colorful paper cut-outs made for festive, hipster-friendly décor, and our haiku folks took up most of the room with its small stage. Actually, the linked verses (36) were not read so much as performed, set to some top-notch harmonica improvisations by one of the renku poets.

A bonus for me was getting to make it a weekend trip with my husband (and the dogs!) to visit my folks. Jeff came with me to the reading Saturday night and got to hear me read a few poems as well. It was a friendly, laid-back audience. We enjoyed 15 or so sharings of haiku, haibun, tanka, and even Japanese music combined with poems.

This was only my second time to an HSA meeting, and it was a treat catching up with folks I'd met in Atlanta a year and a half ago as well as making new acquaintances. To think haiku poets gather around the world like this sharing their passion and knowledge is a wonderful thing, much like we gather in our virtual meeting places here on Poetry Friday.

Marching to his own energetic beat is our Poetry Friday Rounder-upper today, Matt - go check out all the great offerings at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme.

Poetry Friday - OOPS - Student Winners from the United Nations International Haiku Contest coming in June...

May 14, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, Student Poet of the Month, haiku, contests, poetry


Oops...

Update: My apologies, but we needed to wait until after June 6 to celebrate the Haiku Student Poet of the Month writers who placed in the United Nations International School Student Haiku contest. Click here for the link!

Speaking of haiku, our own amazing master of haiku and soooo many other things, Diane, has rounded up Poetry Friday this week at Random Noodling. Thanks, Diane!

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