Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet








Hannah enjoying poetry workshop

(Scroll down this column for tags, archives and blogroll....)

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Enjoy these Great
Children's Lit Blogs and Websites:


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
"4 Kids 2 Do" and "Press Kit" pages.

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - What We Leave Behind

April 30, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, ponderings

morguefile.com

Whew! It's May.

I hope you had a terrific Poetry Month.

I am looking forward to circling back to visit some of the wonderfulness I missed on so any great blogs.

I'm also looking forward to sharing some great haiku here this month, including poems from talented student writers.

For today, a short post - just one poem of mine in the current issue of Acorn.. (I'm traveling all week. Actually driving through some of my former stomping grounds.)


contrail
in the sunset sky
what I left behind



copyright Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

Acorn, #34, Spring 2015



Keep the poetry love going! Today you'll find the Poetry Friday Roundup at Space City Scribes - https://spacecityscribes.wordpress.com. UPDATE: Actually, today you can find the links temporarily parked in the comments at Mary Lee's: http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2015/05/poetry-friday-emotional.html#comment-form (Thanks, Mary Lee!)

See you next week with our final Student Haiku Poet of the Month for this school year.

Poetry Friday: Haiku from the EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration

April 23, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku

Yay Images

It’s still Poetry Month! Hope you are enjoying April wherever you are.

One thing I love about Poetry Friday is the web of connections we make each week. Last Friday, I was so focused on celebrating The Poetry Friday Anthology of Celebrations with Janet and Sylvia, and rounding up posts, that I almost missed something special: the inaugural “EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration” from The Haiku Foundation celebrating International Haiku Day (April 17).

Lucky for us, Joy Acey and Diane Mayr were on it and shared the link. Here’s the description from The Haiku Foundation:


"Welcome to the largest collaborative poem on the internet. This year’s theme is the Year of Light, as designated by decree of the United Nations. Please add your poem(s) in the Comment box below, ideally at dawn at your location, but any time that you are able… ."

A “seed” poem was offered:

will anyone
not be taking up his pen?
tonight’s moon


— Onitsura (1660 – 1738)

That writerly challenge might have been issued three centuries ago, but I couldn’t resist! I took a break from rounding up posts (the sun had just come up here) and went outside to exhale and invite a haiku moment that I could add to the thread.
Here was my contribution:


april morning
the reach of seedlings
toward the sun


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


More than 400 haiku from around the world were posted! I appreciated seeing some familiar names and asked a few of my poet friends if I might have permission to share some of their entries. Each one generously obliged (such a great group of folks). Many participants posted one poem, as I did, while others posted several. Some also shared previously published work that fit with the theme.

Enjoy this sampling...



a streak of light…
my cat alarm clock
goes off


©Diane Mayr. All rights reserved.



sun rise radiates
through a dew drop on the limb
a prism rainbow


©Joy Acey. All rights reserved.



a flicker of light
from my pen to yours
rising sun


©Peggy Bilbro. All rights reserved.



heat lightning
a fox
in the blink of an eye


©Michael Henry Lee. All rights reserved.



first light what’s not to believe

©Michael Henry Lee. All rights reserved.



morning fog
the sober glow
of streetlights


©Ben Moeller-Gaa. All rights reserved.
A Hundred Gourds 1:2 (2012)



morning prayers
the rising sun between
my hands


©Kala Ramesh. All rights reserved.
Ambrosia– Journal of Fine Haiku, Spring 2009



slipping in
beneath the kitchen door
– first sunlight


©Kala Ramesh. All rights reserved.



first light
the ethereal phrase
of a wood thrush


©Tom Painting. All rights reserved.



You probably recognize Tom Painting’s name – In addition to being an award-winning poet, he is the teacher behind our Student Haiku Poet of the Month series here.

Be sure to tune in next month, when it will be All-Haiku Every Poetry Friday! We’ll spend a couple of those days with Tom’s students, and then we’ll welcome international students at the end of the month with Kala Ramesh (see her poems above.

Many thanks to all the poets sharing their work here today. If you are new to haiku, The Haiku Foundation is a treasure of resources. For more great poetry of all kinds, paddle over to No Water River, where the amazing Renée has the Poetry Friday Roundup!

Poetry Friday: The Roundup is HERE - Let's CELEBRATE with Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong!

April 15, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, Poetry Month, poetry, poets, Poetry Friday anthologies, teachers, media specialists, librarians, Pomelo Books

Syliva Vardell, left, and Janet Wong celebrate National Poetry Month with a brand-new anthology!

Did you bring your confetti? We’re smack-dab in the middle of Poetry Month, and the Poetry Friday party is HERE. Let’s ~*§!^}celebrate{^!§*~ !!

I’m thrilled to welcome the incomparable team of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong with The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations from Pomelo Books, featured as a “Hot off the Press” title from the Children’s Book Council in March. This is fourth in the series of praise-garnering Poetry Friday Anthologies, which offer fun and accessible ways to bring poetry to life in the classroom. Learn about each collection and connections to the Common Core and other teaching standards here. [I posted my own PFAC poem last week.]

This new volume explores more than 150 holidays and celebrations – 156 poems by 115 poets (!), including many familiar Poetry Friday names. And – in a welcome and wonderful feat – each poem is presented in both English and Spanish.

In the PFA tradition of “Take 5,” let’s ask Sylvia and Janet five questions about this terrific new resource.


Happy Poetry Month, Janet and Sylvia! What an undertaking. Whose Muse insisted on such a project, and what does this new volume bring to the world of poetry for children?

JW: It was definitely the Sylvia Muse on this one, the "Christmas-tree-in-every-room-of-the-Vardell-house" and "Happy Half-Birthday" Sylvia. The emphasis on Picture Book Pairings and the idea to have Spanish translations for every poem were also hers; Sylvia, please take a bow!

SV: Thanks, Janet! I do like savoring life’s many special moments and I think kids find something to celebrate in the smallest, silliest things, too. Plus, I think our poems offer great hooks for specific celebrations, but are also worth reading and sharing any ol’ time for their humor, lyrical language, or thoughtful themes.



The breadth of these poems is staggering – from silly to profound, acknowledging cultures across the globe. In the introduction you write, “A poem on an unfamiliar celebration is a thirty-second look out the window at what brings meaning to another group of human beings.” Why is that thirty-second look important?

JW: The best way to reach global understanding is to share in our happiness. You don't see the enemy in a smiling child.

SV: We need diverse literature that focuses on real and important issues such as discrimination—but we also need examples of joyful diversity for balance. Some of the diverse and joyful poems that you can find in our book are: Uma Krishnaswami's Diwali poem, Ibtisam Barakat's Ramadan poem, Debbie Reese's poem about making bread in Pueblo cultures, Margarita Engle's poem about the Dashain festival of Nepal, Renée M. LaTulippe's poem featuring friendship and disabled children, and Lesléa Newman's Gay Pride Day poem. I love that each of these poems offers a glimpse at something new (to many), but also points to familiar connections with family, play, friendship, etc.



I know faithfully translating poems from English to Spanish (as well as from Spanish to English) was very important to you both. How did you accomplish that?

SV: At a lunch after our ALSC Institute session last September, we brainstormed with Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy about ways to expand what we had done with The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, which includes a dozen poems translated by the poets themselves into Spanish. They liked the idea of having more poems in Spanish for this book and connected us with Liliana Cosentino, a professional translator whose work they admire. After we received the translations, we sent them to more than a dozen additional readers, including Alma Flor and Isabel, poets Pat Mora and Julie Larios, and David Bowles, winner of the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) Translation Award.

JW: And then the shaping and reshaping began: one reader would suggest a change; another reader would modify it further; a third reader would suggest the original translation; and so on. Some of the most useful feedback came from a high school student who grew up in New Jersey but speaks Spanish daily with her friends and her Guatemala-raised parents and grandparents. She and I sat down together, discussing poems line-by-line. I still remember how pained she felt over one particular (now-revised) translation, saying, "Well, yes, those words might be correct; but no one would ever say it that way!" It was important to us that the poems be musical and poetic in Spanish too—and not necessarily word-for-word translations of the English poems.



This collection is offered in a teacher/librarian edition as well as a student edition, featuring just the poems with illustrations. How do you hope each book is used?

SV: The teacher/librarian edition is our “usual” format that provides guidance in sharing and teaching the poems. But we’ve often heard that people would like to be able to share the poems with children without the instructional component on the page and so the illustrated “children’s” or “student” edition was born. We hope classrooms and libraries will have BOTH—so that the poems can be savored on their own, but teaching tips are also available for anyone who wants to lead a poem lesson or poetry celebration.


Finally, you’ve set up a nifty website just for the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations at PoetryCelebrations.com. What will virtual visitors find there?

JW: This month at PoetryCelebrations.com, the featured piece is a lyrical Poet's Note by Ibtisam Barakat that accompanies her audio reading plus an illustrated mini-poster of her "Tree Day Celebration" poem, our Arab American Heritage Month poem (you can click on a link to see a translation of the poem in Arabic). In future months we'll feature videos of poems, additional holiday poems that do not appear in our book and also longer versions of some of the poems that do appear in the book. In August, there will a super-neat Thrift Shop Day feature; make sure to check the website in August!


Oh, I will! HUGE thanks, Sylvia and Janet, for sharing your anthology magic with us today.

Since we’re just past halfway through Poetry Month, let’s close with Janet’s wonderful poem from July 2:


On Halfway Day
by Janet Wong

We each had half a sandwich
then we waited half an hour –
so the food could sink
halfway to our feet.

Then we halfway-ran
to the neighborhood pool,
three whole blocks,
at the end of the street.

We shook off our shoes
and set down our towels.
My sister made sure
my suit was on right.

We swam until dinner –
half a dog and half a burger –
then we watched half a movie
and we said good night!


©Janet Wong. All rights reserved. [Thank you, Janet!]


Sylvia and Janet write, “We firmly believe that poetry is the ideal vehicle for inviting children of all backgrounds to enjoy language and literature.” Amen! Visit more with Sylvia at her Poetry for Children blog, and with Janet at her website .

[For more Kidlitosphere Poetry Month Goodness than any human could stand, remember to check Jama's Roundup of events at Jama's Alphabet Soup.]

What wonderful things are YOU celebrating for Poetry Month today? Please leave your links in the comments, and I'll round them up throughout the day. Thanks for coming by!

***The Roundup***

Penny Parker Klostermann starts us off with a terrific entry in her “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt” series. Her guests, award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller with daughter, Sonia, offer an illustrated poem that will have you tapping your toes all day long.

Over at Teaching Authors, they’ve also been celebrating the PFAC. (Three of them have poems included!) Today, my buddy April brings us a poem for National Thrift Shop Day. It’s bear-y fun, so Jama needs to make sure Mr. Cornelius sees it…

Turn out the lights! Just for a few minutes. Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids continues her “Poetry Tips for Teachers” series with her poem, "Flowerful Flood," and a suggestion for reading poems in the classroom.

What can dodo birds teach us about meter? Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty brings us the always-entertaining Renée LaTulippe to explain. (There might be a surprise poem over there, and a prompt, too!)

Joy offers up a light-filled haiku and tells us about “the world’s largest collaborative poem on the internet” at Poetry for Kids Joy. [She’s given us the link if you’d like to participate. Diane gives us some insight into all this as well today!]

Over at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, Matt offers up a fun challenge (Poetry Cubed? – click to find out) and shares his own poem in response. (There’s a book giveaway too!)

At Jama’s Alphabet Soup, Jama brings us Margaret McNamara's A Poem In Your Pocket (illustrated by G. Brian Karas) – the PERFECT book for perfectionistic poets of any age. Plus, Mr. Cornelius takes “Poem in Your Pocket Day” to new heights (or depths -- of pockets).

What is Catherine Johnson wearing? Author Amok’s Laura Shovan continues her fun and insightful guest-blogger series on clothes, and Catherine shares "Getting Dressed" by Alexander Resnikoff.

Tamera Will Wissinger shares a short review of the new verse novel AUDACITY by Melanie A Crowder. (She’s doing an ARC giveaway, too, which you’ll want to try for after reading the review!)

Robyn Campbell (Robyn with a “y,” like me!) shares a clerihew today, written in honor of a Poetry Friday-er we all know and love.

For the fourth year in a row, Donna at Mainely Write is participating in the “A to Z Challenge” (a poem each day prompted by a letter of the alphabet). Whew! Today is “O” – for “Oversize Load.”

The 2015 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem has progressed to Buffy’s blog today; a mysterious connection made…

What is a Zip Ode, you ask? Tara at A Teaching Life has got your number. Warning: these look terribly addictive.

Irene chimed in (sent me a text) from the Land of No Internet Connection, asking if we’d make sure she’s in the mix! She highlights Lee Wardlaw’s new WON TON AND CHOPSTICK and offers up another gem in her Poetry Month series, “Artspeak,” original poems written to image prompts from the National Gallery. (Today’s wind poem is one of my favorites so far.)

Carol at Beyond Literacy Link offers “A Cordial Invitation to peruse the Winter Whisperings Gallery” just unveiled last evening. Take a deep breath and savor these thoughtful poetry/image (& sound, too!) offerings from around the world. Guaranteed to lower your blood pressure for a few moments.

Ever-clever Liz Elizabeth Steinglass has been bringing items from her desk to life in poems this month. “I'm still exploring the desk with my daily National Poetry month poems, but I find myself moving away from the usual school supplies,” she says. Her short but punch-packing poem today is "Stolen."

Long live haiku! Before I got immersed in the form a few years ago, Diane Mayr was a seasoned, published poet. She has a great post at Kurious Kitty celebrating National Haiku Poetry Day TODAY. She’s also got some great book recommendations (most of which I must confess are already on my shelves). Super entry point if you’d like to learn more about haiku poetry.

Now, it’s also International Haiku Poetry Day and at Random Noodling, Diane explores the international aspect of haiku (it’s not just Japanese and English, folks!), including the Earthrise Rolling Haiku collaborative poem Joy mentions above.

Speaking of haiku (and Carol’s “Winter Whisperings”) this April morning finds Linda at Teacher Dance sharing weather-inspired haiku from snowy Denver! [Linda, my hubby was on the phone with a snow-bound Colorado colleague last night – if you get tired of the snow, head over here to the coast....]

Over at The Poem Farm Amy continues her “Sing That Poem!” series with poemsong #17 and a poemsong by Joy Keller's fourth graders - both to the same tune! [I dare you to visit Amy’s blog and NOT try this song-matching challenge. But even if you don’t, Ms. Keller’s class poem is a fantastic tribute to the oceans, with or without music.]

Linda K. at Write Time is wearing her PFAC party hat. She’s sharing her poems from the book – “Welcome” and “Dear Veteran” – and offering a chance to win a free copy as well! And, in addition to being a terrific poet and teacher, did you know Linda is a veteran herself? Check out her pictures in dress blues and fatigues (1974) in today’s post. Linda, sincerest thanks for your service.

Celebrating from Down Under is Sally, who shares a (lump-in-your-throat-inducing) excerpt from her new verse novel, verse novel Roses are Blue. Said novel (illustrated by Gabriel Evans) was just named a Notable Book by the Children’s Book Council of Australia book of the year judges. Congratulations, Sally!!

Iphigene is in today from Gathering Books with a post which makes my day. You might know the poem about growing old and wearing purple, and red hats – have you seen poet Jenny Joseph reading “Warning”? Pure delight.

Mary Lee brings us another terrific entry in the PO-EMotion series today at A Year of Reading - such strong imagery in two poems. (Have a tissue at the ready.)

Mary Lee also shares this: Poetry PSA: Janet and I will be hosting the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Poetry Month Twitter Chat (#NCTEchat) on this coming Sunday evening (4/19) at 8:00 pm ET. Our guiding question is "What is the Role of Poetry in Literacy Learning?" We wrote this blog post to get you thinking: http://blogs.ncte.org/index.php/2015/04/poetry-in-literacy-learning/. Hope to hear many of your poet-voices chiming in Sunday night!
A reason to join Twitter, if you haven’t already!

At The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia continues exploring poetic forms (and the teaching of them) with some great article links (one from our own Laura Shovan) and examples from Ron Koertge and his character Kevin Boland (Shakespeare Bats Clean Up and Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs).

A hearty Poetry Friday welcome to newcomer Kathy at The Brain Lair, where today she features an intriguing original poem, “My Soul Looks Back.”

Much to ponder with Jan today at Bookseedstudio. She reminds us that it’s National Library Week, after all – and also Days of Remembrance (April 16-19). “The White Rose resistance of teens against Hitler is on my mind,” she explains, with links to resources and a call for others. Thinking about bullies, Jan offers up a poem about their cat, Ginger. (We have one of those! A bully cat, that is. Ours is black and white.)

Margaret shares some amazing acrostic poetry from a precocious third-grade student, Lani, at Reflections on the Teche. At the risk of repeating myself, you will be amazed.

At Reading to the Core, Catherine share’s Marilyn Singer’s poem “"Abraham Lincoln" to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's death on this past Wednesday. She’s got some great resources, links, and teaching ideas, too.

Oh, my! At Keri Recommends, you’re in for a treat. Ever have a moment when you are watching a video online and you realize you’re smiling? An encounter between scientists via a deep-diving camera and a deep-diving sperm whale inspired an original poem by Keri, “Curiosity.” Her post title today? “Poetry Friday and Scientists Geeking Out.”

Speaking of delights and oddities and light, Tabatha continues to bring us wonderful poems about poetry this month! Today at The Opposite of Indifference you’ll find words from Dylan Thomas and Conrad Aiken.

Whether you’re trekking through snow or enjoying beach breezes today, celebrate spring with Brenda at Friendly Fairytales. Her original poem, “Yellowist Green,” brings you daffodils on the cusp of blooming.

Katie at The Logonauts also celebrates Lee Wardlaw’s new WON TON AND CHOPSTICK – A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku, with more fetching illustrations by Eugene Yelchin. Tune in to find out about Won Ton’s new challenge…

Our incredible Heidi loves a challenge. She shows off takes a “flighty leap” and posts “an immediate response” to Matt’s Poetry Cubed challenge. Visit My Juicy Little Universe for a seize-the-moment buzz….

Kay at A Journey Through the Pages shares a lovely and moving original poem, “Darkness Falls,” in response to Mary Lee’s PO-EMotion challenge today (“sorrow”).

In a similar vein, Kortney shares remembrances of her poetry teacher, Steve Kowit, at One Deep Drawer. Such a touching post, and I know I’ll learn much when I can circle back later and explore the links.

At There is no such thing as a godforsaken town, Ruth is “still doing the mermaid thing” (Progressive Poem reference!). She brings us a haunting mermaid poem by Thomas Merton, and a link to an earlier post featuring a haunting Pablo Neruda poem. I mentioned haunting, didn’t I? For both? Hold your breath….

At Think, Kid, Think, Ed reveals the classroom winners of March Madness Poetry #MMPoetry! Grand (and Second and Third) Prize Giveaway winners will receive a stack of wonderful poetry books to add to their classroom shelves. My guess is, after investing such time in the tournament, the students won’t be leaving that poetry on the shelves for long.

Holly Thompson continues her The Language Inside series of 30 prompts at HATBOOKS. Today’s prompt calls for a list poem about time, place, change and emotion – with an excerpt from her award-winning verse novel as inspiration.

Our special guest Sylvia shares more PFAC fun at her own blog, Poetry for Children.. All month, she’s sharing some terrific videos produced by her graduate students of PFAC poems being read by students. Up today: a poem for “National Cereal Day” by our own Matt Forrest Esenwine, “Picky Eater”! [The reader is 14-year-old Andy, a good sport and a good cereal-box-catcher!]

A classic continuation of some of today’s PF images… light? shimmering water? bee? Little Willow shares D. H. Lawrence’s poem, “Coming Awake,” at Bildungsroman.

Anastasia brings us a roaring snippet from An Ambush of Tigers: A Wild Gathering of Collective Nouns by Betsy R. Rosenthal (Author) and Jago (Illustrator) at Booktalking #kidlit.

Doraine checks in from Antarctica again, at least poetically, at Dori Reads. (What would it feel like to lose your ship in a sea-field of ice?!)

Renée might be a little late to the party today, but she’s fashionably late and worth the wait. In her amazing series on NCTE poets, she posts another interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins. This time the No Water River spotlight shines on Eloise Greenfield. Grab a cuppa something – you’ll want to savor this rich feature on one of our most important poets for children and readers of all ages.

Karen’s in today with a poem by Richard Wilbur from 1974, a perfect and timeless tribute to spring.

Charles Ghigna (Father Goose®) invites us all to celebrate Poetry Month at the Urban Family blog, where his colorful quartet of board books leads a pack of recommended titles for young readers.

At Pleasures from the Page, Ramona shares some “essential” poetry anthology titles with us. [She had to winnow down to six for a local bookstore’s April newsletter – I know, can you imagine?! So she’s sharing a few more collections she loves in today’s post.]

Head over to Check It Out, where Jone has another young writer, Cathy, who is wise beyond her years. I just love reading student poems that blow me away, don’t you? OH - and participate by leaving a comment, and you just might win a copy of the PFAC!

Jone’s back! She has an original poem for the “LL” challenge word QUILLS at Deowriter. (My kind of poem – you’ll enjoy, too!)

At Writing and Ruminating, Kelly, another PFAC poet, shares a post about her chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking with one of its well-crafted poems, “Socratic Method.” [Thanks for sharing, Kelly - I can't figure out how to leave a comment without signing over my firstborn to LiveJournal.]

Close out this Haiku Day with an original haiku by Cathy at Merely Day by Day.

Take a Break from Tax Day with the 2015 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

April 14, 2015

Tags: Progressive Poem, poetry, Poetry Month


Take a refreshing dip away from numbers, forms, and lines at the post office today. Here we are, smack-dab in the middle of National Poetry Month!

One of my favorite Kidlitosphere events is this annual communal traveling poem (a different blog every day), the brainchild of talented poet and my dear friend Irene Latham.

This year's poem is especially intriguing; we have a character who seems to be a bayou mermaid, with a mysterious bracelet and wisdom-filled whispers from her grandmother. She went from land to water, and as she reached me she was reaching and seizing something, thanks to Renée yesterday, under a surprising (ominous?) shadow at the surface, with a paddle dipping, thanks to Doraine...

I suppose she could have been reaching for a literal pearl underwater, but I prefer to think of the pearl metaphorically. The rainbow-topped dewdrop would suggest she needs to find her way back to terra firma. So in my line, she has seized the paddle instead...


Progressive Poem 2015


She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.

Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,

pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.

Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide… splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,

listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp–
an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory.

Born from the oyster, expect the pearl.
Reach for the rainbow reflection on the smallest dewdrop.


The surface glistens, a shadow slips above her head, a paddle dips–
she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy and turquoise eyes.

Lifted high, she gulps strange air - stares clearly into



Into what? That's for the creative and insightful Ruth to decide! I'm quite curious to see where we go from here.

Below is the entire schedule, so you can follow along. If you'd like a peek at a Poetry-Month-themed little piece of art I just made (vintage mixed media/found poem) click over to my artsyletters blog ! Thanks for visiting today, and happy travels as you make your way through the rest of April.

2015 Kidlitosphere
Progressive Poem

1 Jone at Check it Out

2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy

3 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

4 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog

6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson

8 Irene at Live Your Poem

9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

10 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

11 Kim at Flukeprints

12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine at DoriReads

14 Renee at No Water River

15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

16 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

17 Buffy at Buffy's Blog

18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

19 Linda at Teacher Dance

20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots

21 Tara at A Teaching Life

22 Pat at Writer on a Horse

23 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy

24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

25 Tabatha at The Opposite of indifference

26 Brian at Walk the Walk

27 Jan at Bookseedstudio

28 Amy at The Poem Farm

29 Donna at Mainely Write

30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme


Poetry Friday: Sincerely...

April 9, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, ponderings, book tracks, letter writing





I hope you are having a great Poetry Month! If you're like me, you might already be wishing for a couple-few extra days to get to some of the great blog posts you haven't been able to visit yet. I'm hoping to catch up a bit next week.


Speaking of next week, yours truly will be hosting Poetry Friday, and GUESS WHO will be here? Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong! [I KNOW... I can't wait either!] These two Poetry-Forces-to-be-Reckoned-With will share the inside scoop on how the new bilingual Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations came to be, and where they hope it's going. BYOC - Bring your own confetti!


Today I'm sharing my poem in the book, "Sincerely." It was written to celebrate National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week, the first week of March. (If you just missed it, get a jump on next year! I'm sure there are lots of folks you appreciate.)


I was thrilled to get a bona fide Pomelo Books Pocket Poem™ Card with my poem printed on it as well. These cards have sure made me smile. I mailed some to my daughter Morgan for her classroom of third-graders, and she texted me with a picture of each student holding them up and smiling.



Then I took a few with me to a tutoring session with children of local migrant farm workers, an effort spearheaded by a wonderful couple in our church. My student partner that evening was Leslie, a fourth grader. Just so happens one of Leslie's vocabulary words we were practicing was "Sincere" - and it was one of the few words tripping her up a wee bit.



I pulled out the cards, and she was happily surprised. The most fun part, though, was when I asked her to help me with the Spanish pronunciation on the other side of the card. She was a willing and capable teacher, patiently coaxing me as I stumbled over "agradecido" and "Afectuosamente." I was grateful for her guidance! And I think she enjoyed passing out cards to the rest of the students before we left the library.




Here is the poem in English and Spanish:

SINCERELY

Dear Friend,

I see the thoughtful things you do.
Your words are always cheerful, too.

I noticed!
And I'm thanking you.

Sincerely,
Me


AFECTUOSAMENTE

Querido amigo,

Eres muy amable y atento,
y tus palabras son siempre de aliento.

¡Lo he advertido!
y te estoy agradecido

Afectuosamente,
Yo


Poem©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

Thanks for sharing a little pre-game celebration with me this week, and see you next Friday! For this week's Roundup, visit the always-much-appreciated Laura at Writing the World for Kids.


What Am I Wearing? You'll Have to Check Out Author Amok!

April 8, 2015

Tags: Poetry Month, poetry


I'm honored to have a guest post over at Author Amok today, where my good buddy Laura Shovan has engineered a wonderful project for Poetry Month - poems on the theme of clothing!

My post highlights one of my favorites - "Hand-me-down Sweatshirt" by the amazing Alice Schertle ( from Button Up - Wrinkled Rhymes, Harcourt).

Poetry Friday: Student Haiku Poet of the Month Lila Chiles

April 2, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, Poetry Month, student work, Student Poet of the Month, haiku


Happy National Poetry Month! I’m thrilled to kick off April’s Poetry Friday posts here with our Student Haiku Poet of the Month, Lila Chiles.

Lila lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her mom, dad, big sister and a Goldendoodle named Teddy. She is a seventh grader at The Paideia School, and “will finally be a teenager” in June! She enjoys playing sports—especially soccer—writing, drawing, playing Poker and eating watermelon Sourpatch candy.

Here are some of Lila’s thoughts about haiku:

"When my teacher Tom told me about Haiku, my first thought was, 'Aw, man! Yet another form of poetry that I'm not so good at.' I wrote my first haiku later that night:


downpour
broken sign
swinging in the wind



I showed it and a few others to my mom and she told me that they were beautiful and that I should immediately send them to her and Tom. I'm proud that they both liked my haiku. Now, there have been four times I've been recognized for my haiku.

For me, haiku are both simple and complex. I can be anywhere and words will just start to fill my head and form an image, which is what makes it easy. It's complex, though, because you have to move words around and change them until they are in a perfect form. It's like a puzzle. That's my favorite part of all. I think that's pretty amazing."


Here are some more of Lila’s haiku – I think they’re all pretty amazing!


abandoned umbrella
the sun chases
the clouds away


aromatic flowers
I socialize
with the sun


summer night
mosquitoes here and there…
and everywhere


summer lingers
a ball kicked
into the tall grass


meadow breeze
a fresh stack
of hay



Poems ©Lila Chiles. All rights reserved.


These seem especially resonant as we shed winter to embrace the warm weather again! Which ones most speak to you?

For more posts in this series featuring talented students, please click here. Huge CONGRATULATIONS to our February featured poet, Olivia Graner, who won the UN International School Haiku Competition, junior high division. Way to go, Olivia!

Go bask in more Poetry Month Poetry Friday goodness over at The Poem Farm, where our always-amazing Amy is hosting this week’s Roundup. [Check out her month-long "Sing That Poem" project, too - guaranteed to have you humming for the next several weeks.]

Poetry Friday - Of Carolina Wren Connections...

March 26, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, birds, animals, nature


It's almost here... National Poetry Month! Most of you know the Academy of American Poets and the poets.org site.

"Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month, held every April, is the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture."

[Many of our Poetry Friday peeps go all out in April - Jama will be compiling a whole menu of special blog events and links over at Jama's Alphabet Soup.]

You might also subscribe to the Academy's "Poem-a-Day" feature, in which a new poem magically appears in your inbox each day. I was enchanted by an offering earlier this week, both its subject and luscious writing.

The poem is "The Carolina Wren" by Laura Donnelly. Here's a bit from the middle, to send you off to read the whole poem:

from The Carolina Wren

...
Only later, this other, same-same-again song,
a bird I could not see but heard

when I walked from the house to the studio,
studio to the house, its three notes

repeated like a child’s up and down
on a trampoline looping

the ground to the sky—
....


Copyright © 2015 by Laura Donnelly. Click here to read the entire lovely poem.

I've enjoyed watching and hearing a wren or two in our "Carolina" yard this week. At our former house in Georgia, our back patio was a regular nesting site each spring for a wren pair. I was so impressed by the industry and care they would take in building a carefully sheltered nest, and then tending their offspring from first shell-crack to first tentative flight. It was a lot of work!

And then this week, a kind note from friend - Poetry Friday-er, talented author, and - I'm happy to say - artsyletters customer Jan Godown Annino. (Check out her new bloggie look at Bookseed Studio - you'll love it!)

Jan had bought some of my wren and books notecards (design above) and sent me a message. We ended up swapping wren stories. Mine was simply that one year the aforementioned nesting pair built their twiggy home in a pot on our patio. I really wanted to make a relief print of a Carolina wren and some old books, so I set the stage. Though I knew my finished art would be simplified and stylized, I wanted a reliable reference picture. I placed a small stack of vintage books next to the pot, thinking Mama Wren would probably perch there for a wee second while tending her peeping babies.

Then I stashed myself across the patio, hunkered low in a chair with my camera, and waited. And waited. And waited. She did come back and forth a few times, but it took more than one attempt on my part to click at just the right moment, and from far away. The pictures were not National Geographic quality, but they provided enough visual information for me to sketch by, and I was able to get to work.

Now this current rambling would be incomplete without my also mentioning another friend: writer/author/editor extraordinaire and public relations expert P. J. Shaw (Peggy, to me!). I was so thankful to get to catch up with Peggy at our recent SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle in Atlanta. Peggy was my editor for WOLVES (Intervisual Books, 2008) a few moons ago, and I was always impressed by her quick eye and ear when wrangling a manuscript.

In addition to her job as Public Relations Director at a large private school in Atlanta, Peggy offers editorial services to individuals and organizations through her business, Wren Cottage. Isn't that a wonderful name? The masthead on her website features a rich and gorgeous painting of a wren sitting atop some books by artist Camille Engel . That image obviously spoke to me as I watched "our" wrens making so many trips to and fro on the patio, where I used to shoot all my Etsy product pictures before we moved to South Carolina and I landed a real studio space.

I suppose along with Laura Donnelly's "looping" images in her poem, I can't help connecting the sight or sound of a wren with my memories of other wrens that I checked on daily for weeks and weeks, or my associations with wren-loving creative people like Jan and Peggy. Poetry loops us all together.

Please wing your way back here next week, when we'll kick off Poetry Month with another talented Student Haiku Poet of the Month! Until then, enjoy all the great poetry rounded up this week and set to flight by the multi-talented Jone at Check It Out!

Poetry Friday - SPRING!

March 19, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poetic forms, spring


(Aa-chooo!) Pollen has left a cover of yellow over everything here in the South this week. And then, we got some much-needed rain to wash some of it away in thick golden rivulets.

I hear from my first-year-teacher-daughter that the elementary natives are a bit restless, ready for their spring break. Brought to mind a poem I wrote several years ago, and dug up - like something is digging up my hubby's fresh new gardening.

This was an attempt at a triolet, a form you can read about here.

You can also read the triolet adventures of the "Poetry Seven" - a group of Poetry Friday regulars who challenge each other to write in different forms and share the goods. My poetry buddy and teacher/blogger extraordinaire Tricia over at The Miss Rumphius Effect kicked off this new year hosting Poetry Friday, offering up a very touching original triolet and links to the rest of the Seven. (Click here to go on that triolet journey.)

Wait - here, read mine real quick before you click. ;0)
A lighthearted reminiscence of this time of year in the classroom...

Spring Fever

Will that bell ever ring?
I just want to go home.
I’m not learning a thing.
Will that bell ever ring?
Outside calls – it is spring!
All my mind does is roam.
Will that bell ever ring?
I just want to go home.


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

Happy Spring Equinox, Happy Blooming Things, and Happy Birthday to my youngest, who turns 20 next week! (We'll be celebrating in spirit from over here, Seth.)

Wonderful words are always blooming over at Reading to the Core, where Catherine has this week's Roundup!

Poetry Friday: I'm Off Being Inspired...

March 13, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, art

Hello, Friends!

I'm traveling this weekend back to my old haunting grounds (well, kinda). Our SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle is this weekend in Decatur (Atlanta).

On Friday I'll attend the Illustrators Intensive, and enjoy/volunteer with the rest of the conference through Sunday. I know I won't come up for air to find a real computer, so today I send happy waves and direct you to this week's wonderful Poetry Friday Roundup host, the one-and-only Author Amok (Laura). :0) Enjoy! And Happy Friday the 13th....

Quick Clicks

Poems
Explore a poem or two or five....
Haiku
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
Books
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!
Author visits
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
Magazines
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
Portfolio
illustrations
Media
bio, photos, interview links, etc.