Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - YOU JUST WAIT Giveaway (!) with Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

September 21, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, book tracks, Janet Wong, Sylvia Vardell, Pomelo Books, giveaway



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 and Catherine. 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.


What is 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


Twenty-four
Eighteen
Six.


Arrrgh. That’s not it.

Twenty-six
Fourteen
Eight.


Nothing. Nada. Nyet.

Twenty-six
Eighteen
Four.


Click. That’s it!

Unlock your head,
then your fingers,
then the door.



©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.



PAZ:
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

locked out
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:


PAZ:
Numbers


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.

Poetry Friday - Summer to Fall with Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

September 8, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, seasons, summer, fall, Georgia Heard, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, workshops, Highlights


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?

Enjoy!

First, Georgia’s, from CREATURES OF EARTH, SEA, AND SKY, illustrated by Jennifer Owings Dewey (Wordsong, 1992):



HUMMINGBIRD

Ruby-throated hummingbird
zig-
                        zags
                                    from morning glories
to honeysuckle
                        sipping
           honey
                                   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):


LADYBUG

Smaller
than a button,
bigger than a spot
this crimson queen
with midnight polished
polka dots
journeys in
her ruby shell,
across the walks,
along
the cracks,
among the petals of a rose –
carefully,
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!

Poetry Friday - Hangin' with Hermine.... and a poem by Melanie Braverman

September 1, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poems, poets, storms, Hermine


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. ...

Click here 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.

Poetry Friday: Daily Issa and Creatures Great and Small

August 25, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, David G. Lanoue, Issa, ponderings, spiders, animals, nature, book tracks


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
honeybees
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:


corner spider
rest easy, my soot-broom
is idle


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
antlers tilting…
“cuckoo!”


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 and 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.

Poetry Friday - Please go Visit Doraine!

August 18, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday

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)

Poetry Friday - BUGSCUFFLE! - Please Play Along...

August 11, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, bugs, animals, nature, ponderings, bugscuffle


Greetings, Poetry Friends!

If school bells are ringing in your neck of the woods, hope all is starting smoothly.

A couple of times on Facebook recently, I've posted pix of our resident Golden Orb Weaver this summer. (It's a habit - I did the same thing a couple of years ago, too.) She started out in the carport, a Baby Daddy came and went, and then she disappeared for a couple of days - I'm guessing to lay her egg sacs?

Lo and behold she returned and strung up a web adjacent to the first one, but this one RIGHT next to the kitchen door. (So close that I put a sticky note warning on the inside.)

Anyway, I think it's the same spider - I consulted my Go-To naturalists/children's authors - our own Buffy Silverman and my SCBWI Southern Breeze long-time-buddy Heather L. Montgomery. They said it was plausible, so we're sticking with it.

Interesting behavior note: When my hubby enters and exits the house, this goddess-size spider scurries up her web to the tippy top. When I go in and out, she stays put in the middle. It doesn't seem to matter if we are holding our wee Chihuaha, Rita - I thought maybe that was the trigger - but she's fine if I've got the dog. Jeff is about five inches taller than I am; maybe that's it? Or maybe he just gives off stronger vibes?!

You'll see the latest photo I shared above. I was mighty impressed that our outdoor house guest caught a big ol' cicada for a meal. (And if you think that's creepy, at least I spared you the visual of her actually dining on her supersized lunch...) Yesterday she enjoyed what appeared to be an ill-fated Junebug.

This week, in addition to spider-watching, I also took our youngest back to college for his senior year, sniff-sniff, up in the North Georgia mountains. You come across some pretty fun names of roads up there.... I actually turned around and pulled off the road to snap the picture of that sign. [Some of you would have done the same thing, I know!]

I absolutely love that word, "Bugscuffle"! And I thought, I wonder what kind of inspiration some of you might find in it? (Google tells me it's the name of a town in Texas, but otherwise I don't know much about it.)

So here's a Poetry Friday pick-me-up just for fun. If you are so led, please leave a short (up to six lines) poem with the title "Bugscuffle" in a comment below, and I'll post your literary works of art in this main post throughout the day. (Legal housekeeping: By posting your amazing words, you are agreeing that they are yours and that I can share them here with a copyright notice with your name.) Thanks!

What Say You?

*****

Well, look who's swinging in Spiderman-style Thursday evening to start us off with a delicious, raucus rumble! (Thanks, Matt.) :0)


"Bugscuffle"

A bug stole a chocolate truffle,
which started a crazy kerfuffle.
The beetles and ants fought with fists, jeers, and chants -
It was quite a colossal bug scuffle.

- ©2016 Matt Forrest Esenwine



And a wonderful, early and inspired poetic gift from Down Under - Thanks, Sally!


At the Web-Club

Bugscuffle
Bugshuffle
Bug wiggle
Bug jiggle
Bug prance
Bug dance!

- ©2016 Sally Murphy


[And here we go Friday morning. This Come-As-You-Are Bugscuffle Party is even more fun than I was hoping - Thanks to all you crazy-talented, challenge-loving poetry people for jumping in!]


Bugscuffle

In amongst
the corner dust
one bug scuffles,
another is trussed.

- ©2016 Diane Mayr



Bugscuffle

Right on Hardscrabble and left at Flack-Fluffle.
Go round the gob-smacked moose
(his lady played fast and loose).
Just stay to the right, then left at Bugscuffle,
We'll be waiting with a cup of juice.

- ©2016 Brenda at friendlyfairytales



Bugscuffle

One bug wander
Two bug tango
Three bug bustle
Four bug scuffle

- ©2016 Julieanne




Bugscuffle Banquet

Courting a glance,
arthropods prance;
defensive stance …
slowly advance …


Bugs bustle,
           toes tussle,
feet shuffle,
           bugscuffle,
victor guttles …
           No rebuttals.

-©2016 Kat Apel



BUGSCUFFLE

You sneezed, Gesundheit!
my retort, as Ms. Spider
untangled eight legs.

-©2016 Linda Mitchell



Bugscuffle

What’s a bugscuffle?
Wondered Miss Tuffle,
Who scampered in ruffle
Unpacking her duffle.

Not knowing how to scuffle,
She scampered & shuffled,
With her flowing ruffle
Proudly swaying her bustle.

~©2016 Carol Varsalona



Bugscuffle

A good bug scuffle
May ruffle some feathers
No matter whether
You choose to kick
Off your shoes
And get into it
Or sit this one out.

-©2016 Linda Christoff



BUGSCUFFLE:
Unarmed and be-
Guiled by
Solicitous
Correspondence,
Ulysses Butterfly
Fell
For
Lady
Earwig

--©2016 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes



Bugscuffle

Spider spun a sticky line.
Cicada crashed into it.
Spider thought that she would dine--
but cicada frazzled through it.

--©2016 Buffy Silverman



They can't can-can

A line of millipedes readied to Rockette,
to do high kicks and bum wags in high spirits,
but the dancers were reduced to a pile of rubble
when their legs tangled in a buggyscuffluffle.

- ©2016 Tabatha Yeatts


[Happy Saturday. By the way, there's a Baby Daddy on the scene again in the big ol' web....]

Alice chimed in that she did a "bugscuffle" Google search and might have to write a post about it, beginning this way:

Bugscuffle?
Bugtussle?
The Bugs don't seem to care
'Cause they've . . .




And from Heidi:


Bugscuffle Road

It's a dead end down at Bugscuffle Road
where the skeeters rumble horseflies late at night.
The "best" insects live up on Dragonfly Bluff,
big rolling fields under wide blue sky.
Just below that is Honeybee Hill,
where hardworking folks take their rest.
I make my home here on Ladybug Lane
in a snug spotted cottage. It's the best.

-©2016 Heidi Mordhorst


(Ha! Love those buggy social classes!)


and from Catherine:

Bugscuffle

The air was so humid and hot,
the cockroach simply forgot
to scurry away
at the start of the day,
not bugscuffle at dawn down Broadway!

- ©2016 Catherine Flynn



*****

--And after you've said what you have to say, please go visit To Read To Write To Be for this week's Roundup!

Poetry Friday - Happy Back-to-School with Christina Rossetti (& Yay, Third Grade!)

August 4, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, Christina Rosetti, history, poetry, third grade, students, poetry ideas


Hello, Poetry Lovers - It’s August... Back to School!

Today my newlywed teacher-daughter, Morgan, welcomes 27 wonderful third-graders to her class in a new (to her) school. Married life summoned her back to north Georgia, and in June, she was juggling last-minute wedding planning with job interviews and moving!

While she’ll have a few things to learn herself, she does know third-graders – that’s the age she’s taught for two years, in addition to her student teaching experience before graduation.

So for today, I went hunting for a back-to-school poem with a special tip of the hat to Third Grade.

I didn’t have to look far in my art studio (with its own projects for fall sprouting in every corner). I’ve procured several vintage “readers” in recent years. I can never pass up poring through those books during thrift store jaunts. Not too deep in the stack was an ELSON PRIMARY SCHOOL READER – Book Three, for Third Grade (Elson, William H. Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1913. Illustrated by H. O. Kennedy). Well, the title page says, "Book Four," but the cover says "Book Three/Third Grade." A bit of rushed proofreading between volumes?

Anyway, halfway through, I fell into Christina Rossetti’s “THE MONTHS: A PAGEANT.”

Do you know the work? I didn’t, but was delighted to discover, and a quick search gave me an initial publication date of 1881.It’s a play, written in poems, with students taking on the characters of the months.

The opening scene is “A Cottage with Its Grounds.”

January starts us off, seated by the fire, and soon February knocks on the door, and so on.

Here is our poem for August:

AUGUST

Wheat sways heavy, oats are airy,
    Barley bows a graceful head,
Short and small shoots up canary,
    Each of these is someone’s bread;

Bread for a man or bread for beast,
        Or at very least
        A bird’s savory feast.

Men are brethren of each other,
    One in flesh and one in food;
And a sort of foster-brother
    is the litter or the brood
Of that folk in fur or feather
        Who, with men together,
        Breast the wind and weather.

[August sees September toiling across the lawn.]

My harvest home is ended; and I spy
September drawing nigh
With the first thought of Autumn in her eye,
And the first sigh
Of Autumn wind among her locks that fly.

[September arrives, carrying upon her head a basket heaped high with fruit.]


It might be a fun project for a contemporary class to read this “old-fashioned” pageant/play, then write an original play with their own parade of months! Maybe three or so students could be assigned a month, with each student then sharing a stanza during the play's performance.

By the way, do you remember your third-grade teacher? Mine was Mrs. Ashton and I thought she hung the moon. Maybe she did.

Both of our kids were taught third grade by our dear friend Cheryl Brown, retired now but still working with students. Her class was that perfect combination of warm & welcoming and challenging, and she helped prepare her charges for future success in academics as well as on the playground.

Goooo, Third Grade!

And, speaking of school, please visit the multi-talented Tara at A Teaching Life for this week’s Roundup.

Goooo, Teachers!!

Poetry Friday - Little Blog Vacay!

July 21, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday

Hi, Poetry Lovers...

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

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

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

July 14, 2016

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



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

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

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

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

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


CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA


Fifteen years is not a long time,

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

Long enough to clean a forty-year growth of grass

            from between cobblestones,

And run street-car lines straight across the heart of

            romance.

Commerce, are you worth this?

I should like to bring a case to trial:

Prosperity versus Beauty,

Cash registers teetering in a balance against the com-

            fort of the soul.

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

At an old, dark garden.

Live-oak trees dripped branchfuls of leaves over the

            wall,

Acacias waved dimly beyond the gate, and the smell

            of their blossoms

Puffed intermittently through the wrought-iron scroll-

            work.

Challenge and solution -

O loveliness of old, decaying, haunted things!

Little streets untouched, shamefully paved,

Full of mist and fragrance on this rainy evening.

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

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

            birds

In the garden."

"Yes," I said absent-mindedly,

And remarked the sharp touch of ivy upon my hand

            which rested against the wall.

But I thought to myself,

There is no dawn here, only sunset,

And an evening rain scented with flowers.




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



THE MIDDLETON PLACE

Charleston, S. C.


What would Francis Jammes, lover of dear, dead

            elegancies,

Say to this place?

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

Along a river shore.

France walking a minuet between live-oaks waving

            ghostly fans of Spanish moss.

La Caroline, indeed, my dear Jammes,

With Monsieur Michaux engaged to teach her de-

            portment.

Faint as a whiff of flutes and hautbois,

the great circle of the approach lies beneath the

            sweeping grasses.

Step lightly down these terraces, they are records of

            a dream.

Magnolias, pyrus japonicas, azaleas,

Flaunting their scattered blossoms with the same bra-

            vura

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

            ciergerie.

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

            you are so sad,

Sad as the tomb crouched amid your tangled growth,

Sad as the pale plumes of the Spanish moss

Slowly strangling the live oak trees.


Sunset wanes along the quiet river.

the afterglow is haunted and nostalgic,

Over the yellow woodland it hangs like the dying

            chord of a funeral chant;

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

            fable rhythm,

Like the ostrich fans of palsied dowagers

Telling one another contendedly of the deaths they

            have lived to see.




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

TWENTY-FOUR HOKKU ON A MODERN THEME

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


            I

Again the lakspur,

Heavenly blue in my garden.

They, at least, unchanged.



            XIX

Love is a game - yes?

I think it is a drowning:

Black willows and stars.



            XXIV

Staying in my room,

I thought of the new Spring leaves.

That day was happy.




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

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

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

Poetry Friday - All-American Dogs

June 30, 2016

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




Happy Independence Day weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Heel


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


           ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.



           I Paper-trained my Puppy


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

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

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

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


           ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


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

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

Quick Clicks

Media
bio, photos, interview links, etc.
Poems
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Haiku
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
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.
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A rhyming tale of a young boy's knightly adventure with an imagined dragon.
Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!
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