SCROLL DOWN FOR POETRY FRIDAY ROUNDUP SCHEDULE
Hannah enjoying poetry workshop
(Scroll down this column for tags, archives and blogroll....)
POETRY FRIDAY ROUNDUP SCHEDULE
I will get all these linked ASAP, but in the meantime, here's the schedule:
Radio, Rhythm & Rhyne
January 4, 2013
No Water River
January 11, 2013
Violet Nesdoly / poems
January 18, 2013
The Opposite of Indifference
January 25, 2013
February 1, 2013
A Teaching Life
February 8, 2013
February 15, 2013
February 22, 2013
The Drift Record
March 1, 2013
My Juicy Little Universe
March 8, 2013
Jone at Check it Out
March 15, 2013
A Year of Reading
March 29, 2013
Read, Write, Howl
April 5, 2013
April 12, 2013
Live Your Poem...
April 19, 2013
Writing the World for Kids
April 26, 2013
May 10, 2013
JamaĀfs Alphabet Soup
May 24, 2013
Teaching Young Writers
May 31, 2013
The Opposite of Indifference
June 7, 2013
Reflections on the Teche
June 14, 2013
June 21, 2013
The Poem Farm
June 28, 2013
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
© Robyn Hood Black
five hungry mouths mid-may
© Robyn Hood Black
five fat feathery babies may 25
© Robyn Hood Black
Fresh from the nest! May 27, 2009
Southern Breeze Kudos Kites 09 - Donna, Robyn, Heather, Sarah, and Peggy
Robyn with Kathleen Duey, author extraordinaire
Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller
photo by Robyn Hood Black
Paul B. Janeczko http://www.paulbjaneczko.com
Copyright 2005-2013 ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved. Please ask permission before using any text or images on this website, except for reproducible
"4 Kids 2 Do" and "Press Kit" pages.
October 30, 2011
I've had the pleasure of hearing Caldecott medalist Eric Rohmann speak a couple of times, most recently at the fantastic Advanced Illustrators Highlights Foundation workshop last month. (See Sept. posts.)
In Honesdale, in addition to enjoying the incredibly fun relief printing workshop he offered, I chatted with him for a few moments about his new book, Bone Dog
(Roaring Brook Press, 2011). The Highlights folks were gracious to provide a copy of the book for attendees, but I'd already brought one in my suitcase.
I don't have an official interview to offer, but I do have to keep shouting out about how much I LOVE this book. Eric joked during that weekend about how it was standard procedure, when writing a picture book, to kill off a main character by the second or third spread. That's actually what he did in this touching (but not sentimental), humorous, heartfelt story about a boy and his dog.
Gus's beloved old dog, Ella, dies. He goes through the motions of daily activities but is grieving this loss.
"And when Halloween came around, Gus didn't feel like trick-or-treating. But he pulled on his costume and trudged out the door."
He's dressed as a skeleton, he is, and let's just say that as he makes his way home later, some real skeletons appear and they are up to no good. The text and illustrations cause just enough tension that a young reader will be wide-eyed and worried, but not terrified.
The skeleton characters are goofy and wicked and full of themselves, and the reader can sense that they might just be too big for their nonexistent britches.
I won't spoil the story by revealing how things are resolved, but Ella appears in a new form and helps to set things right, with a brilliant idea from Gus. (The book is called Bone Dog
, after all - not really a spoiler there, is it?)
Some hilarious spreads ensue, followed by a satisfying ending. Not a "happily ever after," mind you, or something tidy and sweet - but something very rich and honest. Death is a heavy subject, and this book looks it straight in the eye - but with such fun, expressive illustrations and a wacky sense of humor that readers young and old will enjoy the tale.
To learn more about the book, click here
for Eric's interview with Vicky Smith posted a few days ago on the Kirkus Reviews blog.
And to learn more about Eric, check out his brand new website
With all the starred reviews for this one-of-a-kind book, my two cents' might not amount to much - but it's Halloween and I couldn't resist sharing my favorite recent picture book treat. Go dig it up!
October 27, 2011
Irene Latham - poetic tricks and treats!
Irene is here! Iím very happy to share talented poet, friend, and Poetry Friday regular Irene Latham with you today. Her first poetry collection, What Came Before
(Negative Capability Press, 2007), was named Alabama State Poetry Societyís Book of the Year and earned a 2008 Independent Publisherís (IPPY) Award. Irene was 2006 Alabama Poet of the Year, and that was just the beginning. Sheís been busy scooping up a lot of (really) good news lately.
Before we get to that, letís start with one of her poems, perfect for this last weekend in October:
Staffelsee in Autumn
© Irene Latham, all rights reserved
- after the painting by Gabriele Munter (Click here
to see the painting.)
When the trees kindle
their fires, when the sky
dissolves the lake and all
the small mysteries
are magnified: the scar
on your elbow, freckled
left earlobe, each line
and hollow accounted for
and made sacred.
We cannot hold onto
these days. A sharp wind
cuts the water into sheets
of ice, leaves crinkle
and curl, the easy gifts
of acorn and walnut
are buried, devoured.
Our fingerprints no
longer visible as breath.
Ah, so beautiful! This is from Ireneís latest volume of poetry, the lovely and evocative The Color of Lost Rooms, which just won the 2011 Writerís Digest Self-published Book Award for Poetry. Congratulations! How did this particular collection come to be?
Thank you, Robyn, for sharing in my joy. This particular collection has enjoyed quite the evolution. It started as a series of persona poems in the voices of historical women. When I began to submit the manuscript to publishers, I was informed that 1. the spectrum of women I found compelling enough to write about was too broad or 2. the women I chose to feature were not diverse enough to find a readership. Talk about conflicting feedback! So I decided to choose the strongest of the historical women poems and allow them one section of a manuscript.
Meanwhile I was writing a series of poems inspired by a book of postcards featuring art on display at The National Museum of Women in the Arts
. And I was, of course, writing more personal poems about my role as a wife, mother, daughter, sister. Long story short: womenís experiences with love and loss and longing became my manuscriptís theme.
Tell us a little bit about your adventures in publishing your own collections.
Poetry is a tough market. I decided to self-publish after attending Colrain Poetry Manuscript conference in 2010. What I learned from Jeffery Levine at Tupelo Press was that ďsuccessĒ in terms of sales is marked by selling 1,000 books in 3 years. And thatís on a national level! I thought, well, I can do that myself.
What was it like to learn about the Writerís Digest award?
Wow, itís just so validating. Those Writerís Digest contests are so competitiveÖ awards can really give a book new life. I feel like Iíve been out on the ocean with sharks circling the boat and now, all of sudden, the sails are billowing again.
Many writers feel that having another arts outlet helps their creativity. Youíve posted pictures of some gorgeous quilts on your blog. How did you get into quilting?
Iím the daughter of a seamstress. I went to sleep many nights to the hum of a sewing machine. And while my mother didnít quilt, she did create beautiful things out of mere scraps. As soon as I learned from my husbandís grandmother (a quilter) that there really are no rules when it comes to quilting, I knew I had found my sewing home. And then I met the Geeís Bend quiltersÖ this year I took on the Quilt a Month Challenge, and Iím happy to say Iíve completed it!
Good for you! Speaking of quilting, tell us a little bit about your novels. LEAVING GEEíS BEND (Putnam, 2010) explores an isolated town in Alabama in 1932 through the one good eye of young Ludelphia Bennett, desperate to get her mother the medical care she needs. Itís a terrific read and has garnered the Alabama Library Association 2011 Children's Book Award. It was nominated as a 2011 ALA Notable Childrenís Book and for the 2010 Cybils, among other accolades. Booklist called it ďauthentic and memorable.Ē How did you come to write Ludelphiaís story?
When I saw the Quilts of Geeís Bend exhibit at the Whitney Museum, I fell in love with the quilters and their stories and their quilts. I spent the next two years following them around without a thought of writing a book Ė just as a Geeís Bend groupie. I listened to hours and hours of audio interviews of the women talking about their lives, and I read voraciously. Then one day, this voice emerged. It was Ludelphia. I knew had to write her story.
Perhaps interesting to the Poetry Friday readers, the novel actually started out as a novel-in-verse. But when I submitted to my now-agent, she said she couldnít sell it as a novel-in-verse. So I rewrote it in traditional prose. And she sold it right away.
You have another novel slated for release from Roaring Brook next fall (2012). This one is obviously one which will be on my nightstand as soon as it comes out, because itís about a boy living at a zoo?? Do tell.
Iím so excited about this book! I remember the moment I got the idea: I was in a bookstore with my father (an avid reader Ė he reads a book a day!) over the Christmas holidays. I had been thinking about how we adults have these passions, but what happens when our children donít share them? So I said out loud to my father, ďhow 'bout a story about a boy whose parents are zoo people, and he feels like he was born the wrong species, and he wants to escape the zoo?Ē My dad laughed, which was a very encouraging sign!
Soon after, Whit was born. The book is really about finding the place where you belong in the world, finding your very own passion and being strong and brave enough to go after that thing, whatever it may be.
Which YOU obviously are. A peek into your writing habits? Are you very structured, or do you pull all-nighters, or both?
I believe strongly that the most important thing I can do for my writing is go out and live a life worth writing about. Which means I donít necessarily sit at my computer every day. For me, the most important part of the writing is happening all the time, as I engage myself with the world. And then when I do sit down to write, it all burbles out. (I should also say here that when I do write, I WRITE. I like to write a first draft of a novel within a month. Itís pretty intense.)
And now back to poetry. Youíve just sold your first poem in the childrenís market. Tell us about it!
Thanks to YOU, and to the lovely Rebecca Kai Dotlich whom you brought to Georgia last June, I discovered some really important things about myself as a poet AND about childrenís poetry. I was completely on fire to write after I left that retreat Ė and did write, incessantly, as the above answer would indicate. My first focus was a series of ocean poems. And the poem Lauren Tarshis at Scholasticís Storyworks
magazine selected was one from that series. Itís a persona poem in the voice of a shipwreck. (Persona poems. I love 'em!)
And I love hearing success stories from our SCBWI Southern Breeze events! - :0) Now, how did you get involved with the Birmingham Arts Journal, which features writing and art from all over the world, and what are your duties as poetry editor? Do any particular types of poetry submissions hold special appeal?
Iíve served as poetry editor for BAJ for eight years now. Basically it involves reading submissions and selecting the poems for inclusion in our quarterly magazine. Iím especially excited about poems that are raw and teeming with emotion. These poems may not be as polished as some that you see in slick-er literary magazines, but I do love working with poets (those who are willing to do so) to help improve the poems. If I see that nugget, I let the poet know and invite him or her to chip away a bit more. Most of the time these poems end up in a future issue.
Finally, do share one tidbit blog readers and even loyal fans might not know about you Ė pretty please with fat quarters on top?
MmmmmÖ anything for fat quarters. ;0) ďIreneĒ is actually my middle name. So when I buy plane tickets or check into hotels, I use my first name (the one on my driverís license). Which means, from time to time, I say the wrong name and it causes all sorts of confusion. (Parents-to-be: donít do this to your children!)
Ha! And I see you're still holding out on us about your first name. Well, I'm sure you'll be back... Thanks so much for visiting, Irene!
Thank you, Robyn, for sharing your warm, generous spirit, and for all you do to support writers. (Readers, if Robyn is hosting an event, you do NOT want to miss it! Springmingle is coming in FebruaryÖ)
(Thanks for the plug!) To learn more about Irene, click here. And for more great poetry, take your trick-or-treat bag over to Diane at Random Noodling for the Poetry Friday Roundup.
October 25, 2011
Over at the Berry Blue Haiku
blog, Gisele has posted today a rare and wonderful haiku feast if you want to broaden your horizons and indulge in fine writing from another culture.
, an award-winning and widely published haiku poet, translator and editor who lives in Ivanic Grad, has shared An Unmown Sky: An Anthology of Croatian Haiku Poetry
with us. You can click on the link in the post to read and/or download the pdf anthology, which includes works written between 1996 and 2007 by more than a hundred poets.
Here's the link again: Berry Blue Haiku
October 20, 2011
To celebrate Wolf Awareness Week
(Oct. 16-22), I thought Iíd celebrate with some pack-related poetry. I have the privilege of volunteering with a couple of wolves at the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve
in Dahlonega, Ga. In light of the news this week, Iím sure Iím not the only one with a heavy heart for the senseless loss of animal life in Ohio, and also for the law enforcement officers who had a terrible but unavoidable task to protect the public. Surely laws in that state regarding the keeping of exotic animals will be strengthened now.
If you happen to be in north Georgia, I'll be presenting a session for kids featuring wolf information next month on Sat., Nov. 12, at 3 p.m. at the Dahlonega Literary Festival
Here are a couple of poems I wrote a while back about the captive wolves Iíve been honored to know.
The Bottom Line
I hold a piece of cheese above her nose.
Her back end hits the ground.
But she knows and I know:
A wolf only sits if she wants to.
© Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved
flits and floats outside the pen.
Gray wolf leaps and prances inside -
up and down,
following buttery wings.
© Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved
Note: In Women Who Run With the Wolves
, Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes a solo tribal dance in New Mexico called the ďButterfly Dance.Ē Traditionally, Hopi youth perform a social dance called ďThe Butterfly DanceĒ in late summer.
Attempts are ongoing in the Southwestern United States to reintroduce the Mexican Wolf, the most genetically distinct type of gray wolf. Efforts have not met with the same success as the reintroduction of wolves in the greater Rockies. For updated USFWS Mexican wolf information, click here
And for wonderful poetry, go see what Jamaís got cookiní for the
Poetry Friday Roundup
October 18, 2011
© Robyn Hood Black
It's WOLF AWARENESS WEEK!
October 16-22, 2011
I celebrated with Luna and Rio at the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve
today. Their coats are starting to thicken up for colder weather.
If you love wolves, check out all the great online resources at the International Wolf Center
. There are pages for kids, teachers, and wolf enthusiasts of all ages.
And, if you're in north Georgia, I'll be presenting a session with wolf information next month at the Dahlonega Literary Festival
on Sat., Nov. 12, at 3 p.m. at the Children's Stage.
Check back Friday for a wolfy Poetry Friday post.
October 14, 2011
Just a late Poetry Friday wave from Birmingham, where we're enjoying the 20th anniversary SCBWI Southern Breeze fall conference. I'll be back here with bells on next week.
Today, Lola Schaefer led a wonderful all-day intensive on picture book writing. Tomorrow I'm presenting a workshop on haiku - :0)
October 7, 2011
Iím delighted to feature Steven Withrow as our special guest today. This poet, storyteller, and author is a passionate advocate for young peopleís literature and serves as an advisor to the Keene State Childrenís Literature Festival.
Steven Withrow pictured with his lovely daughter
He holds a bachelorís degree from Roger Williams University and a masterís degree from Emerson College. With director Edward J. Delaney, he produced the documentary, Library of the Early Mind.
Steven has taught at Rhode Island School of Design and Suffolk University and has spoken to audiences across North America. Heís authored six books for visual artists and storytellers, including Illustrating Childrenís Picture Books (written with his talented wife, Lesley Breen Withrow). Itís a terrific book, and I will feature it soon on this blog.
Welcome, Steven! You have so many talents and interests. Where to start?! How about telling us when and how you first fell in love with poetry.
I donít remember a single moment of my life when I wasnít in love with wordsóand all the syllables and sound clusters that make up words. Iím still more interested in how words touch the ears and how they taste on the tongue than in what they mean. The first poem I memorized, in second grade, was Karla Kuskinís ďWrite About a RadishĒ
from Dogs & Dragons, Trees & Dreams
. I still know it by heart. Iíve been reveling in poetry and story ever since.
You recently released your first collection of poems for adults as a digital book, Crackles of Speech, available to readers who contact you through your website. What a breadth of subjects, forms, and treatments! Hereís a very small (and insufficient) sampling:
From many nods to the natural world, these lines from ďRootingĒ Ė
Hooray hurrah huzzah - for tap, sap, font, and source,
For fingertips of gymnosperms planting gymnastic handstands,
For bending straws of sycamores slurping the groundwater,
For xylem and phloem fixed in daylong fluxÖ,
and an example of a historical reference, with these lines from ďCost of Battle, 48 B. C.Ē Ė
His helmet lost - a boy no more than twelve
Conscripted from the town by Pompeyís men -
I hesitate, but only for a flash,
Before I bring the spearhead down. Ö
and several touching musings on love and family, such as these closing lines of
ďLessons Fathers Only Learn at HomeĒ
I look over at my burbling girl,
once the white and flattened face
of the moon in a sonogram photo,
the now-calm eye at the center
of this maelstromís crushing path,
this aftermath, and I start to laugh
at all my wild and cataclysmic joys.
I canít tell you how much I love ďall my wild and cataclysmic joysĒ! Speaking of children, you are especially interested in and committed to poetry for young readers. And your poem ďCorneredĒ appears in the just-released p*tag, the second digital collection (this one featuring poetry for teens) from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. What was it like writing for that project?
Thank you for your kind words about my poems in Crackles of Speech
, which is a real miscellany of my work for adults written over a six-year period.
, Iíll say first what a stupendous honor it is to be included among such stellar poets as Naomi Shihab Nye and J. Patrick Lewis. Choosing a single photograph for inspiration, from a batch of dozens, was a matter of instinct.
I selected one titled ďCornerĒ that shows the meeting of two walls inside an elaborately decorated church. I thought of how two people meet and fall in love. Borrowing four words from the Jeannine Atkinsís poem that precedes mineóancient, saved, heart, corneróhelped me to solidify my poemís basic imagery. It was challenging to write and revise a poem within 48 hoursóI usually draft poems quickly and often revise over the course of several weeksóbut it was the best sort of challenge.
Iím always curious about creative work habits. Do you keep a set writing schedule, or write in fits and flurries, or both?
Given all that Iíve got going on, I write whenever and wherever I can. Iím trying to be more systematic about it, to make it a genuine practice, but itís often catch-as-catch-can. I always write stories on paper or on the computer, but with poems, Iíll often ďcomposeĒ silently in my mind while Iím taking a walk or washing dishes, or Iíll speak them aloud while Iím driving alone. As I noted before, I write for the ears and for the tongue. I revise on the computeróbut the true test is whether I enjoy saying a poem out loud.
Are your collections born from a theme first or strung together from existing poems?
Iíve written several, as-yet-unpublished childrenís collections, and all but one (my first) started with a central theme. Iím told it helps collections sell to editors and book buyers, though Iíve always preferred a grab bag of poems in a single book.
You have just started a grassroots, nonprofit organization, Poetry Advocates for Children & Young Adults, ďcelebrating poetry as a living thing.Ē Tell us about it! Who can join, and how do folks get involved?
All that I might say about PACYA can be found at http://poetryadvocates.wordpress.com
, especially in this short essay
. I invite everyone to get involved and help spread the word.
Finally, are there a few more lines youíd like to leave us with?
By Steven Withrow
Something seamy and unseemly in the name
they carry, painted ladies, pins a sordid shame
in fore- and hindwing, but its sting recedes in flight,
for they are dazzlers as they grab the air, these brightly
spotted Cynthias of a genus called Vanessa:
you laugh to draw the last, and dub her Iridessa.
[©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved]
Ahh... - delgihtful! Many thanks for visiting, Steven, and I canít wait to see what you come up with next.
To learn more, visit Steven at his poetry blog, Crackles of Speech, and at the Poetry at Play blog. For more great poetry, click over to the Poetry Friday Roundup at Great Kid Books!
October 5, 2011
© Robyn Hood Black(yep, that's a penny!)
Just for fun!
So I've been a little, um, obsessed? with wee things from the garden this year. Here's the wee-est of all: an itsy bitsy cherry tomato hanging from a plant this week. It's about the size of a pea. Really - you could put it under a stack of mattresses to check the pedigree of a princess....
Explore a poem or two or five....
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!
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
bio, photos, interview links, etc.
(Click here to visit Robyn's art business)
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Council of Teachers of English
Click here for KidLitosphere's links to current poetry round-up