Hannah enjoying poetry workshop
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Hanging with fellow Georgia writers (from top, l-r) Tracy Walker, Heather Kolich, Donna Bowman, (bottom, middle) Janice Hardy and Paula Puckett
photo by Steve Kolich
Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
photo by Mel Hornsby
Southern Breeze Kudos Kites 09 - Donna, Robyn, Heather, Sarah, and Peggy
Robyn with Kathleen Duey, author extraordinaire
Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller
photo by Robyn Hood Black
Paul B. Janeczko http://www.paulbjaneczko.com
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February 28, 2012
In SCBWI Southern Breeze, we love us some Kirby Larson!
Our 20th Anniversary SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle
in Atlanta was a blast this past weekend! I'm still playing catch up. We enjoyed hosting editor Kristin Daly Rens (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins), editor and art director Greg Ferguson (Egmont), agent Mary Kole
(Andrea Brown Literary) and our wonderful keynote speaker, Kirby Larson
, who not only inspired us through the weekend but who kicked things off with an all-day novel-writing intensive on Friday. Also, Andy Runton
was our special guest Saturday for a workshop on comics and sequential art.
Whew! My writer's toolbox was much heavier when I left on Sunday than when I arrived Thursday night. We had a magical mix of great advice and warm camaraderie the entire weekend. Thanks to all the volunteers, some I didn't even get to thank personally, for all your hard work. Special thanks to our conference bookstore, FoxTale Book Shoppe,
led by some of the foxiest bookstore ladies around, and to the wonderful staff at the Century Center Marriott
Now, onto planning 2013... ! :0)
February 24, 2012
As the winds whip outside the Century Center Marriott in Atlanta, we are looking forward to a great weekend for our 20th Anniversary SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle
, coordinated by yours truly. I won't have time to visit all the great Poetry Friday blogs until after Sunday, but I wanted to share a little good news Gisele pointed me to this week.
I was thrilled when MODERN HAIKU accepted a submission of mine for the current, hot-off-the-press issue. I was even more thrilled to learn that my haiku was selected for the online sample pages featuring some of the haiku and senryu in the current print edition. (Mine is the first on the page; sometimes it's nice having a last name starting with "B".) My haiku was written as winter knocked on fall's door. Now the breezes are are blowing again as winter hangs on in the face of spring, right around the corner.
to read it and several other poems from the current issue.
Then head on over to visit Jone at Check it Out
for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup.
February 16, 2012
I'm in the throes of a zillion details, finalizing plans for our SCBWI Southern Breeze
Springmingle conference I'm coordinating in Atlanta next weekend.
So I was in the mood to find a poem that reflected the camaraderie of writers, and I stumbled upon one which was different from what I had in mind, but is perfect. (At least to me.) I admire both its author and subject and am delighted to discover and share it.
Contemporary Irish poet Eavan Boland reaches across a few centuries and a big wide ocean to touch hands and poetic sensibilities with our own 17th Century's Anne Bradstreet. Here is an excerpt:
Becoming Anne Bradstreet
by Eavan Boland
It happens again
As soon as I take down her book and open it.
I turn the page.
My skies rise higher and hang younger stars.
The ship's rail freezes.
Mare Hibernicum leads to Anne Bradstreet's coast.
A blackbird leaves her pine trees
And lands in my spruce trees. ...
(Read the rest of this poem here.
But wait, there's more! This poem is featured in a brand-new Folger Shakespeare Library's exhibit and chapbook Shakespeare’s Sisters: Women Writers Bridge Five Centuries,
pairing contemporary poets with poets who wrote between 1500 - 1700. For a real treat, click here
for an interview with Eavan Boland featuring her commentary on Anne Bradstreet's poetry and to hear her read both Bradstreet's poetry and her own new poem I'm celebrating here. (An interesting discussion of the individual artist vs. the collective culture in early colonial America, too!)
For a heart-shaped box full of poetic cameraderie, and the lure of Valentines strange and wonderful, visit the beautiful Myra at Gathering Books
for the Poetry Friday Roundup!
February 14, 2012
I'm in the home stretch of all the crazy details going into planning our upcoming SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle Conference (Feb. 24-26 in Atlanta), and I'm happy to shine the light on another conference that might interest those who write for young people - the Write2Ignite Conference
in South Carolina, March 16-17, 2012. I haven't attended this conference, but I always hear a postive buzz about it. (One of the featured speakers this year is someone whose historical fiction books I've read and admired - Joyce Hostetter, award-winning author of BLUE, COMFORT, and other titles.)
I asked the lovely Jean Matthew Hall
, writer and conference organizer, to tell us about the weekend. Take it away, Jean!
Our mission at Write2Ignite! is to equip, encourage and inspire people who write for children and young adults from a Christian worldview whether they seek publication in the general market or Christian market.
I’m thrilled this year that we can present outstanding and generous speakers and workshop leaders. Carol Baldwin, Kristi Butler and Mitzi Smith will inspire us with Keynote speeches. I’m thrilled that familiar names like Carol Crane and Joyce Hostetter are part of our line-up. Our Write2Ignite! Team is excited that several editors and agents who represent children’s writers are joining us, and making themselves available for individual consultations. And we have ten scholarships available for registrees. I could go on and on!
One of our distinctives is that we offer a special Teen Track all day Saturday for middle school and high school students who write. Vonda Skelton is leading that track.
We are looking forward to Write2Ignite! 2012, as a great opportunity to Bring Hope to children’s writers and, by extension, to their readers.
For more information and to register, see www.write2ignite.com or contact Jean at email@example.com.
February 9, 2012
I’m always curious about how animals are depicted in stories, myths, folktales and art. As well as in the media – I haven’t yet seen it, but this week’s TIME
has an intriguing cover story about a scientific examination of friendships between animals.
One of my favorite spreads in my WOLVES book is a brief look at “The Mythical Wolf.” For the illustration, I suggested a human in wolf clothing on one side (an indigenous person wearing a wolf pelt as a sign of admiration), and a wolf in human clothing (think of our Western “big bad wolf”) on the other. Colin Howard
produced brilliant artwork.
I recently ran across this poem, “The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ ” by Agha Shahid Ali (1949 – 2001, credited with introducing the classical form of the ghazal to American readers). In the poem below, I fell in love with the speaker’s dry, sophisticated voice. See if you don’t agree it’s dark and delicious (and rather sad, too):
The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood’
by Agha Shahid Ali
First, grant me my sense of history:
I did it for posterity,
for kindergarten teachers
and a clear moral:
Little girls shouldn't wander off
in search of strange flowers,
and they mustn't speak to strangers.
And then grant me my generous sense of plot:
Couldn't I have gobbled her up
right there in the jungle? …
for the rest of the poem.
And be sure to check out the Poetry Friday Roundup hosted by Laura this week at Writing the World for Kids
February 6, 2012
Thanks to THE TIMES for Sunday's article by Brandee A. Thomas in the Life section about women writers in our corner of Georgia. I'm honored to be included, along with Gloria Stargel, Mildred Greear, Lynda Holmes and André Cheek.
for the story.
February 3, 2012
SIR MIKE, Scholastic, illustrations © David Murphy; dragon print ©Robyn Hood Black
SIR MIKE, my rhyming Rookie Reader from Scholastic (2005) features a boy preparing to fight what he’s sure is a dragon in his back yard, rustling in the bushes.
I am Sir Mike.
I am a knight.
If I see a dragon,
I might have to fight.
(By the way, a friend called to tell me there’s a new Nickelodeon show launching TODAY
called MIKE THE KNIGHT
, and she’s sure I should have gotten some royalties or something. The characters even favor each other! I only wish….)
Anyway, last night Kilough Elementary School here in Georgia invited me to come for an Author’s Night with a SIR MIKE and dragon theme. I spoke to students and families about writing, and then we all settled in for a viewing of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON.
An awesome evening! Great kids (some in PJs), gracious faculty and volunteers, and fun families.
All of this dragon-speak put me in the mind to share a dragon poem or two.
The first is a short, wonderful poem by X. J. Kennedy,
by X. J. Kennedy
I have a purple dragon with
A long brass tail that clangs,
And anyone not nice to me
Soon feels his fiery fangs. …
Please read the rest here.
For a longer dragony frolic, enjoy Ogden Nash’s unlikely and cowardly hero, Custard - originally published in 1936.
THE TALE OF CUSTARD THE DRAGON
By Ogden Nash
Copyright Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt
Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.
Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.
Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes.
Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage. …
You can read the rest of this first adventure here
or in one of the book editions.
For more adventures in poetry, check out the Poetry Friday Roundup hosted today by Karissa at
The Iris Chronicles
bio, photos, interview links, etc.
Explore a poem or two or five....
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
A rhyming tale of a young boy's knightly adventure with an imagined dragon.
Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!
(Click here to visit Robyn's art business)
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Council of Teachers of English
Click here for KidLitosphere's links to current poetry round-up