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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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June 28, 2012
H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) c. 1921. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (Wikipedia)
Triple days of triple digits. Yep, that’s what they say. And since much of the country is now under a blanket of heat, if you're in the States, chances are you’re sweating in your Cheerios, too.
We have warm summers in Georgia, of course, but here in the foothills of the Appalachians a forecast like this is not the norm.
For today, I thought first we’d experience a poem to confirm our toasty experiences, and then I’d offer another as a respite. Both are from H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), a poet whose work spanned much of the 20th century, including two world wars and the dawning of feminism. She was born in 1886 in Bethlehem, PA. In 1911 she went to Europe for the summer and stayed there, except for stateside visits, for the rest of her life. She died in 1961. (Poems and a long and rich biography
- including an examination of the origins of imagist poetry and a look at H. D.’s complicated personal and literary relationships throughout her life - from the Poetry Foundation.)
First, feel the sizzle:
by H. D.
O wind, rend open the heat,
cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.
Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air—
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes. ...
Read the rest here.
And now, a long cool drink:
Wash of Cold River
by H. D.
Wash of cold river
in a glacial land,
chill, snow-ribbed sand,
drift of rare flowers,
clear, with delicate shell-
like leaf enclosing
colder than a rose; ...
Read the rest here
Stay Cool! And to take a refreshing dip into more poetry, dive on into Paper Tigers
, where Marjorie has our Poetry Friday Roundup.
June 22, 2012
art and photo ©Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved
All week long I’ve heard the eager peeps of three tiny wrens from their nest just outside our back door, where Mama built a nest in an abandoned flower pot on a ledge. I’ve watched her tirelessly fly hither and yon and back again with (presumably yummy?) wriggly snacks, pretty much all hours of the day.
A couple of years ago, we had front row seats for a wren family just outside the other back door. They inspired a poem which appeared in Gisele LeBlanc’s then-magazine-for-kids, Berry Blue Haiku
(now the name of her personal online journal
twig by leaf by twig by leaf
build a cozy home
©Robyn Hood Black
Berry Blue Haiku
, Sept. 2010
I’ve always admired the nest-building skill of wrens. This year’s architect was especially smart, making her snug little home under shelter and away from any harm, except for the inconvenience of humans walking by as we go in and out of the house.
Well, our friend William Wordsworth was admiring wren nests long before I was – back in the 1830s to be more precise, and at his home, Rydal Mount,
where the inspiration for the following poem was hatched.
A Wren’s Nest
by William Wordsworth
AMONG the dwellings framed by birds
In field or forest with nice care,
Is none that with the little Wren's
In snugness may compare.
No door the tenement requires,
And seldom needs a laboured roof;
Yet is it to the fiercest sun
Impervious, and storm-proof.
So warm, so beautiful withal,
In perfect fitness for its aim,
That to the Kind by special grace
Their instinct surely came.
And when for their abodes they seek
An opportune recess,
The hermit has no finer eye
For shadowy quietness.
These find, 'mid ivied abbey-walls,
A canopy in some still nook;
Others are pent-housed by a brae
That overhangs a brook.
There to the brooding bird her mate
Warbles by fits his low clear song;
And by the busy streamlet both
Are sung to all day long. …
to read the rest.
Finally, an anniversary tweet-out to my nest-building mate, Jeff, for 28 years of flocking together TODAY! :0)
Amy at The Poem Farm
is rounding up everything for the Poetry Friday flock. Thanks, Amy!
June 14, 2012
with Claudia, who even loaned me a hat!, and fabulous Hostess with the Mostest Joan. The bottom photo is from 1994 - at Penshurst with the Harrises.
At last month’s Poetry for All
Highlights Founders Workshop, Eileen Spinelli
told us that a writer needs time to meander. So please bear with me – I’m meandering today!
Last weekend, I had the terrific good fortune to attend the SCBWI Southern Breeze
summer retreat, “Show Don't Tell: How Acting Techniques Improve Writing” led by Hester Bass
. At first I thought I’d find a poem celebrating acting for today, and then I wanted to celebrate hospitality – shown by Hester in her leadership, shown by Joan Broerman
, our region’s founder, who along with hubby Neal welcomed all of us into their home for sessions and meals, and shown by co-RA Claudia Pearson
, who graciously offered me her gorgeous guest room to bunk in for the weekend.
A search for poems on “hospitality” led to Ben Jonson’s
1616 poem, “To Penshurst.” Well, this poem led me to an old photo album. Jeff, myself and Morgan, age two at the time in 1994, made a trip to England for our 10th anniversary. We were covered up with hospitality and wonderful day trips by friends of Jeff’s family – John and Pauline Harris, and their son Chris. Their home was in Sevenoaks, Kent, not far from the Penshurst
estate, and off we went. John and Pauline are both gone now, but I will always remember their warmth and enthusiasm.
I’ll also always remember that trip to Penshurst – the medieval banquet hall and its chestnut beams and long, long tables transported us back to the fourteenth century! According to my notes, we stopped for a decadent cream tea in the Tea Room on the way out, where we were bid goodbye with double rainbows outside.
I figured since the poem was written by Ben Jonson, dramatist and contemporary of Shakespeare, it qualified as both acting-related and hospitality-related. It’s an “estate poem” which looks at nature, culture and social relationships. Here’s a taste with the beginning and a bit from later on:
by Ben Jonson
Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show,
Of touch or marble; nor canst boast a row
Of polished pillars, or a roof of gold;
Thou hast no lantern, whereof tales are told,
Or stair, or courts; but stand’st an ancient pile,
And, these grudged at, art reverenced the while.
Thou joy’st in better marks, of soil, of air,
Of wood, of water; therein thou art fair.
But all come in, the farmer and the clown,
And no one empty-handed, to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.
Some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make
The better cheeses bring them, or else send
By their ripe daughters, whom they would commend
This way to husbands, and whose baskets bear
An emblem of themselves in plum or pear.
But what can this (more than express their love)
Add to thy free provisions, far above
The need of such? whose liberal board doth flow
With all that hospitality doth know;
Where comes no guest but is allowed to eat,
Without his fear, and of thy lord’s own meat …
For the entire poem, click here.
Oh – and did you know Ben Jonson is the only person buried in an upright position in Westminster Abbey? (Click here
for more. Told you I was meandering.)
Thanks for visiting, and meander on over to Mary Lee’s A Year of Reading
for the Poetry Friday roundup!
June 7, 2012
Hello, Poetry Friends!
I'm on the road to Alabama this weekend for a "Show-Don't-Tell" writers retreat sponsored by SCBWI Southern Breeze.
Leading this grand adventure is the talented and ever effervescent Hester Bass
. (Hester and I got our very first book contracts at about the same time a few years ago, and we've been celebrating ever since.)
I'll look forward to catching up next week. In the meantime, please go enjoy all the yummy poetry our wonderful Jama is rounding up today at Jama's Alphabet Soup.
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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.
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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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Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Council of Teachers of English
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