Click links below to follow our Progressive Poem for Nat'l Poetry Month!
Hannah enjoying poetry workshop
(Scroll down this column for tags, archives and blogroll....)
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
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.
July 30, 2012
Passing along information for what is sure to be a spectacular, refreshing weekend - a haiku fest in Alabama at the end of September! The workshop is sponsored by the Haiku Society of America (HSA), Southeast Region.
I have a couple of family events that weekend that conflict, so I won't be able to make this one. But it sounds wonderful. Here's the info:
Friday September 28 – Sunday September 30, 2012
Lake Guntersville State Park
1155 Lodge Drive
Guntersville, AL 35976
$45 members / $50 non-members (Saturday only)
$60 members / $65 non-members (Friday through Sunday)
Registration checks are payable to the H.S.A. Regional Coordinator:
Terri L. French
1901 W. Tupelo Dr. SE
Huntsville, AL 35803
Call 1-800-548-4553 Lake Guntersville Lodge to reserve rooms - “haikufest code 2716” – bluff-side with two queens at $105 per night (1-2 people) plus $10 for each additional person. The reservation deadline is August 15th.
Tom Painting, Laurence Stacey and Robert Moyer are conducting creative educational sessions.
Following the Ginko Walk, $100 worth of Issa Prizes will be awarded to attending poets whose haiku are deemed to be closest in spirit to the beloved Kobayashi Issa (1762-1826).
H.S.A. members, their guests, teachers and all other poetry lovers are encouraged to attend this intimate, casual and supportive gathering of haiku devotees.
July 27, 2012
MARY'S SONG by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Eerdman's, 2012Illustrations ©Stephen AlcornThis page reads:"I even thought I heard a whisperfrom spider above the manger,spinning her web - though I know what silent spinners spiders are.
Merry Christmas! Christmas in July, I mean, and we’re unwrapping a very special gift today. Instead of a poem, we have a renowned poet and a magical, lyrical picture book.
Lee Bennett Hopkins
is here! THE most prolific children’s poetry anthologist, Lee has received the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for “outstanding contributions to the field of children’s literature,” the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Excellence in Poetry for Children Award and the Florida Libraries’ Lifetime Achievement Award, just to name a few.
In addition to his award-winning anthologies, Lee’s own poetry collections, picture books and professional texts have won countless awards, and he established two coveted awards “to encourage the recognition of poetry.” He’s also a popular keynote speaker at literature conferences.
Busy as he is, he agreed to stop by and tell us about his newest book. MARY’S SONG, hot off the press from Eerdman’s and illustrated by Stephen Alcorn
, is sure to become part of family traditions and treasures this Christmas and for years and years to come.
I’ve been anticipating this book for a long time. When my copy arrived last week, my first reaction was not so much that the writing is brilliant (it is) or that the art is amazing (it is) but that I wished I’d had this book to share with my own children when they were small.
I love the magical interplay of text, which describes a new mother’s longing for a quiet moment with her baby, and the gorgeous art with its warm palette and cross hatchings which seem to invite readers to find connections between halos, spider webs, the light of the sun, The Light of the World… I’m getting carried away. Let me turn it over to Lee.
You’ve referred to Mary’s Song as “my nativity lovesong.” Do you remember how the idea came to you? How long did it drift around in your mind before you wrote the text?
I have always wanted to write about Mary. There are so many books about her yet so few about Her! I knew deep inside I needed to write a tribute to Mary being with HER child -- alone. I remember my niece, Jennifer, giving birth to my grand-niece, Erin Elizabeth, after years of trying to bear a child. So many rushed to the hospital bringing balloons, gifts, wanting to see and hold the baby. I remember looking at my niece, her eyes almost shouting how she wanted to be alone with this precious gift. In some ways the idea clicked then. In all nativity stories we hear of the hubbub, the fuss, Wise Men bearing gifts, shepherds, animals crowding the manger. I am certain Mary might have felt the same way. Thus, I wanted MARY'S SONG to BE a tribute to Motherhood. More than a Christmas story, it is about Motherhood.
I was struck, as a reader, not only that the tale is told from Mary’s perspective, but that it’s all about sound. Poetry is all about sound. Was this a natural way for you to explore Mary’s feelings, after your own life’s work immersed in poetry?
Truly, I do not remember writing this piece. Looking back on my notes I began the book on December 3, 2007, finished a fourth and final draft on December 6th. The words simply flowed. I wanted sounds of noise in the text; I also wanted the one word QUIET emphasized. Stephen Alcorn created a work of splendor in the double-page spread with simply the one word.
How did you put yourself in Mary’s place to imagine all these rich, sensory details?
Another oddity. I wrote the text, it went through the near five-year publishing process, I saw proofs, read them through, was thrilled to hold the first bound copy in my hand. One night my brother-in-law, Anthony, came to the house and began poring through the pages. He looked at me and said: "This is all told from the voice of Mary. How could you do this?" I never realized I had done that. I still read through the text and find it fascinating that the whole book IS Mary's point of view. If Anthony hadn't seen this would I have ever? Ah, the mysteries of writing.
I was delighted to see the appearance of a spider in the story, such symbolic little creatures. Was she there from the beginning?
Spider came about in the second draft. I thought the idea of this quiet creature was so allegorical. Or was it because I've always been 'caught in Stephen Alcorn's “web”?
Speaking again of Stephen Alcorn, what glorious illustrations! Another great collaboration between your words and his art. (MY AMERICA, DAYS TO CELEBRATE, and AMERICA AT WAR also spring to mind.) His gentle depictions in MARY’S SONG reflect the story so beautifully and of course add magic of their own. How did you react when you saw the illustrations?
Stephen and I have done many books together. I only wanted him as the artist. Before the manuscript was even submitted I knew he had to do the artwork. It wasn't hard to convince anyone at Eerdmans; the art director, Gayle Brown, knew and loved his work. While attempting the first draft of MARY'S SONG, I saw his work throughout the writing. I saw his spider and her web. I could feel his ever-changing palette - his mood, rhythm, his sense of distinct design. Stephen was taken with the text immediately. How lucky I am to have him in my life. When I first saw Stephen's sketches, and after the goose bumps went away, I cried. I feel as if he and I became one on this book. It is interesting to note that his wife, Sabina, is the model for Mary. And the Dedication to my beloved sister was penned the moment the text was finished.
Thank you for being my special guest today to share Christmas in July! Any other upcoming projects you’d like to whet our appetites for?
Scheduled for Fall, 2013 is ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE to appear from Creative Editions. The book, based on Shakespeare's famed monologue from AS YOU LIKE IT, is a young adult collection following "Seven Ages of Man" from ENTRANCES: 'At first the infant' to ENDS: "Last scene." It is, I hope, a powerful collection illustrated by Guy Billout, another remarkable artist.
Oooh, now I’ll be eagerly anticipating this one! Can’t wait. Thank you again for joining us today and for the generous behind-the-scenes peek at MARY’S SONG.
To learn more about Lee and his incomparable body of work, please visit his website
And for more Poetry Friday surprises, hop over to Life is Better with Books
for this week’s Roundup.
July 19, 2012
from hubby's iPhone
My hubby just returned from a two-week trip to the mountains of Peru, where, among other spiritual experiences, he hiked up Machu Picchu.
In searching for something poetry-related, I stumbled upon a website by poet, author and translator John Curl
His book, Ancient American Poets
(published by Bilingual Press/Arizona State University), features several poets including Pachacutec, the ninth and most powerful Inca emporer. Machu Picchu was most likely built during his reign in the mid-15th century.
Curl's website features selections from part of his book, “The Sacred Hymns of Pachacutec.” These poems are known as jaillis, the sacred ones being considered the highest poetic form. Their lyricism and direct appeal to God remind me of our biblical Psalms.
Curl writes: “Traditions of poetry and song were deeply engraved in Inca culture, encompassing both sacred and secular forms, shared by the common people and the aristocracy. Prayer songs, ceremonial songs, work songs and love songs were part of the texture of daily life. …”
These were my kind of poets, as Curl goes on to say: “Quechua poets liked their verses brief and without obvious artifice.” Reminds me of haiku!
Here are the first few lines from the first poem (No. 1) in this selection:
Oh Creator, root of all,
Wiracocha, end of all,
Lord in shining garments
who infuses life and sets all things in order,
saying, "Let there be man! Let there be woman!"
to all things you have given life: …
I also found the following lines from the middle of the fifth poem (No. 5) poignant and timely, as today I listened to reports of the drought savaging our own country’s heartland:
Increase the potatoes and corn,
all the foods
of those to whom you have given life,
whom you have established.
You who orders,
who fulfills what you have decreed,
let them increase.
So the people do not suffer and,
not suffering, believe in you. …
Please see the entire poems and a few others here
Hungry for more poetic knowledge? The terrific Tara at A Teaching Life
is rounding up Poetry Friday this week!
July 13, 2012
© Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved
Happy Friday the 13th!
Today I have time on my mind… how there never seems to be enough of it, how it flies by so quickly even in the summer, how we need to savor each moment, etc.
And, of course, I always have poetry on my mind. Since writing poems for THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK – A Book of Found Poems
released in the spring, I can’t help but “find” poems in unlikely places. I’ve been working on some artwork incorporating found objects, so now I’m combining the two (found art and found poetry).
The photo above is of a 6 X 8 piece featuring an ad for Snowdrift shortening from a 1927 Good Housekeeping
magazine. It also includes a vintage keyhole, clock face, flat key, and an old frame (all found in antique stores or on Etsy). The paint is acrylic and gouache mixed with gesso and finished with gel medium.
The ad was called, “Next Time You Make a Cake.” That would be a great title for a poem in itself, but I decided to wonder about time as an ingredient one could manipulate like flour or shortening. What if we could “shorten” time to capture it – stir it up and taste it?
by Robyn Hood Black
(Found in a 1927 advertisement for Snowdrift shortening appearing in
is so good –
sweet as new cream.
pleasure to use,
naturally found in
Make the most of your time today with great poetry rounded up by the wonderful Jone at Check It Out
July 6, 2012
Diane posted a wonderful ekphrastic poem from Eavan Boland
last week. I’m feeling a bit Irish and wistful this week, so I’m going to continue on that path and post another Boland poem here. (I featured her “Irish Interior”
While celebrating the Fourth at my in-laws’ house this week, I looked over the shoulder of my brother-in-law as he flipped through a scrapbook I’d made for our 1996 family trip to Ireland. (When my father-in-law retired as a Delta pilot, he took the whole fam, little bitties and all, over to Dublin for his final commercial flight.)
This afternoon, I’ve been working on some art involving Celtic knots. Whenever I make relief prints, I have to play Celtic music on Pandora
as I carve, and sometimes when I draw. I want my art to have movement and life, and if you don’t feel movement and life while listening to Celtic music, you might want to check your pulse.
Anyway, hence my need to read and share a bit more of Eavan Boland. The poem below particularly appealed to me because we’ve just had an afternoon of welcome “summer rain,” and also because I’ve been collecting all kinds of rusty-ish, old objects and scrap pieces of metal for other art projects, haunting antique stores and Etsy
vintage shops and the good old ground. So the discovery of an old coin was right up my alley this week.
And don’t you love the title?
House of Shadows. Home of Simile
by Eavan Boland
One afternoon of summer rain
my hand skimmed a shelf and I found
an old florin. Ireland, 1950.
We say like or as and the world is
a fish minted in silver and alloy,
an outing for all the children,
an evening in the Sandford cinema,
a paper cone of lemonade crystals and
say it again so we can see
androgyny of angels, edges to a circle,
the way the body works against the possible— …
Please click here
here to read the rest.
It won’t cost you a florin or even two cents to indulge in more great poetry – just check out The Opposite of Indifference,
where wonderful Tabatha has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.
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