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
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November 29, 2012
The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Boyd Hanna (The Heritage Press, NY, 1943)
If you've peeked in over at my other blog on artsyletters
, you know I'm a sucker for vintage treasures. (I'm becoming one myself, you see.) So imagine my delight when, for my friend's birthday outing yesterday, I took her to a lunch spot she chose (Vietnamese - yummy!) and she took me to a couple of her favorite antique haunts in her part of Atlanta.
Imagine my further delight when she presented me with a surprise gift she'd found and been keeping for me - a beautiful 1943 copy of THE POEMS OF HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (The Heritage Press, NY), with the most delicious wood engravings by Boyd Hanna (1907-1987).
This friend is well-versed in writing AND vintage, with a keen eye for art - Kim Siegelson
, whose many award winning books for young people include the Coretta Scott King Award winner, IN THE TIME OF THE DRUMS. Kim has also been an invaluable guide on my new Etsy adventure, as she runs a busy and delightful shop, Perfect Patina
. She's always keeping an eye out for vintage wonders, and I'm lucky that she spied this poetry book and thought of me. (It came with a lovely, inspiring note from her, too - now happily presiding above my computer shining down sparkly warm beams of encouragement.)
Kim thought I would enjoy the gorgeous wood engraving illustrations, printed in browns and greens, especially the one above featuring the bold bird in winter. She's right, of course! And since it's been dipping into the 30s here this week in north Georgia, I thought sharing the Longfellow
poem it illustrates would be appropriate:
Woods in Winter
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.
O'er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.
Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.
Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river's gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.
Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!
But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.
Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.
Remind me to come back to this post around February! And I hope if winter winds are already blowing where you are, you'll hear a bit of "wild music" with them. I also hope you'll come back here next week, when I have the honor of hosting the Poetry Friday Round Up. Today, it's over at The Poem Farm
, lassoed by the ever-talented Amy.
November 23, 2012
Apologies for no real post today. Got sick last night (didn't eat that much, I promise!) and am trying to post this from my phone while lying down. Head over to Mary Lee's A YEAR OF READING (link at left - scroll down) for today's Roundup. And thanks to Jama at ALPHABET SOUP for featuring a poem of mine among many fun ones celebrating Peanut Butter month.
Wishing everyone much to be thankful for .
November 16, 2012
© Susan Taylor Brown. All rights reserved.
I am humming with joy this morning – award-winning author, poet, and artist Susan Taylor Brown
is here! Well, some of her work is here, and now there are more options for you to own some yourself.
Perhaps you know Susan primarily through the writing side of her life – dozens of books for children for the trade and educational markets, hundreds of stories and articles in newspapers and magazines, and a speaking schedule that has included SCBWI conferences, Highlights workshops, and artist in residence experiences in which she’s taught poetry to at-risk and incarcerated youth. Or perhaps you’ve visited her blog and website for spot-on writing advice shared with wisdom and plenty of heart and personal experience. If, like me, you might have missed the incredible interview posted by Jone in June over at Check It Out
, you will definitely want to, well, check it out
Perhaps as a faithful Poetry Friday-er, you’ve popped over to Susan’s website or seen her pictures on Facebook. Has your jaw dropped and have your eyes popped at her glorious photographs of the wildlife she’s invited into her California back yard? Thought so. Did you mourn a few months ago after following the daily activities of Lily, the lovely hummingbird who graced Susan’s yard with a nest and then lost her precious eggs just before they were to hatch? Yes, me too.
Lots of folks were moved by Susan's photographs. It wasn’t long before Susan’s friends clamored for her to offer her incredible nature pictures for sale.
She made a page for her greeting cards
with the delightful name, “Poppiness.” And just this month, she opened her own Etsy shop
! As a new Etsy shop owner myself, I was thrilled to catch this bit of news and track her down. Oh, and order some gorgeous cards.
I asked Susan if she might share some of her hummingbird photographs and poems with us. The poems appeared on other blogs this year (terrific Poetry Friday ones!), but they bear re-sharing.
In My Backyard
iridescent wings dip, dive
of the scraggly Toyon bush
not yet six feet tall
weaves bits of moss
with spider webs
tucks in a single strand of grass
a dainty dandelion seed
then flies away
cat quiet, I creep
tiny nest cradles
tiny eggs, two
no bigger than my thumb
she settles, spreads
herself atop the eggs
the wind blows, blustering
never flustering her
she sways a branch dance
where rainbows wait to hatch
© Susan Taylor Brown. All rights reserved.
on Greg's great blog
13 Ways of Looking at a Hummingbird
greengold glitters glides
lands atop the waterfalls
a water dance
blades of grass
one gray hair
two red threads
a mini mansion
I'll keep my distance
wait some more
just in case
the plum tree a
perfect preening place
ruffled nest feathers
bugs picked flicked
bask in the sun
before babies come
that came before
flashlight in hand
she disappears deep
within the overgrown honeysuckle
one half a walnut shell
waiting to happen
my days equal
my days equal
I await her homecoming
hidden only slightly behind the fence
two hundred photographs
my mini model
is a star
no mama snug atop her nest
no tiny eggs safe and sound
no babies waiting
to say hello world
the darkness and dawn
overcast and gray
but I am stubborn
searching beneath the bushes
until I find evidence
until I find a tiny white shell
until it hits me
miracles don't always come true
shot after shot after shot
most will be out of focus
unable to capture the pain I feel
at all the days that should have been ahead
suddenly suspended beside me
close enough to almost touch
she hovers there
ten seconds maybe more
just long enough
to say goodbye
© Susan Taylor Brown. All rights reserved.
on Jone’s wonderful blog
I asked Susan: What is it about hummingbirds that compels you to write about and photograph them?
Take it away, Susan!
I am a perpetually nervous person often filled with worry about things I can't change or control. I was spending so much time worrying about what did happen and what I could have done differently and what might happen and how I could avoid it that I was forgetting to live my life in the here and now. I had a wonderful life and I was missing out on it. All around me friends were going to yoga, beginning to meditate, and learning how to be here, now, living in the present moment. I couldn't seem to get the handle of yoga or meditating but I did spend a lot of time in my native garden. Usually it was because my dog Cassie was pestering me to step away from the computer and go outside. In my typical hurry-up fashion I wanted her to hurry-up and take care of business so I could hurry-up and get back to work worrying about whatever the day's worry might be.
Cassie had other ideas. She meandered around the yard, each visit outside taking a similar path, dipping a head into the sage to sniff at bees, pausing under the maple tree to wait for squirrels, stopping at the elderberry to watch the birds flit from branch to branch. I got tired of standing and waiting for her so I sat down. And when I sat down, the critters in the yard got used to me and turned brave, coming closer to feed at the bushes close to me and play in the bird pond. My fingers itched for my camera. The more I sat and watched, the more I saw. I had found a meditation that worked for me. I had learned to see more by being still and I had discovered how to live in the present moment.
What does that have to do with photographing hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds are so fast that one would think you need to be fast in order to get a photo of them in flight. But really the opposite is true. You need to be slow. You need to be patient. You need to learn to be still. Because when you do that you will be forced to watch, hundreds of times, the way the hummingbirds around you act when they are coming in to feed. You learn their dipping, diving behavior. You begin to understand their dance. I spent hours just watching the birds in my garden and other gardens before I tried to pick up the camera. And even then I shot thousands of blurry photos or photos of plants where the birds USED to be, before I snapped the shutter. But with practice, I found it easier to get into the dance and sometimes I get lucky and capture just the photo I had hoped to capture.
So I guess the easy answer is that I feel compelled to photograph hummingbirds, as well as the other wildlife in my garden, because it continually reminds me to be here, now, in the moment and to give thanks for the opportunity to witness these gifts of nature.
for a link to a published slideshow Susan did for Bay Nature Magazine on photographing hummingbirds.
And now let me leave you with some lovely news you can use. Susan has gorgeous photographs available in her Etsy shop – hummingbirds, flowers, other stunning flora and fauna. And, she and I have decided that we’d like to offer a Poetry Friday discount for holiday shopping. From now through Dec. 31, just visit either of our shops – Poppiness
– and type in the Coupon Code: PF2012
for a 10 percent discount! (You can look each of us up on Twitter, too, @poppiness and @artsyletters.)
Thanks, and many thanks to Susan for sharing her work here today.
Also, much appreication to Julie Hedland for featuring me on her terrific blog
on Wednesday, and to Renée LaTulippe for welcoming me to No Water River
today! Such an honor, ladies - thank you.
For more poetic treasures, hop over to Booktalking
, where the amazing Anastasia is rounding up Poetry Friday.
November 14, 2012
Greetings! Happy to share that my writer friend and blogger extraordinaire Julie Foster Hedlund kindly shared a post about me on her wonderful blog
And, for Art Break Wednesday over at artsyletters
, I'm giving away a fun mini Ott flip light.
November 9, 2012
I had the lovely good fortune to interview bestselling author and NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children
winner Nikki Grimes for the PACYA
(Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults) blog, as part of the series on NCTE award winners. Nikki will also be our keynote speaker for our SCBWI Southern Breeze
Springmingle in Atlanta at the end of February.
What a treat to read and reread some of Nikki's books. She has written picture books, chapter books, novels, and verse novels and always has something exciting on the horizon. She's a visual artist and sought-after speaker as well as being a prolific, mulitple award-winning writer.
Before you click over to read the interview if you haven't yet seen it, please enjoy this taste of her poetry, posted here with permission. This comes from The Poetry Friday Anthology.
by Nikki Grimes
put my picture
on a postcard.
My smile says
"Pick me! Pick me!"
But mostly, people say
I'm too old to adopt,
like I'm a run-down clock
and the big hand says
Julie is half-past loving.
©Nikki Grimes. All rights reserved.
My thanks to Nikki for sharing her time and her poetry.
for the PACYA interview.
Then head on over to Think Kid Think
, where the ever-entertaining Ed Decaria is rounding up more great poetry on this Poetry Friday.
November 1, 2012
A poetry-to-prose exercise in A PROGRESSIVE GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE: BASED ON THE RESULTS OF MODERN PHILOLOGY by William Swinton, 1876,Harper & Brothers, New York.
Happy Poetry Friday!
I've been thinking of so many of our Poetry Friday regulars this week up in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Thoughts and prayers for all touched by the storm.
My post today is more of a link. Yesterday was my second monthly poetry column on Janice Hardy's amazing blog for writers, The Other Side of the Story. Janice is the author of The Healing Wars triology (Balzer + Bray) and other forthcoming works.
Yesterday I wrote about calling on poetry - a little or a lot - when writing fiction. The wonderful Joyce Ray gave me permission to share some of her post from last month about Arundhati Roy's 1998 novel, The God of Small Things.
If you missed that one on her blog, Musings, get thee hence.
I also threw in some Harper Lee, Nancy Willard, and Janice herself. If you're interested, jump on over
to my post.
I'm heading to Atlanta today to sell my artsy wares at a fall festival/art show this weekend, so will try to play catch-up upon my return. There are cornucopias of good poetry over at Donna's Mainely Write
blog for Poetry Friday, where Donna invites us to ponder "plain old November."
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