Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet





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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 http://www.kathleenduey.com

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller http://www.debbiemilleralaska.com

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.

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - EVERY DAY BIRDS and Extra Credit Q&A with Amy LV!

March 30, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, birds, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, book tracks, National Poetry Month


Dear Poetry Friends,

Such a special treat today – No April Foolin’! If you’re a Poetry Friday regular, you know that our own Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is fluttering around with a beautiful brand-new book, EVERY DAY BIRDS, published by Orchard/Scholastic. If you’re a PF newbie, Welcome!

I’m one of those lucky ducks who can call Amy friend, as well as poetic inspiration in human form. You can learn more about Amy and her work here. And in case you haven’t heard… her debut poetry picture book, FOREST HAS A SONG, illustrated by Robbin Gourley (Clarion) just won the inaugural SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award!

EVERY DAY BIRDS, her second picture book for young readers, offers a closer look at many common birds, brought to colorful life with papercut illustrations by Dylan Metrano. Kirkus calls it “beginning birding at its best.” Here's a taste:


Hawk hunts every day for prey.

Cardinal flashes fire.

Woodpecker taps hollow trees.

Crow rests on a wire. …



Click around the Kidlitosphere and Poetry Friday blogs, and you’ll find lots of love for this book. Amy’s post celebrating its lift-off ihere. I thought it wouldt be fun to ask Amy just a few “Extra Credit” questions inspired by EVERY DAY BIRDS to give us a peek behind the scenes of her life poetic. Here we go!

Amy’s Extra Credit Q&A


Early bird or night owl?

I am a night owl who is trying to be an early bird!

Hummingbird drinks flower nectar. Coffee, tea, or something else for you?

Tea. I have a glass teapot, and my children and I enjoy trying all different kinds of tea, from flowery tea to fruity tea to herby tea. I like the varied colors of teas brewing, and holding a warm mug in my hands feels so cozy. This said, I am always happy to go out for coffee with a friend. And since I live in chilly Western New York, I am a fan of hot cocoa (lots of whipped cream) too.

Are you more chirpy bluebird or boisterous blue jay?

People often think of bluebirds as cheerful creatures, and I am a cheerful soul. To be truthful, though, I can also be bossy as a blue jay.

Chickadee wears a black cap. What’s your favorite hat?

My current favorite is a new crazy bird hat, a superb gift from Librarian Jim Worthington. I cannot stop laughing when I wear it because the birds’ wings flap on springs. Someone told me that she could not take me seriously in this hat, and I like this idea of not being taken too seriously.

In addition to being a poet, you’re a traveling speaker and teacher. How many times a year do you fly?

I try not to fly too frequently as I love being in my nest with my nest mates, but I do take three or four sky-trips each year.

Gull stares at the sea. What do you stare at when you are waiting for inspiration to strike?

Sometimes I stare out my window and sometimes into deep nothingness. Sometimes I stare at my empty paper and sometimes into my own head.


Thank you to my friend-with-the-beautiful-bird-name-Robyn for inviting me to your blog home today. I am a big fan of your work. xo, a.


Thank YOU, Dear Amy, for lighting on a branch over here this week to spread your sunshine!

For more great poetry sure to have you soaring, wing it on over to Amy’s home turf, The Poem Farm, where she happens to be our gracious host ringing in National Poetry Month today. Her blog is also celebrating its sixth anniversary this week. I’m sure there are still some cake crumbs around… (Which, by the way, Mr. Cornelius might find as he visits blogs for Jama’s roundup of National Poetry Month special events here, including links the 2016 Kidlit Progressive Poem organized by Irene.)

Poetry Friday - Sea Change

March 24, 2016

Tags: poetry, Poetry Friday, loss, workshops, ponderings


A writer friend and I were talking this week about the importance of retreats and workshops. I’m grateful to have participated in both, and I have no plans to stop any time soon. Last September I basked in “Poetry by the Sea” in Jupiter, Florida, with Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard.

This poetic dynamic duo is making plans for a second seaside gathering this fall, and they are also teaming up to lead workshop this September with the fantastic Highlights Foundation folks. [That one seems to be calling to me....]

As Serendipity would have it, yesterday I was waiting on my car in the shop and had taken my colorful art bag with some work and reading. In the pocket I found some index cards. They were comment cards from last fall’s retreat! We had each shared a poem written that weekend and everyone offered short, written responses just for the poet. It filled my heart to once again read the words of fellow participants, and I thought I might share that poem here today.


Sea Change


The Sea has hazel eyes.
She mirrors changing skies –

glint of green on sheen of blue
churning into grayish hue.

The Sea has hazel eyes –
capricious fall and rise.

Waves caress or overcome –
in pretty parts, a deadly sum.


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Reading poetry sometimes makes surprising connections for the reader, and writing poetry does so for the writer, at least for me.

I had started out planning to simply record the changing colors of the sea. Then it hit me that exactly where I was on the beach in South Florida was only a few miles always from where a college classmate of ours had drowned just months before in a deadly rip tide, while vacationing. We had not kept in touch with his family (he’d married his college sweetheart as well), but he was a beloved husband, father, community volunteer, and respected attorney, very close to my best friend’s family. Such a shock. Such a loss. In a few days, it will be exactly a year since he died.

On the Christian calendar, these are holy days, but dark ones. As we make our way toward Sunday, to the joy that is Easter, I pray for those on the journey who need comfort and solace. And for those on any journey.

Please visit Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe for this week's Roundup. Thank you, Heidi.

Poetry Friday - The Roundup is HERE! Along with Terrific Student Haiku...

March 15, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, student work



HAPPY POETRY FRIDAY!

So glad you're joining the party. I'm delighted to host today. Everyone is welcome - new faces and PF veterans alike.

In addition to the Roundup, it's my pleasure to share a few accolade-winning student haiku this week.

Tom Painting, language arts teacher at The Paideia School in Atlanta and haiku poet extraordinaire, sent along some poems by his eighth-grade students which recently appeared in the "Youth Corner" of The United Haiku and Tanka Society's online publication, cattails. (To read more about cattails, click here to read my interview with its Youth Corner editor, Kala Ramesh.)


The following haiku received honorable mention recognition in cattails in January. Also, each young poet agreed to share a personal thought about haiku, which appear just beneath his or her name.



shower steam
my off key notes bounce
on the tiled walls


©Taylor Clay
"I enjoy writing and reading haiku because of the satisfaction in creating a beautiful scene with only a few words."


setting sun
the scarecrow whistles
in the wind


©Cole McCord
"Haiku allows me to remove a moment from my memory and place it on a page for safekeeping. "


the rocks
water glides down
the river


©Hunter Collins
"I choose the moment that strongly urges to be put down on paper. Then, I let the moment write itself."


bound diary
what secrets do
you hold?


©Naiima Paul
"Haiku is like any art form, one needs inspiration. Anything can inspire you, from the sound of raindrops to a photo of your cousin."


Many thanks to Taylor, Cole, Hunter, and Naiima for sharing their work. I'm always inspired by the haiku of young poets!

And I must share a fun comment from one of my daughter Morgan's third graders this week. (I've been traveling across SC to her classroom for some classroom poetry adventures in recent weeks, tagging wedding planning appointments to these visits in the process.) I told the kids I'd see them in April, after spring break. Out of the blue, one of Morgan's enthusiastic young poets, Krish, made my day. He said, "Spring Break is a great time to write nature haiku!"

Indeed it is. Wishing you warmth and inspiration as the calendar pages turn to spring.

Please leave your links (& a brief description) in the comments below, and I'll round up as we go along. NOTE: We'll actually be on the road again this afternoon, so links left after lunch might not get rounded up until this evening. [I also just bought a laptop I'm trying to figure out how to use. It will go with me - wish me luck!] Thanks for your patience, and feel free to scan the comments to visit everyone's posts today in the meantime.


Onward to Poetry!

At Random Noodling, Diane is generously sharing a pot of fresh coffee to celebrate WORLD POETRY DAY, along with a tray of original coffee-themed poems from recent years. Cheers!

For a bit more about WORLD POETRY DAY and a poem about what girls wanted 500 years ago, pop in over at Diane’s Kurious Kitty. Mrow.

CB Haneck chimes in with poetic praise for our noses. And, no, not because they can smell.

Michelle joins CB in responding to Amy LV’s TLD Challenge herself at Today’s Little Ditty, ringing in spring with some amorous cicadas.

Speaking of Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, Laura celebrates Amy’s exciting news at Writing the World for Kids. (What? You haven’t heard? Laura’s got it covered, with a couple more wonderful shout-outs, too.) Laura also shares the link to Penny’s post about a project by Ken Slasarik inspired by Laura’s WATER CAN BE. Yes, there’s a lot of mutual poetry love being passed around today!

Matt offers up the “Naani” poetry form from India at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, with an invitation (challenge?) to try one yourself.

What’s the weather doing outside your window, and did it change from five minutes ago? Lovely Linda captures the topsy-turvy-ness of spring’s arrival with an original poem and picture at Teacher Dance.

Carol has rolled out the St. Patrick’s Day green at Beyond Literacy Link - go grab yourself some poetry, and a lovely Irish blessing to boot!

Rubber boots handy? Brenda’s leading us on a mud-luscious puddle romp over at Friendly Fairy Tales. with an original poem and a couple others. Enjoy – you can clean up later!

Jone’s in this week with an appreciative limerick for her assistant and info about how to receive an illustrated poem post card from her students for Poetry Month. Check it Out!

Responding to one of Tricia’s terrific challenges, Catherine shares a moving ekphrastic poem today at Reading to the Core. (Maybe grab a tissue….)

Tabatha joins in today with two powerful poems by Kathryn Stripling Byer from Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia at The Opposite of Indifference. (And a certain beloved Monster gearing up for April.)

Julie’s been busy! At The Drift Record, she presents a list poem by Nobel-prize winner Wislawa Szymborska, and an invitation to write a response poem.

Over at Books Around the Table, she’s exploring phrenology and bumps in the night – you can’t resist clicking on that one, can you? Hmm? What might your skull say about YOU?

At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee shares an original poem, “Bygones,” to announce her fantastic Poetry Month project. (Diane Mayr, you must check this out! Everyone else, too.)

Penny’s collaborative series, A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, continues today with a special treat : Guest poster is Ken Slesarik, in with a whole roomful of first-grade poets! They produced a collaborative work inspired by Laurie Purdie Salas’s WATER CAN BE. Your day will not be the same if you miss this colorful feast.

At Dori Reads, the ever-lovely Doraine is in this week with a perfect-for-spring poem by Abigail Carroll, an adult poet who's stepping into the children's poetry world and shares her thoughts on that, too. [If the air is yellow with pollen where you are, you’ll particularly enjoy! We're swimming in it down South.]

Inspiration wafts from life to life around here. Margaret Simon, at Reflections on the Teche., offers up a poem inspired by an emailed quote from Laura Shovan and a photo Tabatha posted on her blog. Beautiful words and profound thoughts.

Heidi extends an invitation to participate in her Poetry Month project at My Juicy Little Universe. Pass the ketchup, please, and a napkin? (To write poems on, of course!)

Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town generously offers “a touch of sanity” from Wendell Berry today. Yes, please. Enjoy his “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.”

Irene – yes the same one whose DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST just garnered an SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins poetry honor book designation – shares Don Tate’s amazing book, POET: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate at Live Your Poem.

Ramona’s in the mix with poems from Tracie Vaughn Zimmer’s 42 Miles (plus another one) at Pleasures from the Page. Another book for my must-read stack!

Tara’s a woman after my own heart today, sharing Gary Short’s beautiful “Teaching Poetry to Third Graders” over at A Teaching Life. She also shares a way in which poetry ended a very challenging day in the classroom with a bit of affirmation.

More Tuesday Slice of Life Goodness (I love that PR and Slice of Life collide so often!) from Molly, sharing an original poem, “The Nightly Struggle,” that captures the experience of so many of us I’m sure, yearning to turn another page before turning out the booklight!

Yay – more haiku today! Thanks to the oh-so-talented Elizabeth Steinglass for sharing two gorgeous spring haiku (and a picture of one of the prettiest Poetry Friday cats in the realm) as well as her thoughts about crafting haiku – well worth the short read if you are a haikuist or an aspiring one.

Though no one would blame Amy if she were still up in the clouds after FOREST HAS A SONG just won the inaugural SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.– (!!!) – she’s her usual down-to-earth-self over at The Poem Farm today, with an original poem, “Lesson From a Stone Bowl,” that just proves why her writing is so award-worthy, and how she embraces life as a poet.

Please join Violet (the perfect Spring name!), who is outside with her camera and stellar eye taking pictures and poetic inspiration for her “Spring Journal” she’s sharing with all of us.

Cathy’s been taking inspiration from nature this week, too, at Merely Day by Day. Join a cacophony of blackbirds with her lively original poem, “Bird Games.”

And now up to Maine, where Donna at Mainely Writeshares another delicious slice of life experience-put-to-poetry, “Book Club and a Mug”set against the dark mornings after the time change.

Little Willow’s in this week with “Babylon” by Robert Graves at Bildungsroman - a perfect companion to so many posts today about young poets, and young-at-heart poets inspired by Spring.

Jama doesn’t have a regular PF post today, but she’s putting forth the call to send in YOUR Poetry Month features for her April round-up! She and Mr. Cornelius do a great job keeping track of the many ambitious projects. If you have something special planned (one of these years, I keep saying to myself!) just send your addition to her website email address at jamarattigan.com. Thanks, Jama and Mr. C.!

Over at Teaching Authors, the wonderful JoAnn is featuring an Avis Harley poem from African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways. (Isn’t that a great book title?) She’s also not alone, I’m sure, in her struggle with taking the perfect selfie,which she’s written about in a chuckle-worthy original poem.

At All About the Books with Janet Squires, Janet is serving up Georgia Heard’s anthology of found poems, THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK. (I’m personally partial to this collection, as it includes two poems by yours truly!)

{--We interrupt this Roundup for its host to hit the Road. I'll check back this evening for any afternoon link-leavers! Thanks.--}

Evening Update: I'm having computer AND network connection issues, and my attempts to update keep getting swallowed into a cyber-black-hole. My apologies! PLEASE scroll down to the end of the comments for a few more great poetry links - canine poetry & a challenge from Joy, a post from Karen, and, all the way from Guam, news from Sylvia V! Thanks, and have a great weekend, all!
THEN, check out the posts from Lisa and Fats at the end!

Poetry Friday - Driftwood Dolphin

March 10, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, animals, ponderings, spring


It's ALMOST Spring.

Our youngest, Seth, spent the first part of his college spring break this week hiking in the mountains with his Appalachian Trail class. Then he came to the coast for some fun in the sun. [Finally - a spring break for him here that's warm, sunny, and dry! ] Not a bad way to spend a week.

Thursday he drove out to Hunting Island, the lovely natural state park where we go to the beach, less than 20 miles from our driveway. We'll probably all head out there Friday afternoon.

A couple of weeks ago, I went there by myself for a long walk and an inspiration break. There was only a handful of other folks around, plus a couple of horses. Couldn't resist snapping the picture above, and wondering about a poem to accompany it.



Driftwood Dolphin


A driftwood dolphin
slices sand,
in search of driftwood fish.

What kind of dolphin
swims on land?
The kind in my driftwood wish.



©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Thanks for stopping by! Even if you don’t have a spring break per se, here’s hoping you’ll take some time out to relax with poetry! My dear friend and Poetess Extraordinaire Irene has the Roundup today at Live Your Poem.

Be sure to circle back HERE next week, when I'll host the Roundup!

Poetry Friday - Margarita Engle's "Young and Old Together"

March 3, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, Margarita Engle, poets



I know there’s snow on the ground in some parts (my future son-in-law sent a picture from a north Georgia Thursday evening), but trees and flowers are beginning to bloom here at the coast. Folks are either digging in the dirt already or browsing seed catalogs, depending on zip codes.

So today I have a simple share – a beautiful poem by Margarita Engle found in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science (Pomelo Books). You might say it’s about gardening, or about radishes - and there are some great veggie-inspired "Take 5" activities in the anthology - but it’s also about so much more…



Young and Old Together


I love to help Grandpa in his garden,
planting tiny radish seeds
so we can watch the swift growth
of leaves and stems,
like green towers
on top of
tasty
red
roots.



And in Spanish, also in the anthology:


Jóvenes y Viejos Juntos


Me encanta ayudar a mi abuelo en su jardin
sembrando semillitas de rábano
parar mirar cómo crecen tan rápido
las hojas y los tallos,
como torres verdes
encima de
sabrosas
raíces
rojas.



©Margarita Engle. All rights reserved.


This poem makes me smile, the way it celebrates a tender relationship between grandfather and grandchild. I imagine the grandfather wondering at “the swift growth” of his “nieto” or “nieta”!

My thanks to Margarita for sharing this poem with us today. If you are not already a fan, please seek out her work! She’s won multiple Pura Belpré Awards and Honors. She’s also the recipient of Américas Awards, Jane Addams Awards and Honors, International Reading Association Award, the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award, and many others.

Just this year, Enchanted Air won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was selected as YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist, and won a Walter Award Honor from We Need Diverse Books.

Her Drum Dream Girl, illustrated by Rafael López ,won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award! It also won the Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book writing of 2015, was selected as Asian Pacific American Library Association Children's Book Awards Honor, is an Amelia Bloomer Top 10 of 2016 and a 2016 Notable Book for a Global Society, International Literacy Association

And, just a week and a half or so ago, Enchanted Air received the 2016 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award , granted by Penn State University Libraries, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and Lee Bennett Hopkins!

We are all richer for Margarita’s mind, heart, and pen.


Here’s wishing you and your garden a hearty, poem-filled spring… Enjoy more inspiration with our wonderful Linda, rounding up today at Teacher Dance.

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Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
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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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