Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet, artist









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 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
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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Howdy from Poetry Camp, and Haiku News!

September 29, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, workshops, conferences, haiku, contests


Happy Poetry Friday!

I'm posting from Bellingham, Washington, where many of us are gathering for Poetry Camp at Western Washington University this weekend. Can't wait to catch up with poetry friends, and meet many others whose work I've admired for years. Friday night I'm leading a Found Poem Mixed Media Makerspace activity at the three-stories-of-awesome Village Books. On Saturday, I get to co-lead a workshop on picture books with Julie Larios!

As if this weren't enough poetry good news, I received news at the start of the week that one of my poems was awarded "third honorable mention" in the Haiku Society of America's 2016 Henderson Haiku Contest. Pinch me! I've posted as a picture above, but please click over to read the winning haiku and always insightful judges' comments. (This year's judges were Cor van den Heuvel and Scott Mason, so I'm beyond honored to have received an honorable mention.) My poem was:

wedding invitations
the press and release
of the nib


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

I'm also delighted to share links to award-winning haiku by names you'll recognize from my blog as shining haiku stars who happen to live in our Southeast region. Tom Painting took FIRST place in the 2016 Brady Senryu Contest, and Terri L. French was awarded second place in the
2016 HSA Haibun Award Contest. Congratulations, Friends!

The wonderful Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup today - Enjoy!

Poetry Friday - YOU JUST WAIT Giveaway (!) with Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

September 21, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, book tracks, Janet Wong, Sylvia Vardell, Pomelo Books, giveaway



Greetings, Poetry Friday-ers!

I'm freshly back from a glorious week up at a Highlights Founders Workshop with Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard, and beautifully blogged about by Linda and Catherine. I didn't unpack my suitcase, though – I’m heading out again, this time across the entire country to end up with more of my poetry tribe! I know, I know... I AM a lucky duck. Quack.

I'll finally (!) get to meet Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell IN PERSON at Western Washington University's POETRY CAMP - an awesome conference next Saturday, Oct. 1. Several participating poets will arrive a little early, and I'll be leading a "Makerspace" found poem/mixed media workshop Friday night at a local bookstore. Can't wait!

Speaking of waiting, I'm delighted to keep the celebratory blog party going for the newest member of Sylvia and Janet's Pomelo Books family, YOU JUST WAIT - A Poetry Friday Power Book. The indefatigable Vardell-Wong duo has come up with a truly one-of-a-kind resource for middle school students, sprung from their POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL (an NCTE Poetry Notable published in 2013).

Taking innovative inspiration from Lee Bennett Hopkins’s “groundbreaking work in creating poetry anthologies” (from the dedication), they’ve crafted a book that is part anthology, part novella, and totally interactive. Students are going to love it. I love it. (If I’d only had this book during those couple of years I taught middle school English…)

Nutshell: Janet took a dozen poems from the PFA for Middle School, added two dozen more original poems, and whipped up a complete narrative with living, breathing characters. Sylvia took this delectable main dish and served it up with fun side activities. Then she handed over ingredients and a bowl to the reader, offering a recipe of prompts for each chapter (and space on the pages!) to create his or her own poems.

The character names in YOU JUST WAIT came from Julie Larios’s gorgeous poem, “Names.”

Saturday morning means I buy pan dulce
with Tio Chepe and my cousin Lucesita
whose name means “Little Light” –
that’s what I call her, and she laughs
and pinches me and calls me “Peace”
because my name is Paz. …


(Side note - I get to present a picture book workshop next Saturday with Julie – I know, more lucky quacks! Quack quack!!)

The action part of the story comes from Paz’s trying out for the soccer team. Will she make it? Emotional connections come from relationships (cousins who are also schoolmates) between Paz, Lucesita, and Joe, who is a little older. Middle school students will see themselves in fresh, accessible poems about identity struggles, sports, fears, achievements, family, making it through the school day – and food! – to name a few themes.

Here’s some backstory from Janet:

We moved to a new town when I was a junior in high school. I felt very uncomfortable being “different-looking” in a school that was 90% white and suburban/semi-rural (after having been at a diverse urban school the previous year). My solution: to spend every lunch period in the library, reading alone. This wasn’t necessarily a bad solution, but I was very lonely until I finally started making friends a few months into the year. Something I’d love to see: lunchtime book clubs using YOU JUST WAIT to pull kids in and get them talking. Give them an excuse to join by giving them books!

YOU JUST WAIT provides an easy structure for a book club to follow; they can do one PowerPack a week.


What is a PowerPack, you ask?

Here are the spreads from the PowerPack which include my poem, “Locker Ness Monster.” (These small pictures don't do the type justice, but I wanted to lend a sense of how everything works together.)

The section opens with a PowerPlay pre-writing activity - in this case, a “Pick a Number” adventure with several possible options. Next are two poems: my “Outside Poem” poem from THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL and Janet’s “Response Poem,” (this one told from Paz’s point of view, carrying the story over from the previous Power Pack as well as tying into this one).


Locker Ness Monster


Twenty-four
Eighteen
Six.


Arrrgh. That’s not it.

Twenty-six
Fourteen
Eight.


Nothing. Nada. Nyet.

Twenty-six
Eighteen
Four.


Click. That’s it!

Unlock your head,
then your fingers,
then the door.



©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.



PAZ:
Locked Out and Running Late


Usually I refuse to check a box.
I just let myself be blank.

But today I checked Other
and Hispanic and Asian

to get things over with because
I am in too much of a hurry

and who I really am
this very second is

locked out
and running late.



©Janet Wong. All rights reserved.


Then, a “Mentor Text” poem by Janet follows, this one again from Pax’s point of view:


PAZ:
Numbers


4            People would never guess
7            that my mind is such a mess
2            with numbers.

6            But I can memorize a poem,
9            read and read it to make it my own.
9            And then I can use it like a code.

3            Here’s a rhyme
4            when it comes time
7            to know my number. OK, let’s see:
3            (472) 699-3473!



©Janet Wong. All rights reserved.


Last in each PowerPack is the Power2You page, with terrific prompts created by Sylvia. In this one, it’s called “Numbers” and offers space to write under the following prompt: Write your phone number in a vertical column below. Then create a poem by writing a line for each number, adding that number of words in each line (so 9 = 9 words, 7 = 7 words, and so on). Or use another set of numbers that means something special to you.

Pretty brilliant, no? Here are some thoughts from Sylvia:

It was fun to explore this new project with Janet and think about ways to involve young people in looking at how poems work. I particularly enjoyed my role in thinking of creative "PowerPlay" and "Power2You" activities that were fun and playful and not like the usual school exercises. It was made easier by Janet's engaging poems that evoke a strong teen voice and persona. I thought about how to connect pre-writing with texting, movies and poems, and numbers and doodles, too. We hope young readers feel empowered to come at poetry in multiple ways and express themselves through their own writing.

[PowerPacks include poems by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Joseph Bruchac, Jen Bryant, Margarita Engle, Charles Ghigna, Avis Harley, Julie Larios, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Charles Waters, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Janet Wong. I'm beyond thrilled to be in such book company.]

But – WAIT! There’s MORE! Now you want your own copy, right? Janet and Sylvia are eager to get this jam-packed, brimming-with-resources, friendly-sized volume out into the world, inspiring young writers. They have tucked 5-count’em-FIVE copies right here in my blog to give away! Just leave a comment below by Wednesday, Oct. 5, and I’ll announce random winners on Friday, Oct. 7. Then don’t stray too far away – I’ll need to track down lucky ducks via email to find your real-world pond addresses.

Many thanks to Janet and Sylvia for visiting with us today and donating these wonderful books! [Don't want to leave things to chance? Click here for information on how to order this and other Poetry Friday Anthology editions.]

After commenting, be sure to go back to Reading to the Core, where the lovely and talented Catherine is hosting our Roundup this week.

Poetry Friday - Summer to Fall with Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

September 8, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, seasons, summer, fall, Georgia Heard, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, workshops, Highlights


Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m especially happy this week because on Sunday, I get to go back to the sacred grounds of the Highlights Founders workshops in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, to attend The Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children with Georgia Heard , Rebecca Kai Dotlich , and some of YOU!!!

Last fall, I basked in poetic wonderfulness with Georgia and Rebecca in South Florida, at their Poetry by the Sea retreat.

As we say farewell to Summer and hello to Fall, I found a couple of their poems to guide us. This past week, I saw both a hummingbird and a ladybug. I wondered how long before the hummingbird would depart to migrate… probably not long. And the ladybug – how soon before it and its many kin come knocking to get inside the front porch, or the house even, as they try to keep warm in chill months?

Enjoy!

First, Georgia’s, from CREATURES OF EARTH, SEA, AND SKY, illustrated by Jennifer Owings Dewey (Wordsong, 1992):



HUMMINGBIRD

Ruby-throated hummingbird
zig-
                        zags
                                    from morning glories
to honeysuckle
                        sipping
           honey
                                   from a straw
all day long.


©Georgia Heard. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.



And now, Rebecca’s, from LEMONADE SUN And Other Summer Poems, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (Wordsong, 1998):


LADYBUG

Smaller
than a button,
bigger than a spot
this crimson queen
with midnight polished
polka dots
journeys in
her ruby shell,
across the walks,
along
the cracks,
among the petals of a rose –
carefully,
tenderly she goes.



©Rebecca Kai Dotlich. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.


Many thanks to Georgia and Rebecca for sharing their poems here today.

Oh! – and, speaking of summery creatures – you noticed the bottom of the photo? Yes, our Golden Silk Orb Weaver is STILL with us. She’s been a fixture all summer long, disappearing to deposit three broods of baby spiders/egg sacs, but then returning. This news will thrill some of you and horrify others. I’m actually going to miss the old gal when her time comes to leave for good. Sigh.

For a harvest of poetry for any season, please visit our amazing Amy at The Poem Farm for this week’s Roundup. She is also celebrating the newest book from Poetry Power Team Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell - YOU JUST WAIT (Pomelo Books). I'm thrilled to have a poem included.

Next week, I’ll still be making my way back from the workshop, but be sure to drop in on the ever-wonderful Michelle, hosting the Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty.. The Friday after that, Sept. 23, circle back here, where I’ll have another peek at YOU JUST WAIT from Pomelo Books!

Poetry Friday - Hangin' with Hermine.... and a poem by Melanie Braverman

September 1, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poems, poets, storms, Hermine


Well, Thursday has gotten away from me as we have found ourselves awaiting the arrival of Hermine, after her expected Florida landfall and march across Georgia. (Hope you fellow Southeastern & Florida poetry folks are safe!)

Schools and government offices are closed here Friday. I checked battery supplies and such and helped another K-Mart shopper find the flashlights... (we'd both been aimlessly circling aisles in some sort of grocery cart ballet). There were some empty spots on the display wall, but we finally found some.

With all of this in mind, I stumbled into what I think is a gorgeous poem - maybe some of you know the poet? I did not, but am happy to discover her.


I used to love the run-up to a storm

by Melanie Braverman

I used to love the run-up to a storm, watching from the porch as the grown-ups hurried to bring things in, my mother rummaging through drawers for a flashlight, cursing: nothing was where it was supposed to be in our house. ...

Click here for the rest.


Then put on your rubber boots (or cowboy boots, you'll see...) and stomp on over to A Penny and her Jots for this week's Roundup. Thanks for hosting, Penny!

Stay safe, and wishing you and yours a good Labor Day Weekend.

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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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In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
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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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