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

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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Old Words to Ring in New Poetry Month

March 30, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, artsyletters, found poem, Victorian, poetry, Poetry Month


Helllooo, Poetry Lovers!

Tomorrow we ring in "our" month - National Poetry Month! Read all about it here, at The Academy of American Poets.

I decided to celebrate in my studio with a new collage, made from antique elements.

The words simply read:


POETRY


poetry has

beauty


arrayed in

truth



poem found by Robyn Hood Black

The image is from the May 2015 issue of Woman's World. The text was clipped directly from A. A. Smith's introduction to Poetry and Art, Columbia Publishing Company, 1892. The "title" was clipped from The Poetry Book 5, Huber-Bruner-Curry, circa. 1926. Two vintage topaz-colored glass hearts dangle from the bottom of the fancy vintage bronze-colored metal frame (made in Italy).

Much poetic goodness will be springing up all over the Kidlitosphere this month. Our wonderful Jama wrangles together events and keeps a running list over at Jama's Alphabet Soup .

One highlight is always The Progressive Poem, started and coordinated by our lovely Irene Latham. It travels each day to a different blog, adding a line each day, and it's always surprising to see where the words take us. (It parks right here on April 25.)

A terrific-sounding new adventure this year will be The Poetry Mosaic at Bookology. A different poet reading his or her poetry will be added each day of the month. (I'm thrilled to get to participate, along with some other Poetry Friday regulars. (-- *hint*, you'll have to wait a while for mine... ;0) )

Many more celebrations are in the works, and terrific poetry posts throughout April. Visit the ever-amazing Amy at The Poem Farm today for a launch into Poetry Month!

Poetry Friday - My Son, The Voyager

March 23, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poems, ponderings, adventure


Happy Poetry Friday, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my youngest!

Seth turns 22 today, and we got in a little birthday visiting earlier in the week up in the mountains. Busy Spring - he graduates from college as a religious studies major in less than two months! Then he's off to do a year's internship in the heart of one of our Southern cities, working with unhoused/homeless folks in a vibrant, progressive program. He's got the head and heart for it, though prayers for him and for the people he'll meet will always be welcome.

Seth took a creative writing class this semester, and he wrote a children's poem as one of the assignments. I asked if I could share it today! Enjoy.


The Voyager
by Seth Black


I set out, map in hand,
The wind just right for me,
Caught fabric in my sail,
And off I was indeed

To far and distant shores
The likes have not been seen.
The water clear as day
Stands vastly in between.

What’s that? – I hear a call.
I guess it’s time to eat.
“I’ve made your favorite dear.”
Alas! I love grilled cheese.

Walking my own plank,
I dive into the sea.
The blue float drifts away
But not my memory.

I’ll always have my ship.
A voyager, I’ll be.
For I am not a boy
But captain of the sea.


©Seth Black. All rights reserved.


Yes, we're proud of Seth's adventurous spirit.

Sail on over to Reading to the Core, where Captain Catherine is harnessing lots of poetic winds for our sails.
Bon Voyage!

Poetry Friday - The St. Paddy's Day Roundup is HERE!

March 15, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, holidays, St. Patrick's Day, Esther Hershenhorn, Poetry Friday Roundup


Grreeeen Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

Welcome to All. So glad you are joining us for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

For those of you in the US who can't see anything but white outside, sending warmest wishes from the South. Somewhere under all that snow must be a four-leaf clover bud.

Here's a perfect poem for today from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations from Pomelo Books. (You know - the volume Kirkus called "A bubbly and educational bilingual poetry anthology for children.")



ST. PATRICK'S DAY
by Esther Hershenhorn

March 17
the world turns green
to celebrate St. Patrick.
Green hats!
Green floats!
Green rivers, too!
March 17's green magic.



--and in Spanish:


DIA DE SAN PATRICIO
basado en "St. Patrick's Day"
por Esther Hershenhorn


El 17 de marzo
el mundo se vuelve verde
para celebrar a San Patricio.
¡Sombreros verdes!
¡Carrozas verdes!
¡Ríos verdes también!
El 17 de marzo es magia verde.



©Esther Hershenhorn. All rights reserved.

Many thanks to Esther for sharing her poem here today! A couple of years ago, she blogged about creating this poem over at Teaching Authors - It's always fun to check out the story behind a poem.

I'm sure the river, hats, floats, and fountains an hour south of here in Savannah are green, green, green. And my hubby (and our daughter's hubby) could wear those "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" buttons after our DNA kit adventures over the holidays. ;0)

Whether you are ancestrally Irish (is that even a word?) or honorarily so today, I wish you pot-fuls of good luck and golden poems. Please leave your links & short post descriptions in the comments, and I'll round up old-school-style as the day goes on. (Note - I'll be on the road Saturday and unable to add to my list after Friday eve, but make yourself at home all weekend!)

BUT WAIT, There's More...

Speaking of Pomelo Books, my ancient office kitty, May, (okay, with help from the partially-Irish husband) helped randomly draw winners of the five copies of HERE WE GO - A Poetry Friday Power Book, generously donated by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell! Those lucky ducks are: Charles W., Tabatha Y., Mary Lee H., Linda M., and Shaggers! (Shaggerspicchu - send me your address so you can use this with your class! :0) ) Please email me at robyn@robynhoodblack.com with the address where you'd like me to send your book, and I'll get the leprechauns right on it.

Sláinte

The Roundup:

Steven Withrow starts us off at Crackles of Speech with a poem celebrating the American Woodcock, gracing Cape Cod this winter and looking for love. (Ever the over-achiever, Steven has memorialized the little fellow in a Shakespearean sonnet!)

At A Teaching Life, Tara is eyeing spring with a gorgeous Jane Kenyon poem, and her own gorgeous thoughts about her farm.

Basketball fan? Okay, poetry fan? Linda shares a slew of poetic slam-dunks in honor of March Madness over atA Word Edgewise.

At Jama’s Alphabet Soup, you’ll find a new poem by one of MY favorite poets, Penny Harter. Take a tissue, as it will pull on your heartstrings, and enjoy the warmth with which Jama serves it up.

Oh, you might never think of a toothpick in quite the same way again. I see poems popping up in response to Helen Frost’s “ode” challenge on Michelle’s Today’s Little Ditty, and Kat has one that will stick with you at Kats Whiskers.

In another post dealing with loss and grief, Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales offers a simple, child-friendly and personal poem, “Sister Blue.” (Congrats to Brenda on its inclusion in an anthology!)

Here’s another ode in the TLD challenge: At Beyond Literacy Link, Carol offers up “Ode to Summer Sand,” which is definitely making me miss our beach here, closed since Hurricane Matthew hit last October. Sigh. (On the other end of the seasonal spectrum, Carol is working on her soon-to-be-unveiled Winter Gallery, too!)

I dare you to meander through St. Patrick’s Day without a smile if you pop in to enjoy Diane’s fetching haiga at Random Noodling. I dare you.

And we can’t have a Poetry Friday on St. Paddy’s Day without a sip of Yeats now, can we? Kurious Kitty’s got us covered with a delightful, woodsy cup.

At Teaching Authors, JoAnn has bagged a lovely way to fuel creativity AND help the planet while kicking off a new series on creativity. What’s your “one little thing”?

Need a walk on the beach, maybe after reading Carol’s poem? You know our wonderful Sally Murphy is always ready to share her encounters with seaside critters great and small. Her poetic crabby exchange will leave YOU anything but.

What would St. Paddy’s Day be without a limerick or two or ten? Alice Nine brings us blessings and limericks and lovely links to all things Lear. Enjoy!

Oh, Alice’s post has you thirsty for more? At Michelle’s Today’s Little Ditty, Carrie Clickard leads us up and down the hills of Limerick Land, with more amazing scribers of the form than you can shake a walking stick at. There’s even a mathematical equation that’s a limerick. Really. (And enjoy a Celtic tune by The High Kings on your way out.)

Linda has a gorgeous original crow poem at Teacher Dance, and I was struck by how this and Penny Harter’s poem at Jama’s today complement each other.

Michelle Kogan shares a plate-ful today: an original poem about the climate/current political climate, news of a new zine, Voices, words & art available through her Etsy shop, and an eerily timely poem by Adrienne Rich.

Our resident RainCity Librarian, Jane, celebrates the holiday and her Irish heritage with a beautiful photo and a glorious, bittersweet poem by Yeats. Sigh.

At Reading to the Core, Catherine shares lovely poetic images of the birds outside her kitchen window during the blizzard this week. Planes might have been grounded, but not these birds!

Greg at Gottabook is offering up a sneek peek at Spring Fever with a re-post of his fun poem, “Allergic to Homework.” Gesundheit.

Thank you, Fats, at Gathering Books, for a touching post pausing to honor the passing of Amy Krouse Rosenthal with a Mary Oliver poem, “Love Sorrow.”

At The Opposite of Indifference, Tabatha shares an amazing “Literary Scavenger Hunt” poem gifted to her by her ever-clever, talented daughter, Ariana. You’ll just have to read for yourself!

On a related vein, enjoy this delightful book spine poem from Ramona at Pleasures from the Page.

And more about St. Patrick’s Day, Irish roots, and sorrow, too – but with the winged hope and solace that flows from Irene’s masterful pen. Her poem is simply titled, “This Poem is Green.”

Margaret brings us a new poetic form based on fractals over at Reflections on the Teche. She got to meet an old SCBWI Southern Breeze buddy of mine (when Mississippi was in our region!), author Sarah Campbell, who has a new book on the subject. If you are a teacher, you MUST check out these terrific poems by Margaret’s students!

Raise a cupful of moonbeams to Laurie Purdie Salas, whose brand new book, IF YOU WERE THE MOON, launches today! She shares the poem that started it all at Writing the World for Kids. Awrrroooooo!

And now refill your glass – with flashlight beams this time, we’ll wait… - and offer up another toast, because Matt Forrest has an awesome cover reveal and release date for his upcoming debut picture book, Flashlight Night!

All this celebrating means we must dance. Yes, you. Join Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe for some clever “Linguistic Jig”-ging complete with a rollicking Irish reel to get your feet & fingers tapping.

Oh my – see if you relate to snow-bound Donna’s post at Mainely Write today; how DO you keep those brilliant writing ideas from flitting away with the fairies? (She made a found poem out of her own post, too, which has a wee bit o'green jealousy in it.)

Join Jone at Check It Out for a feast of odes by students, answering the aforementioned TLD challenge. One second grader even wrote and Ode to Poetry! Rock on, young poets.

What else would you expect from a delightful poet whose name is an irresistible Spring color? Violet has a colorful, rhythmic “Note to Spring” so enticing, I bet Spring will arrive a day or two early in her back yard.

At bildungsroman, Little Willow shares the lovely opening lines of “Last Night” by Théophile Julius Henry Marzials.

Shhh! Don’t wake the precious sleeping grandabies at Dori Reads. But gentle open the door, and enjoy an Irish lullaby…. She even has The Irish Tenors! (And a link to two of her poems in an online literary journal.)

Echoing some other posts today, Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town has a few lines on the theme of sorrow, from Mary Oliver.

Kay invites us to slow down in this season of Lent, with lovely reflections in poetry and photographs at A Journey Through the Pages.

Jone is back with a magical “Library Time” cinquain at Deowriter - Enjoy!

Katie at The Logonauts has an “I Read” poem which definitely rings true for me… see if it does for you, too!

Rounding out the day’s selections is Leigh Ann at A Day in the Life, appropriately calling our attention to the small miracles all around us with a Walt Whitman poem.

Wait - 2 more! Visit Amy at The Poem Farm at http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2017/03/thinkinglook-at-some-old-photos-or.html?m=1 and Joy at poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com - :0)

Poetry Friday - Wandering with J. Drew Lanham

March 9, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, birds, nature, J. Drew Lanham, animals, Penn Center



A few months ago, our dear friend Lane Glaze (who happens to be our pastor) gave me a poetry chapbook by a friend of his, Dr. J. Drew Lanham . Lanham is a wildlife ecologist and professor at Clemson, on the other side of the state. (Go ahead and Google him after you read this; you’ll be impressed.) I was smitten with Sparrow Envy (Holocene, 2016) and hoped our paths might cross at some point.

Last Saturday, they did.

You might know that the amazing and generous Pat Conroy called Beaufort home, and now there is a Pat Conroy Literary Center here. On the one-year anniversary of Pat Conroy’s death, last Saturday, the Center sponsored an event called “March Forth/ March Fourth: A Day to Wander and Love the Land” at Penn Center out on St. Helena Island. You’ve heard me mention Penn Center before. It’s a treasure: a hub of African-American history since housing the country’s first school for freed slaves, keeper and promoter of Gullah Geechie culture, and sacred ground upon which leaders of the Civil Rights movement – black and white – could assemble freely under its moss-heavy oaks and beside its gentle waters.

Back to Saturday… Lanham first led us in a chilly but sun-drenched birding walk through the woods and to the water, next to the cottage built for Dr. Martin Luther King, who retreated in this special place several times. (This cottage was completed after his death, though it is said he penned at least part of his “I Have a Dream” speech at Gantt Cottage on the premises.)

[Note: On January 12, President Obama announced the establishment of Reconstruction Era National Monument as a unit of the National Park Service “in recognition of the role Beaufort County, South Carolina played in shaping the historic period of Reconstruction,” including Penn Center.]

Saturday’s event was a tribute to literature, history, and the incomparable natural surroundings of this spot in the Lowcountry. I was struck with how Lanham effortlessly wove into and out of his store of natural facts (and his ability to recognize even the faintest bird call, sharing life history tidbits of several species), ponderings of the human condition, and his reverence for those who had gone before, on the very ground we now walked upon. He shared a quick wit as well, and I imagine he is a tough but terrific professor.

Like a good teacher, he reiterated a theme in his “conservation conversations”: first comes noticing (what is that bird? that sound? etc.); second comes sympathy, and finally, empathy, which leads to the desire for preservation. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, by all means, go!

The day also included a wonderful presentation by Victoria A. Smalls, Director of History, Art and Culture & Public Relations. She is a St. Helena Island native who now helps share its rich Gullah heritage.

Several members of the Conroy family were also on hand. They were welcoming and friendly on what had to be a challenging day for them. A screening of the 2014 Conroy Family Roundtable video —featuring Pat Conroy with siblings Mike, Jim, Tim, and Kathy— was available to Saturday’s attendees, as well as free time to tour Penn Center and Pat Conroy’s gravesite, a short distance from the campus.

The day ended with a Q&A with Drew led by the lovely and ever-sharp Margaret Shinn Evans, publisher and columnist for Lowcountry Weekly. They discussed Lanham’s book, The Home Place – Memories of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature (Milkwood Editions, 2016), which Kirkus Reviews calls, "A shrewd meditation on home, family, nature, and the author's native South." (Click here for more about Lanham’s books and links to other publications.)

I’ll leave you with a poem from Sparrow Envy. I picked this one because these little birds featured are among my favorites, and they are so very busy now establishing nests in all kinds of nooks and crannies around our homes, aren’t they?


WREN R.E.M.

fleeting dreams
pass on morning’s first light
mist lifting off a mental bridge to nowhere probable –
but all points beyond possible
reality is the wren that wakes to each sun’s rising
with only the moment before it
no plans to skulk
or explore the next darkest crevice or crack
it sings heart full to the limits of the bounds it know
– the rotting woodpile in the northeast corner
the honeysuckle tangle westward
satisfied in that half acre universe
it sings to meet the day
tucks its wings satisfied in some second of accomplishment
It scolds a plan
and flits away
a wanderer in the present tense
future perfect does not exist
the past makes little sense
that I should live as wisely as wrens
is lesson one
carpe diem
ad infinitum



©J. Drew Lanham. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.


For more great poetry, flit on over to Today’s Little Ditty, where the Marvelous Michelle is Rounding up this week. And then circle on back here next week, when I’m hosting! Forgive me this weekend if I’m slow to respond to comments – I’m bound for our wonderful SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle in Atlanta. (I know… Lucky me AGAIN for another inspiring weekend!) AND – Still a few days to enter to win a copy of HERE WE GO! from Pomelo Books by leaving a comment on my post last week, here.

Poetry Friday - Write a Letter of Appreciation Week, and HERE WE GO Giveaway!

March 2, 2017

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


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

I missed being with you all last week, but I was honored and blessed to attend the induction of Lee Bennett Hopkins into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. I grew up in The Sunshine State, and I’m glad some of its warm light was directed toward Lee, who is a shining star there!

In fact, I’m just now getting around to writing a couple of thank-you notes for generosities last week. Did you know that this very week, the first week of March, is National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week? So break out the stationery & note cards, and brush up on the fine art of snail-mail correspondence!

(Do you enjoy Jimmy Fallon’s Friday evening ritual of writing humorous Thank You notes? You might enjoy this article in the New York Times from 2014, which highlights the regular Tonight Show skit and also explores the importance of handwritten appreciations with some contemporary fashion & business leaders.)

As I regularly swim in social and business correspondence books from the late 1800s in my art studio, I contemplate the past and future of handwritten notes. Despite this digital age, I'm heartened that at least the 20-somethings in my daughter’s circle - some of them settling down to get married and start families and such - still write and send actual notes. Have ye hope!

What does any of this have to do with poetry? Well, the reason I know about the actual calendar designation is because I wrote a poem about it for THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY OF CELEBRATIONS (Pomelo Books). “Sincerely” is pictured on the Pocket Poems® card above.


Sincerely

Dear Friend,

I see the thoughtful things you do.
Your words are always cheerful, too.

I noticed!
And I'm thanking you.

Sincerely,
Me



Here’s a link to my interview with Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong about the PFAC. And click here for an adorable video recorded by one of Sylvia’s students, featuring Leslie (age 7 at the time) reading my poem, with bloopers at the end!

The reason I’m bringing all this up again now is that my poem is also featured in the closing chapter/PowerPack of Pomelo Books’s HERE WE GO, which burst onto the kidlit world stage in January. (Its predecessor, YOU JUST WAIT, was published last fall and was selected as a 2017 NCTE Notable; click here for my post about it.)

HERE WE GO is another amazing, creative compilation by Janet and Sylvia for ages 8 and up, part of their POETRY FRIDAY POWER BOOK series. Once again, anchor poems help shape the theme for each “PowerPack.” HERE WE GO features anchor poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, Carole Boston Weatherford, Joseph Bruchac, David Bowles, Ibtisam Barakat, Eileen Spinelli, David L. Harrison, Kate Coombs, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Renée M. LaTulippe, Margaret Simon, and yours truly.

These 12 poems join 24 new poems by Janet Wong to make an over-arching story – this one celebrating diversity and social justice, with protagonists Ameera, David, Jack, and Jenna tackling needs in their community (primarily, hunger) and struggling with how best, and how much, to help. Each PowerPack also includes “Powerplay” and “Power2You” pages which invite participation and imaginative poem-writing. Franzi Paetzold’s endearing pen and ink illustrations add just the right tone for kids of any age or background.

To see just how much poetry instruction is brilliantly folded into these pages, see Sylvia’s recent post here.

For lots of sneak peeks inside and insightful commentaries, here are some recent Poetry Friday blog posts highglighting HERE WE GO:

Irene Latham’s Blog

Poetry for Teaching - Lorrie L. Birchall

A Year of Reading - Mary Lee Hahn

Today’s Little Ditty - Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

Katie’s great post at The Logonauts

and

The Poem Farm- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

(Please holler if I missed any.)

Last but not least, the oh-so-generous team of Janet and Sylvia are giving away a few more copies! In this case, the late bird gets the giveaway worm too, eh? And since Irene’s kitty picked winners on her post, I’ll let my ancient office kitty, May, help randomly pick five winners! Just leave a comment by March 12, and you’ll be entered.

For lots of poetry to be savored and appreciated, please visit the delightful Heidi today at My Juicy Little Universe, where she’s hosting the Roundup as well as a love-fest for Billy Collins! So much to be grateful for. Also, deep appreciations to my friend and our own Bookseed Studio keeper, Jan Godown Annino, for a beautiful tribute to Nancy Willard here. Such a loss for the poetry world and the world in general; she was luminescent. I am thankful to have met her 25+ years ago at a writers conference in Georgia, when she must have been about the age I am now. She was magical. I've treasured her books over the years and cherish them now, and somewhere I have a handwritten postcard from her, thanking me for some cat note cards I'd given her. Which, I just realized while typing this, brings me back to the beginning of this post... .

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Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!
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