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

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller

photo by Robyn Hood Black
Paul B. Janeczko

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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Running Hot and Cold with Irene Latham…

February 10, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, animals, seasons, Irene Latham

Happy Valentine’s Day weekend, Poetry Lovers!

Is it warm where you are? Cold? Frigid?

Today I offer up poetic goodies for climates of either extreme, with big heartfuls of thanks to our own Irene Latham, who agreed to stick around for a fun mini Q-and-A after the poetry.

First, let’s enjoy a couple of her poems from books featuring completely different parts of the planet. Both of these animal-friendly collections are from Millbrook Press, with lively paintings by English illustrator Anna Wadham.

From DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST – And Other Poems from the Water Hole:

Dust Bath at Dusk

Trunks become
dust hoses;
beasts strike poses

and preen in silhouette
created by the
hazy screen.

Soon skin
is powdered
in a red-grit shower

that banishes bugs
and becomes next day’s

one final
one last trumpet –

all clean!

©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.

That’s one way to splash around – if you’re an elephant on the blazing African savanna.

If you are way too cool for that, (and you are young and have flippers for wings), maybe this next poem’s for you.

From WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA – And Other Poems about the Frozen Continent:

Gentoo Penguin Jumps In

After cozy days
in the nest,

after meals delivered
by my parents,

after guarded naps
and hunting lessons,

after shedding fluff
and sprouting new feathers,

after long, sunny days
spent with others my age –

      the sea

doesn’t seem
            too vast for me.


©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.

Are you curious about which environment our oh-so-talented poetess might prefer? Let's ask her.

--Hot or Cold - Are you more of a warm-weather warrior or a cold-weather conqueror?

I am very much a fair-weather kind of gal... love spring and fall and don't tolerate so well the extremes! I enjoy the view of the beach far more than the heat-sticky-sunburn, and the best thing about winter are other people's pictures of snow -- and my cozy boots & scarves.

--What's your favorite hot drink? What's your favorite cold drink?

Hot chocolate! I visited Frankfort, KY a few years back and was introduced to Bourbon Ball Hot's a bourbon truffle dropped into steaming hot chocolate, and it is divine! And for cold, there's Zaxby's Birthday Cake shake... sinful, and I love it. On a daily basis, I love hot tea (Harney & Son's "Paris" tea, anyone?) and iced tea (these days I take it unsweetened).

--Favorite summer activity? Favorite winter pastime?

Summer: Camp Buttercup (for Brave, Creative Girls) with my wee nieces & very young sister! I am the mom to 3 sons, so a few years ago I created an annual just-girls camp at my house. Highlights include poetry, outdoor adventures (horseback riding, tubing,...), movies, live theater, local attractions, art, food... each year it has a different flavor, and it is always an exhilarating, exhausting week.
Winter: I love to cozy up -- and read. (And quilt and play cello and write poems and make Valentines and work on scrapbooks and blog and make soup and ...)

--Favorite warm color? Favorite cool color?

I love a warm butter yellow and any shade of cool purple. (Which, I recently learned, are the colors representing the women's suffragist movement.)

--And, since you're a quilter, which fabrics: light cottons, soft flannels, or fleece?

Cotton, for sure! Anything soft and light and flow-y.

Many thanks for playing along, Irene! Raising our cups of hot chocolate to you.... (No worries - I won't ask anyone what's inside.)

For some great posts on Irene's ANTARCTICA book, which, incidentally, is HOT off the press, please visit these great features by other Poetry Friday bloggers:

Catherine at Reading to the Core and

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche and

Linda at Write Time. [Note - I couldn't successfully call up this link of Linda's when I posted this; if you have one that works, do tell!]

Be sure to dive in and wallow around at Written Reflections for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup!


  1. February 11, 2016 9:59 PM EST
    I love this interview. It gave me such insight into Irene's life. Thank you. Her poetry is wonderful.
    - Kimberley Moran
  2. February 11, 2016 11:59 PM EST
    Can't wait to read the book. Thanks for a lovely Q & A!
    - Charles Waters
  3. February 12, 2016 4:07 AM EST
    I've read Wandering Wildebeest - it's available in our libraries here in Singapore - and loved it. Thanks for featuring it dear Robyn. Glad to see your interview with Irene here.
    - Myra from GatheringBooks
  4. February 12, 2016 8:11 AM EST
    Thank you, Robyn, with whom I have shared both hot and cold! Bourbon ball hot chocolate for everyone... and a happy poetry friday. xo
    - Irene Latham
  5. February 12, 2016 8:34 AM EST
    The poems are charming! And I enjoyed the Q+A- and I will definitely have to try a bourbon ball hot chocolate!
    - Iza Trapani
  6. February 12, 2016 8:37 AM EST
    Love this post. What a clever way to spotlight both books. The penguin poem is positively adorable.

    Need I mention that I am swooning over the Bourbon Ball Hot Chocolate? mmmmmm! Like Irene, I like the moderate seasons rather than the extremes of cold and hot. But winter is the perfect time to cuddle up with both of these wonderful books. I'm down with that warm buttery yellow too . . . :)
    - jama
  7. February 12, 2016 9:49 AM EST
    Bourbon ball hot chocolate (and Paris tea) sound delicious! No sweet tea for you, Irene? Thanks for sharing this interview today, Robyn!
    - Tabatha
  8. February 12, 2016 9:56 AM EST
    Hi, Kimberley - Glad you enjoyed - and thanks so much for hosting this week! :0)

    Hey, Charles - You'll enjoy your trip to Antarctica. Bundle up!

    Myra, Hello.... So glad you've been able to get your hands on Wildebeest. You'll love this new one, too! XO

    Irene, you've warmed us all up with your charm, wit, and invigorating poems. Thanks so much for sitting a spell over here today!

    Hi, Iza - glad you came by. Irene's passing out those hot chocolates...

    Let me refill your cup, Jama! Thanks for bringing all your warm buttery wishes with you today. And please give Mr. C. a big candy heart from me this weekend.

    Hi, Tabatha - I chuckled at the "unsweetened" too - I used to make and drink sweet tea by the gallon, but I switched to unsweetened a decade or more ago. That's what we do here in the South when we're not teenagers anymore.... ;0)
    - Robyn Black
  9. February 12, 2016 10:16 AM EST
    I just got Irene's Antarctica book, will read it soon, and I know it will be as wonderful as Dear Wandering Wildebeests. Irene inspires us to travel, but I think I'd rather be where those wildebeests are instead of the Gentoo penguins' home, though I love both poems. Thanks, Robyn for sharing more about Irene.
    - Linda Baie
  10. February 12, 2016 5:15 PM EST
    That Irene--she's as charming as her poetry! Thanks for interviewing her and sharing her poetry, Robyn.
    - Buffy Silverman
  11. February 12, 2016 7:21 PM EST
    Hi, Linda - You'll enjoy it! And I'm with you - elephant habitat over penguins. ;0) Thanks for popping in.

    Buffy - That she is. Glad you enjoyed getting to know her a little better! Thanks for coming by.
    - Robyn Black
  12. February 12, 2016 10:06 PM EST
    With wind chills expected to be around -30 here all weekend long, it feels like I'm in Antarctica NOW! I love Irene's writing, and hope to post my own review of her new book in the next week or so. Thanks for sharing these!
    - Matt Forrest Esenwine
  13. February 12, 2016 10:29 PM EST
    Matt neglected to say that right now (10:29 pm), our temperature is a balmy 20 degrees. Practically spring weather! Loved the interview!
    - Diane Mayr
  14. February 13, 2016 7:38 AM EST
    Very nice theme for an interview, Robyn, and the poem choices were excellent too--such great contrasts in both setting and animalia!
    - Heidi
  15. February 13, 2016 7:49 AM EST
    I love the way creative questions help us get to know a person in the best sorts of ways! I want to come to Camp Buttercup!!
    - Mary Lee
  16. February 13, 2016 11:37 AM EST
    Hi, Matt - and folks around here are bundling up because it might dip into the high 20s here this weekend... ;0) Stay warm/inside!

    Glad you enjoyed, Diane - And Brrrrrrr.

    Howdy, Heidi - I thought the plunges into an African dust bath and into Antarctic waters might make for some fun. Thanks!

    Mary Lee, doesn't Camp Buttercup sound divine? I love how Irene initiated that wonderfulness for her family, like she initiates so much wonderfulness. Thanks for coming over!
    - Robyn Black
  17. February 13, 2016 2:21 PM EST
    Thanks for the fun interview, you two, and a great choice of poem pairing! I haven't tried Bourbon Ball Hot Chocolate— must remedy that PRONTO.
    - Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
  18. February 13, 2016 2:48 PM EST
    Hi, Michelle - Well, it's your birthday weekend, AND Valentine's, so you get whatever kind of chocolate you want!
    - Robyn Black
  19. February 13, 2016 7:56 PM EST
    I'm so glad to meet this brave little penguin. Thanks for featuring Irene's book today, Robyn.
    - Laura Shovan
  20. February 14, 2016 6:45 PM EST
    Hi, Laura - Braver than I, with that icy water! ;0) Glad you enjoyed, and thanks for popping by.
    - Robyn Black
  21. February 15, 2016 10:06 AM EST
    Oh, I loved Wandering Wildebeest so I'm eagerly looking forward to the Antarctic poetry! Though not the cold itself--brrrr. I can't wait to get back to my flip flops and iced tea (which I've always had unsweetened...I know, heresy for a Georgia girl) ;-)
    - Cathy C. Hall
  22. February 15, 2016 10:40 AM EST
    I love Irene's poetry and I love both of you ladies!
    Thanks for letting me feel I was sitting at the table with you. Just wish I had a cup of that bourbon hot chocolate!
    Sounds yummy!
    - Jo S. Kittinger
  23. February 15, 2016 11:05 AM EST
    Hi, Cathy! Yeah, I'm guessing Irene's fancy-fied hot chocolate might be better than iced tea on a day like today... ;0) thanks so much for drifting over!

    All righty, Jo - I'm up for a real raincheck... Would love hanging out with you two no matter what's in the cups! Thanks for coming by.
    - Robyn Black
  24. February 15, 2016 1:52 PM EST
    I love Irene's writing so much! Thanks for this!
    - Vicky Alvear Shecter
  25. February 15, 2016 2:31 PM EST
    Me too, Vicky. And I love YOUR writing so much, too! Thanks for coming by.
    - Robyn Black
  26. February 15, 2016 9:29 PM EST
    I love Dear Wandering Wildebeest and am looking forward to The Sun Shines on Antartica
    - Sheila renfro
  27. February 17, 2016 7:52 PM EST
    Hi, Sheila! You'll love it. Just bundle up when you settle in to read it... :0) Thanks for visiting!
    - Robyn Black

Quick Clicks

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.
Author visits
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!