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Life on the Deckle Edge

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... .

Comments

  1. March 2, 2017 10:02 PM EST
    Dear Robyn
    Thank you for your post. Without it, I would not have known that it is Write a Letter of Appreciation Week. Also, I would not have had the chance to smile at your clever poem.

    I appreciate you!

    Regards

    Sally
    - Sally Murphy
  2. March 2, 2017 11:03 PM EST
    I love the idea of Write a Letter of Appreciation week! As a child, I always remember my parents insisting that I handwrote a letter to my grandparents after every birthday or Christmas, and though I rolled my eyes at the time, now I absolutely understand how much it must have meant to them!
    - Jane @ Raincity Librarian
  3. March 3, 2017 1:14 AM EST
    Write a letter of appreciation, I'm all for that, thanks for sharing it! I have an Etsy shop with lots of cards there . . . waiting for the "lost art of letter writers" to take part in. Also love your appreciation ditty. Thanks you for all!
    - Michelle Kogan
  4. March 3, 2017 5:53 AM EST
    Great post, Robyn, even without Billy! ;)
    Many will be thrilled to know that yesterday in my classroom, as we reviewed the concept of "social studies" (I call it "learning about how people get along together in the world"), one kid said, "Oh yeah, social media!" We then had a long discussion about what is and isn't social media, and by the definion we developed together, one girl named LETTERS a social media. I almost argued, and then realized that it is so, albeit an ancient technology!

    Also, on Dr. Seuss Day every 2nd grader had an opportunity to write a message in a speech bubble to the great departed genius. My favorite was "Dr. Seuss I'm so mad your dead!"
    - Heidi Mordhorst
  5. March 3, 2017 7:12 AM EST
    Dear Robyn,

    I am writing to say I'm so glad you were touched by Nancy Willard.
    I can see her spark, in your writing & in your graceful, calm presence when we meet.

    I love your thank you note poem.

    And It brings smiles, to know current generation kids here and there enjoy writing them. Our daughter at college in Boston is one thank you note writer, as is her boyfriend. They do theirs on postcards, sometimes making their own card.

    I didn't know about Letter of Appreciation Week, so I'm glad you educated me.

    Happy weekend, with many Artsy Letters on top!

    Your fan,
    Jan

    p.s. I am also thankful for your wrap up of blogs on HERE WE GO!
    I won a copy of this groovy poem-making guide from Today's Little Ditty & want to write about it from a different angle than other bloggers, so the collecting of links will help me puzzle that out.
    - Jan Annino/Bookseedstudio
  6. March 3, 2017 9:06 AM EST
    Robyn, I have the poem you shared today on my fridge, and I read it often and think of you :-)
    Had to laugh at Heidi's story.
    - Tabatha
  7. March 3, 2017 9:18 AM EST
    Sally, I appreciate YOU! Thanks for bringing some early sunshine over.

    Hi, Jane - Ditto in my household growing up, and then I became the "Have you written a thank you yet?" mom myself. ;0)

    Michelle, just found and favorited your shop! I love being an Etsy seller - :0) Thanks for coming by.

    Oh, Heidi, your comment so makes my day. Yay for LETTERS and for "Dr Seuss I'm so mad your dead"!! Thanks so much for hosting our letter-loving, Seuss-revering bunch today.

    Jan, you are always kind and always clever. I so appreciated your post today, and likewise, am not surprised at all that you have some Nancy Willard stardust sprinkled in and around your beautiful words as well.

    Aw, thanks, Tabatha. (& I'm still smiling at Heidi's little literary aficionados!) ;0)
    - Robyn Black
  8. March 3, 2017 9:52 AM EST
    It took some time to read everything today, Robyn. The comments were fun, too. I didn't know about it being letter of appreciation week, but I am one of those who still write. I appreciate your poem as a good reminder on my fridge! Don't put me in the drawing as I already have the wonderful Here We Go. How great that others have the chance to win a copy! Have a wonderful weekend!
    - Linda Baie
  9. March 3, 2017 10:02 AM EST
    Hi Robyn, I love that poem. So simple, yet communicates and models so much! I also love the idea of it being woven into a new story.
    - Liz
  10. March 3, 2017 1:08 PM EST
    Linda, I appreciate YOU and all the gracious wonders you share with the world. Thanks for the heads' up re. the giveaway, and have a wonderful poetry-filled weekend!

    Thanks, Liz - my favorite thing about that little poem is hearing young students recite it in Spanish (it's translated in both books), if I happen to be at a school... their rendition is always so much better than my attempts, sincere as they are! ;0)
    - Robyn Black
  11. March 3, 2017 1:29 PM EST
    I put letter-writing in the category of "small acts of kindness." No one wants to take the effort anymore (including me half the time), but what a difference it makes. Here's one more for you...

    Dear Robyn,

    I'm glad we spent time together, I'm glad you're a part of my life, and I'm doubly glad you're not dead.

    Love,
    Michelle
    - Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
  12. March 3, 2017 4:28 PM EST
    Dear Robyn,

    Thank you for inspiring me to write better haiku! And thank you for keeping letters alive in our world.

    Sincerely,
    Mary Lee
    - Mary Lee Hahn
  13. March 3, 2017 11:30 PM EST
    This little book of poetry looks like a must have in the classroom. Thanks for sharing it with me. I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy to use as mentor texts in my classroom.

    There is nothing better than a hand written snail mail note!
    - Shaggerspicchu
  14. March 4, 2017 1:34 PM EST
    So much to love in your thoughtful post about writing notes, and expressing appreciation. Congratulations on having numbers of your poems included in these anthologies. You're an inspiration!
    - Violet n.
  15. March 4, 2017 5:36 PM EST
    Dear Robyn,

    It is a treat and blessing to visit with you each week...to learn that you are swimming in etiquette, have another poem in another anthology and have experienced generosities.

    You inspire, as always.

    Sincerely,

    Linda
    - Linda Mitchell
  16. March 4, 2017 6:24 PM EST
    Dear Michelle,

    I'm glad we spent time together, too, I'm glad you're part of my life, and I'm triple-glad you're not dead.

    Love,
    Robyn

    Dear Mary Lee,

    Thank you for writing amazing poems, and for investing such passion and goodness into the next generation in your classroom and beyond.

    Sincerely,
    Robyn

    Hi, Shaggers - It's a gem! YOU JUST WAIT is as well, with lots of opportunities for students to respond in their own creative ways. Thanks so much for coming by! (& I do love a handwritten note. :0) )

    Violet, you inspire ME! Thanks for scattering some lovely light over here.

    Dear Linda,

    What a lovely comment/note! And thank you for your thoughtfulness and exuberance and passion, week after week, that you share with us.

    Sincerely,
    Robyn
    - Robyn Black
  17. March 5, 2017 11:09 AM EST
    TYs are so important. Emails are not the same, although they are better than silence. I confess to being a bit scattershot about it, but I try hard. Don't put me in for a free copy. I won one already. And I'm delighted about it!!
    - Brenda at friendlyfairytales
  18. March 5, 2017 8:00 PM EST
    Thanks, Brenda - I so hear you about the scattershot thing. I agree, expression in any form is better than silence, and sometimes an email or comment is all we can do - and it's okay! ;0)
    - Robyn Black
  19. March 7, 2017 10:09 PM EST
    I'm thankful to you, Robyn. For your generous spirit, great poems and kind soul.
    - Charles Waters
  20. March 13, 2017 6:30 AM EDT
    Woohoo! Warmest congratulations, dearest Robyn. Sending love and light from Singapore. Know that I have the deepest appreciation for you too!
    - Myra from GatheringBooks
  21. March 13, 2017 1:12 PM EDT
    Dear Charles, gratefulness right backatcha. So glad we finally got to meet in person last fall!

    Myra, one of these days/years WE are going to meet in person! Thank you for the love and light you share - so very brightly in so many places.
    - Robyn Black

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