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
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Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
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Southern Breeze Kudos Kites 09 - Donna, Robyn, Heather, Sarah, and Peggy

Robyn with Kathleen Duey, author extraordinaire

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller

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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Irene, Emily D., and a Bee… and Book Winner!

November 2, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, Irene Latham, Emily Dickinson, nature, giveaway, Poems Are Teachers

Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy November!

The end of October always brings a special week my way – and, most years, the most mentally and physically demanding week, but always wonderful. For several years I've had the good fortune to participate in Cobb EMC/Gas South Literacy Week in a couple of counties just north of Atlanta. These energy companies which fuel homes and bring light to read by brighten the lives of school children through sponsoring author visits, with a dozen or so visiting and local authors fanning out into dozens of schools. This year, I believe the tally was something like 44 schools and 24,000 kids! (I saw close to a tenth of those in my visits.)

I try to keep my presentations lively and interactive and multi-genre-friendly, and I always infuse them with poetry (my own and poems by others). This year I was happy to take along the hot-off-the-press POEMS ARE TEACHERS by our own Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (yep – our giveaway winner is announced at the end of today’s post! Click here for my celebratory post of two weeks ago. )

I remember a radio commercial from when I was growing up in Orlando, with a couple of country-fied male characters arguing at a car dealership. The gist and the hook was, “You can’t put two tons of fertilizer in a one-ton truck!” [I can still “hear” that phrase!] Of course, with school visits and life in general, that never stops me from trying.

I didn’t have time to share everything I’d brought with every group, but a couple of times I was able to share Irene Latham’s beautiful poem from POEMS ARE TEACHERS. (She recently shared it with an image of the Van Gogh painting that inspired it here .)

A Dream of Wheat

After Green Wheat Fields, Auvers
by Vincent Van Gogh

From a plain
packet of seeds

comes sun –
sweetened stalks

seasoned by wind
and rain –

birds diving
mice hiding

grasshoppers singing
mice weaving

in a sea of wheat
that will someday

become bread
to eat.

©Irene Latham. All rights reserved. Posted and shared with permission.

I paired Irene’s poem with this favorite from Emily Dickinson (1830-1886):

To make a prairie (1755)

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.

Complete Poems. 1924.

I hope the kids enjoyed exploring how imagination can populate a field, or conjure up a whole prairie. And perhaps they learned a new word, if they didn’t know it already – “revery.” (Reverie – such a lovely word and state of mind!) Many thanks to Irene for sharing her poem today, and to Emily, and to bees.

In this season of harvest, I hope your own fields are golden with poems.

Now, drumroll please –

The randomly drawn winner of POEMS ARE TEACHERS, kindly offered by Heinemann, is…..

KIESHA SHEPARD! (Kiesha, email me your snail-mail address to, and I’ll get it into the right hands at the publisher.) :0)

For a whole bounty of poetic inspirations, visit Teacher Dance where our lovely and thoughtful Linda B. has the Roundup this week.


  1. November 3, 2017 12:13 AM EDT
    Wow! I'm sure it was a busy, but rewarding week, Robyn. Having Amy's book to use so quickly must have been great, too. I love Emily's poem, and Irene's poem is new to me, and just perfect, as are wheat fields! Have a wonderful weekend!
    - Linda Baie
  2. November 3, 2017 5:55 AM EDT
    Sounds like a fun but exhausting week. I love you rpairing of poems here - perfect!
    - Sally Murphy
  3. November 3, 2017 8:08 AM EDT
    You. Are. Amazing. Thanks for your joie-de-poetry! Amy's book is a gift, as are you, my dear. I'm honored you shared "A Dream of Wheat," and with an Emily poem, no less. What lucky kids! xo
    - Irene Latham
  4. November 3, 2017 8:47 AM EDT
    Hi, Linda - the timing of Amy's book in the world worked out perfectly for ME - ;0) - and so glad you got to enjoy Irene's lovely poem from it. Many thanks for hosting us all today! Hope your weekend is wonderful too.

    Thanks for coming by, Sally - fun and exhausting are exactly the right descriptors. And I just love these two poems together, too.

    Irene, thank YOU for sharing! Lucky kids who got a serving of your writing... I shared your found poem from our Bellingham workshop last year, too! :0) I love "joie-de-poetry" - that is something you embody, and Amy, too. XO
    - Robyn Black
  5. November 3, 2017 11:03 AM EDT
    Can't wait to have this book in my hands, Robyn!
    - Tara
  6. November 3, 2017 2:35 PM EDT
    You're going to love it, Tara. :0) Thanks for coming by.
    - Robyn Black
  7. November 3, 2017 3:31 PM EDT
    I love the pairing. I can't wait to get the book as well.
    - Jone MacCulloch
  8. November 3, 2017 5:11 PM EDT
    Lovely pairing! Thanks for the dose of beauty today!!
    - jama
  9. November 3, 2017 6:49 PM EDT
    You survived! Better than that, actually. It's sounds like you thrived, Robyn... with kids and creativity, beautiful words and eager listeners. Irene's poem is wonderful, as is Emily D's.
    - Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
  10. November 3, 2017 7:07 PM EDT
    What a busy week. I'm sure it was rewarding in so many ways! Thanks for sharing the poem pairing...perfect!
    I'm looking forward to reading Amy's book!
    - Penny Parker Klostermann
  11. November 3, 2017 8:03 PM EDT
    I had to stop a while to consider two tons of fertilizer in a one ton truck... that's quite a picture!

    Sounds like a wonderful, crazy week! I'm sure the kids enjoyed your bee-guiling presentation :-)
    - Tabatha
  12. November 3, 2017 10:34 PM EDT
    Hi, Jone - you will come up with a hundred creative ways to use Amy's book, I'm sure!

    Thanks for popping in, Jama - we need all the beauty we can savor these days.

    Michelle, it was a blast - but probably good it's just an annual gig. ;0) Glad you enjoyed these two fine poems by two fine poets.

    Hi, Penny! It was both - :0) And glad you enjoyed romping through field and prairie over here today. You'll love the book!

    Tabatha - ha! Bee-guiling. ;0) Glad to fill your mind with a couple of intriguing images. Well, maybe not so much the fertilizer, but... it's kind of fun in its own way.
    - Robyn Black
  13. November 4, 2017 1:22 AM EDT
    I still remember when authors came to visit my schools - it was so exciting to realize that authors were people too, and if they could do it, maybe one day I could too!
    - Jane @ Raincity Librarian
  14. November 4, 2017 7:10 AM EDT
    I loveloveLOVE that energy companies fuel the power of reading and writing in the schools! Your presentations were favorites, I'm sure!
    - Mary Lee
  15. November 4, 2017 8:17 AM EDT
    What a lovely pairing of poems! How lucky those students were to have you as an Ambassador of Poetry and how wonderful that this is a yearly program. I also love the fertilizer quote--you can bet I'll be using that one at school this coming week!
    - Molly Hogan
  16. November 4, 2017 8:32 AM EDT
    Sounds fun and exciting and exhausting! What a beautiful poem by Irene.
    - Liz
  17. November 4, 2017 11:24 AM EDT
    That's a lot of kids and schools and poetry and writing. I hope it was as rewarding as it must have been tiring. Those two poems by Irene and Emily are wonderful--and even better together.
    - Kay Jernigan McGriff
  18. November 4, 2017 6:07 PM EDT
    I would love to sit in on one of your presentations, Robyn!
    - Violet N.
  19. November 4, 2017 9:46 PM EDT
    Hi, Jane - it's such a privilege to be able to connect with kids in that way. How wonderful that you remember author visits so fondly, and they helped fuel your passions!

    Mary Lee - it's an extraordinary community program that started small (with the amazing Brian Lies, who still comes) and grew and grew to what it is now. Thanks for the kind words! :0)

    Hi, Molly - thanks all around, and I'm tickled you will be passing along that fertilizer quote - ha!

    It was all of those, Liz, thanks - and I've really enjoyed reading Irene's poem many times, with that field revealing more life each time.

    Hi, Kay - it's always a crazy week! But such fun. Glad you liked those two lovely poems sharing some space together.

    Aw, thanks, Violet. I hope the kids enjoy it as much as I do. :0)
    - Robyn Black
  20. November 5, 2017 4:05 PM EST
    Two wonderful prairie roses. I love a good revery, too. Getting so rare now with our smartphone leashes. But all the more precious. As are prairies, now that I reflect on it.
    - Brenda
  21. November 5, 2017 6:23 PM EST
    "smartphone leashes..." - THAT is an apt description, Brenda. Thanks for bringing your wit and wisdom by today; your words are precious too.
    - Robyn Black
  22. November 5, 2017 7:57 PM EST
    What a cool program for the power company to do! I am so glad they selected you to bring some poetry-light to those students!
    - Keri Collins Lewis
  23. November 5, 2017 8:19 PM EST
    Irene's poem is lovely! I like its simplicity. And Emily's is a favorite! Glad you survived your whirlwind tour. We had whirling winds, but they weren't much fun (except for the day off due to no power).
    - Diane Mayr
  24. November 5, 2017 8:27 PM EST
    Ah, important to our lives as well as those of the bees'! Loved both of these!
    - Matt Forrest Esenwine
  25. November 5, 2017 9:36 PM EST
    Hi, Keri - I'm humbled and honored to get to participate. Tired, but thrilled! :0)

    Diane, that beautiful simplicity takes a lot of skill, doesn't it? And I hope the weather your way is settling down a bit. Stay cozy!

    Hey, Matt - yes, those bees need reverie too! Glad you enjoyed this pollinated poetic offering this week.
    - Robyn Black

Quick Clicks

bio, photos, interview links, etc.
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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 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!