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

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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

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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Let's Go to Scotland!

January 11, 2018

Tags: Poetry Friday, Scotland, Robert Burns, poetry, Elizabeth Dulemba, travel

January Greetings! I hope your year is off to an inspiring start.

We were thrilled to see both our families and our kids over the holidays, though three trips to three different states in those couple of weeks means I am still trying to get my ducks in a row for this new year.

I did manage to corral some traveling ducks this week, though – and we couldn’t be more excited.

A year ago right before the holidays, I made my hubby and kids all spit in vials and sent said spittle off to to see what we were made of. We said we'd make 2018 travel plans based on the results. Despite some wee bits of diversity, our lot is pretty much British and/or Irish through and through. So this summer, it’s off to Scotland and Ireland for us! (We’ve got Welsh and English roots, too, but we’ll focus on the Scottish and Irish branches this go-round.)

And while I hope our plans will go as smoothly as travel plans can go, perhaps the season of resolutions is the right time to recall our friend Robert Burns’s words to a wee mousie, displaced by a farmer’s plough a couple of centuries ago. Besides, the Scottish poet was born in January – like yours truly and our daughter Morgan (isn’t that a fine Celtic name?).

Click here for the entire poem and more info about the poet. Below are the ending stanzas, with their famous lines:

from To a Mouse

On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough,
November, 1785


But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' Mice an' Men
            Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
            For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
            On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I cannot see,
            I guess an' fear!

Raise a glass to Mr. Burns on January 25, the 259th anniversary of his birth, if my math is right!

One lovely trip bonus is that we will (barely!) overlap with my long-time kidlit buddy/friend Elizabeth Dulemba, who has been pursuing graduate degrees in illustration in Edinburgh, and who comes back to the states during summers to teach at Hollins University. If you don’t know Elizabeth’s work or website, you are in for a treat – she’s garnered awards for both her writing and art. She’s also one of the most generous blogger-folks out there, and her Coloring Pages enrich countless lives each and every Tuesday. (Sign up to receive them!)

She even has a great TEDxTalk called, “Is Your Stuff Stopping You?” It was inspired by the move she made to Scotland in pursuit of her dreams, and the downsizing she and her husband were willing to do to make it happen. (See the link at the top of her site.)

AND, if that’s not all, Elizabeth just featured a terrific interview with our own Irene Latham and Charles Waters about their hot-off-the-press poetry collection from Carolrhoda Books, Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. I just ordered my copy!

I’ll be spending lots of time on e’s blog in coming months, perusing all her posts on Scotland. To make that virtual journey yourself, click here.

For today’s roundup, get out your poetry passport and head over to bookseed studio, where our amazing Jan is welcoming all with a post on Martin Luther King, Jr.
Happy Travels!


  1. January 11, 2018 8:31 PM EST
    How exciting!! I've never been to Scotland, but I've swooned over it on TV. I'm pretty sure my ancestry is much the same, with a bit of Polish thrown in through my Grandad. What a neat idea to travel to the places your ancestors came from!
    - Jane the Raincity Librarian
  2. January 11, 2018 8:58 PM EST
    Oooh, Robyn, you will love it. I have some terrific memories of Scotland and long to return. Happy birthday from another January baby! xoxo
    - Keri Collins Lewis
  3. January 12, 2018 5:07 AM EST
    How exciting and what a great start to the year. I have travel plans in Europe too and can't wait!
    - Sally Murphy
  4. January 12, 2018 9:44 AM EST
    Hi, Jane - Thanks, & I wouldn't be surprised if you add it to your travel diary someday. We can't wait!

    Happy Birthday this month, Keri! Would love to know your favorite places there... :0) (We'll be a few days in Edinburgh and then a few days in Dublin, but will take a day trip or two.)

    Yay, Sally! Maybe one of these years we can meet in the middle for a coffee. Ha!
    - Robyn Hood Black
  5. January 12, 2018 10:02 AM EST
    Ach, how exciting! Scotland's on my To Do list as well but roaming the highlands will have to wait for me. May you and your family have a terrific 2018, wherever you roam, Robyn!
    - Cathy C Hall
  6. January 12, 2018 11:04 AM EST
    How exciting! We are planning a visit to England this spring, but won't make Scotland this trip. My daughter plans to visit during her stay, though. She gets a wee bit longer since she's there 4 months opposed to our 1 week. And I wanted to thank you for your part in my husband's Christmas present to me (the typewriter key earring to replace the one I lost). I love it!
    - Kay Jernigan McGriff
  7. January 12, 2018 11:47 AM EST
    Hi, Cathy - Would you like me to take Cathy on a Stick? ;0) Ha! Thanks for coming by - Happy 2018 to you!

    Kay, that sounds wonderful! I've been to England once and would love to return there, too. So glad the "earring project" worked out; I contacted Etsy to try to keep notifications from getting to you since it was a family plot for Christmas! ;0) Happy New Year!
    - Robyn Black
  8. January 12, 2018 12:31 PM EST
    Anticipation is the key, and you'll have lots of time to look forward to this wonderful trip, Robyn. It's wonderful news. Thanks for the added links about your friend, too!
    - Linda Baie
  9. January 12, 2018 12:43 PM EST
    Enjoy your travels to the UK! I've long wanted to go myself, as I have relatives from the Aberdeen area (Patrick Henry's family, actually) going back to the early 1700's. Will look forward to hearing all about it!
    - Matt Forrest Esenwine
  10. January 12, 2018 12:46 PM EST
    Thanks, Linda - much fun to plan. And you'll love getting to know Elizabeth through all her great online adventures/resources!

    Hey, Matt - some of my long-ago family hails from Aberdeen as well. Maybe we're cousins! ;0)
    - Robyn Black
  11. January 12, 2018 8:50 PM EST
    I so love reading about your travel plans - have never been to Scotland and Ireland - those are included in my wish-list for traveling. I shall live vicariously through you and your posts while you are finding roots by not staying put. :) Happy New Year, dear Robyn!! Much love to you and your family.
    - Myra from GatheringBooks
  12. January 12, 2018 9:23 PM EST
    Much love right back, Myra, to you and yours - your comments are so poetic! Thanks for the lovely words and kind wishes, and I hope 2018 brings you joy. XO
    - Robyn Black
  13. January 13, 2018 3:51 AM EST
    Och! I cannot WAIT to see you!!! Big hairy coo hugs, :) e
    - Elizabeth D
  14. January 13, 2018 8:27 AM EST
    What a fun way to plan a trip! Makes my want to spit in a vial and make some plans, too! We'll be in Germany this summer, visiting my HS Lion's Club Exchange family. My "mom" is turning 90!

    On another note, I started watching E's TED talk, but had to stop because I/we have the same dreams, but our STUFF (and kitty) are definitely still tying us down. Maybe someday...
    - Mary Lee
  15. January 13, 2018 8:52 AM EST
    Robyn, what a lovely gift....and I can imagine the connections and creativity spinning out further and farther on this journey! Enjoy every moment. And, thank you for sharing the spark....I want to come to the bonfire.
    - Linda Mitchell
  16. January 13, 2018 11:31 AM EST
    e - I cannot WAIT!! Thanks for the advance welcome from afar. :0) XO

    Mary Lee, that is fantastic - what a treasure of a trip/visit to look forward to. And the "stuff" issue definitely offers much to think about. We downsized in a big way when moving to SC, but I am still not good at culling accumulations... working on it!

    Hi, Dear Linda - such a beautiful comment, thank you (like your inspiring words over at Jama's "believe" post that I just now got to). Will keep you posted on this adventure!

    [NOTE: I'm accessing this now from outside my AG account, and would you believe the CAPTCHA words for my own response here now are "vial" and "1800"?!]
    - Robyn Hood Black
  17. January 15, 2018 1:33 AM EST
    We are Irish, Scots, English, Welsh and some non-UK strains as well. We visited Scotland, and it was glorious. I'd go back in a moment. I love the first two lines of the Burns poem, "Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,/ O, what a panic's in thy breastie!" Vintage. I will check out your kidslit friend as well. I don't believe I've encountered her yet. Have fun planning your trip!
    - Brenda
  18. January 15, 2018 3:39 PM EST
    Thanks so much, Brenda - I've been to Ireland once and England once. Can't wait to see Scotland! I've traced ancestors back to all over those beckoning British Isles... ;0)
    - Robyn Hood Black
  19. January 15, 2018 3:41 PM EST
    [My own CAPTCHA that time was 'Queens GREEN' - Ha!]
    - Robyn Hood Black
  20. January 16, 2018 1:23 AM EST
    Thanks for Burns's Mousie Poem Robyn, wonderful intro to your forthcoming travel plans, they sound lovely! Happy New Year!
    - Michelle Kogan
  21. January 16, 2018 12:51 PM EST
    Happy New Year, Michelle! Thanks so coming by and for the warm wishes. Glad your 2018 is off to a creative start. :0)
    - Robyn Black
  22. January 18, 2018 4:20 PM EST
    Extra mousie peeks into your & Elizabeth's heath/tartan/castle/loch- accented impressions are bound to follow this fun post, Robyn. Many warm mulled wine moments around the fireplace & lots of will o'the wisp faerie moments to you both! Say hi to Nessie for me - I failed to spot her during my Scotland hijinks but did feel her essence up their around the loch. You are both bonnie, in my book. Safe& savory travels. Appreciations for your sharing.
    - Bookseedstudio
  23. January 18, 2018 6:32 PM EST
    We will lift a glass in your honor, beautiful Jan! XO
    - Robyn Hood 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!