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 is Here! A Web of Treasures…

December 9, 2011

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, animals, Highlights, writing life, nature, book tracks, workshops

Greetings! I’m thrilled to be hosting Poetry Friday today.

My Christmas gift this year, a really nice one, is a trip back to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, for another Highlights Founders Workshop in poetry. I’ll be attending Poetry for All in May (there are still a few spots available!) co-led by poet and friend Rebecca Kai Dotlich (click here, here and here for previous posts featuring Rebecca), David Harrison, and Eileen Spinelli.

You're looking at the picture and thinking, What does this have to do with spiders?

David Harrison has this wonderful poem in his collection, Bugs – Poems about Creeping Things, illustrated by Rob Shepperson (Wordsong, 2007):


by David Harrison

Webs sparkle
on the lawn
like diamond
at dawn.

Shiny droplets –
small oases –
beckon spiders
To their places.

Silently they
look and lurk.

Time now for
spider work.

(Used with permission from the author.)

And Eileen Spinelli has this wonderful picture book, Sophie’s Masterpiece, with gentle illustrations by Jane Dyer (Simon and Schuster, 2001).

Sophie was no ordinary house spider. Sophie was an artist.

The talented heroine has a hard time finding a place to live and create, however, as she is chased away from corner to corner of Beekman’s Boardinghouse.

By this time, many spider years had passed. Sophie was older. She only had energy to spin a few small things for herself… a tiny rose-patterned case for her pillow, eight colorful socks to keep herself warm.
But mostly she slept.

Until she meets someone who appreciates her and inspires her to create a very special gift - something that takes her all and becomes a loving legacy. I won’t spoil the story, but I will say my eyes were a bit misty by the end. And then, when I read the author’s note… okay, I cried.

In cultural traditions across the world, the spider represents creativity – a keeper of ancient wisdom, and sometimes a trickster. (And now you’re thinking of E. B. White’s Charlotte , aren’t you?)

Whatever your “spider work” is today, let it be inspired by a World Wide Web-ful of poetry. Include your link in the comments, and I’ll weave them all together throughout the day.


Julie at The Drift Record is waking up with a cold snap and the poem, "Icicles," by Todd Boss.

Over at The Poem Farm, Amy
shares a terrific original poem, "Umbrella Path," inspired by Alix Martin's colorful painting in the collaborative SPARK 14.

Tabatha,at The Opposite of Indifference, explores poetry holiday and gift ideas (including a really cool ornament).

Myra chimes in that at Gathering Books, Iphigene discusses another Joel M. Toledo poem, "Learning to Swim" - beautiful and thought-provoking!

Jama serves up a poignant haibun by Penny Harter, "Moon-Seeking Soup," written after the death of her husband, William J. Higginson, in 2008 (both have made immeasurable contributions to the haiku world).

Heidi's in today at My Juicy Little Universe with some delightful poetry by her kindergarteners, and a discussion of their poetry collage projects.

Ruth brings us Keats and an original poem describing how a poem idea will not leave you alone at There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town.

Need a little romance today? Maria at A Poem a Day from the George Hail Library brings us Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning - and in the continuing series on sonnets, one from the latter you might not have read before.

Irene is caught up in the spirit of giving. She’s got a copy of Shel Silverstein’s EVERY THING ON IT for some lucky re-tweeter.

Join Laura today here for Janet Wong’s yoga poem, “Tree,” and here for her 15-words-or-less poem, also tree-related, and a photograph you just have to see for yourself.

Diane has an original poem, “Pie Town Family – 1940” inspired by a historical photograph, at “Random Noodling.

Her Kids of the Homefront Army features a poem about one reality of war, “Certain Advantages.”

And, Kurious Kitty is asking with Aileen Fisher, “Do Rabbits Have Christmas?” featuring one of the sparkly poems from the book, published five years after Fisher’s death.

K K’s Kwotes has a quote by Truman Capote.

Linda at TeacherDance helps us to remember those for whom the holidays are a lonely time, with “The Transparent Man” by Anthony Hecht.

How about some Ogden Nash? Sally’s got you covered at The Write Sisters with “Everybody Tells Me Everything.”

At Picture Books and Pirouettes, Kerry shares Doreen Cronin’s picture book, Wiggle, sure to get you moving this morning.

Debbie takes another look at giving with the poem “Altruism” by Molly Peacock.

Feeling a little batty? Join Joyce at Musings to enjoy thoughts about Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet (and a few verses from the poetry).

Sally at Paper Tigers brings us Oh, Grow Up: Poems to Help You Survive Parents, Chores, School and Other Afflictions by Florence Parry Heide and daughter Roxanne Heide Pierce.

Check out The Stenhouse Blog for a reverse poem, “Framing My Future,” written by Rebecca, one of Kelly Gallagher’s students.

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading encourages us to “Have a _________ Day.” (You have to click to find out!)

At Dori Reads, Doraine shares a Tennyson poem that still perfectly captures difficult emotions.

Over at Wild Rose Reader, Elaine keeps the spirit of giving going with another terrific e-book from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, Gift Tag, and a fun, original poem to fit the theme.

Brace yourself to face the animal life in a hoarder's home with Mandy's original poem at Write on the World.

David E. has a thought-provoking original poem, "how great?" - which he describes as "a found poem, a cross-out poem, a little bit of random poem." Check it out!

Lorie Ann at readergirlz also features the Gift Tag e-collection from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, and shares her poem in it, "Tucked Between Branches." If you enjoyed/enjoy those little pudgy trolls as much as I did/do, you'll love it!

At All About the Books, Janet is all about Douglas Florian's wonderful volume, mammalabilia.

Shelley at Dust Bowl Poetry shares many different poems about families facing hard times.

Tara is celebrating libraries today with a couple of terrific poems and pictures. Go join the party at A Teaching Life.

Like a little moonshine with your Chicken Spaghetti? Susan has an original found poem and a review of Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal.

Over at A Wrung Sponge, Andromeda (Andi) has a very clever idea for combining nature and learning to read! And, after my own heart, a haiku written on rocks. Really!

Mmmm... Smell cookies baking? Follow your nose to Twinkling Along and enjoy an original poem cooked up by Carlie. And some very cute pictures.

The talented Liz over at Liz in Ink is thankful for the change of seasons (brrr!) and offers "Relearning Winter" by Mark Svenvold.

If you're hosting family for a holiday meal, do check out Kelly's original "Holiday Dinner To-Do List" at Writing and Ruminating What would Martha Stewart make of it?

Joy has lots of fun holiday poems and prompts at her blog. Grab a mug of hot chocolate and head over!

Just in time for supper, Jone has a review of Katherine B. Hauth's What's For Dinner? over at Check It Out.


  1. December 9, 2011 1:27 AM EST
    Oh, Robyn, I envy you that workshop! It sounds wonderful. Today at The Drift Record I am offering up Icicles by Todd Boss, because it is brrrrrrrr freezing in Seattle.
    - Julie Larios
  2. December 9, 2011 3:35 AM EST
    I can never kill a spider...sometimes I spend whole showers just watching one so it doesn't fall on me! Thank you for sharing David's lovely poem and for sharing a new-to-me Eileen Spinelli book. 'Can't wait to get it!

    Today I have a beautiful painting by Alix Martin along with my new poem, "Umbrella Path" - this is our collaboration from SPARK 14 which took place over the past ten days.

    Thank you for hosting....happy PF!

    - Amy LV
  3. December 9, 2011 4:53 AM EST
    Hi Robyn! What fun spider connections you are making. In my post today, I asked if anyone had any poetry present suggestions, and here you have one -- send someone to a workshop!
    Here's my post:

    Thanks for hosting!
    - Tabatha
  4. December 9, 2011 5:33 AM EST
    Hi Robyn, thanks for hosting this week. I know about that story of Sophie - there's a website that shows a read-aloud of that lovely book, and I often use that for sharing with most of my teacher-students and when I'm invited to do presentations in events/conferences. That is truly a beautiful beautiful story.

    Here's our link for the week - Iphigene would be sharing her thoughts about another one of Joel M. Toledo's poetry entitled "Learning to Swim"
    - Myra from GatheringBooks
  5. December 9, 2011 5:33 AM EST
    Have fun at the workshop, Robyn. Enjoyed David's poem and all your spidery thoughts. :)

    Today I'm sharing "Moon-Seeking Soup" by Penny Harter, a haibun she wrote about grieving the loss of her husband:

    Thanks for hosting this week. Have a nice weekend!
    - jama
  6. December 9, 2011 5:51 AM EST
    Hey, Robin! Back later to enjoy your post; for now, here's my link to an initial post on the poetry project I'm doing with my kindergarteners this week and some of their writing:
    - Heidi Mordhorst
  7. December 9, 2011 6:18 AM EST
    Thanks for hosting! I have Keats today, plus an original poem.
    - Ruth
  8. December 9, 2011 7:03 AM EST
    Thank you for hosting, Robyn.

    Spiders have never been the same after I read about E. B. White's Charlotte: "She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

    At my daily poetry blog, we're reading about Robert Browning's passionate letters to Elizabeth.
    - Maria Horvath
  9. December 9, 2011 7:20 AM EST
    Hi Robyn! Yay for your return to Honesdale. So happy for you! Today I'm giving away a copy of Shel Silverstein's EVERY THING ON IT. Thanks for hosting!
    - Irene Latham
  10. December 9, 2011 7:26 AM EST
    Lovely spider poem! David's rhymes always seem so effortless! I'm jealous that you're going to that workshop--lucky you:>)

    I'm in with "Tree," by Janet Wong. It's a yoga poem, but it ties in perfectly with the funny photo that inspired the 15 Words or Less Poems for yesterday:

    Thanks for hosting, Robyn!
    - laurasalas
  11. December 9, 2011 7:41 AM EST
    Thanks for hosting today! I had a comment almost finished when my cat stepped on the keyboard and it all disappeared! So, if this shows up twice, blame the cat.

    At Random Noodling I have an original poem, "Pie Town Family, 1940."

    The war continues at Kids of the Homefront Army with "Certain Advantages."

    Kurious Kitty looks at Aileen Fisher's Do Rabbits Have Christmas?

    KK's Kwotes has a quote by Truman Capote.
    - Diane Mayr
  12. December 9, 2011 7:48 AM EST
    Great job Robyn! :) e
    - Elizabeth
  13. December 9, 2011 8:04 AM EST
    Yes, I was thinking of Charlotte. Thank you for the new ideas that give praise to spiders. The poem, sadly, makes me think of spring, so many months away, and the book sounds like another good story to go with Charlotte's Web. My post speaks of another side of the holidays for those who are without family and isolated in some way. It's at
    - Linda Baie
  14. December 9, 2011 8:16 AM EST
    Over at The Write Sisters Sally is channeling Ogden Nash.
    - Sally
  15. December 9, 2011 8:21 AM EST
    I love how you've weaved spider language all throughout your post. David Harrison's post is lovely, full of beautiful imagery. On Picture Books & Pirouettes today, I'm highlighting the picture book Wiggle, written in rhyme by the amazing Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Scott Menchin. Sure to get the little ones in your life wiggling and giggling...
    - Kerry Aradhya
  16. December 9, 2011 8:22 AM EST
    Oh, and I meant to say have fun at your Highlights workshop. What a wonderful Christmas present!!
    - Kerry Aradhya
  17. December 9, 2011 8:29 AM EST
    Hello! I have the poem Altruism by Molly Peacock for this Poetry Friday. Enjoy!
    - Debbie Diller
  18. December 9, 2011 8:31 AM EST
    Robyn, thank you for the wonderful weaving image. Harrison's poem is lovely, and I really want to read Sophie's Masterpiece. At Musings I have a post about batty poets like Jarrell's Bat Poet.
    - Joyce Ray
  19. December 9, 2011 8:36 AM EST
    Hi! Sally here at PaperTigers. For the round-up, here my post on Florence Parry Heide's "Oh Grow Up"
    - Sally Ito
  20. December 9, 2011 8:47 AM EST
    We have a student poem on this Poetry Friday titled "Framing My Future." Happy Friday!
    - The Stenhouse Blog
  21. December 9, 2011 9:28 AM EST
    Robyn, thanks for hosting. And I love your Christmas present to yourself! What a great thing to look forward to! Happy holidays! (no poetry from me this Friday; just enjoying reading others!)
    - jeannine atkins
  22. December 9, 2011 9:45 AM EST
    I'm wishing everybody a ________ day today!
    - Mary Lee
  23. December 9, 2011 10:10 AM EST
    Thanks to all of you for participating, and some just appreciating, this morning! Hope everyone has a great Friday.
    - Robyn
  24. December 9, 2011 10:45 AM EST
    My thanks to Robyn for such a lovely job of posting my poem today. And thanks to everyone for the warm comments. I'm having a good day!
    - David Harrison
  25. December 9, 2011 10:53 AM EST

    Thanks for doing the roundup this week!

    At Wild Rose Reader, I have a review and some poems from GIFT TAG, an eBook anthology compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. I also have an original poem. the post is titled GIFT TAG: A Present Wrapped Up in Poetry.
    - Elaine Magliaro
  26. December 9, 2011 10:59 AM EST
    In the spirit of your spider poem, I am sharing an original poem today about the animal life in a hoarder's home:

    - Mandy Webster
  27. December 9, 2011 11:01 AM EST
    huh, thought i left a link here some time ago. let's try again

    it's a found poem, a cross-out poem, a little bit of random poem.

    thanks for hosting!
    - david e
  28. December 9, 2011 11:24 AM EST
    Thank you so much for hosting today. Here's to the spiders!

    I've posted about Gift Tag, the e-poetry collection, along with my poem "Tucked Between Branches" at On Point, readertotz, and readergirlz. Here's one link:

    Thank you!
    - Lorie Ann Grover
  29. December 9, 2011 11:35 AM EST
    My selection is Mammalabilia: poems and paintings by Douglas Florian.
    - Janet Squires
  30. December 9, 2011 11:36 AM EST
    I'm here with my pound puppy, so I'm enjoying the photo of you with your dog. Thanks for hosting!

    A variety of poems on families facing hard times on "Rain: A Dust Bowl Story,"
    - Shelley
  31. December 9, 2011 11:58 AM EST
    Thank you for hosting today! My poems today are in celebration of libraries:
    - Tara
  32. December 9, 2011 12:09 PM EST
    Thank you for rounding up.

    I'm in with a found poem, "Bootleg."

    Susan, Chicken Spaghetti
    - Susan T.
  33. December 9, 2011 12:31 PM EST
    I love your spiderweb post! Great links pulled together and wonderful poem. I am joining in a bit late with a haiku written on rocks here. Thanks for doing the round up!
    - Andromeda Jazmon
  34. December 9, 2011 1:30 PM EST
    Thanks for hosting! I love spiderwebs and wrote a spiderweb poem a while back. Thanks for sharing this one!

    I have an original poem on my blog Twinkling Along. You can find it here:
    - Carlie
  35. December 9, 2011 1:30 PM EST
    I love Spiderwebs, and thanks for hosting!

    My post is here:
    - Liz in Ink
  36. December 9, 2011 2:36 PM EST
    Thanks for hosting, Robin - and I do so love David Harrison's work! My link is here: It's an original poem called Holiday Dinner To-Do List.
    - Kelly Ramsdell Fineman
  37. December 9, 2011 3:30 PM EST
    Hey Robyn,
    Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday. I'm super excited that I'll get to see you again at the Highlight's Founders Workshop, Poetry for Everybody in May. I've been writing a poem a day on the holiday season. Let me invite you to come on by and see all the festive poems I've been writing. My blog has a poem a day and a poetry writing prompt for kids (of all ages.)
    - Joy Acey
  38. December 9, 2011 4:19 PM EST
    Joy - that's great news! And good for you on those fun poem-a-day offerings. I look forward to seeing you again in just a few months! :0)
    - Robyn Black

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