Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet








Hannah enjoying poetry workshop

(Scroll down this column for tags, archives and blogroll....)


POETRY FRIDAY ROUNDUP SCHEDULE



July


4   Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

11  Linda at Write Time

18 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

25 Sylvia and Janet at Poetry For Children







August


1   Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

8  Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

15 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

29 Jone at Check it Out







September


5   Laura at Author Amok

12 Renee at No Water River

19 Amy at The Poem Farm

26 Laura at Writing the World for Kids







October


3   Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup

10 Monica at The Poem Trail

17 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

24 Cathy at Merely Day by Day

31 Linda at TeacherDance







November


7   Diane at Random Noodling

14 Keri at Keri Recommends

21 Becky at Tapestry of Words

28 Carol at Carol's Corner







December 


5   Anastasia at Booktalking #kidlit

12 Paul at These 4 Corners

19 Buffy at Buffy's Blog

26 Holly at Reading, Teaching, Learning




Enjoy these Great
Children's Lit Blogs and Websites:


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 http://www.kathleenduey.com

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller http://www.debbiemilleralaska.com

photo by Robyn Hood Black
Paul B. Janeczko http://www.paulbjaneczko.com

Copyright 2005-2014 ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved. Please ask permission before using any text or images on this website, except for reproducible
"4 Kids 2 Do" and "Press Kit" pages.

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Poetry and Photographs from Susan Taylor Brown

November 16, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, authors, poetry, art, writing life, birds, Etsy

© Susan Taylor Brown. All rights reserved.


I am humming with joy this morning – award-winning author, poet, and artist Susan Taylor Brown is here! Well, some of her work is here, and now there are more options for you to own some yourself.

Perhaps you know Susan primarily through the writing side of her life – dozens of books for children for the trade and educational markets, hundreds of stories and articles in newspapers and magazines, and a speaking schedule that has included SCBWI conferences, Highlights workshops, and artist in residence experiences in which she’s taught poetry to at-risk and incarcerated youth. Or perhaps you’ve visited her blog and website for spot-on writing advice shared with wisdom and plenty of heart and personal experience. If, like me, you might have missed the incredible interview posted by Jone in June over at Check It Out, you will definitely want to, well, check it out!

Perhaps as a faithful Poetry Friday-er, you’ve popped over to Susan’s website or seen her pictures on Facebook. Has your jaw dropped and have your eyes popped at her glorious photographs of the wildlife she’s invited into her California back yard? Thought so. Did you mourn a few months ago after following the daily activities of Lily, the lovely hummingbird who graced Susan’s yard with a nest and then lost her precious eggs just before they were to hatch? Yes, me too.

Lots of folks were moved by Susan's photographs. It wasn’t long before Susan’s friends clamored for her to offer her incredible nature pictures for sale.

She made a page for her greeting cards with the delightful name, “Poppiness.” And just this month, she opened her own Etsy shop! As a new Etsy shop owner myself, I was thrilled to catch this bit of news and track her down. Oh, and order some gorgeous cards.

I asked Susan if she might share some of her hummingbird photographs and poems with us. The poems appeared on other blogs this year (terrific Poetry Friday ones!), but they bear re-sharing.

In My Backyard

iridescent wings dip, dive
between branches
of the scraggly Toyon bush
not yet six feet tall

pointed beak
weaves bits of moss
with spider webs
tucks in a single strand of grass
a dainty dandelion seed
then flies away

cat quiet, I creep
peek
stare
compare
tiny nest cradles
tiny eggs, two
no bigger than my thumb

whirling wings
hum hello
now go
she settles, spreads
herself atop the eggs
watches me
watching her

the wind blows, blustering
never flustering her
she sways a branch dance
keeping safe
tiny nest
tiny eggs
where rainbows wait to hatch


© Susan Taylor Brown. All rights reserved.

Previously here:
http://gottabook.blogspot.com/2012/04/susan-taylor-brown-in-my-backyard.html
on Greg's great blog.


******************************************

13 Ways of Looking at a Hummingbird

1
wings whirl
in place
my face
smiles
swivels
tiny dancer
chirps
cheeps
chitters
hello

2
greengold glitters glides
lands atop the waterfalls
shimmy shakes
a water dance

3
spider silk
blades of grass
lichen
moss
one gray hair
two red threads
building blocks
a mini mansion

4
picture pose
turn left
now right
chin up
hold still
I'll keep my distance

5
in out
out in
tall wall
soft floor
ready wait
wait some more
egg one
egg two
soon
each morning
each evening
I check
just in case

6
the plum tree a
perfect preening place
ruffled nest feathers
bugs picked flicked
feathers smoothed
stretch once
stretch again
bask in the sun
before babies come

7
stormy days
stormy nights
quivery
shivery
forgetting generations
that came before
I worry
flashlight in hand

8
she disappears deep
within the overgrown honeysuckle
seeking bugs
protein power
for motherhood
alone
I measure
one nest
one half a walnut shell
one egg
one jellybean
one miracle
waiting to happen

9
my days equal
part
inspection
observation
research
photographs
my days equal
bliss

10
camera ready
I await her homecoming
hidden only slightly behind the fence
fifteen minutes
two hundred photographs
my mini model
is a star

11
morning comes
empty
no mama snug atop her nest
no tiny eggs safe and sound
no babies waiting
to say hello world
sometime between
the darkness and dawn
disaster

12
overcast and gray
rain soon
but I am stubborn
searching beneath the bushes
until I find evidence
until I find a tiny white shell
until it hits me
miracles don't always come true

13
crying
crying
crying
camera clicks
shot after shot after shot
most will be out of focus
unable to capture the pain I feel
at all the days that should have been ahead
suddenly suspended beside me
close enough to almost touch
no chirp
no cheep
no chitter
she hovers there
ten seconds maybe more
just long enough
to say goodbye


© Susan Taylor Brown. All rights reserved.

Previously here:
http://maclibrary.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/poetry-friday-5/
on Jone’s wonderful blog.

I asked Susan: What is it about hummingbirds that compels you to write about and photograph them? Take it away, Susan!

I am a perpetually nervous person often filled with worry about things I can't change or control. I was spending so much time worrying about what did happen and what I could have done differently and what might happen and how I could avoid it that I was forgetting to live my life in the here and now. I had a wonderful life and I was missing out on it. All around me friends were going to yoga, beginning to meditate, and learning how to be here, now, living in the present moment. I couldn't seem to get the handle of yoga or meditating but I did spend a lot of time in my native garden. Usually it was because my dog Cassie was pestering me to step away from the computer and go outside. In my typical hurry-up fashion I wanted her to hurry-up and take care of business so I could hurry-up and get back to work worrying about whatever the day's worry might be.

Cassie had other ideas. She meandered around the yard, each visit outside taking a similar path, dipping a head into the sage to sniff at bees, pausing under the maple tree to wait for squirrels, stopping at the elderberry to watch the birds flit from branch to branch. I got tired of standing and waiting for her so I sat down. And when I sat down, the critters in the yard got used to me and turned brave, coming closer to feed at the bushes close to me and play in the bird pond. My fingers itched for my camera. The more I sat and watched, the more I saw. I had found a meditation that worked for me. I had learned to see more by being still and I had discovered how to live in the present moment.

What does that have to do with photographing hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are so fast that one would think you need to be fast in order to get a photo of them in flight. But really the opposite is true. You need to be slow. You need to be patient. You need to learn to be still. Because when you do that you will be forced to watch, hundreds of times, the way the hummingbirds around you act when they are coming in to feed. You learn their dipping, diving behavior. You begin to understand their dance. I spent hours just watching the birds in my garden and other gardens before I tried to pick up the camera. And even then I shot thousands of blurry photos or photos of plants where the birds USED to be, before I snapped the shutter. But with practice, I found it easier to get into the dance and sometimes I get lucky and capture just the photo I had hoped to capture.

So I guess the easy answer is that I feel compelled to photograph hummingbirds, as well as the other wildlife in my garden, because it continually reminds me to be here, now, in the moment and to give thanks for the opportunity to witness these gifts of nature.


Click here for a link to a published slideshow Susan did for Bay Nature Magazine on photographing hummingbirds.

And now let me leave you with some lovely news you can use. Susan has gorgeous photographs available in her Etsy shop – hummingbirds, flowers, other stunning flora and fauna. And, she and I have decided that we’d like to offer a Poetry Friday discount for holiday shopping. From now through Dec. 31, just visit either of our shops – Poppiness or artsyletters – and type in the Coupon Code: PF2012 for a 10 percent discount! (You can look each of us up on Twitter, too, @poppiness and @artsyletters.)

Thanks, and many thanks to Susan for sharing her work here today.

Also, much appreication to Julie Hedland for featuring me on her terrific blog on Wednesday, and to Renée LaTulippe for welcoming me to No Water River today! Such an honor, ladies - thank you.

For more poetic treasures, hop over to Booktalking, where the amazing Anastasia is rounding up Poetry Friday.

Comments

  1. November 16, 2012 8:01 AM EST
    Thanks so much for this -- Susan's photos are indeed breathtakingly beautiful and I love that for her, photography is a form of meditation. Wonderful to read her poems, too!
    - jama
  2. November 16, 2012 9:30 AM EST
    I love how Susan describes her observing/creating process, too! Thanks for landing over here, Jama.
    - Robyn Hood Black
  3. November 16, 2012 11:07 AM EST
    Great interview, Robyn!
    - Anastasia Suen
  4. November 16, 2012 11:12 AM EST
    Thanks for popping by, Anastasia - and thanks so much for hosting today!
    - Robyn Black
  5. November 16, 2012 1:22 PM EST
    Susan's photography and poetry are a winning combination. Thank you for sharing her poem, "In My Backyard."
    - Patricia Cruzan
  6. November 16, 2012 1:23 PM EST
    Thanks for featuring me on your blog, Robyn. I appreciate the chance to share my work with your readers.
    - Susan Taylor Brown
  7. November 16, 2012 1:31 PM EST
    Love "the wind blows, blustering/never flustering",& all the rest, + love hearing about the Etsy shop-& your lovely offerings!
    - Linda Baie
  8. November 16, 2012 1:37 PM EST
    I love the idea of 13 ways of looking.
    - Liz
  9. November 16, 2012 2:25 PM EST
    Hi, Patricia! Thanks for visiting. Her words and images together are even more powerful, aren't they?

    Susan - such a treat for me! Thanks so much for sharing your time and talent.

    Hello, Linda - you can feel those lines, can't you? Thanks for popping in.

    Liz, I do too. Do you know the Wallace Stevens poem - Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird? http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/stevens-13ways.html It's interesting to contemplate haiku as you read it!
    - Robyn Black
  10. November 16, 2012 7:30 PM EST
    My I enjoyed this! Susan's "13 Ways of Looking at a Hummingbird" read like a little nature adventure but with a sad ending (sniff). Susan's photography is stunning. I checked out both your etsy shops. Well done!
    - Violet N.
  11. November 16, 2012 7:33 PM EST
    Great to see you, Violet - thanks for coming by. That poem just gets you, doesn't it? Glad you like the shops!
    - Robyn Black
  12. November 17, 2012 9:33 AM EST
    I love the "13 Ways" poem - something startling and fresh in each perspective. And thanks for the link to Etsy - I love shopping there, and now have two more shops to peruse!
    - Tara
  13. November 17, 2012 9:44 AM EST
    Hi, Tara! Thank you - and I agree about the poem. Thanks for checking out the shops, too! (Etsy can be dangerously addictive, no?- so much great stuff.)
    - Robyn Black
  14. November 17, 2012 12:09 PM EST
    You have just caused me to open several new tabs! A good problem to have when there is so much good reading out there. Thanks for all, from Etsy to poetry!
    - Betsy
  15. November 17, 2012 4:33 PM EST
    Hi, Betsy - Thanks for letting us give your fingers a work-out. ;0) So appreciate your coming by!
    - Robyn Black
  16. November 18, 2012 6:14 PM EST
    Thank you for this post. I remember reading about Susan's hummingbird at the time. I love her reflections on slowing down.
    - Ruth (thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com)
  17. November 19, 2012 9:07 AM EST
    Hi, Ruth! I too love the way Susan invites us to slow down with her through these observations in words and pictures. Thank you for coming by!
    - Robyn Black
  18. November 19, 2012 9:23 PM EST
    How fun to come over to this summery post, right after reading Linda's wintery post!
    - Mary Lee
  19. November 19, 2012 9:37 PM EST
    Hi, Mary Lee! Thanks for braving the seasons and coming by. Glad you've been having a grand time at NCTE. :0)
    - Robyn Black

Quick Clicks

Poems
Explore a poem or two or five....
Haiku
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
Books
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!
Author visits
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
Magazines
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
Portfolio
illustrations
Media
bio, photos, interview links, etc.