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

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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Longfellow, Luscious Art, and Lovely Writer Friends

November 29, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, writing life, art, authors, illustrators

The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Boyd Hanna (The Heritage Press, NY, 1943)

If you've peeked in over at my other blog on artsyletters, you know I'm a sucker for vintage treasures. (I'm becoming one myself, you see.) So imagine my delight when, for my friend's birthday outing yesterday, I took her to a lunch spot she chose (Vietnamese - yummy!) and she took me to a couple of her favorite antique haunts in her part of Atlanta.

Imagine my further delight when she presented me with a surprise gift she'd found and been keeping for me - a beautiful 1943 copy of THE POEMS OF HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (The Heritage Press, NY), with the most delicious wood engravings by Boyd Hanna (1907-1987).

This friend is well-versed in writing AND vintage, with a keen eye for art - Kim Siegelson, whose many award winning books for young people include the Coretta Scott King Award winner, IN THE TIME OF THE DRUMS. Kim has also been an invaluable guide on my new Etsy adventure, as she runs a busy and delightful shop, Perfect Patina. She's always keeping an eye out for vintage wonders, and I'm lucky that she spied this poetry book and thought of me. (It came with a lovely, inspiring note from her, too - now happily presiding above my computer shining down sparkly warm beams of encouragement.)

Kim thought I would enjoy the gorgeous wood engraving illustrations, printed in browns and greens, especially the one above featuring the bold bird in winter. She's right, of course! And since it's been dipping into the 30s here this week in north Georgia, I thought sharing the Longfellow poem it illustrates would be appropriate:

Woods in Winter

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.

O'er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.

Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.

Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river's gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.

Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!

But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.

Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.

Remind me to come back to this post around February! And I hope if winter winds are already blowing where you are, you'll hear a bit of "wild music" with them. I also hope you'll come back here next week, when I have the honor of hosting the Poetry Friday Round Up. Today, it's over at The Poem Farm, lassoed by the ever-talented Amy.


  1. November 30, 2012 12:17 AM EST
    Robyn, What a dear dear friend you have! And what a perfect poem for our family as we teeter on the threshold of a long Buffalo, NY winter. Thank you. I will hang this on in our house. You have so many cool things going on! Happy Poetry Friday! a.
    - Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
  2. November 30, 2012 12:20 AM EST
    Thank you, Amy! Couldn't get along without my writer friends - and so happy to have Poetry Friday friends like you as well. Stay cozy this weekend!
    - Robyn Black
  3. November 30, 2012 6:19 AM EST
    Hi, Robyn. What gorgeous illustrations -- quite a find! If you have time, take a look at my post about antique postcards. We should talk! "With solemn feet I tread the hill" has such beautiful rhythm.
    - Laura Shovan
  4. November 30, 2012 6:57 AM EST
    What a lovely day you had. Thanks for sharing it and the wintry poem which I confess made me feel cold! I haven't been enjoying the wintery winds, but the winter sky has been gorgeous.
    - Liz
  5. November 30, 2012 7:41 AM EST
    How wonderful, a cheery winter poem! And here's to friends who bring us treasures such as these. Love especially the illustrations (they do remind me of your work!). You, too, are a treasure, Robyn. xo
    - Irene Latham
  6. November 30, 2012 9:28 AM EST
    Laura - thank you, and I'll head right over!

    Hi, Liz - I don't envy your wintery winds, but leave it to you to find beauty in the sky.

    Irene, I thought so, too - the cheery take on harsh weather was a surprise. And hear, hear for thoughtful friends. My little gift from you is on the shelf above my computer, too, raining down its goodness!
    - Robyn Black
  7. November 30, 2012 9:53 AM EST
    What a cozy poem - how it makes me long for much-missed snow! And how great is "Shrilly skaters"? I must use shrilly in a poem right away! Thank you, Robyn, you (hardly) vintage treasure!
    - Renee LaTulippe (@ReneeMLaTulippe)r
  8. November 30, 2012 10:14 AM EST
    Renee, I loved those "shrilly skaters" too! Well, I'm far past the customary definition of vintage (20 + years)and almost halfway to antique! ;0)
    - Robyn Black
  9. November 30, 2012 10:51 AM EST
    It's in the 20's here in NH today, so this was the perfect poem to welcome in the chill of winter. Thanks, Robyn!
    - Matt Forrest Esenwine
  10. November 30, 2012 10:54 AM EST
    Brrrrr, Matt! Thanks for stopping by. Crank up the hot cocoa!
    - Robyn Black
  11. November 30, 2012 11:02 AM EST
    What a beautiful book! The Longfellow poem is one I'll have to reread with a nice cup of tea on a snowy day. Friendship is the real treasure, isn't it?
    - jama
  12. November 30, 2012 11:07 AM EST
    Perfectly put, Jama! :0)
    - Robyn Black
  13. November 30, 2012 11:20 AM EST
    It gladdens my heart during treasure hunts to find a nugget that's just perfect for a dear friend. Thanks for featuring one of my favorite poems in the book! Enjoyed the day. We must do it again soon!
    - Kim S.
  14. November 30, 2012 11:25 AM EST
    Thank you, Kim, for providing such a lovely post today, and for your wonderful friendship. And, yes, I think we were just getting started with the vintage adventuring...
    - Robyn Black
  15. November 30, 2012 11:39 AM EST
    Love this last stanza:
    Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
    Has grown familiar with your song;
    I hear it in the opening year,
    I listen, and it cheers me long.

    Thanks for sharing your Longfellow gift with us this week, Robyn, and all your other many gifts the rest of the year!
    - Tabatha
  16. November 30, 2012 12:48 PM EST
    What a special friend and the perfect poem to share. I love that last stanza, especially the final lines:

    "I hear it in the opening year,
    I listen, and it cheers me long. "

    - Susan Taylor Brown
  17. November 30, 2012 12:54 PM EST
    Oh Robyn,
    Thank you for this post and the picture of your book. I can just imagine the thrill of holding this lovely volume in your hands and feeling the papers--ah, and the scent of antique bindings. You've enriched my day and for that I'm grateful. (Sorry Matt is in the 20's, come to Tucson. We're in the mid 70's today.)
    - joyacey
  18. November 30, 2012 1:06 PM EST
    Longfellow's poem, "Woods in Winter," is lovely. It's always nice to hear a poem created with this kind of structure and rhyme scheme.
    - Patricia Cruzan
  19. November 30, 2012 1:22 PM EST
    Tabatha, glad you like the poem! I love that final stanza as well - it took me by surprise. Thanks for your kind comments.

    Susan, Kim has such good taste and a ready eye - and a generous heart. And I really will have to come back to those final lines in a couple of months!

    Joy - you always live up to your name. Thanks for the thoughtful words, and I'm glad your surroundings are as warm as you are today. :0)

    Hi, Patricia - I enjoy the solid structure of so many classic poems, too - not as easy to write as they are easy to read, don't you think?
    - Robyn Black
  20. November 30, 2012 1:51 PM EST
    Ooh...I feel the chill of deep January in reading this, Robyn. And that book looks like a real treasure - lovely gift!
    - Tara
  21. November 30, 2012 2:09 PM EST
    I know, Tara! It makes me want to bundle up. With a good book, like this one. :0) Thanks for coming by.
    - Robyn Black
  22. December 1, 2012 1:19 AM EST
    Well, since I just wrote to winter of my love a few weeks ago, I do love this one, Robyn. That next to last verse is kind of shivery, isn't it? But I know we can be snug inside with all the sides like comforters & cocoa. Your new book is beautiful. I'm glad you have that friend to find good things for you!
    - LInda Baie
  23. December 1, 2012 7:50 AM EST
    What a good reminder to enjoy EVERY season while we've got it!
    - Mary Lee Hahn
  24. December 1, 2012 10:51 AM EST
    Linda, that stanza is the one that really got me! Glad you liked this; you are one to embrace life, aren't you, even the colder spells.

    Hi, Mary Lee! Much as I complain about the cold (and that's relative since I live in north Georgia!), I'm thankful for the changes of seasons. Thanks for dropping by!
    - Robyn Black
  25. December 1, 2012 7:08 PM EST
    I love that line that says the song ceases not with the day. So lovely. Enjoy your new treasure from an old friend.
    - Doraine Bennett
  26. December 1, 2012 10:05 PM EST
    Thank you, Doraine! Friends like you are a treasure. :0)
    - Robyn Black
  27. December 1, 2012 10:11 PM EST
    Classical poems and music take time to create, but other poems are not that easy to write, either. Some people think they can create the perfect poem in one draft, but I don't believe most people can do that.
    - Patricia Cruzan
  28. December 2, 2012 7:03 AM EST
    "The song ceased not with the day." Words I love to hear in this wild windsong of a poem. It's great to have a friend who knows you so well.
    - Betsy
  29. December 2, 2012 2:44 PM EST
    Patricia - Amen! Rewriting is the name of the game for me.

    Hi, Betsy - thank you for visiting. Your "...wild windsong of a poem" is gorgeous in itself!
    - Robyn Black
  30. December 3, 2012 1:49 PM EST
    What a great story! And thank you for this poem. I don't like the "shrilly" that starts the phrase, but I love:

    the skater's iron rings,
    And voices fill the woodland side.
    - laurasalas
  31. December 3, 2012 1:57 PM EST
    Hi, Laura! Thanks so much for coming by. I wonder if Longfellow chose "Shrilly" to start that line just because it does grate on the ear?! ;0) Your revision instincts are sharp - now I want to revise that phrase, too.
    - Robyn 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!