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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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Bicycle Poetry Contest and Thoughts on Spinning in Circles...

June 5, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, contests, poetry, ponderings, art

“Six Degrees of Separation”
photo ©Stephanie Salkin. All rights reserved.

The wheel has spun around again – it’s time for the poetry (and art) contest that my friend and fellow poet Stephanie Salkin helps coordinate each summer down in sunny Florida. In fact, it’s the third annual bicycle art and poetry competition co-sponsored by the Flagler County Art League (FCAL) and the Gargiulo Art Foundation.

“This year, the theme has been expanded to include 'plein air' art which, in terms of poetry, would translate to the outdoors/scenery. A poem could be about bicycles or the outdoors or some combination,” says the entry form.

What kind of poem should you create? Stephanie responds:

“Write any kind of bicycle or motorbike kind of poem, perhaps a reflection from childhood, or, if that doesn’t move your gears, write a poem about the beauty of the world around you—paint it in words the way a painter of the outdoors would create it in brush strokes.”

Here’s the nitty gritty:

Theme: bicycles or the outdoors, or a combination of both.

Send an entry form and non-refundable entry fee of $3 per poem ($5 for two poems), to be RECEIVED by July 2, 2014. (Questions & forms? Call Stephanie Salkin at 386-693-4204 or email

You may also drop off form and entries at the FCAL gallery in Palm Coast.

Winning entries will be read at the GAF-FCAL Bicycle/Plein Air Art Show Opening, Saturday, July 12, 2014, at 7 P.M. (NOTE: If you would like to participate in an 8:30 p.m. POETRY SLAM on Opening Night, the entry fee for that event--if you participate in the theme poetry competition, too—is $3. If you wish to participate only in the SLAM, the fee is $5.)

Cash awards will be presented for first through third place theme poems. (You do not have to be present at show to win.)

One of these years I’m going to have my act together to enter this contest. Seems I frequently pedal down the road to you-know-where with good intentions. For instance, I thought for sure I’d be settled enough in our new digs to enter a particular haiku contest, whose deadline just passed, - but, alas, I waved as it went by. This past year has taught me that in some seasons in our lives, we just need to cut ourselves a little slack.

In the span of the past 10 months, my family went from all four under the same roof last summer to hubby starting a job six hours away, oldest child off to her last year of college and youngest off to his first in different states, and myself dealing with paring down and packing up almost 30 years of stuff – and trying to get a rather quirky big rambling 70s house ready to sell or rent or something. We bought a small cottage in our new hometown of Beaufort, SC, in the fall.

I finally got myself, the few pieces of furniture that would fit in the new space, and our mostly geriatric menagerie over here to the lowcountry from Georgia this spring. Many, many trips – even after the movers came. [When I told my good friend Paula B. Puckett that half the time I don't know which state I'm in, she replied: "I know - you're in a state of confusion!"]

I just got back with the last load from the house this week (!). In the meantime, said oldest has graduated and has moved to a rental house to start grad school and her teaching career, and said youngest has decided to transfer colleges and will be moving to yet a different town this fall. (He just got here for the summer and an internship, though - yay!)

I have had to let many things slide in recent months, too often including making the rounds of Poetry Friday. What a wonderful community, though – it’s still here. Even when some of us have to skip now and then. I am so looking forward to settling into a (creative) rut from this new address.

Happy to report that my studio in an 1889 building downtown is almost unpacked and set up – well, the tornado décor is just in half of it at the moment, not all of it. There is light at the end of the tunnel of moving boxes! (I’ll share pix and a tour soon on my artsyletters art blog.)

Thanks to the folks who have come by here to visit sporadic posts in recent months, even when I couldn’t always reciprocate. The last year has felt a bit like that exhilaration (and hint of fear) one experiences while splashing in the ocean, and a huge wave comes. You know it’s going to knock you off your grounded feet, swirl you around and upside-down a little maybe, but you’ll eventually surface. For those balancing big life transitions, hold your breath a minute and give yourself a break! You’ll breathe again. And for those experiencing a more settled year, perhaps with time and energy to spare - pen a wonderful bicycle/outdoor poem and send it to Stephanie!

You can go glean inspiration from all the great poetry rounded up at Carol's Corner today - Thanks, Carol!


  1. June 6, 2014 7:04 AM EDT
    You've had so much on your plate, Robyn -- I am impressed that you have kept up with Poetry Friday as well as you have. What city will your son be studying in next year? Enjoy your summer!
    - Tabatha
  2. June 6, 2014 7:28 AM EDT
    Thanks for the info on the contest and the update on your move. Lots going on with you. Things should settle down soon and you can relax and maybe write some poems.
    - Margaret Simon
  3. June 6, 2014 8:04 AM EDT
    Thanks for the poetry contest tip, Robyn. I'll need to see if I can create something that's a match. I'm glad you're starting to feel settled in your home and studio...a great feeling!
    - Tamera Wissinger
  4. June 6, 2014 8:15 AM EDT
    You may remember that I did all that moving stuff about a year and a half ago, although just across the city. It was challenging and amazing how many trips it took, and how much I let go in a sale. I still have some things to get rid of, but am very glad to have made the move. Your new setting sounds awesome, & I'm happy to hear that you're nearly done, Robyn. Thanks for sharing; best to all the family.
    - Linda Baie
  5. June 6, 2014 8:15 AM EDT
    Very cool poetry contest, Robin. Whew - what a lot on your plate! Bu all lovely and happy things to celebrate and plan for.
    - Tara
  6. June 6, 2014 8:28 AM EDT
    Thanks for sharing the news, Robyn - I might try to enter, if I can find the time! Like you, I often find deadlines for these sorts of things passing me by...between the kids, work, and rehabbing my knee, I'm lucky if I have time to write at all!
    - Matt Forrest Esenwine
  7. June 6, 2014 11:33 AM EDT
    Hi, Tabatha! Thanks. And I guess we'll have to rendezvous someplace other than Nashville... ;0) Seth had a great year at Belmont but found he missed the mountains and didn't really like living in a big city. He's headed to Young Harris College up in the north Georgia mountains.

    Margaret, I appreciate the kind thoughts! I definitely want to be writing more than I have been in recent months. :0)

    Good luck, Tamera - and thanks so much for the warm wishes.

    Linda, Oh - I've thought of you many times in this past year! We've probably parted with about 70 percent of what we had. But I still have boxes to go through and more to pass along, I'm sure. (I've kept every fridge picture my kids ever made, I think...!) I'm glad circumstances made me go through things, as otherwise I probably never would! Thanks for your support, and if you're ever this way....

    Thanks for coming by, Tara - definitely a lot of complicated logistics getting to a more simple life (!) but worth it.

    Matt, you spin so many plates I can't keep up. Especially with precious little ones to take care of. Keep working in that writing when you can, but perhaps it's not the year to expect a 100,000-word novel before Christmas. ;0)
    - Robyn Black
  8. June 6, 2014 12:29 PM EDT
    So nice to have an update from you and to hear that you're almost mostly practically finished moving :). Looking forward to your studio tour. Thanks for checking in!
    - jama
  9. June 6, 2014 1:23 PM EDT
    Hi,Jama - thank you so much. This has been the clunkiest, most inelegant, most drawn-out move in the history of moving I think, but it's very nice to be on this side!
    - Robyn Black
  10. June 6, 2014 1:42 PM EDT
    I've been thinking of you while I'm making Poetry Boxes. Thank you for this very inspirational post. Your words ring so true and I find myself feeling a little bit better at missing those contest deadlines too.
    - Joy Acey
  11. June 6, 2014 2:18 PM EDT
    Thanks for sharing the contest call, Robyn -- and for this update on your big move. That 1889 studio space sounds like it will be divine.
    - Laura Shovan @AuthorAmok
  12. June 6, 2014 8:50 PM EDT
    The timing of this contest isn't great for me either, Robyn, but I'm all for cutting you some slack, and I try to do the same for myself when I can. It's not easy, but I'm getting better at it, that's for sure. We'll be here when you're ready to jump back in on a regular basis.
    - Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
  13. June 6, 2014 11:56 PM EDT
    Hi, Joy! You are always making something creative. (And I'm glad if my post offered an opportunity for you to give yourself a wee break now and then!) ;0)

    Laura - you're welcome. Thanks for the kind vibes re. the studio space. If you meander down I-95 along the southern coast, I hope you can stop in!

    Howdy, Michelle - I'd say you've been in a season of "high gear" with all the poetic bloggy goodness of late! Thanks for doing all that and for the kind thoughts. :0)
    - Robyn Black
  14. June 7, 2014 6:50 AM EDT
    This is just to say that I have been here and read your words, but surgery on both thumbs last Tuesday prevents me from typing a personalized comment. Forgive me -- copy/paste is the best I can do this week! :-)
    - Mary Lee Hahn
  15. June 7, 2014 6:52 AM EDT

    You're plate has been overflowing for certain and you've been wise to accept that and let some things slip away. I think I found a poem in your blog post today:

    The last year has felt a bit like that exhilaration (and hint of fear) one experiences while splashing in the ocean, and a huge wave comes. You know it’s going to knock you off your grounded feet, swirl you around and upside-down a little maybe, but you’ll eventually surface. For those balancing big life transitions, hold your breath a minute and give yourself a break! You’ll breathe again.

    I'm glad to hear that it sounds like everyone is resettling in their new homes.
    - LIz
  16. June 7, 2014 11:59 AM EDT
    Oohlala. Now I understand what Carol means about wanting to get a bike. Thank you dearest Robyn for sharing your journey with us. I imagine that it can't be easy - but yes, breathing is always important. Taking in of air and life and magic. There is poetry everywhere.
    - Myra from GatheringBooks
  17. June 9, 2014 11:51 AM EDT
    I enjoyed reading your post, Robyn and would love to see pictures of your wonderful studio in a time gone by building. Good luck with all of the changes in your family's lives.
    - Carol Varsalona

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