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: Micro Found Poetry for the Holidays... Kid-Friendly Project!

November 27, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, micro found poetry, holidays, students, found poems

©Robyn Hood Black

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

One of the top items on my "Thankful" list is our Poetry Friday community - old hats, new faces, the spontaneous community of what must the world's most wonderful folks. Thank you for your friendship and your ever-inspiring posts.

My post today is about wee things. Just when I think I can't downsize any more....

Here I was this week in my studio, trying to concoct a few Christmas ornaments to make available in my Etsy shop this weekend. I've searched high and low for any kind of ornament frames similar to the great ones I found last year for the miniature version of my "Writer Mouse" print. But, alas, no luck.

So I've been experimenting with some smaller vintage ones that I found online. I hand-cropped my wee literary mousie and put it in the front of some gold-tone tiny frame ornaments I snatched up. These are only about 2 inches by 1 1/2 inch. The back had its own clear plastic covering for an image as well. What to do?

Eureka! I've also been playing around with my beloved old books this week, planning mixed media/found poem/collage pieces now that I'm on the mend. Why not conjure up wee little holiday found poems from these very old texts to share? A tiny piece of history to hang on the tree! [My first children's poems published in a book were in Georgia Heard's THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK (Roaring Brook), and I've been addicted ever since. Kids love creating found poems, too - more on that in a sec.]

Here are the highlighted texts, in case they are difficult to read in the pictures:


      merry making
telling of stories

carries us back


     travel upwards


under the mistletoe


[From LITTLE FOLKS - A Magazine for the Very Young, London, Paris & New York, Cassell & Company, LTD., bound collections from 1877 and 1884.]

Not really sure you'd call these poetry, maybe micro found poems? (If that's a thing, I couldn't find it online, though you can read plenty about "found poems" and "micropoetry.")

Now, Teachers - and Parents about to have kids home over the next break - students seem less intimidated about "writing poetry" if they have something in front of them as inspiration instead of a blank page. I kid you not, I've even seen "cool" eighth grade boys eager to come to the front of the room and share a found poem they created together during a workshop. [That is a beautiful thing!]

Maybe you could try an ornament activity like this as a fun little project? Students would not need to cut up 100-year-old books, of course. They could start with a die-cut blank cardstock circle, or cut their own "base" in a shape they like, and punch a hole in the top for a piece of ribbon. Are there any kid-friendly magazines or other text goldmines in the recycling pile? All the poet-artists need now are some scissors, glue, and imagination! One option for them (or you) is to simply cut out some words from within the text and glue these onto their cardstock base.

If you'd like to try the "highlighted" effect I show above, the top of a sticky note (the sticky part) is your best friend. (I borrowed this technique from the terrific Seth Apter.) Just cut a text-high strip to cover the words you want featured. Paint over the rest of the text (a light "wash" - acrylic or watercolor paint thinned with water - works great, to let some of the other words peek through just a bit). Before the paint is completely dry, gently lift away the sticky note strip(s). Tweezers might help here.

When the found-poem ornament is dry, a coat of acrylic gloss will give it a sheen and add some protection. That's not necessary, though, if supplies are limited or you've got very young artist/poets!

***All you talented teachers, poets, artists, parents - please add your two cents' in the comments if you've got thoughts to share on this project!***

For poetry of all shapes and sizes, and a thoughtful post from our host today, please visit Carol's Corner.


  1. November 27, 2014 9:25 PM EST
    I love this idea! I might lay it out on the dining room table tomorrow and see if I can get my boys to give it a try! Definitely taking it to school next week to try with our middle schoolers.
    - Carol
  2. November 27, 2014 10:10 PM EST
    Thanks so much, Carol - let me know how it goes! :0) And thanks again for hosting on this busy weekend.
    - Robyn Black
  3. November 27, 2014 10:15 PM EST
    Great project! I love the concept of micro-poems, as you probably could have guessed. Enjoy your weekend. Happy Etsy sales!
    - Diane Mayr
  4. November 27, 2014 10:22 PM EST
    Thank you, Diane - we share that short-poems penchant, I'm honored to say. ;0) I appreciate the good wishes - have a terrific weekend!
    - Robyn Black
  5. November 28, 2014 7:56 AM EST
    Clearly, there no bounds to your creativity, Robyn! Love this terrific idea and your adorable little found poems! I look forward to giving this a try with Miranda– she'll love the challenge.
    - Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
  6. November 28, 2014 8:20 AM EST
    Hi, Michelle - I did warn you it's addictive, right? ;0) Hope you and Miranda have fun!
    - Robyn Black
  7. November 28, 2014 10:07 AM EST
    I love this idea and especially the one:
    Merry making
    Telling of stories
    Carries us back.
    Such powerful words for the day after Thanksgiving
    Thanks for sharing the process with us.
    - Ramona
  8. November 28, 2014 10:10 AM EST
    I love those little found poems! (And I love my little mouse ornament! I shall think of you when I hang it this year, Robyn, and wish you and yours well.)
    - Cathy C. Hall
  9. November 28, 2014 10:11 AM EST
    Word art--what could be better! LOVE this and will try it with my 5th graders!!
    - Mary Lee Hahn
  10. November 28, 2014 10:42 AM EST
    Hi, Ramona! Thanks for visiting. It's a little bit of magic when you're scanning a paragraph (especially something written so very long ago) and something like that jumps out! It was my favorite of these, too - thanks!

    Cathy - honored that my little mousie graces your tree! I hope you and yours have a warm and wonderful holiday.

    Howdy, Mary Lee - glad you enjoyed! Fifth grade is a great age for these kinds of word adventures; let me know how your students like it. :0)
    - Robyn Black
  11. November 28, 2014 11:32 AM EST
    Love this idea. I'll use it in the next few weeks with my students. I like the idea of micro-found poetry. Thanks for sharing!
    - Margaret Simon
  12. November 28, 2014 11:33 AM EST
    Robyn, your creativity never seizes to amaze me. Enjoy your pieces of art and your words. I look forward to seeing what you have in mind for the December posts.
    - Patricia Cruzan
  13. November 28, 2014 12:20 PM EST
    Ha! I might have done a little practicing under the mistletoe once upon a time. :) Love these so much, Robyn! Btw, we need to talk about the Live Your Poem postcard I want to commission for Nat'l Poetry Month 2015... coming soon! Hope you and yours had a lovely Thanksgiving. xo
    - Irene Latham
  14. November 28, 2014 1:41 PM EST
    Hi, Margaret! Thanks - and I hope your students have fun!

    Thank you, Patricia. I love sharing these kinds of things with fellow word-lovers like you! :0)

    Irene! Ooohhh... scandalous. And, I'm looking forward to it! Been flexing my fingers... :0) Hope you and yours had a great TGiving and start to the holiday season, too.
    - Robyn Black
  15. November 28, 2014 9:15 PM EST
    So charming! Great idea, Robyn :-)
    - Tabatha
  16. November 28, 2014 10:45 PM EST
    Robyn, micro poetry is very interesting. I peruse the Twitter feeds for #micropoetry when creating the different galleries. I actually met some writers that way. I am fascinated by your creativity and do like the Etsy site. Do you have a finding fall photo and poem for this season's gallery?
    - Carol Varsalona
  17. November 29, 2014 12:11 AM EST
    Another stroke of creative genius, Robyn. =)
    - Bridget Magee
  18. November 29, 2014 11:36 AM EST
    Thanks, Tabatha! I had fun with these.

    Hi, Carol - Thanks. Your galleries are creative and wonderful - I'm just now re-entering the land of the creative living after a neck/nerves injury this fall. I haven't been able to do all the things I had hoped to say yes to! Thanks for visiting and mentioning; hopefully I'll be full speed soon.

    Hey there, Bridget! Thanks for coming by. I love bouncing ideas back and forth.
    - Robyn Black
  19. November 29, 2014 7:29 PM EST
    This is sooo clever! The micro found poems are perfect and very festive! Thanks for sharing the technique, Robyn.
    - Penny Parker Klostermann
  20. November 29, 2014 9:06 PM EST
    Hi, Penny! Thanks for coming over, and glad you enjoyed. And, huge congrats again on your upcoming book!! :0)
    - Robyn Black

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