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
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
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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Summer Poem Swap and Poetic Procrastination from Buffy Silverman

July 31, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, Summer Poem Swap, ponderings, poetry

Buffy's poem arrived with the wonderful blackbird graphic (credited below) and a small envelope with two treasures: fossils from Lake Michigan!

During The Summer Poem Swap, I’ve enjoyed a little banter with fellow participant Buffy Silverman about our – um – lack of ability to, technically, meet the deadlines. :0! [Aside: I had the privilege of meeting Buffy a couple of years ago at a Highlights Founders workshop in poetry, along with a few other Poetry Friday-ers. What a treat!]

This deadline business all started with the very first swap poem; I’d noticed a comment Buffy left on another blog with a wee apology that her poem would arrive a little late. I emailed her that her confession gave me comfort, because I was already running behind too! Little did we know we’d be swapping with each other just a couple of rounds later.

And little did I know she could turn that week’s suggested prompt into this poetic series that literally had me laughing out loud. My office cat, May, was in my lap while I read it, and she looked alarmed, wondering what all the fuss was about.

I’m sure you will enjoy Buffy’s offering as much as I did!


Thirteen Ways of Looking at Procrastination
(an apology poem for Robyn, with thanks to Wallace Stevens)


I
Among the pile of unfinished tasks,
The one that tore my soul
Was the poetry-swap poem for Robyn.


II
I was of three minds,
Like a blank page
In which there are three imaginary poems.


III
The unwritten poem whirled in the background of my day.
It was a small part of the pantomime of being a writer.


IV
Facebook and sudoku
Are one.
Facebook and sudoku and a week up north
Are one.


V.
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of Robyn’s poem for me not yet written
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The busy writer with assignments
That no one need know were completed seven days ago.


VI
Would icicles fill the study window
Before the summer swap poems were written?
The shadow of procrastination
Grows when Robyn’s poem arrives.
The joy of her gift
Traced with guilt
A decipherable cause.


VII
O idling writer of Augusta
Why do you imagine golden words?
Do you not see how the page
Still blank dances with rhythm
Of the writers before you?


VIII
I know about spiders and webs
And nimble, unpredictable rhymes;
But I know, too,
That frittering delay is involved
In what I know.


IX
When the excuses flew out of sight
The words marked the end
Of the empty screen.


X
At the sight of stanzas
Crowing in black and white,
Even the mistress of procrastination
Would cry out sharply.


XI
She rode to
Beaufort in a manila envelope.
Once, a fear pierced her,
In that she mistook
The lateness of her words
For ineptitude.


XII
The neurons are firing.
The missive will soon be flying.


XIII
It was easier to write than to delay.
It was sunrise
And it was going to glow.
The words poured
From the writer’s pen.


--Buffy Silverman, July 2014

Image from http://www.julianjardine.co.uk/alisonread.html

©Buffy Silverman. All Rights Reserved.

Now, don’t procrastinate – get thee hence to this week’s Roundup over at Reflections on the Teche , hosted by the lovely and talented Margaret. (You can see Margaret’s Round One Summer Poem Swap gifts to me here .)

And… BLATENT COMMERCIAL WARNING: If you have a little correspondence to catch up on yourself this summer, I’ve just added a couple of beach-themed note card designs to the artsyletters stable. You can see them on my art blog here.

Poetry Friday: Summer Poem Swap Delights from Irene Latham

July 10, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, Summer Poem Swap, book tracks




You can’t outclever Irene.

A couple of weeks ago it was my pleasure to share my first surprise in the 2014 Summer Poem Swap (dreamed up by the amazing Tabatha ), a lovely and poignant poem and hand painted card from Margaret Simon.

Thursday my mailbox offered up delectable poetic surprise # 2 – this time from my good friend and fellow SCBWI Southern Breezer, Irene Latham.

First, I howled at the packaging. A repurposed Little Debbies Star Crunch box! That bit of cardboard transported me back a few decades ago to summers when I worked at a daycare center– we took the kids skating and took along boxes of Little Debbies Star Crunch treats! Mmmm, still remember how yummy they were…

I opened that box to find another: a cute little take-out carton with wire handle! You know the ones. Irene collaged the outside of this with all kinds of pictorial wonders – images of a light bulb/idea; a big beetle; a pig wearing shades; the words yes! and Love; some eighteenth-century party-goers; some colorful men under a colorful umbrella; and a little girl in make-believe mode hanging out a costume to dry. Sooo very Irene!

Inside the box were some fortune cookies! And, a wee colorful scroll. Oh, I do love a scroll. I untied its ribbon to find this:


Fortune Cookie
for RHB

        1
crisp, golden shell
    happy to hatch

        2
white-winged
   messenger
nestled inside
    tender folds

        3

word-bird
unfurling,
singing itself

    alive



©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.


Is that delicious or what?!?! (And please forgive the less-than-perfect formatting.) I could read that last stanza over and over, and I’m sure I will.

In the interest of poetry of course, I opened one of the fortune cookies. To share whatever its message was with you …

If we only knew the real value of the day.

Now there’s a sentiment a poet can sink her teeth into! (And, yes, of course I ate the cookie… Am I wearing crumbs?)

Speaking of Irene, on the OFF CHANCE YOU’VE BEEN ESCAPING THE HEAT IN SIBERIA OR SOMETHING… Huge congrats on the starred reviews for her first collection of poetry for young readers, DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST, to be released from Millbrook in September. Says the one and only Lee Bennett Hopkins:

CHEERS to Irene Latham. Her latest book, DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST AND OTHER POEMS FROM THE WATER HOLE (Millbrook) received STARRED reviews from both SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL and KIRKUS reviews. The book is simply beautiful in every way. SLJ cites:
"This will be a much-sought after book...". Seek it out.


I always do what Lee says. Actually, I had the good fortune to see some of these fine poems in manuscript form, and I recently got to see a beautiful ARC from the publisher. To see the cover, and to learn about more poetry books for young readers Irene has coming down the pike, click here.

Many thanks to Irene for allowing me to share her work, and I’m ever grateful to share this journey in poetry with her as well.

All this talk of cookies must have whet your poetic appetite. Please visit lovely Linda at Write Time for more delicious poetic offerings in this week’s Roundup!

Poetry Friday: Summer Poem Swap Surprise from Margaret Simon

June 26, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, Summer Poem Swap, poetry, ponderings

painting and poem ©Margaret Simon


First, Summer Poetry Swap Confession: I so enjoyed the Winter Poem Swap - these things are conjured up by the amazing Tabatha Yeatts - that I signed on for this year's Summer Swap. "I'll be all settled and organized by June," I says to myself. "I'm in!"

Got my first secret recipient info - it was Diane Mayr! I'm a not-so-secret admirer of her poetry, her quick wit and thoughtfulness, her art sense, her ability to juggle three blogs simultaneously and hold down a real job and keep her feline companions happy... . "I'll come up with some lovely haiku for her," I says to myself. Well, that first "deadline" zinged right past me, and I sent her a little groveling message that I was already behind! (Of course, she sent a "no worries"-type message back. But she SHOULD get my offering in the mail today according to the P. O., not haiku but something else. When I saw Buffy's message to her first Summer Swap partner that hers would be a little late, I emailed Buffy about how much better that made me feel!)

Anyway, I was delighted to open my own mailbox and find a special envelope with Margaret Simon's return address! Margaret is just one of those people you want to drive all the way to Louisiana to meet up with and talk with for hours over some strong Louisiana coffee, just by reading her blog posts and her thoughtful comments all around. BUT - I was also feeling a little guilty. Her poetic gift arrived on time, and I just knew it would be something wonderful.

When a quiet moment finally presented itself, I opened the envelope, feeling inadequate already. A hand painted card was inside, and it looked like my new surroundings! At first I thought, "Does the bayou look like our lowcountry?!" Then I read that she'd looked online for a picture of "South Carolina beaches" and she painted, in watercolor, a scene she found! (I didn't even know she painted - did you?)

If that wasn't enough to grab me - and actually, it was! - I read the beautiful poem she'd penned inside. Talk about humbled. And uplifted. I was struggling to feel like I could slow down enough (even in this "slowcountry") to write some new poetry, and I fell right into these words:


Poem in the Sand


Let a poem find your voice.
Real things can happen there,
even imaginary ones
Dreams…yes,
dreams, too.

Poems hide in unexpected places,
buried in the sand, tossed from the sea.
Turn the grains over in your hand.
Take them to where you want to go.

Whisper softly like ocean waves.
I’ll know when I hear your voice.
Your words will find me watching.
Your words will find my heart waiting.


©Margaret Simon


Sigh. I felt so grateful. And less stressed. What a gift! And the imagery of sand experienced in different ways - it reminded me of time, too, and nudged me not to fight it all the time!

Isn't the last stanza something? I think anyone who reads it will feel encouraged. I sure did.

[By the way - Buffy, if you're reading this, and at the risk of spoiling a surprise - guess who my next poem is going to?? ;0) ]

AND, guess who is hosting us today? BUFFY! Go check out all the great offerings at Buffy's Blog (and tell her to watch her mailbox, but maybe not with bated breath....)

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