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 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 2005-2016 ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved. Please ask permission before using any text or images on this website, except for reproducible
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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Summer Poem Swap Splendor from Michelle Kogan

August 28, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, Poem Swap, Michelle Kogan, art


**[POETRY FRIDAY is such a wonderful way to fill our baskets with what feeds the soul. This week, I know we are all keeping those in Texas and Louisiana foremost in our thoughts, hearts, and prayers. There are no adequate words to offer, but I'm grateful for the selfless actions of those brave neighbors and first responders, and outreach of present and future help from across the country.]**


What a delight to receive a colorful package in the mail, open it, and find more color spilling out in every direction.

Today I'm happy to share my generous Summer Poem Swap goodies from Michelle Kogan.

I arranged the contents on our dining room table to take a picture of the whole lot, and, as you see, our kitty, Lance (Lancelot), photo-bombed it. But since Michelle is such an animal lover, as I am, I thought a live animal was actually an appropriate addition!

I received an oh-so-cheery collection of cards made from Michelle's paintings, including a beautiful notecard, a sampling of haiku/art cards in such an intriguing size and narrow shape, and a gallery show postcard. PLUS, the "August Fairy and Luna Moth" card showcased above had a lovely personal note to me on the back. The card features art originally created with watercolor, watercolor pencil, and pen, and an original poem by Michelle:


lovely luna, my
august fairy heart skips a
beat for your beauty...


©2017 Michelle Kogan. All rights reserved.

I've always loved Luna moths! And how delightful to consider each one of us can have a personal "fairy heart."

To see more of Michelle's art and read more of her poetry, flutter on over to her website and blog. Michelle also did the cover art for Michelle Heidenrich Barnes's The Best of Today's Little Ditty 2014-15 anthology, published last November.

Michelle is also a fellow Etsy shop owner! Check out her watercolor paintings, prints, cards and other irresistible items for sale here.

Etsy has invited sellers to participate in its first ever Labor Day Sale, which you can enjoy in Michelle's shop right now.

[I'm running a Labor Day Weekend sale as well, in my artsyletters shop. Enjoy!]

Many thanks to Michelle for these beautiful treasures, and for letting me share them with you this week. For more inspiring poetry, just flap those fairy wings and fly all the way to Australia, where the purrrrfectly enchanting (& VERY busy these days) Kat Apel, has September's first Roundup.

Poetry Friday - Summer Poem Swap Treasures from Margaret Simon

July 27, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, Summer Poem Swap, poetry, birds, art


Howdy, Fellow Poetry Lovers - how is it the end of July already?

Teacher-Daughter Morgan is finishing up her classroom prep in Georgia, ready for the Meet and Greet in just a few days... And my special "guest" today will be back in the swing of school in coming days, too!

This morning I heard a "teakettle-teakettle-teakettle" chirp outside the bedroom window, and I immediately thought of Margaret Simon. She sent me the most wonderful Carolina Wren-inspired Summer Poem Swap poem, plus other treasures! (Many thanks to Tabatha for coordinating these wonderful Swaps.)

Margaret included a lovely card and note explaining that in May, she was visiting her parents and watched a Carolina Wren feeding her babies in a nest built in a flower pot. She also kindly mentioned my Carolina Wren block print/cards in my Etsy shop, and she included its image on the sheet with her poem!

[My image came about after I was smitten with a painting by Camille Engel that my good friend Peggy Jo Shaw uses as a logo for her writing & editorial business, Wren Cottage. I wanted my own reference, of course, for anything I made, though my relief print would be stylized. I set up a stack of vintage books next to a nest-filled flower pot that was on MY back porch years ago, then waited across the patio slumped in a chair for "our" wren to land on them! Many close calls before she finally lit on the books, almost an hour later, and I snapped a (fuzzy-but-good-enough) picture. ;0) ]

Here is the poem Margaret sent:


Carolina Wren

From the back porch,
we watched a cinnamon-colored bird
hop in and out
like a child bouncing
on a trampoline--
flower pot
to birch
to pine needle mulch--
           hop,
                 hop,
                      hop.

From a quivering branch,
a teakettle tweet--
Mom and Pop
tag teaming
carry insects,
caterpillars,
other crawling creatures.
Looping return--
           disappear,
                 reappear,
                      disappear.

Under rising red vinca
unkowing flowers
sway like a metronome.
A nest nook
echoes notes
from tiny, open
begging yellow beaks--
           peep,
                 peep,
                      peep.



©Margaret Simon. All rights reserved.


Isn't that SO wren-like? It makes me cheer for that little wren family.

Margaret also sent the oh-so-lovely mixed media wooden plaque in soothing blues, perfect for someone from the splashy bayou to send to someone in the balmy lowcountry! Its text reads, "Words are your paintbrush" with a little raised feature that says "DELIGHT." (I get to add it to my beautiful "Art by Margaret" poem swap collection!)

Many thanks to Margaret for these gifts, and for permission to share them this week.

[Aside: This week is also "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel.... Speaking of block print animal designs in my Etsy shop, I went a little crazy when the USPS issued some brand-new Forever shark stamps on Wednesday. I paired these with my shark note cards, made up a fun mini metal bookmark with vintage pewter shark tooth charm, and put it all together in a limited edition Shark Gift Pack. It has tooth. And charm.]

Whether your summer travels have you in the air or the water this week, please make your way on over to A Word Edgewise, where Linda - also gearing up for a new school year, I'm sure - has the Roundup and a nest-full of poetic inspiration today!

Poetry Friday - More Micro Found Poem Ornaments!

November 23, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, found poetry, artsyletters, Etsy, found poems, art, writer mouse


Happy Thanksgiving Weekend/poetry Friday!

I hope you and yours have enjoyed good company and good food. Warmest thoughts for those with an empty chair at the table this year.

I made a fun discovery while cleaning up my studio recently - I found a few more of those miniature frames I made "found poem ornaments" from two years ago (with a how-to) . Who knew these extra frames were hiding in the supply closet? (Or stashed in a box under a table...?) Those little ornaments sold right away, so I figured I'd better conjure these into shape for this year.

As before, I put a tiny print of my "Writer Mouse" drawing on one side, and a found poem/phrase on the other. Below are the highlighted texts. They were all clipped directly from GOLDEN DAYS For Boys and Girls, Vol. XVIII -- No. 6, December 26, 1896, Philadelphia: James Elverson, Publisher.

The first two were found in "A Perilous Sleigh-Ride" by A. E. Conard:


sleds
await
families


jolly
taken altogether,
Our crew


And the third came from "Frankincense and Myrrh" by Mary N. Prescott:


little children
see Santa Claus
a comfort
in the world


(More pictures of these in my Etsy shop..) Update: Click on "Sold" items number on the left-hand side to see the listing pictures - at least two of them!

Wishing you and your jolly crew comfort and fun during these holidays and beyond. More poetry is just waiting to be discovered at Carol's Corner, where thoughtful Carol has our Roundup this week!

Poetry Friday - YOU JUST WAIT Winners, Hurricane Update, & Makerspace Link

October 13, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, contest, poetry, weather, art, artsyletters, conferences, workshops


Hellooooo, Poetry Friends!

On the hurricane front: we were very, very fortunate. We are freshly back in our home after a week's evacuation, and with power to boot. Our older kitties and diminutive doggie did fine with all the traveling and disruptions of "normal" life.

Our house is fine, but please keep some of our neighbors in mind - Thursday afternoon we saw firsthand how trees toppled onto roofs right around us, with at least one neighbor displaced for the next few months as major repairs are needed. Some neighbors (and plenty of folks on the sea islands) are still without power. And, of course, please keep the people of NC and other states in thoughts and prayers as there has been such suffering and loss, and of course on such a massive scale in Haiti.

Our lovely little Beaufort is making strides toward normalcy, though for many folks who haven't been able to return home because of washed-out roads, life won't be the same again for quite some time, if ever. [Our beloved local beach, Hunting Island State Park, is closed for the rest of the year.] If this was a Cat 2, I surely wouldn't want to see Cat 3, 4, or 5!

On Thursday, the Publix was packed, with customers and staff swapping stories of the storm. Ditto for the hardware store. Many local business have re-opened, sporting Welcome Back signs. Kids are happily on the loose, as schools won't re-open until Monday.

As Jeff and I began yard clean-up early Thursday evening, we ended up chatting with several neighbors out doing the same, or walking dogs, or driving by and stopping to say hello and check on us. Even our mail carrier greeted us with a "Welcome Home" as we were unloading on Wednesday.

It's been a whirlwind! I can't believe it's been two whole weeks since I had the privilege of leading a Found Poem Makerspace Activity at Poetry Camp. Click HERE for a recap of that creative, collective adventure.

As for this blog, I was able to get winners of the JUST YOU WAIT giveaway randomly picked, though a fulsome new post with Charles Ghigna will have to wait til next Friday. Be sure to circle back!

And now, drumroll please..... The JUST YOU WAIT winners are:

Charles Waters
Jama Rattigan
Elizabeth Steinglass
Matt Forrest Essenwine
and Linda Baie!


Congratulations! I probably have all your addresses somewhere, but in my current state of disarray, please send an email with your preferred mailing address to me at robyn@robynhoodblack.com , and I'll get your copies on their way to you next week.

Many thanks to Pomelo Books for providing these copies.

For terrific poetry you don't have to wait for, please visit my beautiful friend and poetic genius Irene Latham for this week's Roundup!

Poetry Friday: In Praise of Tinkering, and Science, and Such...

December 2, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, Poetry Friday Anthologies, poetry, art, artsyletters, poets, ponderings




Greetings, Poetry Tribe!

I hope your December is off to a great start. I’m buzzing around trying to get my studio ready for an Open House tomorrow (Sat.) – it’s a big holiday weekend in our little town. Lately I’ve been spending lots of time in it – well, tinkering!

Isn’t “tinker” a great word? It has a playful, metallic sound. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. Some of my best creations are the result of tinkering!

Here are a couple of examples of this kind of endeavor – the results of my prowling in vintage books and in my old metal cabinet drawers looking for odd bits of metal, old watch parts, vintage keys….

The first is a bit of text I've altered and an illustration both from HILL'S MANUAL - SOCIAL AND BUSINESS FORMS: GUIDE TO CORRECT WRITING, Nineteenth Edition (Chicago: Moses Warren & Co. Publishers, 1879), adorned with a vintage watch face and set in a vintage Italian metal frame, whose patina shows its age! (Oh - and I dangled a couple of very old black glass drops from either side.) The revealed text reads simply:

WRITE
                  very often.


And my Victorian obsession continues in the next mixed media collage, which features illustrations from the same volume, but a found poem/message from Constance Fenimore Woolson's "Miss Grief," featured in Lippincott's Magazine in May, 1880 and reprinted in STORIES BY AMERICAN AUTHORS, Volume 4 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1904). I had fun with this one; the "new" text reads:

the divine spark of genius
I felt as
a woman over fifty


(Can I get an "Amen"?!)
While I’ve been knee deep in artistic messes this week, I’ve also been enjoying the newest incarnation from Pomelo Books powerhouses Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong: a student-friendly “Remix” of poems from the Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. (I’m thrilled to have three poems in that collection.) It’s called The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for Kids.

Not only does it include the original 218 poems from the Teacher Edition, but there are 30 bonus poems tossed into the beaker! Pen and ink illustrations by Frank Ramspott and Bug Wang enliven the poetry-filled pages but don’t overwhelm the text. While this is the perfect complement to the Teacher Edition, this hearty paperback would also make a terrific gift on its own for any young science fans out there – Hint, hint, Santa!

It also got a “Hot Off the Press” write-up by the Children’s Book Council!

If you’re wondering how I’m going to connect my messing around in the studio and the new PFA for Science Remix for Kids, I give you this poem from it, by the amazing Janet Wong herself, which she kindly agreed to let me share:


Tinker Time

by Janet Wong

In Grandpa’s basement you can find
gears and wheels and wire and twine,

lots of nuts and bolts and hooks
and one whole shelf of build-it books.

If we need help during Tinker Time,
we go to the computer and look online.

What will we build when we’re all done?
We don’t know yet – that’s half the fun!


©Janet Wong. All rights reserved.


Don't you want to visit that basement and make something fun?

It just so happens our host for this Poetry Friday is a PFA for Science poet who has written poems, books, and a zillion great articles about science - Buffy Silverman. Enjoy exploring the Roundup, and tinkering, and whatever else this December finds you doing….

Poetry Friday - Victorian Found Poem/Writing Advice...

November 26, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, found poetry, art, artsyletters, ponderings, writing life


Greetings, Poetry Folks!

I hope you have had a wonderful holiday with people you love. The holidays can be tricky - virtual hugs if that wasn't the case for you this year. We have been counting our blessings visiting with family.

In fact, we're still visiting, so today I'm offering just a bit of fun from the studio. I've been drooling over HILL'S MANUAL - SOCIAL AND BUSINESS FORMS: GUIDE TO CORRECT WRITING (Chicago, Moses Warren & Co. Publishers, 1880), with all its Victorian flourish and advice for every communication situation, per Victorian standards. I'll be making lots of art from it I'm sure, and for starters I've made a small shadow box (6 inches by 6 inches) with a found poem for writers. (Above - Click here to view on Etsy.)

Here's the "revealed" text - more of an adage than a poem, perhaps, but I hope you enjoy!

Writing

writing
becomes the
familiar
teacher
that will entertain and
instruct while
faculties of mind are employed


Kind of a 19th-Century-inspired expression of our modern maxim encountered at writing conferences, on blogs, etc.: BIC ("Butt in Chair")! Though maybe after a big meal this week, we need to temper that discipline with an extra walk or two.

Enjoy, I hope, a long weekend! And FIND lots of great poetry to keep you company at Carol's Corner with our delightful Poetry Friday host.

Poetry Friday: A Poem to Wear, Perhaps?

September 3, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, art, haiku, artsyletters



Happy Labor Day Weekend, Poetry Lovers!

I'll be busy laboring today, with Beaufort's First Fridays After Five downtown tonight. I usually open my studio and serve a few goodies on First Fridays.

I've discovered a new little item to make in my studio (because, Lord knows, I need another project.) I've been trying to get some more haiku in there, as the few haiku cards I made when I opened sold out. (I know, I need to make some more!)

I wanted to try something with a short poem of mine published in Acorn back in 2012. While this haiku was originally written on a trip home to visit family in Florida, where I grew up, it's taken on new significance for me here in our still-somewhat-new digs in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where there is Spanish moss aplenty.

home again
twists and turns
of the live oak


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


First I put the poem on an "Art Bites" 2-inch X 2-inch panel, attaching a little brass chain for hanging. (Third picture.) I plan on making more of these miniature art pieces.

Then I thought it would be fun to try a haiku poem to wear. I discovered metal bezel trays with glass cabochons sized to fit, perfect for pendants. Oh, dear - if you ever start making these, let me warn you, it's addictive. For the first one I wrote and illustrated the same poem, and then experimented my way through several steps with various glazes and drying times in-between to get the art and metal and glass to play nicely together. But the result was fun!



So, I went treasure hunting in some of my late 1800s books, and found some gorgeous illuminated initials, as well as a darling illustration of a house opening a story about Charlotte Brontë's home. Out came the knife, and into pendants they went.

Then I sojourned through one of my old typewriter manuals (this one about 100 years old) and discovered I could "find" words or phrases to highlight in the typing exercises, much like I would do when coaxing a found poem from an old text.

All these I need to make into necklaces, but you can see the finished pendants in the pictures. And you can see that I am out of control.

The last picture is a necklace I made from an illustration out of a German encyclopedia from 1887, the Meyers Konversations-Lexicon, Vol. 7 (G), Fourth Edition, Leipzig, Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts. It's snipped from a geological illustration, so I added some vintage Czech agate beads from the 1920s, and a fetching brass key. Or key charm? Honestly, I don't know where this hearty little beauty came from, but it had the right patina and size.

Thanks for indulging my poetic and artistic meanderings. If you'd like a little more haiku with your morning coffee, I had a short guest post over at the Grog Blog on Monday.

And for more poetry of all kinds this week, please visit the ever lovely Linda at Teacher Dance.

See you back here next week, when I'll have the Roundup!

Poetry Friday: How Does YOUR Garden Grow?

June 4, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, nursery rhymes, illustrators, art


Happy June!

Despite the fact that I gave away box after box of books in our big downsizing move last year, every once in a while Poetry Friday is responsible for my adding another, though I really have no place to put one.

A recent PF post by my dear buddy Irene Latham featured OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY collected by Elizabeth Hammill (Candlewick - England in 2014, US in 2015): a new chock-full treasure of 150 nursery rhymes from around the world, illustrated by 77 stellar international artists. Oh, be still my heart. Worth making room for.

I am still perusing and enjoying this delightful book. (Irene confessed: "I want to live inside it.") I thought it might be fun to take one of the rhymes and compare it to a more traditional treatment. Hence the image above with Kate Greenaway's MOTHER GOOSE ( Frederick Warne) turned to "Mary Mary, quite contrary" and the same verse featured from the new anthology.

I was immediately drawn to this whimsical, purple Mary (with stripes!) , illustrated by Niamh Sharkey. Turns out she is Ireland's second Children's Laureate (2012-2014) and has a trail of awards. She also created Disney Jr.'s animated Henry Hugglemonster. Wow!

Back to Mary.

Here is the text of the familiar rhyme.

Kate Greenaway's version:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
and cowslips all of a row.


And from the new collection:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells
and pretty maids all in a row.


Guess it all depends on whether you prefer cowslips or pretty maids, and whether you like them "in" or "of" a row!

Also in the photo are a couple of cuttings from our yard - all brand new as the garden has gotten gobs of water via thunderstorms the past few days. My hubby Jeff loves to play in the dirt, and he's planted zinnias and mums (seen here, along with a cute little yellow flower that I INSISTED we buy last year at the home and garden store, because I fell in love with the name -- butter daisy! What could be more adorable than butter daisies?!) Also coming up are the requisite daylilies, sunflowers of varying heights, calla lilies, lavender, and some purple-spikey magenta plant that looks to be a show-off.

What's in your garden? Do you live where color already abounds, or are seedlings just now pushing their way through the dirt? Wherever you are, wishing you a summer of sunshine and flowers and lots (& lots) of poetry.

Go pick out a poetic bouquet today at Buffy's Blog where wild things and growing things are always celebrated!

Poetry Friday: I'm Off Being Inspired...

March 13, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, art

Hello, Friends!

I'm traveling this weekend back to my old haunting grounds (well, kinda). Our SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle is this weekend in Decatur (Atlanta).

On Friday I'll attend the Illustrators Intensive, and enjoy/volunteer with the rest of the conference through Sunday. I know I won't come up for air to find a real computer, so today I send happy waves and direct you to this week's wonderful Poetry Friday Roundup host, the one-and-only Author Amok (Laura). :0) Enjoy! And Happy Friday the 13th....

Poetry Friday: Ahoy! Sea Songs, Pirates, Valentines....

February 5, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, sea, Etsy, art, ponderings, pirates

a peek into mini sea-themed works-in-progress.... ©Robyn Hood Black

At the beginning of last year, I shared an amazing gift sent to me by my friend and fellow writer Kim Siegelson (who has a keen antique sense and a great Etsy shop, too, Perfect Patina).

It was a nearly 700-page book – sumptuously covered and illustrated, titled:

Crown Jewels
OR
Gems of Literature, Art, and Music
BEING
Choice Selections from the Writings and Musical Productions of the Most Celebrated Authors, From the Earliest Times


compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D. D., and published in 1888.

(To read my post about this wonderful book from Kim, in all its over-the-top Victorian glory, click here.)

In my art life for this new year, I’m working on more locale-friendly pieces to offer in my kiosk space at Fordham Market.
As in, things that might appeal to tourists and visitors of our delightful coastal town.

Lucky for me, CROWN JEWELS has many poems and songs about the sea! Though written a hundred (or few hundred) years ago, surely the words still ring like a ship’s bell to those who dock at our lovely marina, just across the street from my tucked-away studio. I’ve got some small shadow-box mixed media pieces in the works, featuring everything from excerpts to short entire poems to found poems I’ve "uncovered" in prose passages.

This week I broke out my printmaking supplies (have stayed away from since my neck/shoulder/hand/nerves injury in the fall), and it felt wonderful to carve into a small block of wood and later to breathe in the ink, hearing and feeling its sticky snap on glass as I rolled my brayer… even if I was making just a wee image. The mini prints are backgrounds for the clipped pieces of text, and, of course, there must be some vintage-y bling involved. I usually use actual old metal pieces. Occasionally, if I find just the right element offered by an artisan, I’ll use that. Just take a look at that lovely tiny anchor in the picture – it’s blackened pewter, handmade in the USA and cast as opposed to stamped, and available from Fallen Angel Brass on Etsy. Yep, I bought a few!

For these first few mini shadow boxes, I clipped this refrain from CROWN JEWELS. Warning: if you read it more than once, it will start sailing around in your head. A lot. Come on, read it out loud in your best gravelly pirate voice:

from THE TAR FOR ALL WEATHERS

by Charles Dibdin

But sailors were born for all weathers,
     Great guns let it blow high or low,
Our duty keeps us to our tethers,
     And where the gale drives we must go.

….

Our Mr. Dibdin (1745-1814) wrote many songs over the course of his life and career.

Now, this excerpt, printed as a poem, is from a song. Which got me wondering about songs of the sea, which led me to looking up sea shanties. A sea shanty was a song sung by the crew of tall sailing ships back in the day – usually call-and-response, with simple lyrics. The songs helped everyone keep to the same rhythm, and likely kept boredom at bay on long journeys as well.

Hungry for more, ye say? Well, y’ave plenty of time to read up before International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19), so ye might look in on this fun website I found,: The Pirate King.

Now, where were we?

Oh – CROWN JEWELS!

In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, here’s another poem from this literary treasure chest. I might just have to tuck it into my hubby’s Valentine – shhh; don’t tell!

Associations of Home

by Walter Condor

That is not home, where day by day
I wear the busy hours away;
that is not home, where lonely night
Prepares me for the toils of light;
‘tis hope, and joy, and memory, give
A home in which the heart can live.
It is a presence undefined,
O’ershadowing the conscious mind;
Where love and duty sweetly blend
To consecrate the name of friend
Where’er thou art, is home to me,
And home without thee cannot be.


Wishing you the comfort of “a presence undefined” among friends and loved ones this month.

Be sure to row back over next week, when we’ll enjoy some lovely haiku from our February Student Haiku Poet of the Month!

And now please visit our always-original Liz (Elizabeth) Steinglass, rounding up the fleet of Poetry Friday posts today at her blog .

Poetry Friday - Only Managed an Art Post, but Go Visit The Poem Farm!

September 18, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, art

Happy Poetry Friday!

I found myself blogging over at artsyletters this evening - couldn't resist a call for folks to post pictures of their messy studio tables and then submit them to the wonderful Seth Apter for his blog, The Altered Page. (My current very limited time in the studio has actually been spent experimenting with some of Seth Apter's mixed media techniques.)

My therapist would holler if I spend any more time pecking away and sitting at this computer, so I won't attempt a poetry post as well. Ice packs calleth. BUT, my amazing friend and terrifically talented poet Amy has the Roundup today over at The Poem Farm, so be sure to check it out.

[And if you want to see my messy studio table, you can click here!] ;0)

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 ssalkin@cfl.rr.com)

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!

Poetry Friday - Hide and Seek & Be Back Soon...

January 23, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, art, writing life, poetry, contests, illustration, workshops, Highlights

Adventure hides in boxes, waiting for me to set up shop in my Beaufort, SC, studio!

Greetings, Poetry Peeps!


I'm heading into the home stretch of this gradual move from the north Georgia mountains to the Lowcountry (SC), so I'll just be waving and sending good vibes these next couple of weeks.

This weekend I'm squeezing in an all-day workshop for illustrators in Greenville, SC, with Highlights Art Director Cindy Faber Smith and prolific illustrator Tim Davis. I've met both of these fine folks at workshops before, and I know we're in for a treat. (And, years ago, I had a Hidden Pictures submission make it through a couple of rounds of revisions before it got the axe. It's about time to tackle these wonderful puzzles again!) I'll also get to take my wonderful daughter out for her birthday while in Greenville.. :0)

My also-wonderful hubby helped me move furniture and boxes into my new art studio space in Beaufort this week. During my whirlwind trip, I finished jumping through the business license/codes/taxes hoops to make artsyletters all official there. Can't wait to unpack and set up shop! More on that soon.


In honor of "Hidden Pictures," today I offer up this delightful poem by Walter De LaMare (1873-1956):


Hide and Seek

by Walter De LaMare


Hide and seek, says the Wind,
In the shade of the woods;
Hide and seek, says the Moon,
To the hazel buds;
Hide and seek, says the Cloud,
Star on to star;
Hide and seek, says the Wave,
At the harbour bar;
Hide and seek, say I,
To myself, and step
Out of the dream of Wake
Into the dream of Sleep.



I'll be playing some hide-and-seek with more back-and-forth travel in these next couple-few weeks. But I'll be back! In the meantime, enjoy all the great poetry warming up this cold winter. Today, please visit Tara at A Teaching Life for the Roundup. Next week (Jan. 31), Tricia's got it covered at The Miss Rumphius Effect. And Renee will keep the poetry flowing on Feb. 7 at No Water River. If I come up for air from the boxes, I'll try to join in - but if I'm treading water in Styrofoam peanuts, I'll see you on Valentine's Day! AND, be sure to check in then, as we'll be spreading the haiku love with our Student Poet of the Month. (As you've come to expect, here's another young poet who will blow your Valentine candy wrappers off!)

Finally, my friend Stephanie Salkin passes along that she's helping with another art and poetry contest for the Flagler County (FL) Art League, with the theme of "Art Inspiring Poetry; Poetry Inspiring Art" - and the deadline is looming! It's Jan. 29. Please contact her at ssalkin@cfl.rr.com for details!

Hope you find whatever you're seeking this week!

Poetry Friday: Happy New Year with a Treasure from the (Victorian) Past...

January 2, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, history, Etsy, art, writing life, home

CROWN JEWELS - And, as the steel engravings suggest, "Looking into the Future," I wish you a year of "Health and Beauty."

I went for a brisk walk New Year's Day morning, only to discover a package in the carport - evidently left by the postal carrier the afternoon before. Let's just say a holiday of opening presents continued... .

You've heard me gush before about my author friend and resident Etsy "expert" Kim Siegelson, who always keeps an eye out for perfectly imperfect vintage treasures. She has a wonderful Etsy shop, Perfect Patina. The last time we met for lunch and antiquing (is there a more perfect way to spend an afternoon?) she'd mentioned having an old book to send me, but I couldn't have imagined. Well, the title speaks for itself:

Crown Jewels
OR
Gems of Literature, Art, and Music
BEING
Choice Selections from the Writings and Musical Productions of the Most Celebrated Authors, From the Earliest Times:


(I'll omit the list of genres here, but "The Whole" does indeed form "A Vast Treasury of the Gems of Poetry, Prose, and Song"!) Its 632 pages, compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D. D., were published in 1888.

Here are some opening and closing lines from the Publisher's Announcement printed inside:

"This magnificent work, which comprises many books in one volume, is a vast treasury of the Choicest Gems of English Literature, in prose and poetry. It contains those resplendent jewels of thought, feeling and sentiment which fascinate, instruct and entertain the reader....
The Prospectus is very attractive, and shows at a glance the great superiority of this book over other similar works that are illustrated with cheap woodcuts. ..."


Gotta love those Victorians! Well, let's just say this collection will fuel some artsyletters inspiration for years to come. Thank you, Kim!

The poem I've chosen to share is from the first section, "The Home Circle." I suppose it's because we've been between homes lately - making this move from north Georgia to coastal South Carolina, with kids in colleges several hours away. Transitions are never easy, but I look forward to this adventure in our new home town, greeting each day from our new front porch. With afternoon tea out there, too, of course!

THE DEAREST SPOT OF EARTH IS HOME

by W. T. Wrighton

The dearest spot of earth to me
      is home, sweet home!
    The fairy land I long to see
      is home, sweet home!
There, how charmed the sense of hearing!
There, where love is so endearing!
All the world is not so cheering
    as home, sweet home!

      The dearest spot of earth to me
      is home, sweet home!
    The fairy land I long to see
      is home, sweet home!

I've taught my heart the way to prize
   My home, sweet home!
I've learned to look with lovers' eyes
On home, sweet home!

There, where vows are truly plighted!
There, where hearts are so united!
All the world besides I've slighted
    For home, sweet home!

      The dearest spot of earth to me
      is home, sweet home!
    The fairy land I long to see
      is home, sweet home!


Wishing a happy 2014 to your home, sweet home! Poetry Friday is at home today at I Think in Poems, where the Bedazzling Betsy has this week's Roundup.

Bicycle Lovers: Fla. Contest for Poets and Artists is for You!

June 4, 2013

Tags: poetry, art, contests

From a 1998 (!) sketchbook ; Fripp Island, S. C. ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

I met Stephanie Salkin at my first Highlights Founders poetry workshop up in Honesdale, Penn., and I'm happy we've stayed in touch. Stephanie always has something fun going on, and she's very involved with a variety of creative endeavors in her home state of Florida.

She's chairing a poetry contest and asked me to pass along the information. There's an art contest, too - both on the theme of "bicycles." (I grew up in Florida, at least half of the time on a bicycle.) What a fun theme! The deadline is the end of this month, so get those wheels turning. Here's the scoop and contact info from Stephanie:

2013 Bicycle-Theme Poetry Art & Poetry Show

A bicycle-theme poetry competition will be held in conjunction with the Bicycle and Poetry Show inaugurated by the Gargiulo Arts Foundation (GAF) last July. This summer, the Flagler County Art League will co-sponsor the art and poetry event, to run July 13-August 3.

Both Hollingsworth Gallery and FCAL studio space will exhibit bicycle-theme art. In addition, winners of the bicycle-theme poetry competition will read their entries at FCAL during the opening reception, Saturday, July 13, at 7 p.m. (Judges will read aloud entries of those winners not able to be present.)

Copies of the poetry will also be on view in display books at both galleries.

FCAL’s Stephanie Salkin will chair the poetry portion of the event:

*Entrants may send up to three bicycle-theme poems: one poem for $5, three poems for $10. Checks should be made out to FCAL.

*Poems (any form) can be no longer than one page and must be typed in 12-point type. Please include three copies of each poem: two without your own name, only one with your name.

*Two qualified judges (TBA) will choose first, second and third place winners, who will receive monetary prizes and certificates, and two honorable mentions, which will receive certificates only, if the judges deem two poems worthy of such merit.

*All poetry entries and fees should be mailed to Stephanie Salkin’s attention at: Flagler County Art League, P.O. Box 352772, Palm Coast FL 32135-2772.

*In addition, a copy of each poem entered (including your name) must be emailed to Stephanie (ssalkin@cfl.rr.com) for purposes of display printing.

*Deadline for receipt of poems is June 30, 2013.

If you have any questions, you can call Stephanie at (386) 693-4204. Also, visit FCAL’s Website: www.flaglercountyartleague.com.

Poetry Friday: Irish Doors and Metaphors

January 31, 2013

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

Print: Handcoloured Print No. 270, A Little House, picture by E. C. Yeats, words by W. M. Letts. © The Cuala Press Limited, Dublin, Ireland; Collage: © Robyn Hood Black

Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy February! If you caught my artsyletters post this week, you discovered I’ve become rather obsessed with doors. In that post, I shared new art I’ve started making (and will offer soon in my Etsy shop) - collages with altered vintage books-as-doors, and a literary surprise inside each one (Emily Dickinson is featured in this first one.) This door obsession grew out of a year pondering some doors closing and others opening, not just for me but for family members.


Sharing all this with my husband, Jeff, he mentioned hearing something on NPR this week about how, when we walk from one room to the next and can’t remember what we were looking for, it’s because of the DOOR. Such a powerful metaphor, a door. (I searched in vain for the NPR piece but discovered articles online about the 2011 study at Notre Dame which prompted this idea of “the doorway effect.”)


The collage pictured here and on my art blog this week was made with a 100-year-old book embellished with some fun vintage finds. The doorway image surrounding it is a relief print. I carved a simplified version of those wonderful Georgian doorways one finds all over Dublin. (It was fun pulling out the photo album from a family trip there in 1996.)


Speaking of family, I’ve been doing some freelance writing for another family member. Our current project has involved research into faerie lore, and for that I turned to our esteemed Mr. Yeats, who chronicled much Irish folklore. (Click here and here for William Butler’s biographical info.) Deciding to post something else door-related here today, I remembered the framed print that we bought on that trip to Dublin – Morgan, age 4 at the time, picked it out.

The information sheet accompanying the art explains some history. It’s a hand-colored print from Cuala Press, originally Dun Emer Press, founded by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats (William Butler’s sister) in 1903 . W. B. Yeats served as editorial advisor to the press until his death (1939), and many notable writers including Ezra Pound saw their work first published by it.


The sheet continues, W. B. Yeats in the original 1903 prospectus wrote that all the things made at the press are beautiful in the sense that they are instinct with individual feeling and have cost thought and care. ... (I love that phrase, “cost thought and care.”)




The illustrated poem, written by W. M. Letts
,
shows both:

If I had a little house
      A white house on a hill,
With lavender and rosemary
      Beneath the window sill,
The door should stand wide open
      To people of good will.



To close with one last door reference and an eye to Valentine’s Day, I’ll leave you with a stanza near the end of Yeats’s poem, “The Cap and Bells,” which sprang from a dream Yeats experienced and describes a jester’s love for a queen.


She opened her door and her window,
And the heart and the soul came through,
To her right hand came the red one,
To her left hand came the blue.


To read what leads up to this stanza and the ending, click here.

And, would you believe it? The ever-talented and generous April is rounding up Poetry Friday and has a poem about… DOORS! Head over to Teaching Authors and enjoy.

Poetry Friday - Celebrating the Winter Solstice with Tabatha Yeatts's "In the Great Book of Winter"

December 21, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, winter, art

My husband, Jeff, carved this beautiful moon and village scene from a pattern he found this year. [photo ©Robyn Hood Black]

Happy Winter Solstice! My husband and son will actually be leading a winter solstice ceremony Friday evening at a friend’s farm. Should be interesting!

I was thrilled to participate in Tabatha’s “Winter Poem Swap” this month and doubly thrilled to be her swap partner. Her poetic gift to me is perfect to share as we welcome the slow return of light to a darkened world. (Her work is shared here with permission.)

In the Great Book of Winter

by Tabatha Yeatts

for Robyn

In the Great Book of Winter,
The vast gray pages
Are covered with steadfast brown branch words.
Black bird apostrophes swoop into place,
And snowflakes spiral down
To end sentences with chilly white periods.
Cardinals surprise with red question marks,
And squirrels skitter through with their
Exclamation mark tails.
Slowly, slowly,
The Moon turns the pages
Of the Great Book of Winter,
Reading til Spring.


©Tabatha Yeatts. All rights reserved.

I love these delicious natural images – and on the Solstice today, I particularly love the Moon turning the pages.

Wishing you and yours love, light, and peace this holiday.

To turn more pages of light-filled poetry, visit Heidi, shining brightly today at My Juicy Little Universe .

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
(1807-1882)

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.

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.

On Julie Foster Hedlund's blog today... :0) and a give-away at artstyletters

November 14, 2012

Tags: art, authors, writing life

Greetings! Happy to share that my writer friend and blogger extraordinaire Julie Foster Hedlund kindly shared a post about me on her wonderful blog today.

And, for Art Break Wednesday over at artsyletters, I'm giving away a fun mini Ott flip light.

Enjoy!

Poetry Friday: poetry book give-away at my OTHER blog...

October 18, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, illustrators, art, poetry, SCBWI, Southern Breeze

Dearest Poetry Friday Friends,

Forgive this short post, but I'm on my way to Birmingham for our SCBWI Southern Breeze fall conference this weekend. Yee-hi!

I'm checking in, though, with a link to this week's "Art Break Wednesday" post on my new artsyletters blog, because you might be interested in:

1.) a Q and A with the exuberant Melanie Hall - artist, teacher, and award-winning illustrator of many children's books (including several poetry collections), and

2.) a give-away of one of said poetry collections. A lucky commenter will be randomly selected to receive a copy of Every Second Something Happens - Poems for the Mind and Senses, selected by Christine San José and Bill Johnson (Wordsong). Just post a comment ON THAT ARTSYLETTERS BLOG POST linked above by Monday at midnight, EST. (I will approve and post comments as I can throughout the weekend, internet connections willing.)

Finally, you MUST go see what Poetry Friday Rounder-Upper Irene has over at Live Your Poem. She invited participants in the 2012 KidLit Progressive poem to pen a couplet for an original "zoo" poem - in honor of Irene's brand-new novel, Don't Feed the Boy from Roaring Brook (which I can't wait to scoop up this weekend). My two lines were based on a somewhat slithery encounter at the Mule Camp Festival here last weekend. Go sssseeeeeee....

Thanks for visiting!

My New Art Blog at artsyletters

October 3, 2012

Tags: art, ponderings

Just a reminder that I have a brand new blog for artists over at artsyletters.com.

Art Break Wednesday features something new each week. Last Wednesday I shared how I make altered page art from vintage books and fun old finds, and this week I'm talking "Notan" (the Japanese concept of light-dark). Bring your dark side and come along! Also, there's still time to enter a comment under last week's post and be entered to win Pam Carriker's book, ART AT THE SPEED OF LIFE. (Contest ends Monday night.)

See you there!

Poetry Friday - Found Poem and artsyletters

September 20, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, art, ponderings

Happy Poetry Friday!

Today I'm offering a found poem and a bit of, well, blatant self-promotion. (Feel free to excuse yourself if you must - I felt I had to warn you.)

I've just launched a new art business, artsyletters, featuring "Art for Your Literary Side" and gifts for readers and writers. My first art show since life B. C. (Before Children) was last weekend, and I was delighted with the feedback and response. Actually, the most popular item in my booth was the old Underwood typewriter I had set out for folks to type in their email addresses for a forthcoming quarterly newsletter. I lost track of how many kids I "taught" to type (kid being the appropriate label all the way up to 20-somethings) - You have to kind of punch the key down, see? And listen for that wonderful ding as you get to the end of the line....

The littlest kids enjoyed finding the letters to their name on the strange contraption; the young at heart reminisced about typewriters their parents had had, machines that used to be in attics and oh-how-I-wish-I had-that now, or Smith Caronas they had typed on in school. (I personally churned out college papers on a typewriter - albeit an electric one, though a job soon out of college at a community newspaper came with an ancient, heavy, wonderful old black typewriter!)

Well, I'm paying homage to typewriters and old books and letters and poetry and more with my new art. It includes pen and ink, relief prints, calligraphy, bookmarks and note cards, in addition to more of these altered page collages which yield found poems. Here's one for today, pictured above:

THE POET

A young man
in spite of the
moment
the hour
proved that
observing
filled
the
studio
with fantastic
curious
verses
mysteries of thought
and
graceful words!


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

This collage began as page 206 of the 1922 JOURNEYS THROUGH BOOKLAND (Vol. 6) compiled by Charles H. Sylvester. It's the first page of a story called "The Poet and the Peasant" by French novelist Emile Souvestre. I added some bling to the initial letter A - a bit of 23 karat gold leaf. The beautiful old watchface, vintage key, and the vintage Remington typewriter part were all Etsy finds!

And here's all my links: To peruse my wares, please visit my new Etsy shop. Click here for my new blog, which will soon feature weekly musings and art discussions among creative folk (I hope - come see me!), plus some give-aways. I wouldn't object if you wanted to "Like" my artsyletters Facebook page - thanks to those of you who have already!, and before too long I'll figure out how to Tweet. I think.

Huge thanks to Cathy C. Hall, who stumbled on some of the aforementioned and asked if she could do a "Fun Friday" post about it today. Um, YEAH. Here's the link to her fabulous blog.

And, finally, Renee has more poetry than chocolate in a candy store today at her incredible No Water River. Indulge yourself! (And for those who read to the end, my humble thanks.)

Poetry Friday - Where Did Today Go?

September 14, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, art

The sun is actually starting to think about setting, and I never got my Poetry Friday blog post up - I'll save it for next Friday! Spent all day setting up an Etsy shop for my new art business. :0) More on that here next week! Though if you want a sneak peek, click here.

And for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup, go visit the ever-amazing Diane at Random Noodling .

Happy Weekend! I'll be doing my first art show since life B. C. (Before Children) downtown in our hometown Saturday and Sunday.



Poetry Friday: Found Poetry, Found Art, Found Time...

July 13, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, art, ponderings

© Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved
Happy Friday the 13th!

Today I have time on my mind… how there never seems to be enough of it, how it flies by so quickly even in the summer, how we need to savor each moment, etc.

And, of course, I always have poetry on my mind. Since writing poems for THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK – A Book of Found Poems released in the spring, I can’t help but “find” poems in unlikely places. I’ve been working on some artwork incorporating found objects, so now I’m combining the two (found art and found poetry).

The photo above is of a 6 X 8 piece featuring an ad for Snowdrift shortening from a 1927 Good Housekeeping magazine. It also includes a vintage keyhole, clock face, flat key, and an old frame (all found in antique stores or on Etsy). The paint is acrylic and gouache mixed with gesso and finished with gel medium.

The ad was called, “Next Time You Make a Cake.” That would be a great title for a poem in itself, but I decided to wonder about time as an ingredient one could manipulate like flour or shortening. What if we could “shorten” time to capture it – stir it up and taste it?

Time

by Robyn Hood Black
(Found in a 1927 advertisement for Snowdrift shortening appearing in Good Housekeeping.)


Shorten

and find

how it

is so good –

sweet as new cream.


You’ll find

it’s a

pleasure to use,

wonderfully tender,

naturally found in

today.



Make the most of your time today with great poetry rounded up by the wonderful Jone at Check It Out .

Poetry Friday: Eavan Boland's House of Shadows

July 6, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, art, ponderings


Diane posted a wonderful ekphrastic poem from Eavan Boland last week. I’m feeling a bit Irish and wistful this week, so I’m going to continue on that path and post another Boland poem here. (I featured her “Irish Interior” in March.)

While celebrating the Fourth at my in-laws’ house this week, I looked over the shoulder of my brother-in-law as he flipped through a scrapbook I’d made for our 1996 family trip to Ireland. (When my father-in-law retired as a Delta pilot, he took the whole fam, little bitties and all, over to Dublin for his final commercial flight.)

This afternoon, I’ve been working on some art involving Celtic knots. Whenever I make relief prints, I have to play Celtic music on Pandora as I carve, and sometimes when I draw. I want my art to have movement and life, and if you don’t feel movement and life while listening to Celtic music, you might want to check your pulse.

Anyway, hence my need to read and share a bit more of Eavan Boland. The poem below particularly appealed to me because we’ve just had an afternoon of welcome “summer rain,” and also because I’ve been collecting all kinds of rusty-ish, old objects and scrap pieces of metal for other art projects, haunting antique stores and Etsy vintage shops and the good old ground. So the discovery of an old coin was right up my alley this week.

And don’t you love the title?

House of Shadows. Home of Simile

by Eavan Boland

One afternoon of summer rain
my hand skimmed a shelf and I found
an old florin. Ireland, 1950.

We say like or as and the world is
a fish minted in silver and alloy,

an outing for all the children,
an evening in the Sandford cinema,
a paper cone of lemonade crystals and

say it again so we can see
androgyny of angels, edges to a circle,
the way the body works against the possible— …


Please click here here to read the rest.

It won’t cost you a florin or even two cents to indulge in more great poetry – just check out The Opposite of Indifference, where wonderful Tabatha has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

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