Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet, artist


Click links below to follow our Progressive Poem for Nat'l Poetry Month!

April

1 Heidi at my juicy little universe

2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

5 Diane at Random Noodling

6 Kat at Kat's Whiskers

7 Irene at Live Your Poem

8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

9 Linda at TeacherDance

10 Penny at a penny and her jots

11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

14 Jan at Bookseedstudio

15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales

16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy

17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

18 Buffy at Buffy's Blog

19 Pat at Writer on a Horse

20 BJ at Blue Window

21 Donna at Mainely Write

22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch

23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan

29 Charles at Poetry Time

30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids








Hannah enjoying poetry workshop


(Scroll down this column for tags, archives and blogroll....)

Archives

Tags


Enjoy these Great
Children's Lit Blogs and Websites:


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
"4 Kids 2 Do" and "Press Kit" pages.

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Haiku Flies When You're Having Fun...

April 20, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, Poetry Month, birds, nature, HSA, Haiku Society of America, Issa, David. G. Lanoue, workshops, conferences


Whew - I don't know about you, but I feel like April is flying by.

I can't believe it's already time for the Haiku Society of America/Southeast Region HONORING THE EARTH meeting & workshop I'm coordinating in St. Simons Island, Georgia! Hence, I'll keep this short, since the road beckons.

For our Earth Day celebration, part of our time will be spent on a birding ginko (haiku walk), led by haiku poet and teacher extraordinaire Tom Painting of Atlanta.

With birds on the brain, I thought I'd share this haiku of mine that appears in the current Frogpond:


our different truths
the rusty underside
of a bluebird



© Robyn Hood Black
Frogpond, Vol. 40, No. 1


Speaking of haiku and birds... Another of our speakers - poet, author, past HSA president and professor, David G. Lanoue - has agreed to allow me to use some of his ISSA translations in art and such. (His translations of haiku by Kobayashi Issa, who lived from 1763 to 1828, number more than 10,000.)

I got out my pointed calligraphy pen, ink, and pencils and such and designed a note card, above, with one of the poems David said he particularly liked. The colors might be more fall-like than spring, but I've gone ahead and listed it in my artsyletterEtsy shop. :0)

Here's the poem pictured above:


traveling geese
the human heart, too,
wanders


Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue


Thanks for lighting on a branch over here today, and enjoy all the poetic flights of fancy rounded up for us this week by the amazing Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Poetry Friday - Some Great Haiku, the Red Moon Anthology, and Seaside Workshop

February 2, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, haiku, anthologies, Red Moon Anthology, HSA, conferences, workshops, Jim, Kacian, Tom Painting, Stanford M. Forrester, Michael Henry Lee, Robert Epstein


Greetings, Poetry Friends.

When I first began exploring haiku years ago, I got my hands on a Red Moon Anthology, among other things. Founded by Jim Kacian and now in its 25th year, Red Moon Press publishes a yearly anthology of the best English-language haiku from around the world, in addition to publishing collections by individual poets, critical works, haiku-related novels and smaller anthologies.

If Jim's name rings a bell from this blog or your other haiku journeys, he also founded The Haiku Foundation (with its extensive resources, poet directory, and teacher-friendly articles ) and compiled the comprehensive Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years, published by W. W. Norton & Company.

But back to the Red Moon Anthology. I was thrilled to receive notice that my haiku

wedding invitations
the press and release
of the nib


would be included in the 2016 anthology - the 21st! - which just rolled off the presses. (This poem recently appeared in FROGPOND as third-place honorable mention in the Harold G.Henderson Memorial Haiku Award contest.)

The new Red Moon volume, dust devils, features 173 poems, eight linked forms, and five critical pieces. I ordered a couple of copies and received them this week.

Upon perusing, I ran across several names of poets who will be attending and/or helping to lead our upcoming Earth Day weekend Haiku Society of America meeting and workshop on the Georgia Coast in a couple of months. I asked for permission to feature their anthology poems here today, and they all kindly agreed.



stack of books
the Russian novel
cold to the touch



©Stanford M. Forrester. All rights reserved.
Originally appeared on OTATA blog, 2.

(This poem appears in Forrester's new hand-printed, hand-bound chapbook, matcha.)



happy hour
everyone's glass
half-full



©Michael Henry Lee. All rights reserved.
Originally appeared in MODERN HAIKU, 47:1.




lunar eclipse
I lose some sleep
over it



©Tom Painting. All rights reserved.
Also originally appeared in MODERN HAIKU, 47:1.



Also, though he is unable to attend our workshop in person, Robert Epstein will answer a few questions about two new animal rights haiku books he has just published and I'll share those with the group l. Here is his poem in dust devils:



Father's Day
I give myself
a good talking to



©Robert Epstein. All rights reserved.
Originally appeared in MARIPOSA, 25.




Finally, I asked Jim Kacian if I could feature one of his poems from dust devils. (In case you're wondering, the anthology is the product of the work of 11 editors, with strict requirements for voting and poem inclusion.)



traveling alone -
the darkness around
each star



©Jim Kacian. All rights reserved.
(This poem was an award-winner in a contest sponsored by the Italian Haiku Association.)



My sincere thanks to these poets for allowing me to share their work. (And if I missed anyone attending in April, my apologies -- let me know so I can add your poem.)

Want to know more about the April meeting and workshop? Here's my latest blurb for HSA, with a bonus haiku from Tom at the end:


BYOB –

That’s Bring your own BINOCULARS!

What better way to celebrate Earth Day in a couple of months than with an HSA meeting and workshop at St. Simon’s Island on the sunny (fingers crossed!) coast of Georgia?

“Honoring the Earth,” Friday, April 21 – Sunday, April 23, 2017, will offer opportunities to explore what it means to be human, living with and among the rest of the natural world. We’ll hear from David G. Lanoue, Tom Painting, Laurence Stacey, and Fay Aoyagi, and also enjoy a reading by Stanford M. Forrester. I’ll share a couple of new books by Robert Epstein. And, several talented poets in our region will be on hand to participate and serve up some famous Southern hospitality.

Why the binoculars? In addition to a session on bird haiku, Tom will lead us on a birdwatching ginko (a haiku walk)! The area is a magnet for avid birders.

Whether you are a well-seasoned poet or want to learn more about haiku, working on your “life list” or can’t tell a titmouse from a turkey vulture, you are welcome to join us. Details and cost information can be found on the HSA SE regional page,
http://www.hsa-haiku.org/regions/Southeast.htm

Two updates –

1. Meal times (of interest to commuters if you are planning day trips) are:

Breakfast 7am-9am
Lunch 11:45am-1pm
Supper 5:30pm-7pm

2. If Epworth by the Sea has enough available rooms, I can be a little flexible with the March 5 date for receiving final payment. I will have to provide a final count to the staff there a couple of weeks after that, however, INCLUDING any meals for commuters. Feel free to email me with any questions.

Here’s a hint of spring to whet your appetite, kindly shared by Tom:

spring plowing
a flock of blackbirds
turns inside out



©Tom Painting. All rights reserved.
Frogpond XXV:2



Maybe all this haiku will help get you through the six more weeks of winter promised by Punxsutawney Phil. Along with all the offerings for Poetry Friday, of course, rounded up for us this week by another famous "P" - our own Penny at A Penny and Her Jots.

Poetry Friday - Heads Up: Earth Day Weekend Haiku Meeting and Workshop - by the Sea!

December 1, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, HSA, haiku, workshops, conferences, HSA Southeast Region, 2017



Greetings, Friends!

Before my actual post, I'd like to convey fervent thoughts and prayers for those here in the Southeast who have suffered unspeakable losses because of the recent fires and tornadoes. I was born in Knoxville, and though I only lived there as a baby, my childhood was laced up with treasured family excursions to Gatlinburg ("the Burg" as my grandmother would call it), and Pigeon Forge, and the greater area. We took our own kids there for family vacation time and a birthday weekend or two. The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation has a donation button at Gatlingburg.com to benefit those affected by the fires.

In more cheerful news, I know it's not even officially winter yet, but if you have fallen under the spell of haiku, I invite you to think about spring... . Specifically, April 21-23, when I'll be coordinating a Haiku Society of America meeting and Earth Day celebration weekend here in the Southeast Region.

Here, it will be easiest just to share all the details I have so far:


HONORING THE EARTH – HSA Meeting and Earth Day Celebration

Friday, April 21 – Sunday, April 23, 2017
Epworth by the Sea (a Methodist Conference Center – meals included from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch.)
St. Simon’s Island, Georgia

TENTATIVE Schedule (subject to fine-tuning!)

Friday – Check-in at Epworth by the Sea begins at 4 p.m.
Evening:
Dinner
Welcome by HSA SE Regional Coordinator Robyn Hood Black, introductions, mingling. Robyn will kick off our Earth Day theme with a brief look at Robert Epstein’s new animal rights collection and anthology. Kukai/contest introduction by Dennis Gobou.

Those so inclined might visit a local watering hole on the island for continued socialization.

Saturday
Morning
Breakfast

Pack your walking shoes – workshop and a birding ginko with Tom Painting!

Bird is the Word – Tom Painting

“We will explore the magic of birds in memory, imagination and the here-and now,” says Tom. “Participants will call upon some the many fine haiku written in English about birds to act as models and inspiration. A discussion of how birds are linked to seasonal awareness will further enhance our understanding.

“With spring migration at its peak, participants will be invited to go on a bird-walk. We will identify birds in a wide range of breeding plumages and especially through their vocalizations, which make every species that much more unique.
Those interested in the walk should bring binoculars. I will have a number of pairs to lend out for those not owning them.”

ALSO, Tom would like everyone to bring a bird haiku (written by someone else).

Afternoon
Lunch

HSA Business Meeting– HSA President Fay Aoyagi

Imaginary Creatures in Haiku – We’ll follow Fay Aoyagi straight from the business world into a fanciful one.

Write Like Issa Workshop– HSA Past President David G. Lanoue
David will lead us in the ninth workshop in this series. He says: “Explore Issa's poetic style to see what he has to teach us about writing haiku in 2017.”

Late afternoon break – Enjoy the natural surroundings, polish those haiku drafts, or finish a conversation with a new friend over a cup of tea.

Evening
Dinner
More socialization – informal visiting at the conference center or carpooling to a local spot for grown-up beverages.


Morning
Breakfast (Eat your Wheaties – Some high-level thinking ahead….)

Issa and Being Human: a Discussion– David G. Lanoue
Based on examples from Issa, a sharing of ideas about what it means to be human on this planet. Here's a question from David to ponder: "What does it mean to be alive, and how can haiku help answer this question?"

Sidewalk Daisies: Haiku in the Context of Social Ecology (tentative title) – Laurence Stacey

A discussion of contemporary haiku poetry within the context of Social Ecology. This lecture will examine the ways that haiku allows us to enter ecological "contact zones."

Q&A

Kukai Results
Lunch
Farewell!

COST:
Lodging and meals (2 nights + 6 meals) plus $50 contribution to slightly offset speaker travel and cover coffee/snack breaks:

Single Occupancy: $372 total per person for weekend

Double Occupancy: $272 total per person for weekend (Please let me know name of person you’ll be sharing a room with.)

Contact me if you will be coming during the day only; I'll need to collect money in advance for meals, workshop contribution, and a small Epworth fee.

TO RESERVE A SPOT: Please send a $40 non-refundable per-person deposit, made out to Robyn, as soon as possible:

Robyn Hood Black
PO Box 1022
Beaufort, SC 29901

Balance will be due (to Robyn) in early March. (After the holidays, I’ll make a registration form available for balance/full payment and to collect dietary needs info, etc. I can email or post on the haiku page of my author website for download.)

Spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis as long as the conference center can accommodate our numbers.

Epworth's cancellation policies:
Any individual cancellation after March 24 will result in a forfeiture of $20 per person. Any individual cancellation within 72 hours of arrival will result in forfeiture of entire per-person charge.

Birds of a haiku feather flock together!

********

I didn't realize until I went looking that a large percentage of my own published haiku are about birds! Here's one to leave you with:


lingering afternoon
the ebb and flow
of birdsong


©Robyn Hood Black
This World - Haiku Society of America 2013 Members' Anthology


Now, be sure to fly on over to Wee Words for Wee Ones, where our generous and lovely Bridget has this week's Roundup, and some thoughtful comments about "community." Makes me thankful to be a part of this one!

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 - Howdy from Poetry Camp, and Haiku News!

September 29, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, workshops, conferences, haiku, contests


Happy Poetry Friday!

I'm posting from Bellingham, Washington, where many of us are gathering for Poetry Camp at Western Washington University this weekend. Can't wait to catch up with poetry friends, and meet many others whose work I've admired for years. Friday night I'm leading a Found Poem Mixed Media Makerspace activity at the three-stories-of-awesome Village Books. On Saturday, I get to co-lead a workshop on picture books with Julie Larios!

As if this weren't enough poetry good news, I received news at the start of the week that one of my poems was awarded "third honorable mention" in the Haiku Society of America's 2016 Henderson Haiku Contest. Pinch me! I've posted as a picture above, but please click over to read the winning haiku and always insightful judges' comments. (This year's judges were Cor van den Heuvel and Scott Mason, so I'm beyond honored to have received an honorable mention.) My poem was:

wedding invitations
the press and release
of the nib


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

I'm also delighted to share links to award-winning haiku by names you'll recognize from my blog as shining haiku stars who happen to live in our Southeast region. Tom Painting took FIRST place in the 2016 Brady Senryu Contest, and Terri L. French was awarded second place in the
2016 HSA Haibun Award Contest. Congratulations, Friends!

The wonderful Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup today - Enjoy!

Poetry Friday: Poetry Camp at Western Washington University this Fall!

June 2, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry camp, workshops, conferences, Sylvia Vardell, Janet Wong, Jack Prelutsky


Happy June, Poetry Lovers!

Let's see, June is the month for... WEDDINGS. Our own Morgan will walk down the aisle in just two weeks! Hence, most of the rest of my life is on a temporary sabbatical, though I'll try to pop in and out of Poetry Friday this month.

Today is more of a pop-out day, as we actually have another wedding to travel to this weekend. BUT, I wanted to share some excitement coming up this fall. If you are near the beautiful coast of Washington state or would like an excuse to visit, the folks at Western Washington University in Bellingham are cooking up a spectacular POETRY CAMP conference (for grown-ups!) on Saturday, Oct. 1, starring our own Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Lots of Poetry Friday folks will be participating, including yours truly. (Can't wait!) The event will also feature Washington State Poet Laureate, Tod Marshall.

AND, special guest Jack Prelutsky will offer a free public performance from 4:30-5:30 pm!

Want to know more? Click here for the schedule and registration info. It's going to be a blast!

Speaking of Washington, the wonderful Jone at Check it Out is our Poetry Friday host today. Click on over and head into summer with lots of great poetry!

Poetry Friday: On the Haiku Road with Jack Kerouac

May 21, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, haiku, HSA, poets, conferences, workshops

Top: Robyn and award-winning poet and conference speaker Stanford M. Forrester, editor of bottle rockets and past president of the HSA;
Center: Current HSA President David G. Lanoue, poet and teacher Tom Painting, and poets Ray and Terri French (current Southeast Regional Coordinator for the HSA).
Bottom: Kerouac memorobilia displayed at The Kerouac Project house in Orlando.

Confession: I've only read a few excerpts of Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD and other novels. Unfiltered stream-of-conscious accounts of unbridled lives of the Beats (with no white space!) isn't quite my cup of tea. However, I was intrigued when my son gave me a copy of JACK KEROUAC - BOOK OF HAIKUS, edited and with an introduction by Regina Weinreich (Penguin, 2003) a year or two ago. And one of the houses Kerouac lived in (in 1957) is smack-dab in the middle of my old stomping grounds in the College Park area of Orlando, just a couple of miles from my folks' current home.

So when I learned the second quarterly meeting of the Haiku Society of America (HSA) would be coming to the Southeast, and to Orlando and the Kerouac house specifically, I signed up right away.

What a terrific weekend of learning, writing, and camaraderie!

The day began and ended with presentations by former HSA president, award-winning poet, and bottle rockets press editor Stanford M. Forrester of Connecticut. He did a wonderful job explaining how important Kerouac's role was in the development of haiku here in the states, noting that Kerouac drew mainly on Zen rather than Tibetan Buddhism, and that he "exchanged dogma for a more 'free-wheeling' life."

One of Kerouac's haiku that we looked at was this:


In my medicine cabinet
      the winter fly
Has died of old age



I'd remembered it from Weinreich's book and it was one of my favorites. I liked it even more after Stanford pointed out that to open the medicine cabinet, the speaker would likely encounter an mirror. Of course! Makes the poem even richer.

The middle of our day included a trip from Rollins College (where the lectures and meeting were held) to the cottage in College Park where Kerouac and his mother lived in 1957 - in the back part of the house, not the whole cottage. It has been preserved with generous support of some savvy volunteers, who administer residencies for selected writers four times a year (one per season). The folks from The Kerouac Project who gave us a tour (the current writer-in-residence was out of town and so we could see the house) joined us in many conversations and couldn't have been more welcoming. Several of us bought Bob Kealing's book, KEROUAC IN FLORIDA: : Where The Road Ends, which chronicles Kerouac's life in several houses there until his death in St. Petersburg in 1969 at the age of 47.

After a picnic lunch in the yard, we made the short trek by foot to Lake Adair, where I spent many an afternoon as a teenager. This was our "ginko walk" - poets walking together to soak up inspiration from the surroundings and compose haiku, perhaps with sketchbooks or cameras in tow. Cypress knees, red-winged blackbirds, and a circling osprey gave us plenty to work with on a sunny day.

Kerouac and fellow writers often composed haiku during their road trips. How fitting that HSA President David G. Lanoue and three more folks making up the New Orleans contingent did the same during their long, long drive. The result was a lively renku read during Saturday evening's poetry reading at a local watering hole, where 20-somethings huddled over laptops with beer or coffee, strung lights and colorful paper cut-outs made for festive, hipster-friendly décor, and our haiku folks took up most of the room with its small stage. Actually, the linked verses (36) were not read so much as performed, set to some top-notch harmonica improvisations by one of the renku poets.

A bonus for me was getting to make it a weekend trip with my husband (and the dogs!) to visit my folks. Jeff came with me to the reading Saturday night and got to hear me read a few poems as well. It was a friendly, laid-back audience. We enjoyed 15 or so sharings of haiku, haibun, tanka, and even Japanese music combined with poems.

This was only my second time to an HSA meeting, and it was a treat catching up with folks I'd met in Atlanta a year and a half ago as well as making new acquaintances. To think haiku poets gather around the world like this sharing their passion and knowledge is a wonderful thing, much like we gather in our virtual meeting places here on Poetry Friday.

Marching to his own energetic beat is our Poetry Friday Rounder-upper today, Matt - go check out all the great offerings at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme.

Some Novel Good News for Some Writing Buds!

March 31, 2014

Tags: writing life, novels, conferences, SCBWI, Southern Breeze

Top: Elizabeth Dulemba signs A BIRD ON WATER STREET
Bottom: Janice Hardy and Robyn celebrate Janice's new guide, PLANNING YOUR NOVEL


I’m feshly back from our SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle in Atlanta, and it was wonderful! (I may have moved, but I lobbied to remain a Breezer!) You can read a great recap on author and illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba’s blog, here.



Speaking of Elizabeth, we’ve been riding these Southern Breezes together a long time, even sharing a critique group a few years ago. That’s why I was particularly excited that at our conference book launch on Saturday, e presented her FIRST NOVEL fully fledged. It’s an environmental story which she’s poured years (and her heart) into, and it’s called A BIRD ON WATER STREET (A SIBA Okra Pick!). It sold out at the conference bookstore.



What’s that? Oh - I hear you whispering, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel, but I don’t know where to begin.” Well, speak up and take heart: another dear author friend, fellow Breezer and amazing blogger Janice Hardy had a hot-off-the-press book to share at the signing party. It’s called PLANNING YOUR NOVEL: IDEAS AND STRUCTURE, and it’s a treasure of practical tips gleaned from her years blogging about fiction writing and nurturing emerging writers. In fact, it’s Book One in her planned “Foundations of Fiction” series. Check it out, and learn about Janice’s other books, here.

Now, Gotta Run - my to-be-read stack is calling.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Poetry Friday: Workshopping a Haiku... (from HSA Meeting)

March 27, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, HSA, conferences, writing life

clipartpal.com



Greetings, Dear Poetry Friends!

Talk about inspiration overload lately. Today I'm back in Atlanta for our Illustrator Day and Springmingle conference this weekend. Last weekend, I was in a different Atlanta hotel with another creative tribe for the quarterly Haiku Society of America national conference/meeting.

March has been good to my creative soul.

I thought I might offer a peek into "workshopping" a haiku poem from that meeting. (Curtis Dunlap and I facilitated an informal process much like this at our Southeast regional conference back in October.)

Every workshop last weekend was stellar, thanks to conference planners HSA President David G. Lanoue, Terri L. French, and Tom Painting. Our second session was a haiku-writing workshop called "The New Traditional Haiku" led by Lee Gurga, award-winning poet and former HSA president. He is currently editor of Modern Haiku Press.

I'm not going to give away Lee's talk - join HSA and come to a fabulous meeting! - but I'll share a taste. After considering a variety of examples of and approaches to contemporary haiku, we were given handouts with three poems (not haiku) by well-known poets (19th and 20th centuries). We also received blank index cards. Lee invited us to borrow images from these poems, or be inspired by them, and craft some new haiku, keeping our discussion in mind.

While I usually take my time to develop poems and create them from some direct personal experience, it's fun in these settings to just turn loose the Muse and understand that everyone's efforts are first drafts. We each turned in our cards with our anonymous poems, and Lee selected a few for us to take a look at. I was delighted when one of mine came up for discussion. My original scribble on the index card went like so:

spider
her light escape into the dark


(The three words, "her light escape," were from Dickinson and grabbed me. Though referring to Summer in the original poem, I already had a spider image in my mind from another of the handout poems, and I've written a few haiku about spiders. I love playing with opposing forces in a haiku, so "into the dark" just wrote itself.)

Terri was our scribe to pen these haiku on a large pad, and it's interesting that she wrote the second line as, "her light escape into dark" without the "the". (Terri is a sharp, fine poet.) She quickly amended it to reflect what was on the card, but we all agreed the poem certainly didn't need the "the". (I also hear the voice of Lee Bennett Hopkins in my ear when I've let an unnecessary article or other little word slip through, and as soon as I saw the phrase written out, I thought, Did I put that "the" in there?! I hope I would have struck it on a second draft!)

Our workshop talk then turned to lines and construction. Should the poem be set up more traditionally, as:

spider
her light escape
into dark


or one line:

spider her light escape into dark

Well, I like either of these options better than what I originally put down.

A suggestion was also made to play with spacing, maybe drawing out the moment:

spider    her light escape      into     dark

or some such.

Looking at all of these suggestions, I might pick the three-line construction as my favorite for this poem, even though it's the most traditional. One, the "spider" and "her light escape" are not jammed awkwardly together if separated by the line space, and, Two, that short pause as the reader goes from the second to the third line gives our little arachnid just enough time to make a surprise exit!

Hopefully this brief romp has offered a hint at the myriad decisions and options available in writing a "one-breath poem." It was an honor and treat to meet some of the genre's best practitioners and advocates, and to get to know a few I've met before a little better!

The Poetry Friday Roundup today is hosted by none other than our wonderful Mary Lee at A Year of Reading. Quick - make your escape over there for lots of great poetry!

Poetry Friday: Student Haiku Poet of the Month Marisa Schwartz

March 20, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, Student Poet of the Month, haiku, student poets, student work, HSA, conferences

Marisa Schwartz



Happy Spring! If Spring did not arrive with the calendar this week where you are, I send you coastal sunshine (& pollen!) and wishes for warmth soon. What better way to welcome a new season than with haiku?


This Poetry Friday finds me traveling to Atlanta for the quarterly Haiku Society of America national conference/meeting, where some of Tom Painting’s haiku students will again share their thoughts and poems. I hope you are enjoying our blog series featuring a Student Haiku Poet of the Month as much as I’m enjoying sharing these talented and generous young people.



Ringing in Spring today is Marisa Schwartz. Marisa was raised in Decatur, Georgia (but is a New Yorker at heart) and has attended The Paideia School since third grade. She has always enjoyed writing ever since she could hold a pencil and started writing haiku in seventh grade, when creative writing teacher Tom Painting introduced it to the class. Marisa is also an accomplished piano player and plays the flute for her high school. She loves to play ultimate Frisbee and is a voracious reader. She lives with her parents, sister, and beloved cats.



(The kinship with kitties is enough for many of us, right?)





About haiku, Marisa says:


I love how haiku can capture such small and sometimes seemingly insignificant moments in life. Such small poems - only three lines - can have such a huge impact and I love how beautifully imagery can be conveyed in this way.

Here is a selection of Marisa’s poetry:


funeral home
a potted plant
in the window


midnight
lying in bed
I daydream


autumn night
a swing
in the wind


a dusty Steinway
the pedals
still warm


playing soccer
with a ping-pong ball
the kitten


lovers’ lane
everyone
on cell phones


9/11 memorial
running my fingers
over his name



All poems ©Marisa Schwartz. All rights reserved.

Many thanks to Marisa for sharing her fine work! Several poems to admire here – I was particularly taken by those warm Steinway pedals myself. What speaks to you?

In cased you’ve missed any of our previous Student Poets, here are the links: Emma Jones (Dec.), Stuart Duffield (Jan.) , and Abby Shannon (Feb.).

Thanks as well to the also talented and generous Julie at The Drift Record for hosting our Poetry Friday Roundup today! Lots of great poetry awaits there, perfect for spring or any season!

Poetry Friday: Haiku Continues with Student Poet of the Month, Emma Jones

December 12, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, Student Poet of the Month, student work, student poets, writing life, haiku, conferences

Emma Jones


Greetings, Poetry Friends! Thank you for joining me lately to meet haiku poets from my neck of the woods – speakers from our recent Haiku Society of America (HSA) Southeast Region ginko haikufest in Atlanta, Georgia. Next week we’ll wind up our “We Haiku Here” series with HSE SE regional coordinator, poet, and editor Terri L. French. Remember meeting award-winning poet and teacher Tom Painting last month?

Several of Tom’s students wowed us at the conference with readings of their work, and with their statements about haiku. Since 2000, Tom’s junior high and high school students have had winning haiku in the Nicholas Virgilio Memorial Haiku Contest. His students have also been recognized in the United Nations International School Haiku Competition.Tom currently teaches at The Paideia School in Atlanta.

Friday the 13th is a lucky day for us today, because with Tom’s help, I’m kicking off a monthly feature spotlighting the work of these talented students. Today I’m delighted to introduce you to Emma Jones, an 8th grade student at Paideia.

In addition to writing haiku, Emma enjoys dance and soccer. She is an avid reader. Emma lives with her mom, dad, and older sister, Camille.

Emma shares these thoughts about haiku:

I like watching a haiku form. The original idea may change throughout the revision process. After chipping away unnecessary words and switching around the lines I often find myself with a new version that may or may not look how I originally intended it to be. Since haiku are written with so few words it has made me think about each word in all of my writing. Sometimes haiku is written about the smallest and seemingly unimportant moments in life. Writing and reading haiku has made me seek out these moments and grasp their importance and elegance, to write about or just appreciate.


Emma has also kindly agreed to share some of her poems. Enjoy!



kneading my thigh
in an easy chair
the old grey cat


lazy afternoon
a soft spring breeze
combs the grass


summer drizzle
the sidewalk slowly
colors-in


city lights steal the stars


dead bird
the cat’s eyes sparkle
a confession


family breakfast
grape jelly sliding
down the jar


Nam Memorial
no need
for quiet signs



All poems ©Emma Jones. All rights reserved.


Hearty thanks to Emma for joining us today!

If Emma’s exceptional writing has whet your appetite for more great poetry, please go visit the ever creative, ever thoughtful Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Some Walt Whitman for the Road

October 10, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, ponderings, conferences, workshops

Yay Images
Greetings from the road (again!) today.... I'm on my way to Birmingham for our SCBWI Southern Breeze fall conference. Saturday I'm presenting a workshop on "Poetry Tips for Prose Writers."

I'm looking forward to the trip, because my wonderful friend and long-time traveling companion is joining me - Paula B. Puckett, and another buddy from our art critique group, Kathleen Bradshaw, is hopping in for the ride as well. I loved Kathleen's comment when she called to see if we had room. She was wondering if she could ride with us 1.) so that she could leave her car home for another family member, and, 2.) because she missed us. ;0) Yes, we are all overdue for catching up, and miles on the road offer a great opportunity for that.

So here are a few lines from Whitman's "Song of the Open Road," which begs re-readings and ponderings. For today, I'll share one of the lilting, lighter sections near the beginning. Enjoy!

from
Song of the Open Road
by Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

(excerpt)

4
The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment of the road.


O highway I travel, do you say to me Do not leave me?
Do you say Venture not—if you leave me you are lost?
Do you say I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and undenied, adhere to me?


O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love you,
You express me better than I can express myself,
You shall be more to me than my poem.


I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all free poems also,
I think I could stop here myself and do miracles,
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever beholds me shall like me,
I think whoever I see must be happy.

....

(Please click here to pull up a chair and read the entire poem.)

And please mosey down the road to visit the amazing Laura at Writing the World for Kids for today's Roundup, where she has a powerful pantoum, a story of poetic camaraderie, and lots of links to great poetry!

Poetry Friday - A Few Lines of Rumi for Rumination

October 3, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, writing life, conferences, ponderings, SCBWI, Southern Breeze


Next Saturday, Oct. 12, I’ll start the day presenting a workshop called “Poetry Tips for Prose Writers” at one of my favorite places – our SCBWI Southern Breeze Fall Conference in Birmingham, Alabama. We’ll look at ways poetic language can enliven our fiction and nonfiction writing.

I offered a little sneak preview as my column returned from vacation to Janice Hardy’s The Other Side of the Story blog this week. In that post, I shared a few excerpts from Khaled Hosseini’s powerful first novel, The Kite Runner, now celebrating 10 years in print. What piqued my curiosity about Hosseini’s writing was a recent television interview about his newest novel (And the Mountains Echoed), in which he described growing up in Kabul with poetry all around - a natural part of daily life. As a child, he kept close company with Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyám. (Hosseini mentions ghazals too - a poetic form explored by some of our Poetry Friday keepers. [See Margaret’s post at Reflections on the Teche from April here.]

So, today – something sweet to chew on from Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks):


What Was Told, That

by Jalal al-Din Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks

What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.

What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever …



Please click here for the rest of the poem.

Wishing you a Poetry Friday “filled with gratitude.” For today’s Roundup, go share some sweet tea with one of my favorite Southern Breezers, Doraine, at Dori Reads. Doraine is presenting a "Nuts and Bolts" workshop at our conference, too!

Poetry Friday: Haiku and a Deja Vu

August 30, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, conferences, ponderings, journals, workshops

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

I've missed you this month!

You've missed me, too, right?

I'm waving on my way to the Decatur Book Festival this weekend (where I'll have my artsyletters booth). But I wanted to share some treats before I go. Last year about this time, I featured a couple of haiku from myself and my niece, Olivia, which were in the same issue of Frogpond. Olivia had been one of the winners in the Nicholas Virgilio Haiku Contest for students. Well, guess what? We share bylines in the same issue again! One of Olivia's poems appears in this year's small collection of wonderful winning entries.


autumn wind
the spool
feeding the thread



©Olivia Babuka Black. All rights reserved.

The judges offer thoughtful commentary on each winning poem, adding that Olivia's has "a kind of lonely beauty."

Hers was, again, not the only winning entry from The Paideia School in Atlanta. No surprise - their teacher is award-winning and widely published haiku poet Tom Painting. I look forward to meeting Tom in person at our upcoming "Ginko Haiku Fest" in Atlanta October 25-27.

In the meantime, he graciously agreed to let me post my favorite of his poems in this same Frogpond issue:


damp earth by turn some understanding


©Tom Painting. All rights reserved.

Such richness and depth in those few words, don't you think?


And, okay, here's my poem in the current issue:


temple gift shop
no one minds
the register



©©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

Finally... Drumrolllll, pleeeease.... our own Elizabeth Steinglass (Liz to me) makes her haiku publishing debut with this fine poem, ALSO in this issue of Frogpond:


after lunch...
the slight smile
of the hammock



©©Elizabeth Steinglass. All rights reserved.


Congratulations, Liz! And that's just the beginning for her. More of her poems are in the pipelines of respected haiku journals.

(Also, a shout-out to Jone Rush MacCulloch, who has made her haiku journal debut this year as well, I believe.)

One more thing. I'm looking forward to presenting a workshop on "Poetry for Prose Writers" at our SCBWI Southern Breeze fall conference, Writing and Illustrating for Kids, on October 12. Our region features presenters in a "blog tour," and I had the good fortune to be a guest on the blog of my author friend Donny Bailey Seagraves this week. Donny lists the schedule for all of the wik Southern Breeze Wik blog tour participants.

In the mood for some more poetry to fuel your day? Ever-talented Tara has our Roundup today (and a William Blake offering) at A Teaching Life. Enjoy!

Poetry Friday: Terri L. French visits with Haiku and Atlanta Haikufest Info

April 18, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, Poetry Month, haiku, authors, conferences, workshops

Haiku Poet, HSA Regional Coordinator, and Prune Juice editor Terri L. French

Smack dab in the middle of National Poetry Month is National Haiku Poetry Day – on Wednesday the 17th this week. Let’s continue the celebration with a spotlight on a terrific poet/volunteer from my neck of the woods, and the amazing haiku weekend she’s cooking up for October in Atlanta.

When I started my own haiku journey nearly three years ago, I got in touch with a couple of folks listed as Haiku Society of America members in my region. They were very kind, but there didn’t seem to be an active group at the time.

Then lo and behold, in swoops Terri L. French from Alabama to reach out and rev up the Southeast Region. Before you could catch a falling cherry blossom, she’d arranged the first annual Ginko (haiku walk) Haikufest last fall in Alabama! I was out of town and unable to make it that weekend, so I was thrilled to learn she was putting together another one for this coming fall. More about that in a minute. First, meet Terri!

BIO: Terri L. French lives in Huntsville, Alabama. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist and has been writing haiku and various related forms seriously for the last seven years. In 2012, she placed third and received an honorable mention in The Haiku Society of America's (HSA) Gerald Brady Memorial Award senryu contest and third place in the HSA haibun contest. Terri currently serves as the HSA's southeast regional coordinator and edits the senryu and kyoka journal, Prune Juice .

Here’s Terri’s take on why she became so involved:

The southeast region of the Haiku Society of America has been a little inactive for the last few years. Geographically we are quite spread out. The region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands! Our first annual Ginko Haikufest was held last year in Guntersville, Alabama. This year the conference will be in Atlanta, Georgia. My hopes are that by moving the conference around the region we can garner more interest and become a more cohesive group.

This year's conference "gazing at flowers," celebrating the 250th birthday of Japanese haiku poet Kobayashi Issa, will be even bigger and better than last year's. We will have a special presentation by HSA's president, David Lanoue; an introductory workshop and "blind" critique; a sumi-e Japanese brush painting class; a performance by a taiko drum troupe; a ginko bird walk; and much, much, more.


I am thrilled to be participating and helping out for this event. Here’s the conference info in a nutshell – mark your calendar!

The 2113, SE Haiku Society of America, 2nd Annual Ginko Haikufest, "gazing at flowers," will be Friday October 25 - Sunday, October 27, at the Artmore Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Contact Terri French at terri.l.french for registration information and see our events page and the Facebook Haikufest page.

Now, to whet your appetite, two original haiku graciously shared by Terri:

a spot of blood
on the unfinished quilt -
harvest moon


Sketchbook, Vol. 4, issue 5, Sept/Oct, 2009

reflecting pool
trying to see past
what she's not


Frogpond, 34:3, 2011

Poems ©Terri L. French. All rights reserved.

Many thanks for joining us today, Terri!

For a thoughtful haiku in response to the tragic events in Boston this week, see Daine Mayr’s poem at Random Noodling.

*** a couple of different notes:

1.) Guess What? The Authors Guild Folks - evidently also known as “Knights of the Internet” - recovered all my lost comments from Poetry Friday two weeks ago! The Roundup itself was lost, but you can find all the links here in the post just under this one (dated 4/18/2013). The content of my original post for that day is here.

2.) How about this for fun? April Halprin Wayland, Irene Latham, and yours truly made the Children’s edition of Publisher’s Weekly yesterday, with a picture of our “Take Five – Create Fun with the Poetry Friday Anthology” workshop at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival in Hattiesburg last week. Click here (and scroll down) to see. Woo hoo!

Speaking of lovely Irene, go see what she’s rounding up for Poetry Friday today at
Live Your Poem.

Poetry Friday Recap & Poetry Friday Anthology

April 8, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, Poetry Month, poetry, book tracks, authors, conferences

UPDATE!!! The "Knights of the Internet" recovered all our comments! Click HERE for the links! Hi, folks - On Sunday afternoon a band of virtual Gremlins made off with my Poetry Friday Round Up post with all your wonderful dozens of comments. :0( I have no idea where it is hiding or if it can be retrieved... I've emailed the webhosting folks for help. Apologies if you've come looking for the Round Up (it was such a great week with so many great links!) and reached this message. Fearing the worst, I'll go ahead and re-post my original article here, so you can enjoy some Poetry Friday Anthology poems and interviews.

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!

(from Friday, April 5)
I’m thrilled to be your Poetry Friday Rounder-Upper today – please leave your links in the comments and I’ll post them as the day unfolds. [As noted above, these links have vanished! My apologies for this inconvenience. There were 65 comments...!]

I look forward to hitting the road next week on a long drive to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi. (Yep – they have the wonderful deGrummond Collection, curated by the ever-effervescent Ellen Ruffin.)

April Halprin Wayland , Irene Latham and yours truly will present a poetry panel workshop on Wednesday: Take Five! Create Fun with the Poetry Friday Anthology. We get to share the Poetry Friday Anthology and the new Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School with eager teachers, media specialists, and other interested folks. Thanks to Pomelo Books editors extraordinaire Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell for helping to support this adventure.

Here’s a poem from each of us that we’ll share in our presentation, along with a 10-item Q & A just for fun.

First up, April. Here’s her poem from Grade 6 Week 29 (“Poetry Poems”) in PFAMS:

In the Word Woods

I’m sure there’s a found poem somewhere here.
There usually is this time of year.

Didn’t a red-haired boy lose words
that were found last May by a flightless bird?

And then that search and rescue hound
dug up sixteen poems he’d found.

Listen for falling bulletin boards,
and scowling poem-poaching hordes

who stomp all over this hallowed ground
until the hidden poems are found.

I’ll bring a flashlight, you bring a rake
we’ll get down on our knees and make

a poem from words that have trampolined
off an Internet ad or a magazine

into the woods some starry night
waiting for searching kids who might

find a poem if they’re brave and follow
the hoot of an owl to the end of the hollow.

©April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.

Quick, April, answer these fast!

Coffee or tea?
Single shot soy latte in a huge cup so they fill it to the top with FOAM!
(My version of whipped cream without the cream)


Milk or dark chocolate?
Dark, sweetened with unsweetened pineapple juice & pear juice concentrate.
(Despite what my husband says, it tastes wonderful!)


Beach or mountains?
Mountain meadow. Even though I live a mile from the beach…

Free verse or forms?
I have to choose?

Drafts: pen and paper or digital?
Both. Either. Depends.

What’s usually playing on your iPod or on Pandora when you are:
Working –
instrumental folk, classical piano trios; sometimes NPR
Working out – whatever my gym class teacher is playing

Favorite place to read poetry?
In my home office.

Favorite place to write poetry?
In my home office.
(I love my home office. *sigh*)


Funniest question you’ve ever been asked at a school visit:
"How many books do you write in a week?"

Quick! Three of your favorite-sounding words:
cuspidor, bubble gum, tiddlywinks


Next, Irene’s poem from Grade 5, Week 2 (“More School”) from PFA:

Backpack

I’d say paper
Is my favorite feast –
I love it spiraled,
bound or loose-leaf.

(Pencils poke,
rulers break.
Textbooks give me
A belly ache.)

Whatever you feed me,
I’ll do my best;
you’re the one
Who takes the tests!

©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.

Q & A time, Irene – hit it!

Coffee or tea?
tea

Milk or dark chocolate?
dark

Beach or mountains?
beach at night, mountains by day

Free verse or forms?
freeeeeeeee!

Drafts: pen and paper or digital?
digital all the way

What's usually playing on your iPod or on Pandora when you are:
Working
- nada. I work best with silence (though I have learned to write through son's drumming)
Working out - shhhhh, I don't work out.

Favorite place to read poetry?
in bed

Favorite place to write poetry?
in bed (hey, I really like my bed!)

Funniest question you've ever been asked at a school visit:
Would you sign my arm?

Quick! Three of your favorite-sounding words:
honeysuckle, hydrangea, heliotrope

Finally, running out of room on the handout - ;0) – my short little poem from First Grade, Week 10 (“Food”) from PFA:

Snack Rules

Don’t talk with your mouth full –
full of peanut butter:
Anything you try to say
will cmmm out as a mmmttrr.

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

And my 10 answers:

Coffee or tea?
Morning coffee; afternoon tea

Milk or dark chocolate?
dark

Beach or mountains?
Beach, but I love the mountains too.

Free verse or forms?
Sucker for forms…

Drafts: pen and paper or digital?
Scribbles in journals or on Post-It Notes

What's usually playing on your iPod or on Pandora when you are:
   Working -
Writing: *must*have*quiet*
            Drawing: Bach or Classic Rock, Carving/Printing: *must*have*Celtic*

   Working out -
Ummmm…..

Favorite place to read poetry?
On my couch with my dogs

Favorite place to write poetry?
In my head when I’m walking and talking to the birds

Funniest question you've ever been asked at a school visit:
From a kindergarten girl on a cafeteria floor with 400-plus K-2’s: How do you know if it’s a man wolf or a lady wolf? (Last week a second grader asked me AFTER my presentation, “Are you an author?”)

Quick! Three of your favorite-sounding words:
sassafras, twinkle, persnickety

Be sure to check in over at The Poetry Friday Anthology blog for ideas and inspiration on using the PFA in the classroom. The Poetry Friday for Middle School blog features short “poem movies” this month created by Sylvia’s graduate students, highlighting some of the wonderful PFAMS poems for grades 6 - 8!

For an extensive Poetry Month roundup of events in the Kidlitosphere, check out Jama’s gracious post on Alphabet Soup.

Two last links from me: On Wednesday at Janice Hardy’s great blog, The Other Side of the Story , I featured Irene’s new novel, DON’T FEED THE BOY (Roaring Brook), as a way to look at how a poet’s sensibilities might inform the way she writes fiction.

My art blog post this week celebrates found poetry and Austin Kleon.

Friday's now missing-in-action post then included the Round Up of dozens and dozens of wonderful poetry posts last week. Sigh. If you search for "Poetry Friday" and start visiting blogs of other commenters, you'll find some wonderful offerings.


VOICE LESSONS with Irene Latham

August 22, 2012

Tags: SCBWI, Southern Breeze, authors, book tracks, poetry, conferences, workshops, writing life


Poetry buffs who frequent this blog know about Poetry Friday regular Irene Latham – her COLOR OF LOST ROOMS (2010) was a National Indie Excellence finalist and winner of the 19th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Award. She just sold her first collection of children's poems, DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST, set at an African watering hole, to Millbrook Press/Lerner. Look for it in the fall of 2014! Irene has been poetry editor of the Alabama Arts Journal since 2003.

She’s also an accomplished novelist. LEAVING GEE’S BEND (Putnam, 2010) won the Alabama Library Association 2011 Children's Book Award and was a SIBA Book Award finalist. Her new novel, DON’T FEED THE BOY (Roaring Brook, Oct. 2012), is soon to be let loose!

At the SCBWI Southern Breeze fall conference in Birmingham in October, Irene is presenting a workshop on that elusive, crucial, desired-by-any-editor element of a story: voice. She was kind enough to drop by today and give us a sneak peek.

Take it away, Irene!

Confession: when I sold LEAVING GEE’S BEND, I thought “editing” meant someone somewhere sending my words through some fancydancy spell-check program. I really had no idea how to revise.

Guess what I learned?

The best and quickest way to educate oneself about editing and revision is to actually DO it. And what I’ve found in the years since is that for me, revising is most successful if taken in stages. By which I mean, I read over the manuscript multiple times, addressing one specific issue during each pass.

I generally start with plot, because that’s easiest (for me). Then I move to character arc – one pass for each major player, then another pass for supporting characters. Then, eventually, I move to voice. It’s during this pass that the magic happens: ordinary words take on flavor and personality. Dialogue quirks emerge. Similes and metaphors become consistent with the character. Gone are the modern words in a historical piece, while invented words manifest themselves in a fantasy piece.

One of the best ways I have found to teach about voice is to show examples of writing without voice. Take, for instance, the first line from a household favorite book FEED by M. T. Anderson.

line STRIPPED of voice, by me:

“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon was boring.”

actual line, written by M.T. Anderson:

“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”

That, fellow readers and writers, is VOICE.

Want to learn more? Come to the SCBWI Southern Breeze region annual Writing and Illustrating for Kids conference in Birmingham, Oct. 20. (There’s an optional novel intensive Oct. 19.) Here’s the official description for my workshop:

Voice Lessons: Revising for Voice

Got a book with great plot, characters, but no distinctive voice? This workshop provides revision techniques and advice on how to create a voice that’s authentic and memorable. *Attendees should bring at least one page up to an entire chapter of a work-in-progress to revise.

Handout includes a list of strategies, a voice-revision checklist and three before/after excerpts to illustrate effectiveness of the suggested techniques.


Sounds terrific, Irene! Thanks for the preview.

To learn more about Irene and her books, check out her website and blog.

And to register for the Writing and Illustrating for Kids (wik) fall conference in Birmingham , click here.

Hope to see you there!

Bloggie Updates! Wik Blog Tour and good news over at Author Amok

August 16, 2012

Tags: poetry, haiku, SCBWI, Southern Breeze, conferences, Poetry Month

Howdy - Well, I'm breaking my mini-blog vacation because there are just too many good things to share! I have a fun Poetry Friday post for tomorrow, but before that, here are a couple of good bloggie nuggets:

1.) I was thrilled to learn that Laura Shovan's blog, Author Amok, was named a top ten Creative Writing teaching blog, winning a "Fascination Award" with the nominated post being a guest post by yours truly for Poetry Month this year! Woo-hoo! Congratulations, Laura - and I'm honored!

2.) The folks planning our SCBWI Southern Breeze Fall Conference in Birmingham have been hard at work, and we're spotlighting speakers in the Southern Breeze blogosphere this month. (I've been thrilled to present there the last two years, and look forward to enjoying workshops as a civilian this year.) I'll host Irene Latham HERE next week, but in the meantime, get on board and enjoy the tour:

Aug. 15 Sharon Pegram at Writers and Wannabes

Aug. 16 Sarah Campbell at Alison Hertz’s blog, On My Mind

Aug. 17 F.T. Bradley at Laura Golden’s blog

Aug. 20 Chuck Galey at Elizabeth Dulemba’s blog

Aug. 21 Jo Kittinger at Bonnie Herold’s blog, Tenacious Teller of Tales

Aug. 22 Irene Latham HERE!

Aug. 23 Vicky Alvear Shecter at S.R. Johannes’ blog

Aug. 24 Doraine Bennett at Cathy Hall’s blog

Aug. 27 Virginia Butler at Bonnie Herold’s blog, Tenacious Teller of Tales.

Aug. 28 Jodi Wheeler-Toppen at Diane Sherrouse’s blog,The Reading Road

Aug. 29 Ellen Ruffin at Sarah Frances Hardy’s blog, Picture This

Aug. 30 Donna Jo Napoli at Writers and Wannabes

Haiku Fest in Alabama Sept. 28-30

July 30, 2012

Tags: haiku, poetry, workshops, conferences

Haiku Greetings!

Passing along information for what is sure to be a spectacular, refreshing weekend - a haiku fest in Alabama at the end of September! The workshop is sponsored by the Haiku Society of America (HSA), Southeast Region.

I have a couple of family events that weekend that conflict, so I won't be able to make this one. But it sounds wonderful. Here's the info:

GINKO HAIKUFEST

Friday September 28 – Sunday September 30, 2012

Lake Guntersville State Park

1155 Lodge Drive

Guntersville, AL 35976

$45 members / $50 non-members (Saturday only)

$60 members / $65 non-members (Friday through Sunday)

Registration checks are payable to the H.S.A. Regional Coordinator:

Terri L. French

1901 W. Tupelo Dr. SE

Huntsville, AL 35803

Phone: 256-303-8305

Email: terri.l.french@gmail.com

Call 1-800-548-4553 Lake Guntersville Lodge to reserve rooms - “haikufest code 2716” – bluff-side with two queens at $105 per night (1-2 people) plus $10 for each additional person. The reservation deadline is August 15th.

Tom Painting, Laurence Stacey and Robert Moyer are conducting creative educational sessions.

Following the Ginko Walk, $100 worth of Issa Prizes will be awarded to attending poets whose haiku are deemed to be closest in spirit to the beloved Kobayashi Issa (1762-1826).

H.S.A. members, their guests, teachers and all other poetry lovers are encouraged to attend this intimate, casual and supportive gathering of haiku devotees.

Poetry Friday: Art, Fear, and Founders Workshops

May 11, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, conferences, writing life, Highlights, authors, workshops

Book Spine Poems (See end of post for text)


For Mother’s Day, I’m getting on a plane early Sunday morning and leaving my family. Mind you, I love my family! – but the oldest child is in New Zealand for foreign study, and the youngest, and of course my hubby, are used to my conference habit.

I’ll be heading up to rural Pennsylvania for my third Highlights Founders workshop . (The first was a Poetry workshop in 2009 with Rebecca Kai Dotlich and special guests Susan Pearson and Alice Schertle . The second was an Advanced Illustrators workshop last fall with a stellar cast of leaders, and we got to break in Kent Brown Jr.’s new “barn” – an amazing space for creative exploration.) If you ever get a chance to attend one of these, get thee hence! Why?

1.) TIME to nurture your craft
2.) Amazing faculty who are seasoned at helping folks nurture their craft
3.) Networking with wonderful like-minded creative folk who speak your language
4.) Gourmet food – I’m not kidding; with a real chef and talented staff– and complete pampering and thoughtful attention from the Highlights Founders family
5.) Gorgeous natural surroundings and a trail or two (Last time I was there, I had ongoing conversations with Eric Rohman and Candace Fleming about fox and coyote scat. Really.)
6.) The cutest little cabins in the world – perfect for creative reflection at the end of a busy day
7.) Lots more!

Sort of related, I’ve just finished the first half of Art and Fear – Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of ARTMAKING (1993) by David Bayles and Ted Orland. This book has been on my “list” forever, and a friend recently gave me a copy. I’m treasuring it as much as reading it. It’s having the same effect on me that If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland had, years ago when my husband gave that to me. Both books are written with deep understanding of the creative psyche, and such plain language, and common-sense encouragement just to create what is yours to create.

Workshops like those at Highlights help you focus on just that. From p. 36 of Art and Fear: “The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly – without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectations. Ask you work what it needs, not what you need.”

The authors are not suggesting that writers and artists aren’t inspired by other works of art or that they shouldn’t read/view them. Or that creative people don’t need mentors. But I think they are suggesting that one’s work only grows with time actually spent considering it, and developing it. Again, the kind of time and attention one cultivates in a working retreat.

Next week’s workshop will be led by this wonderful line-up: Rebecca again, and David L. Harrison, and Eileen Spinelli.

So for today’s poem, I’ve conjured up some book spine poems made from some of Rebecca's, David's, and Eileen's books on my shelves. Enjoy!

Here’s the text of the “poems” from the picture above (punctuation added with poetic license…):

Lemonade Sun
in the spin of things -
castles
where I live



A family like yours -
Do you have a cat?
Do you have a dog?
Somebody catch my homework!



Wild Country -
bugs
writing stories...
Sophie's masterpiece: a spider's tale -
the purchase of small secrets.


When I return home, after spending a few days with these amazing poets (our three fearless leaders AND attendees), I know I’ll be inspired.

For a virtual poetic retreat today, head over to Live Your Poem..., where the beautiful Irene Latham has the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Jazzing up Poetry Month with Carole Boston Weatherford

April 19, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, Poetry Month, poetry, authors, book tracks, conferences

Did you know that in addition to National Poetry Month, April is Jazz Appreciation Month? Click here for the Smithsonian website. Today, we’re combining the two!

While presenting a workshop at the Georgia Conference on Children’s Literature last month, I met the incredible Carole Boston Weatherford, New York Times bestselling author of dozens of books – poetry collections, picture books, and nonfiction. Trailing her is a long list of awards, including the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2010, the state’s highest civilian honor. Her books have garnered a Caldecott honor, an NAACP Image Award, Coretta Scott King Honors, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Literature Honor, a Golden Kite Honor, and the Jefferson Cup from Virginia Library Association, just to name a few.

But back to jazz and Poetry Month, today we’re taking a look BECOMING BILLIE HOLIDAY (illustrated by the amazing Floyd Cooper, Wordsong, 2008), which was a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book and on many top lists. With starred reviews from Kirkus (“…A remarkable tribute well worthy of its subject”) and School Library Journal (…“Captivating”), the book is a fictional memoir – a collection of first-person poems chronicling the transformation of Eleanora Fagan (b. 1915) into the groundbreaking and iconic jazz singer Billie Holiday.

Weatherford doesn’t shy away from the hard facts of Billie’s early life – rape, prostitution, drinking and marijuana use – but rounds out the darkness with the irrepressible voice and spirit of this singular talent. Most of the poems take their titles from Billie Holiday’s songs. Here is one which captures the struggle and emotion of her very early years (reprinted with permission from the author):

Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do

by Carole Boston Weatherford

At eleven, I had the body
of a grown woman,
the mouth of a sailor, and a temper
hot enough to fry an egg.

What I didn’t have
Was anyone to hug me,
To tuck me in at night,
Or kiss me hello and good-bye.

So I got noticed the only way
I knew – cursing and screaming
in the streets, picking fights
with anyone half as mad as me.

For me, the back
of a hand was better
than the back of a head,
better than being ignored.



She soon discovered that she had a voice, too – which could change her life. (And this voice had power that would reach far beyond her own life, particularly when she lent it to “Strange Fruit,” the 1930s poem-turned-song about racial injustice.)

In the book's afterword, Weatherford explains that she chose to end her account at a point of success for the 25-year old Lady Day – “before heroin and hard living took their toll.”

I’m thrilled to welcome this wonderful poet here today.

Thank you for joining us, Carole, to jazz up Poetry Month!

In my notes from your speech at the Georgia Children’s Literature conference, I scribbled down this quote: “Poetry is my first language as a writer.” You described how you wrote poetry as a child (and you share photos on your website of some early works!). Have you always thought of yourself as a poet?


Over the years, I have dabbled in photography, fashion design, sewing, needle arts, graphic design, bookmaking, painting, and of course writing. Writing, specifically poetry, was my first avenue of creative expression. But I didn't think of myself as poet as a child any more than I considered being an author. I had no clue about literary careers. But as poetic expression became more and more a part of my identity, I declared myself a poet. I was around 25 and had just written a poem entitled "I'm Made of Jazz." That poem had Billie in it too. I guess she was my muse even then.

I enjoyed hearing you discuss how BECOMING BILLIE HOLIDAY took a little coaxing from your muse. Could you share a little of the background of how you came to write it?

I have been under Billie's spell longer than I can remember. My father played her records, but I became a die-hard devotee at age 16 after seeing the biopic Lady Sings the Blues. In 2006, Billie enlisted me to write a young adult book about her. But I was afraid the book wouldn't appeal to teens, so I ditched the idea. Then, at Baltimore's Great Blacks in Wax Museum, an eighth grade girl who swooned at Billie's wax figure unknowingly green-lighted the project. When I seemed surprised that she'd heard of Lady Day, the girl told me, "She could sing!" As the girl moved on, it was almost as if Billie said, "I told you to write my book."

Why did you think poetry was the best vehicle to use to tell this story?

Billie had a gift for imbuing lyrics with intense emotion. In fact, she really pioneered vocal lyricism in the jazz idiom. What she did with lyrics, poetry does with language.

I’m amazed at the way you balanced presenting the facts of Billie Holiday’s experiences, which were often brutal and hard, with the joy that singing brought to her life (and to her fans and followers). Was this as difficult as I’m imagining, and was there something in your process that helped you pull it off?

As the poems poured out of me, it was almost if Billie were whispering and humming in my ear. She provided the soundtrack and her life story the scenes for the narrative. The process was a bit mystical, like channeling her.

What aspect of Billie Holiday’s personality did you most want to share with young readers?

I wanted to capture her mood when she first experienced music and fame. More than anything, I depicted her as I thought she would want to be remembered.

In your picture books, whether a story is told in prose or in poems, there’s an easy rhythm to the language. You’ve written that “jazz was the soundtrack” of your preschool years - how would you say jazz has influenced your writing – in any genre?

I love music, especially jazz, female vocalists and world music. But I rarely listen to music while writing, because for me creating a poem is like composing a melody. I need to hear the nascent verses in my head. I'd like to think I write jazz poetry. My poems make the vernacular voice sing and swing. But if I could sing, I wouldn't write.

Your words definitely sing. Thanks so much for visiting with us today – Happy Poetry AND Jazz Month!

For more, please visit Carole’s website and her great Billie Holiday blog.

For more poetry, sashay over to see what Diane’s rounding up at Random Noodling.

Poetry Friday: Cherry Blossoms, Anyone?

March 22, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, conferences, nature

Beautiful and sneeze-worthy!
Greetings! I'm busy presenting a "Haiku How-To" workshop at the 43rd Annual Children's Literature Conference at the University of Georgia in Athens this weekend. Will try to make the Poetry Friday rounds after the conference!

In preparing materials for teachers and media specialists, I decided to add a new HAIKU page to my website. It has links to download a 4-page Resource guide, as well as handouts with simple guidelines for creating haiku with grades 3-5 and K-2. Help yourself!

The pollen count in the greater Atlanta area has been off the charts this week. (Something like above 9,000?) Here in north Georgia, the tree canopies and the pathways are covered in cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms, of course, have always been an important and favorite subject for haiku.

But today I think we'll revisit a few familiar lines from A. E. Houseman (1859–1936):

A Shropshire Lad II: Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

By A. E. Housman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more. ...


Please click HERE to read the final stanza.

And please click HERE for the Poetry Friday Roundup, hosted by our Fearless Poetry Friday Roundup Leader, Mary Lee, at A Year of Reading. Don't forget the Madness Poetry Tournament at Think, Kid, Think - good luck to everyone still "in"! Everyone vote for your favorites!

Springmingling!

February 28, 2012

Tags: SCBWI, Southern Breeze, authors, conferences, writing life

In SCBWI Southern Breeze, we love us some Kirby Larson!
Our 20th Anniversary SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle in Atlanta was a blast this past weekend! I'm still playing catch up. We enjoyed hosting editor Kristin Daly Rens (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins), editor and art director Greg Ferguson (Egmont), agent Mary Kole (Andrea Brown Literary) and our wonderful keynote speaker, Kirby Larson, who not only inspired us through the weekend but who kicked things off with an all-day novel-writing intensive on Friday. Also, Andy Runton was our special guest Saturday for a workshop on comics and sequential art.

Whew! My writer's toolbox was much heavier when I left on Sunday than when I arrived Thursday night. We had a magical mix of great advice and warm camaraderie the entire weekend. Thanks to all the volunteers, some I didn't even get to thank personally, for all your hard work. Special thanks to our conference bookstore, FoxTale Book Shoppe, led by some of the foxiest bookstore ladies around, and to the wonderful staff at the Century Center Marriott.

Now, onto planning 2013... ! :0)

Write2Ignite Conference

February 14, 2012

Tags: writing life, conferences

I'm in the home stretch of all the crazy details going into planning our upcoming SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle Conference (Feb. 24-26 in Atlanta), and I'm happy to shine the light on another conference that might interest those who write for young people - the Write2Ignite Conference in South Carolina, March 16-17, 2012. I haven't attended this conference, but I always hear a postive buzz about it. (One of the featured speakers this year is someone whose historical fiction books I've read and admired - Joyce Hostetter, award-winning author of BLUE, COMFORT, and other titles.)

I asked the lovely Jean Matthew Hall, writer and conference organizer, to tell us about the weekend. Take it away, Jean!

Our mission at Write2Ignite! is to equip, encourage and inspire people who write for children and young adults from a Christian worldview whether they seek publication in the general market or Christian market.

I’m thrilled this year that we can present outstanding and generous speakers and workshop leaders. Carol Baldwin, Kristi Butler and Mitzi Smith will inspire us with Keynote speeches. I’m thrilled that familiar names like Carol Crane and Joyce Hostetter are part of our line-up. Our Write2Ignite! Team is excited that several editors and agents who represent children’s writers are joining us, and making themselves available for individual consultations. And we have ten scholarships available for registrees. I could go on and on!

One of our distinctives is that we offer a special Teen Track all day Saturday for middle school and high school students who write. Vonda Skelton is leading that track.

We are looking forward to Write2Ignite! 2012, as a great opportunity to Bring Hope to children’s writers and, by extension, to their readers.


Thanks, Jean!

For more information and to register, see www.write2ignite.com or contact Jean at write2ignite@jeanmatthewhall.com.

Conference Call...

January 19, 2012

Tags: SCBWI, Southern Breeze, editors, illustrators, conferences

Breaking News: Sandy Fry made us a great TRAILER on facebook, with yours truly narrating. Enjoy!

Just a shout-out on behalf of the SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle Conference, which I'm coordinating in Atlanta Feb. 24-26. Early-bird discount registration ends THIS Sat., Jan. 21 (Note: the online registration site will be down for a few hours tomorrow night).

We've got a GREAT weekend planned, with Newbery Honor winner Kirby Larson as our keynote and optional novel-writing intensive leader, editors Greg Ferguson (Egmont), Kristin Daly Rens (Balzer&Bray/Harpercollins), and agent Mary Kole (Andrea Brown Literary), plus a workshop from OWLY graphic novel series creator Andy Runton.

Click here and then click SPRINGMINGLE for conference info.

To Poetry Friday folks, I'm sure it will be a great day of poetry, rounded up by Elaine at Wild Rose Reader. I'll jump back in next week; I'm covered up in Springmingle planning today. Enjoy!

waving hi from SCBWI conference

October 14, 2011

Tags: Poetry Friday, SCBWI, Southern Breeze, haiku, conferences, workshops

Just a late Poetry Friday wave from Birmingham, where we're enjoying the 20th anniversary SCBWI Southern Breeze fall conference. I'll be back here with bells on next week.

Today, Lola Schaefer led a wonderful all-day intensive on picture book writing. Tomorrow I'm presenting a workshop on haiku - :0)

Highlights Founders Illustrators Workshop

September 13, 2011

Tags: illustrators, Highlights, conferences, workshops

Eric, Suzanne, Lindsay, Melanie, Floyd, and the new "barn" inside and out
As promised, a few more words about the recent Highlights Founders workshop for Advanced Illustrators. In short, amazing!

I can't possibly recapture all of it for you, so let me serve something like the appetizers we were treated to while mingling each afternoon.

With the largest Founders Workshop group thus far (29 of us, I think), we broke in the new "barn" - a lovely, functional structure which sprouted from the imagination and planning of executive director Kent L. Brown Jr. Alison Myers kept the weekend running smoothly, and always with a smile. (And no doubt you've heard about the food! Hospitality Manager and chef Marcia Dunsmore completely spoiled us.)

We got to meet several folks from Boyds Mills and Highlights - and did I mention Highlights Senior Art Director Cynthia Smith posed for us as a model Sunday afternoon? In her gorgeous belly-dancing ensemble? What an amazing surprise!

Dinner speakers included the wonderful Alix Kennedy, executive director of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and the ever-dazzling Vera B. Williams. - "In my mind, you need joy to make colors."

Each of us had a personal critique with a faculty member. I was fortunate to have a one-on-one meeting with the incredible Lindsay Barrett George (link below).

Also, each faculty member led a hands-on demonstration and workshop for the group, spotlighting a particular medium. (Check out my home page for one of my efforts!) Some great photos are up on the Highlights Foundation facebook page. Oh, and methinks a couple of our fearless leaders, Eric and Suzanne?, can always use stand-up comedy as a back-up career....

From my notes, here is a gem of wisdom from each award-winning faculty member:

Eric Rohman: "I want to live an interesting life, so I want to try a lot of different things."

Melanie Hall: "Infuse your work with your personality."

Suzanne Bloom: "What we do is magic."

Lindsay Barrett George: "Make your reader care about and love your character... connect with kids on an emotional level."

Floyd Cooper: "I'm opposed to lines in my work." He also shared a few quotes, including this one by Henry James: "The best things come, as a general thing, from the talents that are members of a group...."

What a privilege it was to be a part of THIS group for a few days - the experience will forever enrich my life and my sketchbooks.

Happy Birthday to Paul Fleischman from Honesdale, Pa.

September 2, 2011

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, authors, illustrators, writing life, SCBWI, Southern Breeze, conferences, workshops

Robyn at the Highlights offices in 2009
Greetings from Honesdale, Pennsylvania, this morning, where I’ll attempt to find an internet connection and connect to Poetry Friday! I’m attending my second Highlights Founders Workshop up in the beautiful mountains here. My first was a poetry workshop; this time around is an illustrators’ workshop with an amazing faculty (and attendees, for that matter!).

Perusing Lee Bennett Hopkins’s DAYS TO CELEBRATE this past week, I discovered that Monday (Sept. 5) is the birthday of the one and only Paul Fleischman. We SCBWI Southern Breezers had the honor of hosting Paul for our 2008 fall conference. (This is all related, really.)

I appreciated Paul’s keynote address on “found sculpture,” in which he described his own creative pursuits outside of writing. He shared that creative energy put into something “non-writing” will “flow into your writing,” noting that: “Art is problem-solving. Art is difficult.”

I for one am thrilled he’s let his own creative energy flow into so many wonderful works. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Paul Fleischman!

Let’s celebrate with a few lines from the 1989 Newbery Medal-winning JOYFUL NOISE – Poems for Two Voices (illustrated by Eric Beddows).

Fireflies

Light    Light

        is the ink we use

Night     Night

is our parchment

        We’re

        fireflies

fireflies      flickering

flirting

        flashing


For the rest of the poem (and proper formatting!), click over to the excerpt on Paul’s website .

The scope of Paul’s work is dizzying, and he has been named by The U.S. Board on Books for Young People as the United States' Author Award nominee for the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award , given every other year to “an author and illustrator for a body of work judged to have made lasting contributions to children's literature.” (Back to art – the amazing Chris Raschka is the U.S. nominee for the Illustration Award!) Winners are announced at the Bologna Book Fair.

Let me close with a quote from that 2008 keynote just for Jama, in case she drops by: “Serendipity is one of your four food groups, you know? Enjoy it!”

To enjoy more great poetry, head over to the Poetry Friday Roundup hosted today by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect .

Quick Clicks

Media
bio, photos, interview links, etc.
Poems
Explore a poem or two or five....
Haiku
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
Author visits
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
Magazines
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
Books
A rhyming tale of a young boy's knightly adventure with an imagined dragon.
Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!
Portfolio
illustrations