Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet





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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

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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - "Time and Love" Victorian Poem to See Us into the New Year

December 22, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, Victorian poetry, holidays


Holiday Greetings, Dear Poetry Friends!

We'll be busy with family next week, so I wanted to find a poem to carry us into the New Year. We've made it through the solstice; let's look for cracks of lengthening light.

I turned to my copies of GOLDEN DAYS For Boys and Girls (Philadelphia: James Elverson, Publisher) and found a gem in Volume XVIII - No. 7 - January 2, 1897. It was written by A.M., and I wish I could tell you who that was!

It is, not surprisingly for publications of the time, written from a Christian perspective; while that happens to be mine as well, I think a few lines might appeal to an even broader audience.


TIME AND LOVE

How many a Christmas has the old clock seen,
      And always with the same unchanging face!
Come, let us wreathe him round with evergreen,
      And do him honor for a little space.
Yet what is Time to Love? And Love is here,
To give us a happy Christmas -- glad New Year.

How many tunes, by many people played,
      Must through this room have echoed long ago,
When ladies swept the floor with long brocade,
      Through stately dances minuetting slow!
But what is Time to Love? And Love, my dear,
Will make a Christmas in the saddest year.

How many children, in how many a romp,
      Have wished the clock hands would not move so fast?
Come, let us wreath him now with merry pomp,
      And bid him chime to heart's content at last.
For what is Time to Love? We need not fear,
Love will be with us through the coming year.

And very soon the carol sweet and gay,
      With Christmas melody will greet the morn;
"Christians awake! Salute the happy day
      Whereon the Saviour of mankind was born!"
Oh, what is Time to Love? And Love is here,
The Lord of Christmas and the changing year.



I'll keep these words of a bygone era close: For what is Time to Love? We need not fear,/Love will be with us through the coming year, and I wish their blessing upon you and yours.

The oh-so-smart-and-talented-and-generally-wonderful Buffy has the Roundup today at her place. Thank you, Buffy!

Poetry Friday - "Christmas" by George Cooper

December 8, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poem, holidays, Christmas, found poem, Victorian



Holiday Greetings!

Would love to report that I'm perched by the fireplace, woolen-shawl-wrapped and book in hand, sipping cinnamon tea while my sparkly and symmetrically decorated Christmas tree winks from the corner...

Alas, I'm burning the candle at both ends with piles of to-do's around still to be done. You?

Well, even in the chaos, I am grateful for the wonderful folks who people and interrupt my life, and for the light they share and reflect from the Source.

Those Victorians knew how to wax eloquently about the holiday. Below is a poem from the December 26, 1896 edition of GOLDEN DAYS for Boys and Girls published in Philadelphia by James Elverson. This is the newsprint magazine that yielded those mini-ornament found poems from a couple of weeks ago. In fact, would you believe I found one more teeny frame this week in my studio? I'm sure this is the last one like this. Missing its wee bit of hardware, but I improvised.

First, the poem by George Cooper (American, 1840-1927), who wrote many song lyrics:

     CHRISTMAS

A world of white that flushes with the smiles
            of morn;
      A gladsome whisper breathing what to
            earth befell -
The babe - the loving Saviour in the manger
            born
      And the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!

A message form the forest clad in icy mail;
      A twitter from a birdie that its glee must
            tell;
A rousing crow from far and near the dawn
            to hail,
      And the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!

Oh, gentle breath of kindness on the ting-
            gling air!
      Oh, the gleaming sky that weaves its pure and
            holy spell!
Oh, rippling laugh of childhood waking
            everywhere!
      And the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!

The patter over all the world of little feet;
      Ah, ringed is wintry earth with joy no
            heart may tell!
And so the year is rounded with delight so
            sweet,
      And the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!

"A merry, merry Christmas!" pipe the winds
            at play;
"A merry, merry Christmas!" echo vale and
            dell;
"A merry, merry Christmas!" dancing wave-
            lets say,
      With the bells up in the steeple ringing
            ding, dong, bell!


Mr. Cooper seems to have enjoyed exclamation points, perhaps even more than I do. (!) I must admit being smitten, though, by "the forest clad in icy mail" and those "dancing wavelets." Lovely.

Elsewhere in this edition I did clip one more found poem ornament, dangling in the photo above. This one reads:

passion

            is contagious,

be merry

            For this one day,
be merry with heart


(This came from a little editorial section without direct attribution, just titled, "MERRY CHRISTMAS.") Thanks to you all for buying up the micro-found-poem trio of ornaments I featured before; this one's in my Etsy shop if anyone's interested - ;0) . I posted a few "process" pictures over on my art blog today http://artsyletters.com/?p=1271 .

Whatever your own faith tradition, I wish you at least a few exclamation-point-worthy moments of delight this season, especially in a world with so many dark corners. I'm sure you'll find all kinds of enlightenment over at Check it Out , where the always-creative Jone has our Roundup this week, and an invitation for a poem postcard exchange sure to brighten the darkest days of winter. (Enjoy her own beautiful haiku in the examples, too!)

[Friday morning update - a wonderful Poetry Friday person snatched up the new ornament early; thank you! Also, hitting the road for a family wedding today - will keep all in thoughts even if my responses are delayed. ]

Poetry Friday - THANK YOU, TREES by Gail Langer Karwoski and Marilyn E. Gootman

April 28, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, nature, holidays, book tracks


Greetings, Poetry Friday Tribe! It's our last Friday of National Poetry Month for this year. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of catching up to do this weekend on all the poetic wonderfulness around the Kidlitosphere. If you're in the same boat, have no fear - Jama's Roundup of the month's activities will guide you and keep you clicking for days.

With a nod to Earth Day last week, I'd like to introduce a little book I've been meaning to highlight since it came out three years ago. It was the first rhyming children's book by award-winning author and my dear friend, Gail Langer Karwoski, and co-written by Marilyn E. Gootman. Thank You, Trees, illustrated by the multiple-award-winning Kristen Balouch and published by Kar-Ben Publishing (a division of Lerner), is a lovely rhyming romp in celebration of something akin to a Jewish Arbor Day. (Click here for the publisher's page about it and here for Amazon .)

This board book invites the very youngest readers and listeners to appreciate the trees around them and to learn about Tu B'Shevat, a festival sometimes called the "New Year for Trees."

Here is the text on the opening spread:


On Tu B'Shevat
We plant a tree.
Baskets of fruit
For you and me.

Orange, grapefruit
Peach or plum,
Lemon, mango,
Apple - yum!


©Gail Langer Karwoski and Marilyn E. Gootman


The colorful art is joyous, perfectly complementing the verse. The book garnered great reviews from The New York Times, Kirkus, and Publisher's Weekly.

Be sure to check out Gail's website for more info on this and her many wonderful, classroom-friendly books. Her work has deep roots and an expansive reach, providing lots of cover and adventure for young readers!

Our host for Poetry Friday is no stranger to the woods. In fact, be sure to read her Earth Day poem posted last week. Many thanks, Buffy, for rounding us up today.

I'm off for a weekend in the mountains, where I plan to savor poetry AND appreciate the glory and goodness of trees. Wishing you the perfect shady spot to read in! Really... have you hugged a tree today? Have you? ;0)

Poetry Friday: Winter Poem Swap Treasures from Diane Mayr

December 17, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, poetry, poem swap, holidays, winter



Opening my Winter Poem Swap goodies from Diane Mayr was like having my own little sleigh of perfectly personalized poetic treasures. (Hearty thanks as always to Tabatha Yeatts for organizing the Swap!)

I was lucky enough to be Diane's Swap partner again. More lucky than she - all she's gotten from me this week is a groveling email or two about how I'm running late with hers... :0! (I have high hopes for getting her packet to the P.O. today.) She has responded with nothing but graciousness.

Here's what Diane sent:

A package tied up not with string, but taped with purrrfectly delightful cat tape - the kitty expressions have an edge, as Diane's own poetry sometimes does! Inside...

--a poem I'll post below. It''s presented on a photo collage in sepia with other subtle, aged-looking tones. No random photographs here - Diane researched Beaufort, SC (my new-ish hometown) and included wonderful pictures and images of ephemera from Beaufort's rich history! She even put in a photo of the The John Mark Verdier House (a Beaufort landmark since the 1790s), which she remembered is right next door to the building where I have my art studio. I look through my windows at the side of the Verdier house many times each day.

--A hot-off-the-press edition of NEST FEATHERS - a collection of haiku from the first 15 years of The Heron's Nest. I almost bought this for myself this fall, but restrained myself since we're on a "wedding budget" around here til June. But I REALLY wanted it. Jackpot!

--An intriguing postcard with an original poem paying tribute to the New Year. That's all I'm saying at the moment, because I want to share it for A New Year's post in a couple of weeks!

Here is Diane's wonderful poem from the historical montage she created.


HISTORY


WE CANNOT CHANGE HISTORY
WE MUST RESEARCH IT
REVIEW IT
REINTERPRET IT

WE MUST NOT FORGET HISTORY
WE MUST PRESERVE IT
RECREATE IT
TEACH IT

WE SHOULD NOT REPEAT HISTORY
WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE IT
LEARN FROM IT
AND NEVER FORGET THE WHY OF IT


©Diane Mayr. All rights reserved.


I especially love that last line, don't you? Such a poignant poem for my neck of the woods. On the way to my studio, I pass both the "Secession House" (where the decision for South Carolina to secede from the Union was put into motion - now a private residence) and also the grave and historical marker of Robert Smalls - escaped slave, Civil War hero, and five-term United States Congressman.

Speaking of Diane the Amazing, guess who is rounding up Poetry Friday this week? Yep! Click on over to Random Noodling and enjoy all the offerings.

Poetry Friday - A Few Spring Haiku for December

December 10, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, seasons, spring, holidays



Hello, Poetry Lovers!

I hope you are not too crazed now that we're reaching mid-December.
Confession: I'm a little crazed.

I always know I'm too busy when I have to stop and think of the last time I jotted a haiku in my journal, or on a Post-it note, or even on a note in my phone. But, having lived through many December moons, I know things will settle down again, too.

And I look forward to the reasons things are hopping - kids coming home to visit, Christmas gatherings to attend or help host, sparkly decorations overtaking the living room, and greeting cards both to send and to savor.

In sharing a few haiku I've had published this fall, I see that there's a spring theme! For many of us across the country, it feels more like spring than winter. And for others of us (Linda B?!), winter has raged before the calendar gave it permission. Here are a few spoonfuls of spring for your December:



spring equinox
an egret one
with the marsh


The Heron's Nest XVII.3, Sept. 2015



spring light
jasmine’s heavy scent
from every fence




spring breeze
the sailboat
pixilated



A Hundred Gourds, Sept. 2015

poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

In other haiku news, I'm happy to report that after November elections of the Haiku Society of America, I'll be the new HSA Southeast Regional Coordinator. Woo-hoo! Look for fun programs to attend in my neck of the woods in the future. But not TOO soon - our amazing outgoing coordinator, Terri L. French, and outgoing president, David G. Lanoue, agreed to let me ease into the role as I'm a little swamped planning my daughter's wedding, among other things. I think I fully take the reins about five minutes after the reception's over in June.

Now, for poems perfect for any season, go catch the Poetry Friday party at A Teaching Life, where the all-around wonderful Tara is rounding up this week!

Poetry Friday - Boo!

October 30, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, seasons, holidays, Halloween, poetry

Pumpkin carved by my hubby, Jeff...

Boo!

I'm winding up a week of school visits just north of Atlanta - one of several authors here for "Literacy Week" sponsored by Cobb EMC and Gas South. By the end of Poetry Friday, we will have collectively spoken to 19,000 students!

So I'll offer up another classic this week, to celebrate Halloween. I know you've likely read it, but it's always worth reading, especially the delicious last line.

Theme in Yellow
by Carl Sandburg

I SPOT the hills
With yellow balls in autumn
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
...



Please read the rest of this short poem here.

Happy Halloween!

What kind of poetry is in the truck-or-treat bag today? Hmmm... Better go Check It Out with Jone, our wonderful host this week!

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

November 27, 2014

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

©Robyn Hood Black

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

********************

      merry making
telling of stories

carries us back


********************

reindeer
     travel upwards


********************

practice
under the mistletoe


********************



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!
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