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 - The St. Paddy's Day Roundup is HERE!

March 15, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, holidays, St. Patrick's Day, Esther Hershenhorn, Poetry Friday Roundup


Grreeeen Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

Welcome to All. So glad you are joining us for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

For those of you in the US who can't see anything but white outside, sending warmest wishes from the South. Somewhere under all that snow must be a four-leaf clover bud.

Here's a perfect poem for today from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations from Pomelo Books. (You know - the volume Kirkus called "A bubbly and educational bilingual poetry anthology for children.")



ST. PATRICK'S DAY
by Esther Hershenhorn

March 17
the world turns green
to celebrate St. Patrick.
Green hats!
Green floats!
Green rivers, too!
March 17's green magic.



--and in Spanish:


DIA DE SAN PATRICIO
basado en "St. Patrick's Day"
por Esther Hershenhorn


El 17 de marzo
el mundo se vuelve verde
para celebrar a San Patricio.
¡Sombreros verdes!
¡Carrozas verdes!
¡Ríos verdes también!
El 17 de marzo es magia verde.



©Esther Hershenhorn. All rights reserved.

Many thanks to Esther for sharing her poem here today! A couple of years ago, she blogged about creating this poem over at Teaching Authors - It's always fun to check out the story behind a poem.

I'm sure the river, hats, floats, and fountains an hour south of here in Savannah are green, green, green. And my hubby (and our daughter's hubby) could wear those "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" buttons after our DNA kit adventures over the holidays. ;0)

Whether you are ancestrally Irish (is that even a word?) or honorarily so today, I wish you pot-fuls of good luck and golden poems. Please leave your links & short post descriptions in the comments, and I'll round up old-school-style as the day goes on. (Note - I'll be on the road Saturday and unable to add to my list after Friday eve, but make yourself at home all weekend!)

BUT WAIT, There's More...

Speaking of Pomelo Books, my ancient office kitty, May, (okay, with help from the partially-Irish husband) helped randomly draw winners of the five copies of HERE WE GO - A Poetry Friday Power Book, generously donated by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell! Those lucky ducks are: Charles W., Tabatha Y., Mary Lee H., Linda M., and Shaggers! (Shaggerspicchu - send me your address so you can use this with your class! :0) ) Please email me at robyn@robynhoodblack.com with the address where you'd like me to send your book, and I'll get the leprechauns right on it.

Sláinte

The Roundup:

Steven Withrow starts us off at Crackles of Speech with a poem celebrating the American Woodcock, gracing Cape Cod this winter and looking for love. (Ever the over-achiever, Steven has memorialized the little fellow in a Shakespearean sonnet!)

At A Teaching Life, Tara is eyeing spring with a gorgeous Jane Kenyon poem, and her own gorgeous thoughts about her farm.

Basketball fan? Okay, poetry fan? Linda shares a slew of poetic slam-dunks in honor of March Madness over atA Word Edgewise.

At Jama’s Alphabet Soup, you’ll find a new poem by one of MY favorite poets, Penny Harter. Take a tissue, as it will pull on your heartstrings, and enjoy the warmth with which Jama serves it up.

Oh, you might never think of a toothpick in quite the same way again. I see poems popping up in response to Helen Frost’s “ode” challenge on Michelle’s Today’s Little Ditty, and Kat has one that will stick with you at Kats Whiskers.

In another post dealing with loss and grief, Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales offers a simple, child-friendly and personal poem, “Sister Blue.” (Congrats to Brenda on its inclusion in an anthology!)

Here’s another ode in the TLD challenge: At Beyond Literacy Link, Carol offers up “Ode to Summer Sand,” which is definitely making me miss our beach here, closed since Hurricane Matthew hit last October. Sigh. (On the other end of the seasonal spectrum, Carol is working on her soon-to-be-unveiled Winter Gallery, too!)

I dare you to meander through St. Patrick’s Day without a smile if you pop in to enjoy Diane’s fetching haiga at Random Noodling. I dare you.

And we can’t have a Poetry Friday on St. Paddy’s Day without a sip of Yeats now, can we? Kurious Kitty’s got us covered with a delightful, woodsy cup.

At Teaching Authors, JoAnn has bagged a lovely way to fuel creativity AND help the planet while kicking off a new series on creativity. What’s your “one little thing”?

Need a walk on the beach, maybe after reading Carol’s poem? You know our wonderful Sally Murphy is always ready to share her encounters with seaside critters great and small. Her poetic crabby exchange will leave YOU anything but.

What would St. Paddy’s Day be without a limerick or two or ten? Alice Nine brings us blessings and limericks and lovely links to all things Lear. Enjoy!

Oh, Alice’s post has you thirsty for more? At Michelle’s Today’s Little Ditty, Carrie Clickard leads us up and down the hills of Limerick Land, with more amazing scribers of the form than you can shake a walking stick at. There’s even a mathematical equation that’s a limerick. Really. (And enjoy a Celtic tune by The High Kings on your way out.)

Linda has a gorgeous original crow poem at Teacher Dance, and I was struck by how this and Penny Harter’s poem at Jama’s today complement each other.

Michelle Kogan shares a plate-ful today: an original poem about the climate/current political climate, news of a new zine, Voices, words & art available through her Etsy shop, and an eerily timely poem by Adrienne Rich.

Our resident RainCity Librarian, Jane, celebrates the holiday and her Irish heritage with a beautiful photo and a glorious, bittersweet poem by Yeats. Sigh.

At Reading to the Core, Catherine shares lovely poetic images of the birds outside her kitchen window during the blizzard this week. Planes might have been grounded, but not these birds!

Greg at Gottabook is offering up a sneek peek at Spring Fever with a re-post of his fun poem, “Allergic to Homework.” Gesundheit.

Thank you, Fats, at Gathering Books, for a touching post pausing to honor the passing of Amy Krouse Rosenthal with a Mary Oliver poem, “Love Sorrow.”

At The Opposite of Indifference, Tabatha shares an amazing “Literary Scavenger Hunt” poem gifted to her by her ever-clever, talented daughter, Ariana. You’ll just have to read for yourself!

On a related vein, enjoy this delightful book spine poem from Ramona at Pleasures from the Page.

And more about St. Patrick’s Day, Irish roots, and sorrow, too – but with the winged hope and solace that flows from Irene’s masterful pen. Her poem is simply titled, “This Poem is Green.”

Margaret brings us a new poetic form based on fractals over at Reflections on the Teche. She got to meet an old SCBWI Southern Breeze buddy of mine (when Mississippi was in our region!), author Sarah Campbell, who has a new book on the subject. If you are a teacher, you MUST check out these terrific poems by Margaret’s students!

Raise a cupful of moonbeams to Laurie Purdie Salas, whose brand new book, IF YOU WERE THE MOON, launches today! She shares the poem that started it all at Writing the World for Kids. Awrrroooooo!

And now refill your glass – with flashlight beams this time, we’ll wait… - and offer up another toast, because Matt Forrest has an awesome cover reveal and release date for his upcoming debut picture book, Flashlight Night!

All this celebrating means we must dance. Yes, you. Join Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe for some clever “Linguistic Jig”-ging complete with a rollicking Irish reel to get your feet & fingers tapping.

Oh my – see if you relate to snow-bound Donna’s post at Mainely Write today; how DO you keep those brilliant writing ideas from flitting away with the fairies? (She made a found poem out of her own post, too, which has a wee bit o'green jealousy in it.)

Join Jone at Check It Out for a feast of odes by students, answering the aforementioned TLD challenge. One second grader even wrote and Ode to Poetry! Rock on, young poets.

What else would you expect from a delightful poet whose name is an irresistible Spring color? Violet has a colorful, rhythmic “Note to Spring” so enticing, I bet Spring will arrive a day or two early in her back yard.

At bildungsroman, Little Willow shares the lovely opening lines of “Last Night” by Théophile Julius Henry Marzials.

Shhh! Don’t wake the precious sleeping grandabies at Dori Reads. But gentle open the door, and enjoy an Irish lullaby…. She even has The Irish Tenors! (And a link to two of her poems in an online literary journal.)

Echoing some other posts today, Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town has a few lines on the theme of sorrow, from Mary Oliver.

Kay invites us to slow down in this season of Lent, with lovely reflections in poetry and photographs at A Journey Through the Pages.

Jone is back with a magical “Library Time” cinquain at Deowriter - Enjoy!

Katie at The Logonauts has an “I Read” poem which definitely rings true for me… see if it does for you, too!

Rounding out the day’s selections is Leigh Ann at A Day in the Life, appropriately calling our attention to the small miracles all around us with a Walt Whitman poem.

Wait - 2 more! Visit Amy at The Poem Farm at http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2017/03/thinkinglook-at-some-old-photos-or.html?m=1 and Joy at poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com - :0)

Poetry Friday - Wandering with J. Drew Lanham

March 9, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, birds, nature, J. Drew Lanham, animals, Penn Center



A few months ago, our dear friend Lane Glaze (who happens to be our pastor) gave me a poetry chapbook by a friend of his, Dr. J. Drew Lanham . Lanham is a wildlife ecologist and professor at Clemson, on the other side of the state. (Go ahead and Google him after you read this; you’ll be impressed.) I was smitten with Sparrow Envy (Holocene, 2016) and hoped our paths might cross at some point.

Last Saturday, they did.

You might know that the amazing and generous Pat Conroy called Beaufort home, and now there is a Pat Conroy Literary Center here. On the one-year anniversary of Pat Conroy’s death, last Saturday, the Center sponsored an event called “March Forth/ March Fourth: A Day to Wander and Love the Land” at Penn Center out on St. Helena Island. You’ve heard me mention Penn Center before. It’s a treasure: a hub of African-American history since housing the country’s first school for freed slaves, keeper and promoter of Gullah Geechie culture, and sacred ground upon which leaders of the Civil Rights movement – black and white – could assemble freely under its moss-heavy oaks and beside its gentle waters.

Back to Saturday… Lanham first led us in a chilly but sun-drenched birding walk through the woods and to the water, next to the cottage built for Dr. Martin Luther King, who retreated in this special place several times. (This cottage was completed after his death, though it is said he penned at least part of his “I Have a Dream” speech at Gantt Cottage on the premises.)

[Note: On January 12, President Obama announced the establishment of Reconstruction Era National Monument as a unit of the National Park Service “in recognition of the role Beaufort County, South Carolina played in shaping the historic period of Reconstruction,” including Penn Center.]

Saturday’s event was a tribute to literature, history, and the incomparable natural surroundings of this spot in the Lowcountry. I was struck with how Lanham effortlessly wove into and out of his store of natural facts (and his ability to recognize even the faintest bird call, sharing life history tidbits of several species), ponderings of the human condition, and his reverence for those who had gone before, on the very ground we now walked upon. He shared a quick wit as well, and I imagine he is a tough but terrific professor.

Like a good teacher, he reiterated a theme in his “conservation conversations”: first comes noticing (what is that bird? that sound? etc.); second comes sympathy, and finally, empathy, which leads to the desire for preservation. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, by all means, go!

The day also included a wonderful presentation by Victoria A. Smalls, Director of History, Art and Culture & Public Relations. She is a St. Helena Island native who now helps share its rich Gullah heritage.

Several members of the Conroy family were also on hand. They were welcoming and friendly on what had to be a challenging day for them. A screening of the 2014 Conroy Family Roundtable video —featuring Pat Conroy with siblings Mike, Jim, Tim, and Kathy— was available to Saturday’s attendees, as well as free time to tour Penn Center and Pat Conroy’s gravesite, a short distance from the campus.

The day ended with a Q&A with Drew led by the lovely and ever-sharp Margaret Shinn Evans, publisher and columnist for Lowcountry Weekly. They discussed Lanham’s book, The Home Place – Memories of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature (Milkwood Editions, 2016), which Kirkus Reviews calls, "A shrewd meditation on home, family, nature, and the author's native South." (Click here for more about Lanham’s books and links to other publications.)

I’ll leave you with a poem from Sparrow Envy. I picked this one because these little birds featured are among my favorites, and they are so very busy now establishing nests in all kinds of nooks and crannies around our homes, aren’t they?


WREN R.E.M.

fleeting dreams
pass on morning’s first light
mist lifting off a mental bridge to nowhere probable –
but all points beyond possible
reality is the wren that wakes to each sun’s rising
with only the moment before it
no plans to skulk
or explore the next darkest crevice or crack
it sings heart full to the limits of the bounds it know
– the rotting woodpile in the northeast corner
the honeysuckle tangle westward
satisfied in that half acre universe
it sings to meet the day
tucks its wings satisfied in some second of accomplishment
It scolds a plan
and flits away
a wanderer in the present tense
future perfect does not exist
the past makes little sense
that I should live as wisely as wrens
is lesson one
carpe diem
ad infinitum



©J. Drew Lanham. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.


For more great poetry, flit on over to Today’s Little Ditty, where the Marvelous Michelle is Rounding up this week. And then circle on back here next week, when I’m hosting! Forgive me this weekend if I’m slow to respond to comments – I’m bound for our wonderful SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle in Atlanta. (I know… Lucky me AGAIN for another inspiring weekend!) AND – Still a few days to enter to win a copy of HERE WE GO! from Pomelo Books by leaving a comment on my post last week, here.

Poetry Friday - Hangin' with Hermine.... and a poem by Melanie Braverman

September 1, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poems, poets, storms, Hermine


Well, Thursday has gotten away from me as we have found ourselves awaiting the arrival of Hermine, after her expected Florida landfall and march across Georgia. (Hope you fellow Southeastern & Florida poetry folks are safe!)

Schools and government offices are closed here Friday. I checked battery supplies and such and helped another K-Mart shopper find the flashlights... (we'd both been aimlessly circling aisles in some sort of grocery cart ballet). There were some empty spots on the display wall, but we finally found some.

With all of this in mind, I stumbled into what I think is a gorgeous poem - maybe some of you know the poet? I did not, but am happy to discover her.


I used to love the run-up to a storm

by Melanie Braverman

I used to love the run-up to a storm, watching from the porch as the grown-ups hurried to bring things in, my mother rummaging through drawers for a flashlight, cursing: nothing was where it was supposed to be in our house. ...

Click here for the rest.


Then put on your rubber boots (or cowboy boots, you'll see...) and stomp on over to A Penny and her Jots for this week's Roundup. Thanks for hosting, Penny!

Stay safe, and wishing you and yours a good Labor Day Weekend.

Poetry Friday - a Taste of the 1920s with Amy Lowell

July 14, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, Amy Lowell, ponderings, poetry, imagists, hokku



Greetings, Friends! Happy Poetry Friday. Not exactly sure how last week slipped sand-like through my fingers, but summer sometimes has that effect...

Speaking of such, I'm all about time today. Over at my art blog I have a short post about 1920s accents found on Etsy in our daughter's wedding a few weeks ago. So, time as in periods of time. That got me thinking about a book I recently bought, published in the '20s. I actually bought this one to read rather than to repurpose!

It's an edition of Amy Lowell's Pulitzer Prize-winning What's O'Clock (Houghton Mifflin Company). Isn't that a splendid title? It's from Shakespeare's King Richard III.

I'm a fan of Amy Lowell's - well, all those early 20th-Century imagists. She died in 1925, the year What's O'Clock was published, along with her biography of Keats.

I'm still exploring the poems, but because of my Lowcountry locale must share these two from the collection, as Charleston and Middleton Place (where my hubby and I stayed one weekend last fall) are just a bit up the road.


CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA


Fifteen years is not a long time,

but long enough to build a city over and destroy it.

Long enough to clean a forty-year growth of grass

            from between cobblestones,

And run street-car lines straight across the heart of

            romance.

Commerce, are you worth this?

I should like to bring a case to trial:

Prosperity versus Beauty,

Cash registers teetering in a balance against the com-

            fort of the soul.

then, to-night, i stood looking through a grilled gate

At an old, dark garden.

Live-oak trees dripped branchfuls of leaves over the

            wall,

Acacias waved dimly beyond the gate, and the smell

            of their blossoms

Puffed intermittently through the wrought-iron scroll-

            work.

Challenge and solution -

O loveliness of old, decaying, haunted things!

Little streets untouched, shamefully paved,

Full of mist and fragrance on this rainy evening.

"You should come at dawn," said my friend,

"And see the orioles, and thrushes, and mocking-

            birds

In the garden."

"Yes," I said absent-mindedly,

And remarked the sharp touch of ivy upon my hand

            which rested against the wall.

But I thought to myself,

There is no dawn here, only sunset,

And an evening rain scented with flowers.




[**NOTE/UPDATE: The Middleton Place poem below contains French references as well as words of sadness and of death. When I posted this on Thursday, it was before seeing reports of the extensive horror that occurred in Nice. Our hearts are, once again and much too soon, with the people of France.**]



THE MIDDLETON PLACE

Charleston, S. C.


What would Francis Jammes, lover of dear, dead

            elegancies,

Say to this place?

France, stately, formal, stepping in red-heeled shoes

Along a river shore.

France walking a minuet between live-oaks waving

            ghostly fans of Spanish moss.

La Caroline, indeed, my dear Jammes,

With Monsieur Michaux engaged to teach her de-

            portment.

Faint as a whiff of flutes and hautbois,

the great circle of the approach lies beneath the

            sweeping grasses.

Step lightly down these terraces, they are records of

            a dream.

Magnolias, pyrus japonicas, azaleas,

Flaunting their scattered blossoms with the same bra-

            vura

That lords and ladies used in the prison of the Con-

            ciergerie.

You were meant to be so gay, so sophisticated, and

            you are so sad,

Sad as the tomb crouched amid your tangled growth,

Sad as the pale plumes of the Spanish moss

Slowly strangling the live oak trees.


Sunset wanes along the quiet river.

the afterglow is haunted and nostalgic,

Over the yellow woodland it hangs like the dying

            chord of a funeral chant;

And evenly, satirically, the mosses move to its inef-

            fable rhythm,

Like the ostrich fans of palsied dowagers

Telling one another contendedly of the deaths they

            have lived to see.




And, finally, of course I must share a few gems from

TWENTY-FOUR HOKKU ON A MODERN THEME

(Hokku technically refers to the first verses of a renga. We would say "haiku" now, and it could be argued some of these are more "haiku-like." The imagists were influenced by Japanese poetic forms.)


            I

Again the lakspur,

Heavenly blue in my garden.

They, at least, unchanged.



            XIX

Love is a game - yes?

I think it is a drowning:

Black willows and stars.



            XXIV

Staying in my room,

I thought of the new Spring leaves.

That day was happy.




Thanks for spending YOUR time meandering through Amy Lowell poems over here today.

Please visit our Chief Rounder-Upper and wonderful poet and teacher herself, Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for today's Roundup.

[--& HUGE congrats this week to our own Irene Latham, who was just awarded the International Literacy Association (ILA) Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award! Also - still celebrating our own Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, recipient of the first Lee Bennett Hopkins SCBWI Poetry Award this spring. So much talent throughout these Poetry Friday rounds....]

Poetry FROGday - a Student Poem Postcard and More...

May 19, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, nature, poets, frog poetry, toad poetry, Jone McCulluch, Buffy Silverman


Rrrribbittt!

That’s amphibian for, “So glad you’re here!”

I’m delighted to share one of Jone MacCulluch’s 2016 student “poem postcards” today. If you’re not familiar with Jone’s terrific project, each year during National Poetry Month (April), folks can email media specialist/poet/Cybills volunteer, and all-around wonderwoman Jone to receive an illustrated poem from one of the students at her Vancouver, Washington, elementary school. Last week, Jone posted about this projects ‘ripple effects’ here.

Glad to share another ripple from an appreciative recipient!

Please celebrate with me Dakotah’s fine work, pictured above.


                       Fantastic frog
                  I am as slimy as a slug
        Jumping gliding swimming are ways I move
                I can live seven to nine years
                     Rana catesbeiana



Dakotah L.
3rd Grade



SO much to love about this poem and illustration. First, don’t you love both the poetic imagery and the scientific information presented so seamlessly here? Dakotah’s attention to structure, her syllable count and line length, but not at the expense of the poem itself? And, how brilliant is it to use the Latin name for bullfrog as a lyrical last line?!

Then there’s the art. Take a look at the wonderful facial expression on our dear bullfrog, and the hat! I love that hat. The cattails are beautiful, and the composition of the whole picture works wonderfully, with strong lines leading our eyes into and out of the poem and around all the elements.
Congratulations to Dakotah on a terrific piece!

Here’s a link to some National Geographic info about the American bullfrog.

As I prepare this post, we’re in the midst of a yearly occurrence around these parts, especially with all the recent (& current) wet weather. We have a cute plague of baby toads hopping all over yards and sidewalks. Zillions of them it seems. (That’s one on my hand in the picture.) And crazy choruses from the swampy low areas to the tops of trees at various times of the day and evening. Is this a springtime event in your corner of the world?

Not sure if these wee ones were frogs or toads (I found opposing opinions online), I did what any Poetry Friday hanger-outer would do: I emailed our own Buffy Silverman. Of COURSE she knew right away. In fact, she wrote a whole book on it! (I should have figured.)

Buffy says:

          That cute little critter is a toadlet (American toad.) We have swarms of them too, but ours are still in the toadpole stage. (HA! “toadpole”....) To be accurate, frogs and toads are really not distinct biological groups, more groupings that we use in common names.

(Hold on a sec. Let us pause, close our eyes, and delight in the word, “toadlet”.… Yep – it is in the Oxford Dictionary.)

When Buffy hosted Poetry Friday last month, she included some great pictures and an original poem paying homage to her own resident noisy toads. Here’s the link in case you missed it.

She also shared a couple of links for further hops into this field. This one from Animal Diversity Web tells us more about the little fellow on my fingers in the picture. (Did you know an American toad can eat up to 1,000 insects in one day?!) And this link at Wonderopolis explores the frog/toad question. Enjoy!

Then catch yourself a lily pad and glide on over to Margaret’s for this week’s Roundup at Reflections on the Teche. Something tells me she knows a few things about frogs and toads over there in Louisiana.

Many thanks to Dakotah, Jone, and Buffy for contributing to this fun froggy (toady) post today!

Poetry Friday - EVERY DAY BIRDS and Extra Credit Q&A with Amy LV!

March 30, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, birds, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, book tracks, National Poetry Month


Dear Poetry Friends,

Such a special treat today – No April Foolin’! If you’re a Poetry Friday regular, you know that our own Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is fluttering around with a beautiful brand-new book, EVERY DAY BIRDS, published by Orchard/Scholastic. If you’re a PF newbie, Welcome!

I’m one of those lucky ducks who can call Amy friend, as well as poetic inspiration in human form. You can learn more about Amy and her work here. And in case you haven’t heard… her debut poetry picture book, FOREST HAS A SONG, illustrated by Robbin Gourley (Clarion) just won the inaugural SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award!

EVERY DAY BIRDS, her second picture book for young readers, offers a closer look at many common birds, brought to colorful life with papercut illustrations by Dylan Metrano. Kirkus calls it “beginning birding at its best.” Here's a taste:


Hawk hunts every day for prey.

Cardinal flashes fire.

Woodpecker taps hollow trees.

Crow rests on a wire. …



Click around the Kidlitosphere and Poetry Friday blogs, and you’ll find lots of love for this book. Amy’s post celebrating its lift-off ihere. I thought it wouldt be fun to ask Amy just a few “Extra Credit” questions inspired by EVERY DAY BIRDS to give us a peek behind the scenes of her life poetic. Here we go!

Amy’s Extra Credit Q&A


Early bird or night owl?

I am a night owl who is trying to be an early bird!

Hummingbird drinks flower nectar. Coffee, tea, or something else for you?

Tea. I have a glass teapot, and my children and I enjoy trying all different kinds of tea, from flowery tea to fruity tea to herby tea. I like the varied colors of teas brewing, and holding a warm mug in my hands feels so cozy. This said, I am always happy to go out for coffee with a friend. And since I live in chilly Western New York, I am a fan of hot cocoa (lots of whipped cream) too.

Are you more chirpy bluebird or boisterous blue jay?

People often think of bluebirds as cheerful creatures, and I am a cheerful soul. To be truthful, though, I can also be bossy as a blue jay.

Chickadee wears a black cap. What’s your favorite hat?

My current favorite is a new crazy bird hat, a superb gift from Librarian Jim Worthington. I cannot stop laughing when I wear it because the birds’ wings flap on springs. Someone told me that she could not take me seriously in this hat, and I like this idea of not being taken too seriously.

In addition to being a poet, you’re a traveling speaker and teacher. How many times a year do you fly?

I try not to fly too frequently as I love being in my nest with my nest mates, but I do take three or four sky-trips each year.

Gull stares at the sea. What do you stare at when you are waiting for inspiration to strike?

Sometimes I stare out my window and sometimes into deep nothingness. Sometimes I stare at my empty paper and sometimes into my own head.


Thank you to my friend-with-the-beautiful-bird-name-Robyn for inviting me to your blog home today. I am a big fan of your work. xo, a.


Thank YOU, Dear Amy, for lighting on a branch over here this week to spread your sunshine!

For more great poetry sure to have you soaring, wing it on over to Amy’s home turf, The Poem Farm, where she happens to be our gracious host ringing in National Poetry Month today. Her blog is also celebrating its sixth anniversary this week. I’m sure there are still some cake crumbs around… (Which, by the way, Mr. Cornelius might find as he visits blogs for Jama’s roundup of National Poetry Month special events here, including links the 2016 Kidlit Progressive Poem organized by Irene.)

Poetry Friday - Margarita Engle's "Young and Old Together"

March 3, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, Margarita Engle, poets



I know there’s snow on the ground in some parts (my future son-in-law sent a picture from a north Georgia Thursday evening), but trees and flowers are beginning to bloom here at the coast. Folks are either digging in the dirt already or browsing seed catalogs, depending on zip codes.

So today I have a simple share – a beautiful poem by Margarita Engle found in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science (Pomelo Books). You might say it’s about gardening, or about radishes - and there are some great veggie-inspired "Take 5" activities in the anthology - but it’s also about so much more…



Young and Old Together


I love to help Grandpa in his garden,
planting tiny radish seeds
so we can watch the swift growth
of leaves and stems,
like green towers
on top of
tasty
red
roots.



And in Spanish, also in the anthology:


Jóvenes y Viejos Juntos


Me encanta ayudar a mi abuelo en su jardin
sembrando semillitas de rábano
parar mirar cómo crecen tan rápido
las hojas y los tallos,
como torres verdes
encima de
sabrosas
raíces
rojas.



©Margarita Engle. All rights reserved.


This poem makes me smile, the way it celebrates a tender relationship between grandfather and grandchild. I imagine the grandfather wondering at “the swift growth” of his “nieto” or “nieta”!

My thanks to Margarita for sharing this poem with us today. If you are not already a fan, please seek out her work! She’s won multiple Pura Belpré Awards and Honors. She’s also the recipient of Américas Awards, Jane Addams Awards and Honors, International Reading Association Award, the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award, and many others.

Just this year, Enchanted Air won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was selected as YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist, and won a Walter Award Honor from We Need Diverse Books.

Her Drum Dream Girl, illustrated by Rafael López ,won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award! It also won the Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book writing of 2015, was selected as Asian Pacific American Library Association Children's Book Awards Honor, is an Amelia Bloomer Top 10 of 2016 and a 2016 Notable Book for a Global Society, International Literacy Association

And, just a week and a half or so ago, Enchanted Air received the 2016 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award , granted by Penn State University Libraries, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and Lee Bennett Hopkins!

We are all richer for Margarita’s mind, heart, and pen.


Here’s wishing you and your garden a hearty, poem-filled spring… Enjoy more inspiration with our wonderful Linda, rounding up today at Teacher Dance.

Poetry Friday - Haiku by Paideia Teacher Sydney Cleland

February 25, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, haiku, poets, poetry


Hello, Dear Poetry Lovers!

Today we have a special treat, as yet another teacher from The Paideia School in Atlanta has caught the haiku bug from teacher and haiku poet extraordinaire Tom Painting.. I'm happy to welcome Sydney Cleland, whose selections are especially appropriate as we wave a rosy goodbye to February, a month for lovers.

Let's enjoy some of her haiku, and then we'll find out how she fell in love with the form.



new lover
last year’s roses
pressed between pages


he loves me
he loves me not
giri-choko only


Johnny-jump-ups
the earth sends
a valentine


sweet tart hearts
the long married
fight and make up


chocolate on the pillow
romance conjured
by the hotel staff


icicles liquefy
a heart knows
what it wants


cardinal couples
pair up today
hope struts the yard



poems© Sydney Cleland. All rights reserved.

[Confession - I had to look up "giri choco" and Wikipedia tells me it's "obligation chocolate"given by women to men on Valentine's day in Japan... (a) relatively inexpensive type of chocolate women give to male co-workers, casual acquaintances, and others to whom they have no romantic attachment.] Well, how about that?

And now, a few questions for our guest poet:

How has your understanding of haiku changed over the last year?

Thankfully, Tom has brought haiku into my classroom. I teach poetry by reading contemporary free verse poems with students, focusing on close reading by just spending time with a poem. Haiku is such a short form that at first I found it rather like eating a snack instead of a meal. But now I understand not only the requirements of the form but some of the complex artistry, especially how a haiku poet connects images and lines without forming a sentence.

What do you most enjoy about reading or writing haiku?

The challenge. In the compact haiku space, I don’t have room to elaborate, so I’m learning to begin with an image, rather than an idea. That’s a huge challenge for me because I tend to begin with ideas. I also enjoy how spare it is. The form itself reminds me to slow down my life, to get rid of the unnecessary, to find joy in the simplest things. Writing haiku provides a mental break, almost meditative in nature. I’m a crossword enthusiast and (for whatever reason), writing haiku delivers the same feelings as noodling over the Saturday New York Times puzzle.

How does writing haiku benefit your students?

We haven’t done as much as I’d like, and that’s the biggest obstacle to discovering its potential benefits. We learn about and write haiku during only 4 or 5 class periods a year. But I am seeing some positive effects. For students who have trouble elaborating, the simplicity of haiku can be freeing. Students who are visual artists enjoy finding imagery for the form. We’ve done drawings to accompany the writing, which some students love. Those who, like me, have trouble accessing imagery, begin to do that. But possibly the chief benefit is that I am writing, which I hope makes me a better teacher of writing.

Why haiku?

Short answer: haiku because of my enthusiastic, collaborative colleague Tom, without whom I would not have explored this form. In fact, I feel so grateful at this moment, I’m going off to write a haiku of thanks for him….


Much appreciation to Sydney for joining us today and for sharing her poetry! Don't you want to sit in on her class?

In a few weeks we'll enjoy some more student poetry from Paideia, so stay tuned.

Thanks in advance for leaving your comments below, and apologies in advance if I don't respond right away. I'm back on the road for another poetry/creative writing session across the state with Morgan's third-graders - :0) - but I'll check in later!

Be sure to check out all the great Poetry Friday offerings rounded up this week by our Lovely Liz Steinglass, an all-around-wonderful writer and published haiku poet herself!

Poetry Friday: Running Hot and Cold with Irene Latham…

February 10, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, animals, seasons, Irene Latham


Happy Valentine’s Day weekend, Poetry Lovers!

Is it warm where you are? Cold? Frigid?

Today I offer up poetic goodies for climates of either extreme, with big heartfuls of thanks to our own Irene Latham, who agreed to stick around for a fun mini Q-and-A after the poetry.

First, let’s enjoy a couple of her poems from books featuring completely different parts of the planet. Both of these animal-friendly collections are from Millbrook Press, with lively paintings by English illustrator Anna Wadham.

From DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST – And Other Poems from the Water Hole:


Dust Bath at Dusk


Trunks become
dust hoses;
beasts strike poses

and preen in silhouette
created by the
hazy screen.

Soon skin
is powdered
in a red-grit shower

that banishes bugs
and becomes next day’s
sunscreen.

one final
wallow,
one last trumpet –

all clean!


©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.


That’s one way to splash around – if you’re an elephant on the blazing African savanna.

If you are way too cool for that, (and you are young and have flippers for wings), maybe this next poem’s for you.

From WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA – And Other Poems about the Frozen Continent:



Gentoo Penguin Jumps In


After cozy days
in the nest,

after meals delivered
by my parents,

after guarded naps
and hunting lessons,

after shedding fluff
and sprouting new feathers,

after long, sunny days
spent with others my age –

suddenly
      the sea

doesn’t seem
            too vast for me.

Splash!


©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.

Are you curious about which environment our oh-so-talented poetess might prefer? Let's ask her.

--Hot or Cold - Are you more of a warm-weather warrior or a cold-weather conqueror?

I am very much a fair-weather kind of gal... love spring and fall and don't tolerate so well the extremes! I enjoy the view of the beach far more than the heat-sticky-sunburn, and the best thing about winter are other people's pictures of snow -- and my cozy boots & scarves.

--What's your favorite hot drink? What's your favorite cold drink?

Hot chocolate! I visited Frankfort, KY a few years back and was introduced to Bourbon Ball Hot Chocolate...it's a bourbon truffle dropped into steaming hot chocolate, and it is divine! And for cold, there's Zaxby's Birthday Cake shake... sinful, and I love it. On a daily basis, I love hot tea (Harney & Son's "Paris" tea, anyone?) and iced tea (these days I take it unsweetened).

--Favorite summer activity? Favorite winter pastime?

Summer: Camp Buttercup (for Brave, Creative Girls) with my wee nieces & very young sister! I am the mom to 3 sons, so a few years ago I created an annual just-girls camp at my house. Highlights include poetry, outdoor adventures (horseback riding, tubing,...), movies, live theater, local attractions, art, food... each year it has a different flavor, and it is always an exhilarating, exhausting week.
Winter: I love to cozy up -- and read. (And quilt and play cello and write poems and make Valentines and work on scrapbooks and blog and make soup and ...)


--Favorite warm color? Favorite cool color?

I love a warm butter yellow and any shade of cool purple. (Which, I recently learned, are the colors representing the women's suffragist movement.)

--And, since you're a quilter, which fabrics: light cottons, soft flannels, or fleece?

Cotton, for sure! Anything soft and light and flow-y.

Many thanks for playing along, Irene! Raising our cups of hot chocolate to you.... (No worries - I won't ask anyone what's inside.)

For some great posts on Irene's ANTARCTICA book, which, incidentally, is HOT off the press, please visit these great features by other Poetry Friday bloggers:

Catherine at Reading to the Core and

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche and

Linda at Write Time. [Note - I couldn't successfully call up this link of Linda's when I posted this; if you have one that works, do tell!]

Be sure to dive in and wallow around at Written Reflections for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup!

Poetry Friday - Groundhog Day and Ms. Betty

February 4, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, seasons, winter, spring, ponderings


Greetings, Poetry-Friday-ers! Ah, the weather. Last week I recounted being snowed in at my daughter’s the weekend before (always a big deal in the South), and now we've had a steady chilly rain here on the coast, followed by chilly temps. But Tuesday, Groundhog Day, was glorious.

I let our tiny dog out on the screened-in front porch and couldn’t resist a break for me, too. Ms. Betty was busy just up the street, and she inspired a poem.

Ms. Betty inspires admiration from a lot of folks. She’s always on the go defending green space or Little Free Libraries or helping with some church project. When I first moved here, she called from her walk with her dog – “Do you like potatoes? I just picked a basket. They’re on the steps. Go help yourself.”

Not one to turn down such kindness, or yummy red potatoes, I did go grab a few and scrawled a little thank you note to leave in their place. They were delicious, and I told her so later. I learned it was the first time she’d attempted a vegetable garden without her husband, who had passed away not long before I moved here.

Three mornings a week, Ms. Betty gets up at 5:30 to drive herself to go work out. Rain or shine, she makes sure Buddy, the rescue dog her daughter gave her after the loss of her husband, gets in all his walks.

She is always quick with a kind word, witty observation, or handwritten note.

Yep, I want to be just like Ms. Betty when I grow up.


Groundhog Day


You’d think it spring -
sunny and 74.

Ms. Betty
(88, give or take)
smartly dressed as always
ties her scruffy dog to a tree

wields a shovel in her
garden-gloved hands

stoops to adjust a root

straightens, then stomps
on the blade’s end
to scoop the earth.

Her white cat
serpentines
around leg, tree

plops herself on the grass
to roll and paw at the dog.

You’d think it spring.



©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

No matter the weather, go stock up on lots of great poetry today with the ever-energetic Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Poetry Friday - Snow-Bound with Whittier... and Bunnies

January 28, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, seasons, winter


Confession: I was just looking online for a few fun, classic verses on snow to go with these silly pictures from last weekend, when I'd gotten snowed in in upstate South Carolina with my teacher-daughter Morgan (whose birthday happened to be last Saturday).

I ended up stumbling upon John Greenleaf Whittier's "Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl" (1866). If I ever read it in college, I forgot it. Is this one you remember?

Since I've been somewhat stuck in the mid-nineteenth century lately (hence my Industrial Revolution haiku and Bill Bryson book gift to Diane Mayr in the Winter Poem Swap a few weeks ago), I fell right into this long and layered Whittier poem.

Now, I was certainly rewarded with some wonderful snowy imagery just a few stanzas in:

...
Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingëd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts. ...



--but there is oh-so-much-more. The poem opens with a dedication:

"To the Memory of the Household It Describes
This Poem is Dedicated by the Author"


and excerpts from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Occult Philosophy, Book I and Emerson's poem, "The Snow Storm."

And then there are 700-plus lines of Whittier's observations, reminiscences, abolitionist philosophy, character sketches of family members and associations, plus musings on religion (Quaker and otherwise), time, death, and hope for reunion in the afterlife. We even see "witches making tea" whispered from an old rhyme (and many allusions I didn't fully get but fully recognized as allusions).

Sounds overwhelming, but I found myself floating through it, meeting these endearing earth-bound folks from Whittier's memory, alive in their quirks and capacities through his words - though he is now long gone, too.

No wonder the Poetry Foundation has this vast collection of subjects listed under the poem: Family & Ancestors, Religion, Living, Youth, Nature, Home Life, Winter, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Weather. Click here to read the poem in its entirety, and be prepared to fetch a second cup of coffee or tea in the process! But if there's snow on the ground outside, what better way to spend the day than in some cozy corner reading poetry?

When you do come up for air again, drift like snow over to Reading to the Core, where the lovely Catherine has the Roundup, and a perfect-for-winter interview with my amazing bud, Irene Latham. (And if you need a break from all this substantive fare, be sure to catch Michelle's roundup of "nothing" poems this month at Today's Little Ditty!)

Poetry Friday: Of Mice and Chihuahuas - and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

January 7, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, authors, book tracks, animals, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Lee Bennett Hopkins


Just over three years ago, we rescued a three-pound Chihuahua. (Okay, I rescued a three-pound Chihuahua when something tiny ran in front of my car on a busy road. “You’re not even a real dog!” I said, dodging traffic.) Less than a year old, no tags or microchip, and though she’d been loved by somebody, we were unable to find an owner. So she joined the family, and son Seth named her Rita.

We’ve never been “tiny dog” people, but I have to say, this one steals everybody’s heart. More than one vet tech has marveled that she’s a nice Chihuahua.

She’s also entertaining. Her latest antics involve stalking mice below the house from the comfort of indoors. Our small coastal cottage was built on slanted ground with pillars in the back. Boards run from the ground to the bottom all around, but there is open space between them. You can open a gate and walk on dirt underneath the back part of the house. With insulation tucked beneath the floor, it’s evidently an inviting space for little critters to make themselves at home. (Hubby was down there this week, and one of said little critters dropped down as he was tacking up insulation – not sure which one was more surprised! At least it was small.)

From inside the house, Rita has set up a couple of monitoring stations. One is below the dining room hutch. She can fit inside the space between its carved legs. She’ll sniff and then sit on high alert, head cocked and ears up, for quite a while. Then she’ll run around to the rug in the kitchen and adopt the same stance. Wonder what she’s listening to? I’ll ask her, “Rita – where are your mice?”

All this puts me in a mind to share Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s beautiful poem, “Winter Home.” It’s from one of my favorite collections of all time, Sharing the Seasons (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010) by the incomparable Lee Bennett Hopkins . The rich illustrations by David Diaz are pure magic.

Enjoy!


Winter Home

by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

We build our beds
inside this barn,
with shreds of cloth,
old rags, twine. A room
where we can winter-dine
to chime of ice, by windows full
of snowflake art. With dreams of crumb,
cracker, tart, inside this old
wind-whistling place, this cold
and tiny mousekin space,
we cuddle to chase
the chill away,
imagining an April day.



©Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Used with permission.


Savor this poem – it’s one to read again; you’re sure to catch some new poetic treasure the second (or third!) time. So many luscious words/turns of phrase - do you have a favorite?

I wonder if these mice are distant cousins to the ones who usher us into and out of Jumping Off Library Shelves (Wordsong, September 2015)? :0)

RKD fans, take note: If you haven’t seen her oh-so-clever One Day, The End.: Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Stories (Boyds Mills Press, October 2015) illustrated by Fred Koehler, you’re in for a treat. Keep your antennae out next month for another Boyds Mills title by Rebecca, The Knowing Book, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek of this one, and it’s going to be on my gift-giving list for all kinds of occasions. (“This picture book encourages readers to make the most of their lives….” School Library Journal).

Thanks to Rebecca for sharing the perfect Winter poem today, and to all the wee critters that enrich our lives.

Keep celebrating a new year of poetry with our wonderful Tabatha, rounding up at The Opposite of Indifference today. Stay warm and cozy!

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

December 2, 2015

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




Greetings, Poetry Tribe!

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

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

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

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

WRITE
                  very often.


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

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


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

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

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

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


Tinker Time

by Janet Wong

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

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

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

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


©Janet Wong. All rights reserved.


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

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

Poetry Friday: Welcome to Paideia Teacher and Haiku Poet Becca McCauley

November 19, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, teachers, poetry, haiku




Greetings, Poetry Friday-ers! A special treat today. We often feature the fine work of young haiku poets at The Paideia School in Atlanta, Ga., under the guidance of Language Arts teacher and seasoned haiku poet Tom Painting. Today, we welcome one of Tom's colleagues, someone who has embraced haiku as something much more than "a nature poem written in 5-7-5."

That was initially the way Becca McCauley taught haiku, but when she learned there was more to it, she embraced the opportunity to learn and even to write some herself. In fact, Tom recently initiated a monthly haiku "contest" for Paideia students, staff and parents called HaiC (Haiku Challenge), and she has been recognized each of the first three months.

“One of the greatest challenges the haiku community faces is getting informed and inspiring educators on board,” Tom says. "Becca is an inspiration to her 5/6 graders. All 32 of her students write and enter the contest."

We asked Becca a few questions about her exploration of haiku, but first - let's enjoy a handful of her poems.


silent moon
the scarecrow’s shadow stretches
on a barren field


pulsing through
the warm, damp night
cicada symphony


tiny shadows
skitter across the lake
the moon's reflection shattered


pink flamingos
littering the lawn
my fiftieth


parking lot
under the full moon,
a newborn's head emerges



Poems©Becca McCauley. All rights reserved.


Now, a few questions for Becca....


How has your understanding of haiku changed over the last year or so?

[Tom] has definitely honed my understanding, especially the idea of it being conversational in tone, and the importance of including, rather than excluding articles, along with the emphasis on showing rather than telling.

What do you most enjoy about reading and or writing haiku?

I love playing with words, both meanings and sounds, and I just love words in general. I probably enjoy writing haiku more than reading it, but I love hearing the kids' haiku, and I really enjoy ones that surprise me. I am very impressed by some of their contributions.

How does writing haiku benefit your students?

Again, playing with words and vocabulary and sounds is just a great thing to do. It's creative, it's accessible, and it is not too intimidating. Experimenting with synonyms is also both fun and beneficial. We actually do not do all that much with the haiku -- I would like to carve out a bit more time here and there for them to share with each other. I love being able to see another side of a kid -- and the twists and turns of how they are thinking and feeling.

What is the biggest challenge to either you or your students in writing haiku?

Fitting in the time to talk about it -- we are doing so much already....

To sum up with one of our favorite questions for haiku poets: Why haiku?

I have really been enjoying working with haiku this year because life is incredibly busy and hectic. It is very relaxing to mull over words, and it can be done in the odd moments here and there. I have to do this series of stretches and back exercises every morning, and it can be tedious, though it is definitely essential. There is one stretch which does not involve counting or much mental focus, and I often find myself in those moments pondering the next haiku topic, searching for images in my mind that might inspire me, and starting to manipulate words and phrases that might fit together to bring the images to life. Haiku is short enough to capture in some of the small moments that I have available. Also, each word really matters, and I enjoy that idea greatly.

Becca also likens haiku to photography.

I love photography, and sometimes haiku fits it with those mental snapshots, even though they are still in slight motion because they are breathing.

This world is so fast paced, and I think it is really healthy for both me and the kids to have to slow down and and focus on a single moment.

I love to see the kids' humor when it comes out in their haiku as well as their poetic side. The twist, the "aha" moment, allows for that, another reason I enjoy the twist. I also love trying myself to figure out how to arrange the lines to best set up a scene to make an aha possible.


Many thanks to Tom and Becca for this inside peek into how a teacher has embraced haiku, for herself and for her lucky students!

For more inspiring poets and poems this week, be sure to check out the poetic cornucopia over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, where the ever-delightful Tricia has the Roundup.

Pssst.... PS - HUGE thanks to our amazing Jama for featuring me and everything you'd ever want to know about artsyletters Monday at Jama's Alphabet Soup Thanks to so many of you for stopping by!

Poetry Friday - Eletelephony and Poetry on the Road

November 5, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, speaking, students




Brrrrriiinggggg. Brrrrriiinggggg.

Hello? -- Oh! An elephant from my childhood is calling. Perhaps you knew him, too?

He's the hapless pachyderm who got all wrapped up in a phone call in Laura Elizabeth Richards's "Eletelephony." Raise your hand if you remember when telephones had actual cords....

This poetic companion is going to join me Saturday in Augusta, where I'll be doing a children's poetry presentation at the Georgia Literary Festival. (Fingers crossed - it's outside, and there's a 90 percent chance of rain!) I'm looking forward to driving over with my author buddy Kami Kinard and squeezing in a visit with an Augusta friend, too. We lived there for nine years while my hubby was in med school and residency; both our babies were born there.

I look forward to sharing lots of poetry with whoever shows up - especially some found poems from THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK (Georgia Heard, ed., Roaring Brook) and several from THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY series (Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, eds., Pomelo Books).

But back to "Eletelephony" - did you know that Laura Elizabeth Richards (1850-1943), in addition to writing 90 books (!) and many children's poems, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1917 for co-authoring a biography of her mother, Julia Ward Howe, writer of the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic? Her father, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, was an abolitionist and founded the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind. Laura E. Richards left a rich and varied body of literary works.

I didn't know any of that when, as a young child, I first read "Eletelephony." I just know that this poem tickled my fancy and helped open the door for a lifelong love of wordplay, as I'm sure it did for lots of folks throughout the decades. Enjoy!


Eletelephony

by Laura Elizabeth Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)
Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)


For more fancy-tickling poetry today, please visit the lovely Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. for this week's Roundup. [And apologies for being a bit out of the loop lately; last week it was my privilege to share poetry and all kinds of writing with about 2,000 students in and around Cobb County as part of Cobb EMC's Literacy Week. I look forward to getting back home Saturday night and staying put for a while, at least until the holidays!]

Poetry Friday - "To Autumn" with Blake

October 22, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, seasons, autumn




We've been on the road a good bit this fall, lucky enough to catch the beginning of the color up in the Southern Appalachians this past weekend while traveling to see our kids.

In late September, before the record-breaking SC floods, we spent a delightful weekend near Charleston at The Inn at Middleton Place, adjacent to a historic plantation home site and the country's oldest landscaped gardens.

Fall is my favorite time of year (as I think it is among many Poetry Friday folks!). Raise your mug of coffee or cup of tea to "Autumn" with our dear Mr. Blake.

To Autumn

by
William Blake, 1757 - 1827

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayst rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.



I hope you are singing "the lusty song of fruits and flowers"!

I'm back on the road next week, with a week of school visits in north Georgia. Can't wait to share lots of poetry with lots and lots of students!

And see even more of those dazzling fall leaves....

For this week's poetic feast, please visit our very dazzling host Jama for the Roundup at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

Poetry Friday - Fan Girl-ing for Georgia Heard

September 24, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, teachers, writing life

Top: Morgan, Georgia Heard, and moi at the Upstate Schools Consortium Nonfiction Writing Workshop at Furman University.
Bottom: Just a few of my favorite Georgia Heard books. She has a brand new one out, too -
The Woman in This Poem.

I am one lucky dog.

Not only did I travel to Greenville, SC, to attend a bridal fair this week with Teacher-Daughter Morgan, but she was also signed up for a Thursday workshop at Furman University (alma mater of her, me, and my hubby) on nonfiction writing with - drumroll... - Georgia Heard.

When I found out about it, I emailed the amazing and generous Dr. Nelly Hecker, who is the head of Furman's Education Department. You see, many moons ago, I was in Dr. Hecker's children's lit class at Furman! She was always so encouraging about my writing. You know, if you've ever been fortunate enough to have a teacher or professor believe in you, how important that is! Anyway, soon I received a reply that she'd registered me for the seminar as a guest. :0) [By the way, this lovely lady has not aged at all in these intervening decades. Not a bit. I have.]

At the seminar, sponsored by the Upstate Schools Consortium, Morgan took pages of notes to use in her classroom. I took pages of notes to refer to as a writer and to enrich school visits. If you've had the pleasure of hearing Georgia speak at a meeting or conference, you know how terrific she is. She talked about poetry as an important element in nonfiction writing, and if you've read any of her books, you also know how she uses different genres with students to bring forth their very best writing. Her teachings encourage students of any age to think, AND to write from the heart.
{{-sigh-}} She nurtures and celebrates wonder.

Meeting Georgia was especially special for me because my first poems published in a children's anthology appeared in her collection of found poems, THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK (Roaring Brook, 2012). (Here's my blog post about it.) I've been in love with found poetry ever since.


Here is the first part of Georgia's poem, "Where Do I Find Poetry?" -


Where Do I Find Poetry?


I open my eyes and what do I see?
Poetry spinning all around me!

In small ants trailing over the ground,
bulldozing dry earth into cave and mound.

In a hundred grains of ocean sand,
that I cradle in the palm of my hand. ...


©Georgia Heard. All rights reserved.

For the rest, please click here for the Poetry page on Georgia's website, which includes lots of information and resources. The full poem appears in Climb Inside a Poem: Reading and Writing Poetry Across the Year by Georgia Heard and Lester Laminack (firsthand, An imprint of Heinemann, 2008).

Speaking of cradling ocean sand in the palm of one's hand, this weekend I'm on the road again, headed down the coast to South Florida, for a poetry retreat with... wait for it... Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich! I know, I can't believe it either. We will be meeting, writing, and enjoying inspiration for a few days by the sea. I've had the good fortune to workshop with Rebecca before (workshop is a verb, right?) and can't wait to see her again. We will all be in good hands with Rebecca and Georgia, I know.

If you're still even talking to me next week, I'll let you know how it was!

Speaking of Poetry Goddesses to Fan-Girl For, guess who is rounding up today? Poetry Goddesses Sylvia and Janet are hosting a Hispanic Heritage party over at Poetry for Children. Enjoy!

Poetry Friday - Here, Have a Fig...

July 3, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, ponderings


Happy July Fourth Weekend!

I hope you’ll have plenty of time outdoors with loved ones and plenty of watermelon.

We’ve been fortunate to have family and friends coming and going, and there are more visits planned as the month goes along, mainly on weekends. So I’ll be taking a wee blog break here for the rest of July and will jump back in on August 14. I will come virtually visit you all in the meantime, though -- if not always on the actual Friday!

I have a longer post over at artsyletters today, featuring a box of wooden blocks, and a box of necks, among other things. (That got your attention! I hope you’ll click over.)

Speaking of my studio, it’s upstairs in a historic building in the middle of downtown. I usually go in and out through the back. This time of year, an old fig tree - completely unobtrusive the rest of the year - takes over the universe. I was invited to help myself to her bounty last year, and I was happy to. The figs end up falling off everywhere, half-eaten by birds and bugs.

But I wonder of the birds might resent that, just a little bit…

My apologies to William Carlos Williams :


This is Just to Say to the Downtown Birds


I have taken
the figs
that hang over
the back stairs


and which
you were planning
to peck
for breakfast


Forgive me
they were easy
to pluck
and so
      very
            sweet




For all kinds of poetic bounty today, please visit the delightful Donna at Mainely Write.

Poetry Friday: Jacqueline Woodson's BROWN GIRL DREAMING and some thoughts from SC....

June 25, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, ponderings, book tracks


Greetings from South Carolina on this summertime Poetry Friday.

Just shy of a couple of weeks ago, I finally turned my attention to one of my “TBR” ’s (To Be Read’s) in my always-toppling stack. Jacqueline Woodson’s BROWN GIRL DREAMING (Nancy Paulson Books, Penguin, 2014) – with its shiny gold National Book Award Winner sticker – had even traveled with me in May, but I hadn’t cracked it open yet. I’d been anxious to read it, and it had certainly been praised on Poetry Friday in recent months.

Then the multiple-award-winning author was named our new Young People’s Poet Laureate by The Poetry Foundation at the beginning of this month, and I jumped into this autobiographical journey told in verse. I was immediately captivated – and not just by the exquisite writing. I hadn’t realized before that Jacqueline Woodson was born less than two weeks after I was in early 1963 (about 350 miles apart, and in some ways, worlds apart).

I was intrigued by how our early memories might be alike in many ways and drastically different in others. I was born in Tennessee and grew up in Florida; she was born in Ohio and grew up in Greenville, SC, and in New York. (Greenville is where I went to college, met my hubby, and where my daughter currently lives.)

I was not really aware of racial tensions as a very young child; I never saw “Whites Only” signs. They certainly might have existed in places where we traveled when I was tiny, but I would have been too young to read them. I have no recollections of races being separated in my early world.

In BROWN GIRL DREAMING, Woodson masterfully shows how the people she most loved and looked up to as a child had been affected by Jim Crow laws and racial injustice, how life was different in the North and South in the ’60s (and ’70s). Reading the book, you see through her eyes as a child trying to make sense of her family’s past and present.

She describes walking past a Woolworth’s with her grandmother in Greenville, because even after the laws changed, her grandmother had been ignored in that store before:

Acted like
I wasn’t even there.
It’s hard not to see the moment –
my grandmother in her Sunday clothes, a hat
with a flower pinned to it
neatly on her head, her patent-leather purse,
perfectly clasped
between her gloved hands – waiting quietly
long past her turn.


I remember Woolworth’s – one of the department stores of my childhood. I remember ladies wearing gloves and carrying patent-leather purses. I never remember feeling discriminated against, because that was not my reality. Of course I learned about racial inequality as I grew up and matured, but I didn’t have to endure it directly, or hear that my parents, siblings or grandparents had suffered because of it. I don’t have to battle it now.

It’s been an interesting half-century to be alive. I remember watching President Obama’s first inauguration on TV, seeing his two precious daughters and thinking they were about to move into the White House, and recalling that I had been an infant on this earth when four little girls were blown up in a church in Alabama, and I just cried.

Anyway, this month, I had been reading along in BROWN GIRL DREAMING each night when, 10 short days ago, news broke of the atrocity at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. (That’s just a little over an hour up the road from here.) I was numb. I texted my husband, who was on a church service trip with my son in another part of the state.

I cannot pretend to fathom what those families have been going through. Each of those nine souls was a shining light in their homes, communities, and in the greater world. The reactions of many of family members have demonstrated the message that love is stronger than hate. It’s been humbling and inspiring to see these grieving individuals embody such deep faith and verbalize it so simply and eloquently. Grace personified in the midst of unspeakable loss.

Of course, the timing of my reading Jacqueline Woodson’s beautiful book has made it that much more poignant for me. In case you haven’t yet read it, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that it’s only about race. It’s about joy and loss and self-discovery, about a young writer falling in love with words and finding her voice – in vivid memories from a full childhood laced with warmth and wonder.

In addition to the poems, there are black and white family photos to enjoy as well. To me, the whole book is like a carefully and lovingly designed photo album. Each poem evokes a picture's thousand words of possibilities and connections. Artfully chosen details and descriptions create a strong, sturdy, and inspiring story – especially for someone creative, of any color and of any age. Especially for any young reader who might struggle a bit with reading or writing, but who has something to say.

For more inspiring poetry this week, please visit the lovely Carol at Carol's Corner for the Roundup.

Poetry Friday: International Student Haiku with Kala Ramesh

May 28, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, student work, poets

Kala Ramesh

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

On this final Friday of May, we have a special treat. The talented and generous Kala Ramesh of India has dropped by to tell us a bit about herself and haiku, and to share some wonderful student poetry featured in the "Youth Corner" of The United Haiku and Tanka Society' s online publication, cattails.


Welcome, Kala! I’m thrilled you can join us today and share a bit about student haiku poets from around the world. But first, let’s get to know you a little better.

I’ve read that your professional background in India is as a musician, and that you discovered haiku in 2005. Apparently you jumped right in with both feet, and no looking back. What is it about haiku you find so captivating?


A million thanks, Robyn, for wanting to focus on “Youth Haiku” in your blog.

In answer to your question, I come from a culturally rich south India family, and began having music lessons from professionals from the age of six – the resonance is what captured me when I came into haiku. What is resonance one might ask? For me it was close to the concept of ‘rasa’ theory in Indian aesthetics. What is it that lingers in your mind long after you’ve heard a piece of melody . . . and which gives you joy? Indians call it ‘rasa’ – the resonance, the distilled emotions that happen within us.

I found that haiku worked in the same way in my mind – I would linger over a haiku to see how in just 9 or 10 words the author could say so much. When I started I had no access to haiku books. Even now you can’t find a single haiku book in any bookstore in India. Ninety-nine percent of the haiku books are self-published. Now the internet is flooded with haiku information and literature!


I’ve enjoyed reading your work in leading haiku journals. I’m struck that you plunged into English-language haiku with such vigor, when English is not your first language. Is this a particular challenge, or do haiku just “come to you” this way?

Thanks a ton, Robyn. Yes, I’m a Tamilian from South India. People wrongly assume that Hindi is our national language, but it’s not! I don’t know Hindi. In India we have around twenty-two languages, so English becomes our common tongue, and I don’t see that dependence on English decreasing. I can think in English, though my ‘thinking’ is coloured by Indian aesthetics and culture.

A few years ago, Gisele LeBlanc sent me your haiku publications for children from Katha, Haiku and My Haiku Moments. These are such colorful, fun introductions for young writers (writers of any age, really). Why do you have such a passion for nurturing haiku among young people?

Children take to haiku like fish take to water – I know this is a cliché but it gives a true picture. Children are easily malleable and haiku has some very good tools that help to hone their writing skills. Editing is so important in haiku and this tool is most needed in our fast galloping lives. Who has the patience to read through volumes of uninteresting stuff, tell me! This art of saying a lot in few words is something a child should be exposed to!

Along those lines, you currently serve as the Youth Corner Editor for “Cattails,” the online publication of the United Haiku and Tanka Society. Tell us a little about the Youth Corner, and from what corners of the world you receive submissions?

When an’ya invited me to become the “Youth Corner” editor, I had mild trepidations, for no other journal had this feature and starting off anything for the first time is always a challenge. We have nothing to fall back on. I’m now into my fourth issue and I’m happy about this little corner!

Submissions are still not coming from all parts of the world. Maybe they aren’t aware about cattails Youth Corner. I do get a few from the US. I got a lovely cartoon submission from Indonesia this time and I’m hoping children from all over the world will begin to submit their haiku to cattails Youth Corner soon.

India has opened to haiku in a big way! But all this didn’t come on a platter to me. I’ve worked hard since 2006. I approached dozens and dozens of schools and colleges, but just couldn’t get beyond the office doors! Slowly, schools opened their doors, and now respected organizations like Katha.org, Bookaroo Children’s Literary Festival, The Hyderabad Literary Festival, Muse India - online poetry site, The Central Board of Secondary Schools (CBSE) all over India, and of course the Symbiosis International University have opened not just their doors, but their hearts to haiku. It’s exciting “haiku” time for India!

I used to have a HaikuWALL in almost all my workshops, where along with the masters' haiku, the children’s haiku would be pinned up on a huge make-shift wall. Excited parents would take pictures of their child next to their first haiku! Pune Biennale 2015 offered to paint the chosen haiku on our street walls. That was the start of another venture, where we have school children’s and college students’ haiku painted on city walls in Pune and Chennai. A few of my haiku are included too. I call it the HaikuWALL India – it’s an ongoing project.


That sounds wonderful, Kala. Finally, let’s enjoy some haiku!

Robyn, I’ll proudly showcase the youngsters’ haiku. They need all the encouragement! A million thanks to you for presenting them in your blog. We need more haiku lovers like you!

Enjoy!


yawning wide . . .
I watch the leaf settle
on a bed of brown

R. Hariharan (age 14)
CBSE School, Chennai, India



still water . . .
a zebra runs away
from itself

      stira jalarasi . . .
      Vayakari dhainjaye zebra tiye
     dekhi nija pratibimba


Aditya Ashribad (age 17)
CBSE School, Orissa, India


long journey
pausing for water
I drink the moon


Iqra Raza (16 yrs)
CBSE School, Delhi, India


maple leaf parachuting down upon soldiers’ graves

Rose Anderson (age 18)
USA


broken ladder
a spider weaves a web
into the web itself


Tanvi Nishchal (age 16)
CBSE School, Delhi, India


icy night
all the city streets
clear of people


Pruthvi Shrikaanth (age 7)
United Kingdom


dancing without
knowing who holds my waist
masquerade ball


Aashna Banerjee
Symbiosis International University, Pune


war cry—
my nephew gets ready
for the pillow fight


Vividha Bhasin
Symbiosis International University, Pune


creeping up
the rocky wall—
vines


Aaliyah Saleem (5 1/2 yrs)
USA

All poems are copyright their respective authors.


I want to end this collection of children’s haiku on a high. I am ecstatic to announce that one of my students, Jhanvi Tiwari, was awarded an Honourable Mention in the international 2014 ANNUAL MOON VIEWING HAIKU CONTEST, a competition held by the Australian Haiku Society.

Congratulations to Jhanvi for this lovely haiku!

hunter’s moon
a werewolf growls in
nani’s* stories


Jhanvi Tiwari
Symbiosis International University.
*Nani – maternal grandmother in Hindi


And lastly how can I not include a school student’s work picked up by Don Wentworth for Wednesday Haiku!


windy day…
the pages turn
to the last line


Sneha Mojumdar (15 yrs)
CBSE School, Delhi.


Sneha, studying in Sanskriti School Delhi, wrote this haiku during the Katha Utsav haiku workshop I conducted in December 2014. I vividly remember exclaiming that it was beautiful when Sneha read this haiku out.

Don Wentworth of Wednesday Haiku says:
My very best to Sneha ... a deep bow from me to honor a spirit that cuts so quickly to the essence. And thank you for your wonderful work with your students, Kala. With this type of devotion, the future is assured.



Many thanks, Kala – and I will agree with Don. Thank you for all you do to promote haiku among young readers and writers.


Kala has also kindly provided the following links:

Premier issue cattails Winter 2013
cattails May 2014.
cattails September 2014.
cattails January 2015. (Note - In this issue, you’ll find that Kala chose a haiku by one of our Haiku Student Poets of the Month, Emma Jones, as one of the “Editor’s Favourites.”)
cattails May edition is expected to go online soon.
Wednesday Haiku link – Yesha Shah & Sneha Mojumdar: Wednesday Haiku, #205.

What’s that, readers? You’d like to read some of Kala’s work as well? Have no fear. You will find it in leading haiku journals, and I’ve also asked her to please visit again in the fall to share her haiku.

For more great poetry of all kinds today, please visit the lovely Margaret at Reflections on the Teche, where she’s rounding up Poetry Friday as she winds up the school year.

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.

Poetry Friday: The Roundup is HERE - Let's CELEBRATE with Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong!

April 15, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, Poetry Month, poetry, poets, Poetry Friday anthologies, teachers, media specialists, librarians, Pomelo Books

Syliva Vardell, left, and Janet Wong celebrate National Poetry Month with a brand-new anthology!

Did you bring your confetti? We’re smack-dab in the middle of Poetry Month, and the Poetry Friday party is HERE. Let’s ~*§!^}celebrate{^!§*~ !!

I’m thrilled to welcome the incomparable team of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong with The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations from Pomelo Books, featured as a “Hot off the Press” title from the Children’s Book Council in March. This is fourth in the series of praise-garnering Poetry Friday Anthologies, which offer fun and accessible ways to bring poetry to life in the classroom. Learn about each collection and connections to the Common Core and other teaching standards here. [I posted my own PFAC poem last week.]

This new volume explores more than 150 holidays and celebrations – 156 poems by 115 poets (!), including many familiar Poetry Friday names. And – in a welcome and wonderful feat – each poem is presented in both English and Spanish.

In the PFA tradition of “Take 5,” let’s ask Sylvia and Janet five questions about this terrific new resource.


Happy Poetry Month, Janet and Sylvia! What an undertaking. Whose Muse insisted on such a project, and what does this new volume bring to the world of poetry for children?

JW: It was definitely the Sylvia Muse on this one, the "Christmas-tree-in-every-room-of-the-Vardell-house" and "Happy Half-Birthday" Sylvia. The emphasis on Picture Book Pairings and the idea to have Spanish translations for every poem were also hers; Sylvia, please take a bow!

SV: Thanks, Janet! I do like savoring life’s many special moments and I think kids find something to celebrate in the smallest, silliest things, too. Plus, I think our poems offer great hooks for specific celebrations, but are also worth reading and sharing any ol’ time for their humor, lyrical language, or thoughtful themes.



The breadth of these poems is staggering – from silly to profound, acknowledging cultures across the globe. In the introduction you write, “A poem on an unfamiliar celebration is a thirty-second look out the window at what brings meaning to another group of human beings.” Why is that thirty-second look important?

JW: The best way to reach global understanding is to share in our happiness. You don't see the enemy in a smiling child.

SV: We need diverse literature that focuses on real and important issues such as discrimination—but we also need examples of joyful diversity for balance. Some of the diverse and joyful poems that you can find in our book are: Uma Krishnaswami's Diwali poem, Ibtisam Barakat's Ramadan poem, Debbie Reese's poem about making bread in Pueblo cultures, Margarita Engle's poem about the Dashain festival of Nepal, Renée M. LaTulippe's poem featuring friendship and disabled children, and Lesléa Newman's Gay Pride Day poem. I love that each of these poems offers a glimpse at something new (to many), but also points to familiar connections with family, play, friendship, etc.



I know faithfully translating poems from English to Spanish (as well as from Spanish to English) was very important to you both. How did you accomplish that?

SV: At a lunch after our ALSC Institute session last September, we brainstormed with Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy about ways to expand what we had done with The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, which includes a dozen poems translated by the poets themselves into Spanish. They liked the idea of having more poems in Spanish for this book and connected us with Liliana Cosentino, a professional translator whose work they admire. After we received the translations, we sent them to more than a dozen additional readers, including Alma Flor and Isabel, poets Pat Mora and Julie Larios, and David Bowles, winner of the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) Translation Award.

JW: And then the shaping and reshaping began: one reader would suggest a change; another reader would modify it further; a third reader would suggest the original translation; and so on. Some of the most useful feedback came from a high school student who grew up in New Jersey but speaks Spanish daily with her friends and her Guatemala-raised parents and grandparents. She and I sat down together, discussing poems line-by-line. I still remember how pained she felt over one particular (now-revised) translation, saying, "Well, yes, those words might be correct; but no one would ever say it that way!" It was important to us that the poems be musical and poetic in Spanish too—and not necessarily word-for-word translations of the English poems.



This collection is offered in a teacher/librarian edition as well as a student edition, featuring just the poems with illustrations. How do you hope each book is used?

SV: The teacher/librarian edition is our “usual” format that provides guidance in sharing and teaching the poems. But we’ve often heard that people would like to be able to share the poems with children without the instructional component on the page and so the illustrated “children’s” or “student” edition was born. We hope classrooms and libraries will have BOTH—so that the poems can be savored on their own, but teaching tips are also available for anyone who wants to lead a poem lesson or poetry celebration.


Finally, you’ve set up a nifty website just for the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations at PoetryCelebrations.com. What will virtual visitors find there?

JW: This month at PoetryCelebrations.com, the featured piece is a lyrical Poet's Note by Ibtisam Barakat that accompanies her audio reading plus an illustrated mini-poster of her "Tree Day Celebration" poem, our Arab American Heritage Month poem (you can click on a link to see a translation of the poem in Arabic). In future months we'll feature videos of poems, additional holiday poems that do not appear in our book and also longer versions of some of the poems that do appear in the book. In August, there will a super-neat Thrift Shop Day feature; make sure to check the website in August!


Oh, I will! HUGE thanks, Sylvia and Janet, for sharing your anthology magic with us today.

Since we’re just past halfway through Poetry Month, let’s close with Janet’s wonderful poem from July 2:


On Halfway Day
by Janet Wong

We each had half a sandwich
then we waited half an hour –
so the food could sink
halfway to our feet.

Then we halfway-ran
to the neighborhood pool,
three whole blocks,
at the end of the street.

We shook off our shoes
and set down our towels.
My sister made sure
my suit was on right.

We swam until dinner –
half a dog and half a burger –
then we watched half a movie
and we said good night!


©Janet Wong. All rights reserved. [Thank you, Janet!]


Sylvia and Janet write, “We firmly believe that poetry is the ideal vehicle for inviting children of all backgrounds to enjoy language and literature.” Amen! Visit more with Sylvia at her Poetry for Children blog, and with Janet at her website .

[For more Kidlitosphere Poetry Month Goodness than any human could stand, remember to check Jama's Roundup of events at Jama's Alphabet Soup.]

What wonderful things are YOU celebrating for Poetry Month today? Please leave your links in the comments, and I'll round them up throughout the day. Thanks for coming by!

***The Roundup***

Penny Parker Klostermann starts us off with a terrific entry in her “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt” series. Her guests, award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller with daughter, Sonia, offer an illustrated poem that will have you tapping your toes all day long.

Over at Teaching Authors, they’ve also been celebrating the PFAC. (Three of them have poems included!) Today, my buddy April brings us a poem for National Thrift Shop Day. It’s bear-y fun, so Jama needs to make sure Mr. Cornelius sees it…

Turn out the lights! Just for a few minutes. Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids continues her “Poetry Tips for Teachers” series with her poem, "Flowerful Flood," and a suggestion for reading poems in the classroom.

What can dodo birds teach us about meter? Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty brings us the always-entertaining Renée LaTulippe to explain. (There might be a surprise poem over there, and a prompt, too!)

Joy offers up a light-filled haiku and tells us about “the world’s largest collaborative poem on the internet” at Poetry for Kids Joy. [She’s given us the link if you’d like to participate. Diane gives us some insight into all this as well today!]

Over at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, Matt offers up a fun challenge (Poetry Cubed? – click to find out) and shares his own poem in response. (There’s a book giveaway too!)

At Jama’s Alphabet Soup, Jama brings us Margaret McNamara's A Poem In Your Pocket (illustrated by G. Brian Karas) – the PERFECT book for perfectionistic poets of any age. Plus, Mr. Cornelius takes “Poem in Your Pocket Day” to new heights (or depths -- of pockets).

What is Catherine Johnson wearing? Author Amok’s Laura Shovan continues her fun and insightful guest-blogger series on clothes, and Catherine shares "Getting Dressed" by Alexander Resnikoff.

Tamera Will Wissinger shares a short review of the new verse novel AUDACITY by Melanie A Crowder. (She’s doing an ARC giveaway, too, which you’ll want to try for after reading the review!)

Robyn Campbell (Robyn with a “y,” like me!) shares a clerihew today, written in honor of a Poetry Friday-er we all know and love.

For the fourth year in a row, Donna at Mainely Write is participating in the “A to Z Challenge” (a poem each day prompted by a letter of the alphabet). Whew! Today is “O” – for “Oversize Load.”

The 2015 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem has progressed to Buffy’s blog today; a mysterious connection made…

What is a Zip Ode, you ask? Tara at A Teaching Life has got your number. Warning: these look terribly addictive.

Irene chimed in (sent me a text) from the Land of No Internet Connection, asking if we’d make sure she’s in the mix! She highlights Lee Wardlaw’s new WON TON AND CHOPSTICK and offers up another gem in her Poetry Month series, “Artspeak,” original poems written to image prompts from the National Gallery. (Today’s wind poem is one of my favorites so far.)

Carol at Beyond Literacy Link offers “A Cordial Invitation to peruse the Winter Whisperings Gallery” just unveiled last evening. Take a deep breath and savor these thoughtful poetry/image (& sound, too!) offerings from around the world. Guaranteed to lower your blood pressure for a few moments.

Ever-clever Liz Elizabeth Steinglass has been bringing items from her desk to life in poems this month. “I'm still exploring the desk with my daily National Poetry month poems, but I find myself moving away from the usual school supplies,” she says. Her short but punch-packing poem today is "Stolen."

Long live haiku! Before I got immersed in the form a few years ago, Diane Mayr was a seasoned, published poet. She has a great post at Kurious Kitty celebrating National Haiku Poetry Day TODAY. She’s also got some great book recommendations (most of which I must confess are already on my shelves). Super entry point if you’d like to learn more about haiku poetry.

Now, it’s also International Haiku Poetry Day and at Random Noodling, Diane explores the international aspect of haiku (it’s not just Japanese and English, folks!), including the Earthrise Rolling Haiku collaborative poem Joy mentions above.

Speaking of haiku (and Carol’s “Winter Whisperings”) this April morning finds Linda at Teacher Dance sharing weather-inspired haiku from snowy Denver! [Linda, my hubby was on the phone with a snow-bound Colorado colleague last night – if you get tired of the snow, head over here to the coast....]

Over at The Poem Farm Amy continues her “Sing That Poem!” series with poemsong #17 and a poemsong by Joy Keller's fourth graders - both to the same tune! [I dare you to visit Amy’s blog and NOT try this song-matching challenge. But even if you don’t, Ms. Keller’s class poem is a fantastic tribute to the oceans, with or without music.]

Linda K. at Write Time is wearing her PFAC party hat. She’s sharing her poems from the book – “Welcome” and “Dear Veteran” – and offering a chance to win a free copy as well! And, in addition to being a terrific poet and teacher, did you know Linda is a veteran herself? Check out her pictures in dress blues and fatigues (1974) in today’s post. Linda, sincerest thanks for your service.

Celebrating from Down Under is Sally, who shares a (lump-in-your-throat-inducing) excerpt from her new verse novel, verse novel Roses are Blue. Said novel (illustrated by Gabriel Evans) was just named a Notable Book by the Children’s Book Council of Australia book of the year judges. Congratulations, Sally!!

Iphigene is in today from Gathering Books with a post which makes my day. You might know the poem about growing old and wearing purple, and red hats – have you seen poet Jenny Joseph reading “Warning”? Pure delight.

Mary Lee brings us another terrific entry in the PO-EMotion series today at A Year of Reading - such strong imagery in two poems. (Have a tissue at the ready.)

Mary Lee also shares this: Poetry PSA: Janet and I will be hosting the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Poetry Month Twitter Chat (#NCTEchat) on this coming Sunday evening (4/19) at 8:00 pm ET. Our guiding question is "What is the Role of Poetry in Literacy Learning?" We wrote this blog post to get you thinking: http://blogs.ncte.org/index.php/2015/04/poetry-in-literacy-learning/. Hope to hear many of your poet-voices chiming in Sunday night!
A reason to join Twitter, if you haven’t already!

At The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia continues exploring poetic forms (and the teaching of them) with some great article links (one from our own Laura Shovan) and examples from Ron Koertge and his character Kevin Boland (Shakespeare Bats Clean Up and Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs).

A hearty Poetry Friday welcome to newcomer Kathy at The Brain Lair, where today she features an intriguing original poem, “My Soul Looks Back.”

Much to ponder with Jan today at Bookseedstudio. She reminds us that it’s National Library Week, after all – and also Days of Remembrance (April 16-19). “The White Rose resistance of teens against Hitler is on my mind,” she explains, with links to resources and a call for others. Thinking about bullies, Jan offers up a poem about their cat, Ginger. (We have one of those! A bully cat, that is. Ours is black and white.)

Margaret shares some amazing acrostic poetry from a precocious third-grade student, Lani, at Reflections on the Teche. At the risk of repeating myself, you will be amazed.

At Reading to the Core, Catherine share’s Marilyn Singer’s poem “"Abraham Lincoln" to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's death on this past Wednesday. She’s got some great resources, links, and teaching ideas, too.

Oh, my! At Keri Recommends, you’re in for a treat. Ever have a moment when you are watching a video online and you realize you’re smiling? An encounter between scientists via a deep-diving camera and a deep-diving sperm whale inspired an original poem by Keri, “Curiosity.” Her post title today? “Poetry Friday and Scientists Geeking Out.”

Speaking of delights and oddities and light, Tabatha continues to bring us wonderful poems about poetry this month! Today at The Opposite of Indifference you’ll find words from Dylan Thomas and Conrad Aiken.

Whether you’re trekking through snow or enjoying beach breezes today, celebrate spring with Brenda at Friendly Fairytales. Her original poem, “Yellowist Green,” brings you daffodils on the cusp of blooming.

Katie at The Logonauts also celebrates Lee Wardlaw’s new WON TON AND CHOPSTICK – A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku, with more fetching illustrations by Eugene Yelchin. Tune in to find out about Won Ton’s new challenge…

Our incredible Heidi loves a challenge. She shows off takes a “flighty leap” and posts “an immediate response” to Matt’s Poetry Cubed challenge. Visit My Juicy Little Universe for a seize-the-moment buzz….

Kay at A Journey Through the Pages shares a lovely and moving original poem, “Darkness Falls,” in response to Mary Lee’s PO-EMotion challenge today (“sorrow”).

In a similar vein, Kortney shares remembrances of her poetry teacher, Steve Kowit, at One Deep Drawer. Such a touching post, and I know I’ll learn much when I can circle back later and explore the links.

At There is no such thing as a godforsaken town, Ruth is “still doing the mermaid thing” (Progressive Poem reference!). She brings us a haunting mermaid poem by Thomas Merton, and a link to an earlier post featuring a haunting Pablo Neruda poem. I mentioned haunting, didn’t I? For both? Hold your breath….

At Think, Kid, Think, Ed reveals the classroom winners of March Madness Poetry #MMPoetry! Grand (and Second and Third) Prize Giveaway winners will receive a stack of wonderful poetry books to add to their classroom shelves. My guess is, after investing such time in the tournament, the students won’t be leaving that poetry on the shelves for long.

Holly Thompson continues her The Language Inside series of 30 prompts at HATBOOKS. Today’s prompt calls for a list poem about time, place, change and emotion – with an excerpt from her award-winning verse novel as inspiration.

Our special guest Sylvia shares more PFAC fun at her own blog, Poetry for Children.. All month, she’s sharing some terrific videos produced by her graduate students of PFAC poems being read by students. Up today: a poem for “National Cereal Day” by our own Matt Forrest Esenwine, “Picky Eater”! [The reader is 14-year-old Andy, a good sport and a good cereal-box-catcher!]

A classic continuation of some of today’s PF images… light? shimmering water? bee? Little Willow shares D. H. Lawrence’s poem, “Coming Awake,” at Bildungsroman.

Anastasia brings us a roaring snippet from An Ambush of Tigers: A Wild Gathering of Collective Nouns by Betsy R. Rosenthal (Author) and Jago (Illustrator) at Booktalking #kidlit.

Doraine checks in from Antarctica again, at least poetically, at Dori Reads. (What would it feel like to lose your ship in a sea-field of ice?!)

Renée might be a little late to the party today, but she’s fashionably late and worth the wait. In her amazing series on NCTE poets, she posts another interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins. This time the No Water River spotlight shines on Eloise Greenfield. Grab a cuppa something – you’ll want to savor this rich feature on one of our most important poets for children and readers of all ages.

Karen’s in today with a poem by Richard Wilbur from 1974, a perfect and timeless tribute to spring.

Charles Ghigna (Father Goose®) invites us all to celebrate Poetry Month at the Urban Family blog, where his colorful quartet of board books leads a pack of recommended titles for young readers.

At Pleasures from the Page, Ramona shares some “essential” poetry anthology titles with us. [She had to winnow down to six for a local bookstore’s April newsletter – I know, can you imagine?! So she’s sharing a few more collections she loves in today’s post.]

Head over to Check It Out, where Jone has another young writer, Cathy, who is wise beyond her years. I just love reading student poems that blow me away, don’t you? OH - and participate by leaving a comment, and you just might win a copy of the PFAC!

Jone’s back! She has an original poem for the “LL” challenge word QUILLS at Deowriter. (My kind of poem – you’ll enjoy, too!)

At Writing and Ruminating, Kelly, another PFAC poet, shares a post about her chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking with one of its well-crafted poems, “Socratic Method.” [Thanks for sharing, Kelly - I can't figure out how to leave a comment without signing over my firstborn to LiveJournal.]

Close out this Haiku Day with an original haiku by Cathy at Merely Day by Day.

Poetry Friday: Keats's "In drear nighted December"

December 4, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, ponderings

Keats portrait by William James Neatby

Greetings, Poetry Peeps!

Can you believe it's December already? In hunting up a December-ish poem to share, I came across Keats. If I studied this one in college, I'm afraid I don't remember. Do you?


In drear nighted December

by John Keats, 1795 - 1821


In drear nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
Their green felicity—
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.

In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.

Ah! would ‘twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy—
But were there ever any
Writh’d not of passed joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
Was never said in rhyme.


Click here for the Academy of American Poets and a bit more on the English Romantic Keats.

Well - a bit depressing I guess. The natural world has forgotten how happy it was in warmer months of the year, but we remember and feel loss? The poem has such a modern sensibility to me - "The feel of not to feel it" - I wouldn't guess that line to be almost a couple of centuries old. (It was composed in 1817 and first published in 1829.)

I hope your week has not been dreary! And if anyone tried found poem projects with kids or students, I'd love to hear about them. :0)

Next week will NOT be dreary here... We'll have our Student Haiku Poet of the Month, so circle on back between your holiday errands.

For the Poetry Friday Roundup today, hop on the nearest flying sleigh and make your way to Booktalking #kidlit where Anastasia is hosting! Thanks, Anastasia.

[NOTE: I'll be flapping around all day Friday getting ready for "Night on the Town"- businesses stay open late downtown to ring in the holidays, and I'll open my studio. I might be scarce until later in the weekend! :0) ]

Poetry Friday: Spooky and Spinelli!

October 30, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, Halloween, poets, poetry

Oliver, 15+, and Rita, 2 1/2 and weighing in at 3 1/2 pounds, wish you HAPPY HALLOWEEN from the 'Black Forest'!

***HAPPY HALLOWEEN!***

I hope yours is perfectly spooky and fun.

No tricks for you today, just a special TREAT from Eileen Spinelli .

Now, if you've been magically blessed like I have to meet the Spinellis and to learn poetic tricks and tips from Eileen, you know that no time of year or holiday goes un-celebrated in their family. What a delightful combination they live out - serious devotion to art and craft, coupled with serious joie de vivre and carpe deim-ing!

Eileen graciously agreed to share a perfect-for-today poem with us. Enjoy.


OCTOBER MELODY


by Eileen Spinelli


Listen to the laughter

spilling from the pumpkin patch,

listen to the windy afternoon,

listen to the swish of brooms,

the swoosh of leaves,

the crackle of a fire.

Listen to the cricket's final tune.



Listen to the noisy twilight geese,

listen to the last cry of the jay,

listen to the bursting milkweed pod

before October's music

falls away.



©Eileen Spinelli. All rights reserved.


Sigh-worthy, n'est-ce pas? Many thanks to Eileen for sharing.

Now, grab your broom and hightail it over to Teacher Dance , where our amazing Linda is hosting (ghosting?) Poetry Friday!


Poetry Friday - Robert Frost's "October"

October 23, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets

Cupid Falls, Young Harris, Georgia
This was last weekend, but that green is on its way to colorful splendor as the month goes on, I'm sure!

Happy Poetry Friday!

Actually, like last week, it's a Friday on the road for us. Headed to our - gulp! - 30th college reunion at Furman. The leaves are sure to be glorious.

Last week we enjoyed Family weekend at the college Seth transferred to this year - Young Harris up in the north Georgia mountains. [He tried to convince us that if he just lived in a yurt, it would save all that housing money....] The landscape was tinged with honey gold and crimson but hadn't quite given up its green yet. The weather was divine.

Seth told us that whole area is called the "Enchanted Valley" - it certainly looks the part. And look, here's that lovely "enchant" word in this poem by our Dear Mr. Frost. I've enjoyed the Frost poems shared on Poetry Friday the last few months. If someone has already posted this one this year, forgive the redundancy - I missed out! Then again, one can never have too much Frost...


October

By Robert Frost


O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;

Tomorrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.

Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

Beguile us in the way you know.

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away.

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!

For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—

For the grapes’ sake along the wall.



Here is The Poetry Foundation link.

May your lands be enchanted as we stroll through the end of October, and your mists be gentle! For more wonderful poetry, visit Cathy at Merely Day by Day for this week's Roundup. She has the lovely word "gentle" in an original poem and its title. Must be a theme....
(And give your favorite teacher a high-five. We'll give Morgan one when we cross paths this weekend in Greenville.)

Poetry Friday - Haiku with Tom Painting (& Student Haiku to come...)

September 25, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, haiku, poetry, student work, poets

Haiku poet and teacher Tom Painting and students at the 2013 quarterly Haiku Society of America meeting in Atlanta.
What's that I hear? (Cups ear with hand...) It's a new school year, and you are wondering when those FABULOUS student haiku poets will be sharing their work with us?

Have no fear. Tom Painting, acclaimed haiku poet and teacher at The Paideia School in Atlanta, has no shortage of talented young people to present. We will be delighted to continue our "Student Haiku Poet of the Month" series again in October. Just a few weeks!

To whet your appetite, I asked Tom if he might share a few of his own recent poems today. [Click here for my feature on Tom as part of our WE HAIKU HERE series last fall, highlighting speakers from the quarterly meeting of the Haiku Society of America held in Atlanta.]

He kindly obliged. Enjoy:


under cover
of darkness
our heart to heart



reading
till the stars come out
I mark my place



the talk
my son throws stones
into the river



Indian summer
bison graze the shadow
of the Bitterroots



Poems ©Tom Painting. All rights reserved.

Do you have a favorite? I'm delighted or dazzled by each one. The second poem, "reading," while it offers a sense of calm, challenges us with expansiveness and perspective - we "mark our place" in the universe. As a parent whose children are now young adults, "the talk" draws a smile. And bison grazing a shadow is just a beautiful, surprising image.

Wouldn't it be great if haiku were taught in every school by such a master? I hope you'll return for more haiku from Tom's classroom this year! If you missed any of last year's featured student poets, click here to meet these amazing young writers and read their work.

And for all kinds of wonderful poetry, please visit the ever-talented Laura at Writing the World for Kids for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup. [While there, be sure to check out her great "15 Words or Less" poetry features/challenges! Helps to sharpen the haiku mind.... And learn about her new book series for teachers! :0) ]

Poetry Friday: Here, Have a Cup of Shelley for a New Season...

September 11, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, seasons

Yay Images

Happy Almost-Fall Greetings...

Here's hoping your summer will fold into a golden, sparkly fall - rich in experience and poetic inspiration.

What the heck - let's fling ourselves toward it with some ever-effusive Shelley, shall we?

Enjoy!

Ode to the West Wind

by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

I
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!

II
Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine aëry surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear!

III
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear!

IV
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seem'd a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

V
Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174401

I know, if you're in my part of the country, you are still wearing shorts. But the weather folks have been showing pictures where some of you might live, and there's already white stuff on the ground!

For poetry appropriate for any clime, please visit lovely Renée at No Water River for today's Roundup. (What's the weather like in Italy this week, Renée ?)

Poetry Friday: What Do Teachers Make?

August 7, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, poets, teachers, ponderings

Our daughter Morgan, new grad student and brand-new third-grade teacher!

Teachers. It’s that time of year.

For me, it’s that time of life. My baby girl, the one who used to dress in prairie dresses channeling the Ingalls girls, and drag out some small congregation of dolls and/or stuffed animals, and hold court under the sun and on the grass with them – this same child has a brand new teacher badge and her name on a door a few hours away in a South Carolina elementary school. Third grade.

I could not be more proud, and I’m looking forward to a quick trip to help her finish setting up her classroom in a couple of days. I remember with utmost fondness my third grade teacher in Florida, Mrs. Ashton, and I’m certain there will be a few wide-eyed young faces in this state who will remember Morgan decades down the road, too.

So, today, this Poetry Friday is for you, Morgan! And ALL of you wonderful Poetry Friday folks who give yourselves to the next generation in schools, libraries, on school visits…. This poem might not be appropriate for the wall of a third-grade classroom, but it’s appropriate for the walls in every teacher’s heart. (Many of you know it already, I’m sure, but maybe the newbies don’t – and it’s worth reading again!)


What Teachers Make

by Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is
What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life
was to become a teacher?

He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true
what they say about teachers:
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.
I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the dinner guests
that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.
Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite conversation.

I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor.
Be honest. What do you make?


And I wish he hadn’t done that— …



(Please click here to read the rest. You have to read the rest!)

Our youngest, Seth, actually got to go to the Dodge Poetry Festival a couple of years ago, where Taylor Mali was a featured poet (and Seth’s favorite). Why was my son there? An incredible teacher took him.

Speaking of incredible teachers, Mary Lee has today’s Roundup over at A Year of Reading . Enjoy!

Poetry Friday: Summer Poem Swap Delights from Irene Latham

July 10, 2014

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




You can’t outclever Irene.

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

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

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

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

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


Fortune Cookie
for RHB

        1
crisp, golden shell
    happy to hatch

        2
white-winged
   messenger
nestled inside
    tender folds

        3

word-bird
unfurling,
singing itself

    alive



©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.


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

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

If we only knew the real value of the day.

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

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

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


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

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

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

The POETRY FRIDAY ROUNDUP is here! And so are Sylvia Vardell, Janet Wong, and the PFA for Science!

April 17, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, Poetry Month, poetry, editors, poets, teachers, students

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science with editors Janet Wong (l) and Sylvia Vardell (r)


Happy Poetry Month, and HAPPY POETRY FRIDAY! Please leave links in the comments with a short description of your post, and I’ll round them up throughout the day.

Today at Life on the Deckle Edge, I’m thrilled to welcome two very special guests. You’ve heard me gush about their newest compilation, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. [I’m thrilled to be among several Poetry Friday regulars who are contributors.]

Let’s go behind the scenes with the Poetry Friday Anthology creators and editors, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

First, introductions:

Sylvia Vardell is Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University. She has published extensively, including five books on literature for children and over 100 journal articles. Her current work focuses on poetry for children, including a regular blog, PoetryforChildren. She is also the regular “Everyday Poetry” columnist for ALA’s BookLinks magazine.

Janet Wong is a graduate of Yale Law School and former lawyer who switched careers and became a children’s poet. Her dramatic career change has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN’s Paula Zahn Show, and Radical Sabbatical. She is the author of 30 books for children and teens on a wide variety of subjects, including writing and revision, dumpster diving, diversity, and chess.

Together, Vardell and Wong are the creative forces behind The Poetry Friday Anthology series, launched last year and already adopted by hundreds of school districts nationwide.

Now, some questions for each. Welcome, Ladies! Sylvia first, and then Janet.

I love the “Poetry and Science” introduction to this collection. How do these two disciplines complement one another?

SV: Poetry and science are like first cousins that finish each other’s sentences. They both rely on the key elements of language and observation. Both poets and scientists pay close attention and search for specificity in communicating what they see, smell, hear, touch, and taste. Scientists want to capture exactly the moment so that other scientists can trust their findings and replicate their methods or results. Poets want to capture the moment so that readers (or listeners) can see what they see or feel what they feel.

Can you tell us a little bit about the “Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and how these poems address those?

SV: The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a new “framework” for learning and teaching science that moves instruction toward depth of understanding, rather than breadth of coverage. In the past, science teaching has often been “a mile wide, but an inch deep.” The NGSS framework addresses the usual disciplines of the physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, as well as engineering, technology and science applications. Plus, they focus on best practices (like asking questions, defining problems, using models, analyzing data, etc.) as well as what they call “crosscutting concepts” like cause-effect, patterns, systems, etc.

We used this framework to identify and develop our weekly science themes, for selecting (and commissioning) poems on a wide range of topics, and for organizing the 200+ poems in a searchable fashion. We also provide grids to show which poems relate to which NGSS discipline or NGSS practice in case teachers need to document their coverage of the Standards.


How tricky was it to keep both science standards and Common Core language arts standards in mind as you all selected poems?

SV: Not at all. We chose and arranged poems based on their science focus, but all the poems come ready-made for the Common Core because they’re each full of beautiful language, interesting structures, literary devices, etc. That part is easy! In the “Take 5!” activities that accompany each poem, we focus on highlighting the SCIENCE content of the poem as our focus on a curricular skill. But for each poem we also provide guidance in how to read it aloud effectively, invite students to read it aloud together, discuss the poem, and connect it with other poems, works of nonfiction, and websites—all essential elements of the Common Core (and curricular standards in every school district).

Sounds like your students have embraced this new compilation. [Click HERE to check out some of their recent poem-movie videos!] How do you envision these future teachers, and teachers across the country, using this resource in classrooms?

SV: We hope we have designed the book to be as user-friendly as possible and for a variety of approaches, too. Teachers can simply follow the “Take 5!” activities and introduce a poem that happens to be science-themed every Friday (or any day). Or they can use the index to search for a particular poem that fits a science lesson they have planned. Or they can simply share the poems for the fun of the language and the science content will be “gravy”—an extra bonus.

Did you encounter any particular challenges/celebrations putting together this large collection designed to serve another content area?

SV: My challenges came with creating the “Take 5!” activities and getting the science part correct. I did a lot of reading of science materials and teacher resources to get it right and attended NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) conferences to get familiar with the latest trends. I consulted a ton of web and blog resources for science teaching and we reference many of these within the “Take 5!” activities. In addition, we had science experts (science teachers, science writers, and university science professors) review all our content and give feedback. I learned a lot!

Tell us about the new grade-level student editions.

SV: I love these! We’ve added illustrations and removed the “Take 5!” activities so that the poems pop and have an added visual element too. We also added extra poems to each book, so that kids would have even more to ponder. Plus, each student edition has its own glossary and subject index.

I think kids will love these, too! Thanks so much, Sylvia. Now let’s welcome Janet.

When you all first began working on the Poetry Friday Anthologies, did you envision collections devoted to other subjects, or how did the idea come up?

JW: Two years ago we started working on The Poetry Friday Anthology (the "PFA") because teachers and librarians asked us to help make it easier to teach poetry for K-5. The heart of each book is Sylvia's "Take 5!" mini-lesson for each poem--a lesson that gives 5 consistent steps for sharing a poem in 5 minutes. After the first book came out, there was a flood of requests from middle school teachers, so we did The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School.

K-5 teachers started asking for an additional PFA at about the same time we started seeing tons of articles mentioning STEM and STEAM--resulting in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. While we were compiling the Teacher's Edition of our science book, teachers then stepped up their requests for Student Editions (so all students could follow along in a book that doesn't show the "Take 5!" mini-lesson); because of that, we made Student Editions for each grade level (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). As it turns out, the Summer Reading theme across the country this summer is science--great timing for kids (and us)!


More than 200 poems by 78 poets – Whew! What were some of the challenges in matching poetry submissions to the subject areas?

JW: The biggest challenge was that many poets wrote about the same (or very similar) topics, forcing us to make hard choices and omit some terrific poems. And very few (or no) poets wrote about some of the necessary but "less interesting" topics that we needed covered (per the NGSS and various state standards). Also, in some cases we wanted a few specific science "buzzwords" but didn't have a poem that did that, so I ended up filling some gaps.

You are not only an editor, but a contributing poet as well. Was there a topic you most enjoyed researching or writing about?

JW: My favorites are our Kitchen Science poems--your poem about reading nutritional labels, Robyn, Mary Quattlebaum's pancake science poem, poems about growing food, and my poem about ice cubes in a drink that is filled to the brink (which I conducted as an investigation while writing the poem). Kids will really enjoy Charles Waters's poem about the (disgusting) topic of mold!

Absolutely! As a poet, how do you think poetry can support learning across the curriculum?

JW: Poems are short. Easy to read, easy to talk about, easy to remember.

”A poem should first be enjoyed for its own sake” – that’s the first key in each of the Poetry Friday Anthologies. Any qualities among these science poems you particularly savor?

JW: Separate two groups of kids. With the first group, take a science paragraph that describes an unfamiliar subject, using unfamiliar vocabulary. With the second group, take a science poem. I'll guarantee that the Group 2 kids will wonder more--coming up with questions, guessing at the new vocabulary, WANTING to learn. A perfect experiment along these lines would be with kindergartners and Joy Acey's "Capillary Action" poem--one of my favorites because it really makes the science description visual and simple to understand.

The poems in the student books are accompanied by black and white line art illustrations by Frank Ramspott and Bug Wang. How does the art enhance these editions?

JW: Drawings really take the Student Editions to a whole new level, I think. You can talk for an hour about a drought, but seeing the parched, cracked ground sends the message home in one second.

What is the best way to order the Poetry Friday Anthology for Science?

JW: Amazon is the easiest way; all our books pop up when you search "Poetry Friday Anthology." If you have favorite booksellers who would like to carry the book, please tell them to contact us (info@pomelobooks.com) and we'll send them ordering info. And schools that need to use purchase orders can contact us for a list of terrific vendors who accept them.

Terrific. Now, I have to share your original poem you mentioned, which was an experiment as well as a writing project!

The Brink

by Janet Wong

I fill a cup to the top
with crushed ice,
pour juice to the brim,
neat and nice.
Mom thinks
it’s on the brink of disaster.
When I take just a sip,
she shouts, “Drink faster!”
When the ice melts,
will my drink spill out?
I think there’s nothing
to worry about
but I wait and I watch.
The ice seems to shrink.
PHEW! Okay –
time to drink!


©Janet Wong. All rights reserved.

Thanks again to both of you. Now, let's all grab a nice glass of pomelo juice and enjoy this week’s great poetry:

Starting us off with a big P for Poetry is Donna, whose A to Z Challenge continues at Mainely Write. Up today: two poems starring the letter P!

Linda at Teacher Dance offers a poem about being alone, letting in the quiet in our very noisy world.

At Gathering Books, Myra brings us a special message in keeping with Good Friday - Archbishop Desmond Tutu's Let there be Light, a beautiful picture book in verse illustrated by Nancy Tillman. Note -
I am having trouble accessing the post from the link; Will try again later! Not sure if it's just my computer.


Have you ever written a tritina? I haven't either, but Jone's gorgeous original poem today at Deo Writer will make you want to try, and to savor spring as well.

An Earth Day List Poem will make you think at JoAnn's blog today. Pssst- she's got a book give-away, too!

Jone continues to share student poetry this month at Check It Out - I dare you to read today's poems written by third graders and not smile.

Oh, you have GOT to go see what Tabatha Yeatts's animals are up to in Michelle's Haiku Garden at Today's Little Ditty today. Well, the pets are in Tabatha's kitchen, but they're all in Michelle's garden. You'll see what I mean.

[Also, big thanks to Michelle for reminding us that yesterday was National Haiku Poetry Day. I had intended to do a special post, but with hosting the Progresssive Poem on Wednesday and PF today and "hosting" my youngest who flew in for the weekend late yesterday, um - it didn't happen. Next year!]

If you haven't seen Charles's new Poetry Time Blog, today's a great day to visit - and drop by, even if you have! He also has a poetic case of animal-in-the-kitchen antics. (Hmmm. I'm sensing a theme today....)

Catherine brings us a wonderful & thoughtful poem by Louise Erdrich, "Advice to Myself", at Reading to the Core. (Reading it makes me feel a little better about my housekeeping...!)

Lace up those hiking boots and join Mary Lee at A Year of Reading, where Machu Picchu is on tap for her "Our Wonderful World" series.

Poetry Friday folks get around! At Tabatha's The Opposite of Indifference today, poems by Laura Shovan and Linda Baie have us pondering rabbits and hobbits as part of Tabatha's "The Directory of Imaginary Poems" series!

Speaking of Laura, her own series about Source Poems continues with another Poetry Friday frequent flyer, Janet Fagal. Janet shares the classic, "The Lake Isle of "Innisfree" today at Author Amok.

If you know Buffy Silverman, you know she's always up for a challenge. Today at Buffy's Blog, she has three original poems in answer to two online challenges. (What exactly is a homophoem? Ask J. Patrick Lewis, or, just click over to see!)

Irene, our fearless leader of the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem (now in its third year), adds her own luminescent line today at Live Your Poem. She also continues her series of favorite quotes by favorite poets with a gem from Ellen Hopkins.

Over at A Teaching Life, Tara has a breathtaking poem by Julia Kasdorf - a perfect send-off for students about to take flight.

Matt offers up a found poem about his two vocations at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Inspiration from voiceover websites? Sure!

Ed shares the split-decision summary results from this year's March Madness Poetry tournament at Think Kid, Think and invites your thoughts. He'll continue the discussion and share more data next week.

Despite a recent bout with the flu, Laura brings us two contributions today. First, at Writing the World for Kids, she continues her original riddle-ku series. Second, she shares one of her favorite poems, Rudyard Kipling's "Seal Lullaby," as a new member of the fabulous Teaching Authors! (Go, Laura - and feel better!)

Diane is here with her more-than-one contribution as well. (How does she do it?!) Well, at Random Noodling, she's not here so much as in her imaginary place, hosted by Tabatha earlier in the week, with "Máel Dúin, Seafarer of the Atlantic". And she's pondering earlier poems created for other online challenges in 2009, "Cartographer's Revenge" and "Echineis." How interesting to see all of these together!

Diane's Kurious Kitty features Paul Scott Mowrer, New Hampshire Poet Laureate (1968 - 1971), and a very delightful toad poem.

Kurious Kitty's Kwotes has a short Paul Scott Mowrer poem I am going to print out and enjoy again and again. And again!

Carol is taking on Mary Lee's Machu Picchu challenge over at Carol's Corner, with help from one of my favorite animals - the alpaca! (Carol had me entranced in just the first three lines...)

Liz brings us a celebration of yesterday's National Haiku Day (Yay!) with three spring haiku and a peek into her inspirations.

And while you're enjoying a Japanese sensibility, visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for some fun, foxy combinations of origami and poetry created by her youngest students.

Amy's always combining some of my most-favorite things - this month she's got poetry and thrift stores! And, today, a haiku, about a painting she found that's just perfect for her! :0) Trek on over to The Poem Farm and enjoy these hidden treasures.

More wonderful blog hopping going on for Poetry Month. Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe shares a link to Tricia's post from yesterday (which pairs Heidi's amazing PUMPKIN BUTTERFLY with Grace Lin's OUR SEASONS.) This is all part of:

Tricia's month-long series which celebrates poetry and science! Today at The Miss Rumphius Effect, enjoy a science/poetry pairing featuring animal collectives. Tricia's selection to share for Poetry Friday is Amy Lowell's poem, "By Messenger" (one of my all-time favorites, too!) Tricia's Science/Poetry series will wrap up April 30 with the POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR SCIENCE, so check back there for more with Janet Wong and with::

Sylvia Vardell, whose Poetry for Children post today features a poem-movie with terrific poem by the terrific Kristy Dempsey. Says Sylvia, "Today, it's dinosaurs and lab safety-- a fun and crazy combination!"

Amy at Hope is the Word is in today with Lin Oliver's new poetry book for the youngest listeners, Little Poems for Tiny Ears, illustrated by Tomie dePaola.

For Good Friday, Ruth brings us a hauntingly thoughtful song, "The Silence of God" by Andrew Peterson, at There is no Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town.

A warm Poetry Friday Welcome to writer/editor Sarah Monsma, joining the Roundup for the first time with a lovely original poem, "You can take a girl out of the woods..." . Thanks for joining in!

Continuing our science theme today, Emily Jiang brings us this week's lunar eclipse and the moon - considered in “Night Thoughts” by Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai, in an original haiku - :0) - and in her poem, "The Face of my Ruan" - from her brand-new (gorgous-looking) picture book from Shen Books, Summoning the Phoenix - Poems and Prose about Chinese Musical Instruments, illustrated by April Chu.

It's great to see Elaine today, in with a perfectly delicious poem for this Easter weekend, "Marshmallow Chicks," peeping over at Wild Rose Reader.

On the solemn consideration of Good Friday, Violet offers an unusual poem after Mark 15, "Evil’s Party (guest list)."

Literary Event Invitation: Carol Varsalona writes in about a new project for National Poetry Month: "I am sponsoring a Literary Event, April Awakenings, on my blog. Please see http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2014/04/poetry-alive-during-national-poetry.html for the invitation (scroll to the bottom). The first collection for March can be seen at http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2014/03/reflect-with-me-bringing-together.html There are other blogs about the invitation and the power of poetry on my blog: www.beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com." Thanks, Carol!

[Break Time! The traveling college student is up and about, probably searching for food; the other one's checking in by phone before driving tomorrow... Will be back after lunch.]

Hello again! Joy chimes in with a breezy pantoum for April (and thoughts about the form) at Poetry for Kids Joy.

Tricia is circling around again with another wonderful entry for today - book spine poems atThe Miss Rumphius Effect. They'll make you long for summer days, and nights!

She's not the only one with more than one thing to say today. The always-inspiring Julie has 1.) a heads' up that tomorrow, she pens the next line in our Progressive Poem, 2.) a link to her delightful and diverting Proust post at Books Around the Table - (bon voyage!) and 3.) a link to some of her (amazing) recently published poems in Numero Cinq. Links for all over at The Drift Record, so drift on over!

From Little Willow today, Mary Oliver's life-affirming "The Messenger" at Bilungsroman.

I don't know about you all, but the breadth of poetic offerings today takes my breath away. So many wonderful posts!

And just in time for afternoon tea, Cathy joins us with a colorful celebration of crayons at Merely Day by Day - continuing her series of original poems about objects.

Evening arrivals:

April shares a secret: she's having a "metaphoraffair!" Check out her metaphor-a-day posts at aprilwayland.com.

Over at Teach Mentor Texts, Jen has a colorful new rhyming alphabet book by Dallas Clayton, A is for Awesome. She also has some great insights about keeping a positive attitude, whether you're still a kid or all grown up!

Poetry Friday: Robert Fitterman's "National Laureate" and some funky stop signs...

March 6, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, found poetry, ponderings


Greetings from the South Carolina low country, where we’re still unpacking and settling in, and still going back and forth a bit from the north Georgia mountains to our new home on the Carolina coast. (I’m thinking one more trip back to finish grabbing what I left behind and to clean, and I should feel officially moved!)

I am quite in love with our new home town of Beaufort. I mean, just look at those stop signs. And if you think the traffic signs are welcoming, you should meet the people! Then there’s the haunting, romantic Spanish moss dripping from live oaks, the whispering history in town and among the islands, the calls of sea birds, the tropical quality of light, the waving grasses of vast, teeming marshes…. OK, I’ll stop. I’m gushing.

Today I have a poem I happily stumbled across – it’s a found poem, and you know I love reading and writing those! I confess the poet Robert Fitterman was new to me. This poem offers carefully chosen snippets from the state poet laureates. (Not every state has a poet laureate.)

Here are the first few stanzas:

National Laureate

by Robert Fitterman

Alabama

Eagle and egret, woodcock and teal, all birds
gathering to affirm the last gasp of sunset.

Alaska

Maybe I should stay in bed
all day long and read a book
or listen to the news on the radio
but truthfully, I am not meant for that.

Arkansas

Then, as we talked, my personage subdued,
And I became, as Petit jean, a ghost,

California

I can stand here all day and tell you how much
I honor, admire, how brave you are.



Now, to be completely self-indulgent, here are the stanzas from the state we just left and the state we’ve come to call home again. (My husband and I met at Furman University, in the South Carolina upstate, and married right after graduation 30 years ago in June.) I kind of like the progression from dark to light in these two stanzas, at this season of our lives! Here we have the words of Georgia’s poet laureate, David Bottoms, and of South Carolina’s, Marjory Heath Wentworth.

Georgia

Loaded on beer and whiskey, we ride to the dump in carloads to turn our headlights across the wasted field, …

South Carolina

Seeds of hope are waiting in the sacred soil beneath our feet and in the light and in the shadows, spinning below the hemlocks. …


Please click here to read the entire poem.

And for lots of great poetry from many states & countries, please visit the marvelous Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for this week’s Roundup.

Poetry Friday is HERE with Haiku Society of America President David G. Lanoue

December 5, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, haiku, poetry, Haiku Society of America, David G. Lanoue, poets

David G. Lanoue shares some of his favorite poems by Issa at the 2013 HSA SE Ginko Haikufest in Atlanta
photo by Raymond French


Greetings, Poetry Friday Friends! I'm hosting today from my soon-to-be home of Beaufort, SC, where we're slated for sunshine and highs in the 70s today. I send this freely to those of you whose windows are caked in ice and snow.

It's my great honor to continue our "We Haiku Here" series today with Haiku Society of America (HSA) president David G. Lanoue. He delivered a reading of Issa's work at our recent HSA Southeast Region's"ginko haikufest" in Atlanta. I've been featuring our speakers and their poetry the last few weeks. We'll welcome a special student guest next week, and then regional coordinator Terri L. French will round out the series.

Our gathering was called "gazing at flowers," in honor of haiku master Issa's 250th birthday, and it was a special treat to have our HSA president participate!

David G. Lanoue is a professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana. He is a co-founder of the New Orleans Haiku Society, an associate member of the Haiku Foundation, and the president of the Haiku Society of America. His books include Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa, Haiku Guy, Laughing Buddha, Haiku Wars, Frog Poet, Dewdrop World and Issa’s Best: A Translator’s Selection of Master Haiku. He maintains The Haiku of Kobayashi Issa website, for which he has translated 10,000 of Issa’s haiku.


I asked David to please tell us a little bit about Issa and share a few of his favorite Issa haiku.

Issa, which literally means "One Tea," is one of the great haiku poets of Japanese tradition. He lived from 1763 to 1828 (even though most sources still make the mistake of assigning 1827 as his death year). He was brilliantly prolific, writing over 20,000 haiku in his lifetime. Down to earth, human, sympathetic to all life--from noble horses down to tiny fleas; Issa is loved by readers all over the world. Despite many hardships--losing his mother when he was a child, enduring the abuse of a hateful stepmother, having to go into exile at a young age, and, later in life, mourning the deaths of four children and his first wife--Issa remarkably retained his sense of humor and love for life throughout his poetry. As for sharing some of my favorite Issa haiku, I've culled 1,210 of them from my online archive of 10,000 and put them into a book (Issa's Best—available from Amazon as a paperback and as e-books for Kindle and Nook, hint, hint), so it’s terribly hard for me to narrow it down further. So, I’ll just flip through the book and pick five random ones that catch my eye. Enjoy...

chin-deep
in the fallen blossoms . . .
a frog

on the high priest’s
head . . .
flies making love

lightning flash –
no way to hide
the wrinkles

blooming
with butterflies
the dead tree

resting
on the big dog’s head
dragonfly


I also asked David to share a few of his own...

Translating Issa for 26 years inspired me to try my hand at writing original haiku. Here’s a sampling of five:

the old priest dines
his wine
just wine

a "Lost Dog" sign
nailed deep
into the oak

one star
over the airport
another Beatle has died

pizza parlor
after the murders
help wanted

when he reaches the square
the beggar
becomes lame


Poems ©David G. Lanoue. All rights reserved.

The above were first published in Modern Haiku 30.1 (1999); Frogpond27.2 (2004); Frogpond 31.1(2008); Haiku Wars(2009); and Senryu Therapy: American-Romanian Anthology(2012).

Of course, I asked David my "Why haiku?" question:

Here's something I wrote recently for the Haiku Foundation blog about where my haiku come from:

My haiku always begin with some sort of stimulus—a glimpse, a scent, a memory—about which I suddenly have a strong feeling that “There’s a haiku in this.” I’m curious to find out what I will say about this “this.” When I take out pen and paper, or more recently, the iPhone, I’m trying to catch the momentum of an impulse to discover. The first image is always easy; it’s the spark that ignited the curiosity. The second image or, perhaps, thought, will be the discovery which, if I’m lucky, will make the quick journey from part A to part B a haiku. For this step I rely on everything I know and have felt, my deep intuitions, my lifelong love affair with the English language, and, trusting in all this, nine out of ten times the second part comes even as I am writing it down—and I have a haiku. Whether or not it’s a good haiku is a matter to be decided later, but for the time being I’m content to add it to the computer file titled “MyKu” that contains over 3,000 similar bursts of discovery, from 1983 to yesterday.



AND, I asked David who should join the HSA...

Who should join the HSA ? Anyone who'd like to cultivate an interest in haiku, as a reader of it, a writer of it, or both. The HSA provides a great opportunity for the English-speaking haiku community in North America to stay in touch and share their love of haiku. Workshops, conferences, an annual members' anthology, a subscription to our journal Frogpond (published three times a year) and one-on-one mentoring opportunties are all available to HSA members. I've been a member since forever, and I've always felt that I've gotten more out of the HSA than the annual membership fee ($35 these days for US citizens) could ever pay for. In fact, as I write this note I'm reminded that I haven't rejoined for 2014, so I'll do so today!

To learn more about David or Issa, please visit his Haiku Guy website. You can even sign up in Yahoo groups for an Issa poem to be sent to you each day! Also, this week I blogged about Haiku Guy, the first in David's series of haiku novels, at Janice Hardy's writer blog, The Other Side of the Story.

Now, what are you offering up today? Please leave your link in the comments, and I'll round them all up between sunshine breaks.

Good Poetry Friday Morning!

If you have a pulse and an inbox, you will relate to Michelle’s hilarious original “Cyber Seduction” poem about ringing in the online holiday spending season over at Today’s Little Ditty

At Bald Ego, Charles combines two of my personal favorites: Van Gogh and the villanelle! He also has Couplets for Picasso if that’s your couplet of tea. (Wonderful art by son Chip, too.)

Laura brings us another of Joyce Sidman’s poems from WHAT THE HEART KNOWS – “Song of Bravery” at
Writing the World for Kids. (This one seems especially appropriate today, as the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela.)

Along the theme of world leaders, Linda at Teacher Dance marks the recent 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy with a post about Robert Frost and Kennedy – how Frost wrote the first presidential inauguration poem yet read another at the ceremony, and links to more about all that.

Catherine at Reading to the Core has a poem by Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen, “What the Heart Cannot Forget” – made me sigh out loud.

Who wants pie? Get over to Gottabook and have an original slice with Greg! It’s pre-fib pie. (You’ll have to click to see what I mean.)

If your hunger is of a more serious vein, be sure to read Myra’s offering at Gathering Books - a striking poem called “Hunger” by Nerisa Guevara (& check out previous posts featuring her work, too).

Dear Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference brings us a terzanelle by Lewis Turco, and an ornament made by yours truly. (I didn’t pay her, I promise!) Don’t you just love the word, “terzanelle?”? And in the featured poem, don’t you just love the word, “hourdust”?

At Carol’s Corner, Carol features a powerful new poetry picture book by Daniel Beaty, KNOCK KNOCK, illustrated by Bryan Collier. (I couldn’t make it dry-eyed through the video either, Carol.) Carol comments that she has shared the picture book about Issa, COOL MELONS TURN TO FROGS (on my shelf too, of course!) for years. “In some sense,” Carol writes, “Beaty and Issa have a lot in common--both men have had really difficult lives and have used poetry to create meaning.”

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading is in with an ode to – her big toe?! (Please do check out the bandage art. And, heal fast, Mary Lee!)

**ALSO** – Mary Lee is issuing a call for Poetry Friday Roundup hosts for Jan. – June , so get thee hence and claim a date! (I’m off to go do that right now. Back in a minute….)

At The Drift Record, Julie has William Ernest Henley’s (1849–1903) poem, “Invictus,” honoring the man who will always be associated with it, Nelson Mandela.

Greg had pie, Laura has cookies… Go visit Author Amok for Myra Cohn Livingston’s “Christmas Cookies,” PLUS directions on how to make “Paintbrush Cookies” (now that’s right up my artist’s alley) PLUS other poetically tasty links.

Do you hear some jingling? Well, then you must be near Betsy’s I Think in Poems blog, where she shares some “Jingling Chatter” today. Drop in with one of Laura’s cookies.

Tara at A Teaching Life honors Nelson Mandela today with two poems, “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley and John Matshikiza’s 1974 poem, “And I Watch it in Mandela.”

Caw! Caw! Maragret at Reflections on the Teche shares her poetic observances of a murder of crows which came to play at their school playground this week.

If tiny mice are more your thing, skitter – rather, sail – on over to Alphabet Soup, where Jama’s serving them up. Well, she’s not REALLY serving up REAL mice – Jama would never do that – but she has Janis Ian's adorable new picture book, THE TINY MOUSE, delightfully illustrated by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. And, of course, there’s food.

Thanks to Becky for the warm SC welcome! Becky’s ringing in St. Nicholas Day today at Tapestry of Words with “A Song for St. Nicholas” by Mary Mapes Dodge (1831-1905).

Katya is trying to make the best of a frigid situation with Emily Dickinson’s “Snow flakes” atWrite, Sketch, Repeat. (And I’m hoping Mary Lee’s toes will soon be up to this kind of jig.)

Collette brings us former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and “The Favorite Poem Project,” along with a powerful video – a 20-year-old student’s reading of Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool” at Used Books in Class.

At Enjoy and Embrace Learning, Mandy offers some words of encouragement for Mary Lee and her poor toe.

Diane (one of David’s “Daily Issa” subscribers, BTW) brings her usual Triple Threat of poetic goodness:

At Random Noodling, she offers an original ekphrastic poem, “Interior.”

St. Nicholas Day gets some more love at Kurious Kitty, with “The Festival of St. Nicholas” by Mary Mapes Dodge from Hans Brinker, or, the Silver Skates.

And a quote for creatives by Mollie Hunter is yours for the pondering at KK’s Kwotes.

At The Blog with the Shockingly Clever Title, Karen shares Mark Jarman’s “Prayer for our Daughters” (touching to me as I’m waiting on my college daughter to come visit this afternoon!). She also added links to haiku-related posts on her blog.

Donna’s in with a poem for the “musicfully inclined” over at Mainely Write. Dare you to read it without tapping your toes.

Lovely Cathy brings us a timely poem and post today with “A Wish is a Start” at Merely Day by Day (Our second post featuring coins – good luck, I’m thinking. No, wishing….)

Jone checks in from Check it Out with a Mary Oliver poem, “In Blackwater Woods” – and some lovely thoughts about how poetry can help heal in times of loss.

Garrison Keillor fans? (Raises hand wildly…) Keri is giving away a signed copy of his latest book, O, WHAT A LUXURY – VERSES LYRICAL, VULGAR, PATHETIC and PROFOUND at Keri Recommends. (Hmmm… Maybe I’ll leave TWO comments over there….)

Violet takes up Laurie Purdie Salas’s great 15-words-or-less challenge this week with an original response, “Katniss’s Dilemma,” at Violet Nesdoly Poems. (There – you "hunger" to know more, I can tell – my work here is done.)

(Must take a wee break - back in just a bit.)


I'm back!...


Anastasia sparkles with the magic of icicles today at a Poet! Poet!

Little Willow chimes in at Bildungsroman with “The Singer” by Anna Wickham. (To me, it seems an especially appropriate choice for today in light of Mandela’s passing.)

Janet lightens things up for us with I’VE LOST MY HIPPOPOTAMUS: MORE THAN 100 POEMS by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic, at
All About the Books. (Now, that looks like fun.)

JoAnn over at Teaching Authors serves up some terrific book recommendations, and links to others, that should go straight to your gift list (or maybe on your own letter to Santa?) She also shares a most delicious love poem from Joyce Sidman’s new WHAT THE HEART KNOWS: CHANTS, CHARMS & BLESSINGS.

MM Socks opensThe Drawer to share an original poem, “Nobody Wants to Hold My Hand.” (Well, I'm sure after folks visit his blog he'll get some offers... ;0) )

Ruth also has an original poem this week, “Sounds from this House,” at There is no Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town. It was published in their school’s brand-new online literary journal and will transport you immediately to life in Haiti. (That last stanza is gorgeous, gorgeous.)

Okay – you’ve been working hard all day. Now it’s time to play! Amy has just the thing at The Poem Farm, with a poem inspired by a young teacher-in-training and her dolls and stuffed animals – and from Amy’s own memories, as well.

Joy lives up her name today with an acrostic poem she wrote for Kwanzaa at Poetry for Kids Joy. Terrific sentiment! She invites us to check out her haiku from earlier this week, too.

Well, the sun is setting here, and we're about to head out for a little while. Hope you can cozy up with some of this great poetry, and I'll check back in later.

Poetry Friday: WE HAIKU HERE with Dave Russo

November 28, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, We Haiku Here, haiku, poetry, poets

Dave Russo speaks at the 2013 HSA SE Ginko Haikufest in Atlanta
photo by Raymond French


Happy Thanksgiving weekend! I hope you're settling into some time for reflection after the big day - or at least moments of noticing between all the Black Friday sales.



In our WE HAIKU HERE series, speakers from our recent HSA (Haiku Society of America) Southeast Regional “Ginko Haikufest” in Atlanta have graced my blog. We've gotten to know poets Curtis Dunlap, Tom Painting and Laurence Stacey.



Today's guest hails from North Carolina, and if you've enjoyed the great resources on The Haiku Foundation website, you have him to thank.



At our weekend gathering, Dave and Bob Moyer led a fun and lively interactive session on "Haiku from Scratch."



Dave Russo’s haiku have appeared in Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Acorn, and other journals. He is included in the New Resonance 5 anthology from Red
Moon Press. Dave organizes events for the North Carolina Haiku Society and is the web administrator for the NCHS and The Haiku Foundation.




Now, I know you saved some room for haiku. Please enjoy these examples of Dave's poetry. (Those haiku poets among you might appreciate the progression from the "5-7-5" structure of his earliest published poems to the shorter, more condensed recent works.)



All through the meeting,
your calm face by the window.
Bright, darkening trees


Frogpond, xx:2 1997



It's late, the office
almost empty. Your bare feet
whisper by my door


Modern Haiku, xxvii:3, 1997



ice melting the shape of the branch it fell from

The Heron’s Nest, June 2013



    olive blossoms . . .
the sound of a hive
    in the abbey wall


Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar for 2013, Runner Up for August


All poems ©Dave Russo. All rights reserved.


In response to the question, "Why haiku?" - Dave's words are likewise concise and meaningful:

"Because haiku can express a depth of feeling with an economy of means that is not often found elsewhere."

Amen! Many thanks, Dave, for joining us today and sharing your work.

Next week the Poetry Friday Round Up is HERE with poet, author, Issa scholar and Haiku Society of America president David Lanoue.

For today's poetic feast, please take your plate over to Carol's Corner.
[AND (blatant commercial warning): should you want to do any Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday shopping between poetry stops, feel free to use Coupon Code PFPEEPS13 in my artsyletters Etsy shop for 15 percent off now through Monday! Poet Gift Packs, notecards, altered vintage books, typewriter key jewelry, bookmarks, and more!] :0)

Poetry Friday: WE HAIKU HERE - Class in Session with Laurence Stacey

November 21, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, We Haiku Here, HSA, poets, writing life, journals

Top: Laurence delivers a talk at our recent HSA SE regional haikufest. Below: I appreciated a nice long walk and talk with Laurence; we discussed poetry, animal rights, and education – among other things!
photos by Raymond French




Welcome back! I’m glad so many folks are enjoying our end-of-the-year haiku journey, led by some of the speakers at our recent HSA (Haiku Society of America) Southeast Regional “haikufest” in Atlanta.

Have you missed the introduction to the series, or any of the fun so far? Please click here to get to know poet Curtis Dunlap and click here to meet Tom Painting, poet and teacher extraordinaire.


Today we have a special treat. And, continuing along an educational theme, we have a poet who is also a teacher.


Laurence Stacey lives in Marietta, Georgia, and is an English Instructor and tutor at Reinhardt University. In his spare time, Laurence enjoys hiking and is an avid student of the martial arts. His educational background includes an MA in Professional Writing, with an emphasis on poetry. He is interested in incorporating haikai into the high school and university curriculum. (RHB note – “haikai” generally refers to haiku and related arts, including senryu, haiga, and haibun.)


Laurence’s poetry has been featured in Prune Juice, Simply Haiku, Tinywords, The Heron’s Nest, and several other journals. He is also the coeditor of Haiku News, a journal dedicated to engaging sociopolitical events through haiku, tanka, and senryu poetry.


Please visit Haiku News at http://www.wayfarergallery.net/haikunews/
. (another RHB note: Poetry Friday regulars, you can find several poems by Diane Mayr in the Haiku News archives.)


At our weekend conference, which celebrated the 250th birthday of haiku master Issa, Laurence delivered a lecture that was enthusiastically received Saturday morning. His talk, “Issa and the African American Perspective in Haiku,” invited us to explore poetry by African American writers as well as to think about ecology , and to consider these subjects in the context of haiku. An enlightening and inspiring morning!


I look forward to more of Laurence’s work on these themes in the future.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy some of his poetry, shall we?




deep in debt…
I answer the phone
as my son


Tinywords, issue 13.2, August 2013



election day
choosing the devil
I know


Haiku News, Vol 1 No. 22



her illness
beyond our care
winter birds


The Heron’s Nest, September 2011, Vol XIII



spreading my cards
the gypsy covers
a yawn


Simply Haiku, Autumn 2009, Vol 7 No 3



AM jazz
the phone line rocking
with crows


3Lights, Winter 2010

All poems ©Laurence Stacey. All rights reserved.


In response to “Why haiku?”, Laurence shares the following:

My reasons for studying and writing haikai (haiku, senryu, and tanka) continue to evolve as I learn more about the art. However, the reason that most quickly comes to my mind is joy. For me, haikai is a way of connecting to the people around me and recording the stories that make us unique. In addition, haikai encourages what I believe is a true respect for the natural world and the creatures that live in it.

What more could you ask for as a reason to pursue a discipline? We are very grateful to have Laurence in our region, and I’m grateful he took the time to visit us here today! Thanks, Laurence.

And hearty thanks to hearty Katya, hosting our Roundup for Poetry Friday this week. Go unpack all the great poetry over at Write. Sketch. Repeat.

(And be sure to return here next week, as our series continues...!)

Poetry Friday: WE HAIKU HERE series kicks off with Curtis Dunlap

November 7, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, We Haiku Here, poets, HSA, writing life

Curtis Dunlap leads a critique panel at the 2013 HSA SE Ginko Haikufest in Atlanta
photo by Raymond French
Welcome, Poetry Friday Friends! I’m excited to kick off a series today which will feature several notable haiku poets – the speakers from a recent regional celebration of haiku. In late October, The Southeast Chapter of The Haiku Society of America met in Atlanta for the 2nd Annual Ginko Haikufest: “gazing at flowers” in celebration of Koboyashi Issa’s 250th birthday. (We’ll revisit Issa in a later post with HSA President and Issa scholar David G. Lanoue.)

The event was organized by our amazing and talented regional coordinator, Terri L. French. (More on her later, too.) This region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and the United States Virgin Islands. Our wonderful weekend included a handful of terrific poets from North Carolina as well. As you can imagine, I’m thrilled I’ll stay in this region after moving from Georgia to South Carolina!

At our conference, I had the good fortune to be on a panel with Curtis Dunlap. We read anonymously submitted haiku and then discussed/critiqued them as a large group. I was struck by 1.) the level of excellence of the drafts and 2.) the very insightful comments and suggestions from all in attendance. It was a great learning experience all around.

I asked Curtis if he would be willing to lead off with this end-of-the-year series, and he kindly obliged.



Curtis Dunlap lives near the confluence of the Mayo and Dan rivers in Mayodan, North Carolina. His poems have been published in a variety of journals and anthologies including The Christian Science Monitor, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Frogpond, Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years, Magnapoets, Modern Haiku, Rusty Truck, and The Wild Goose Poetry Review. He was awarded the Museum of Haiku Literature Award in 2008. Click here for his tobaccoroadpoet.com website.

[Note from RHB: Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years came out in August from W.W. Norton & Company. Edited by Jim Kacian, it features an introduction by Billy Collins and more than 800 poems guiding the reader through the form’s development in English. I bought a copy and am enjoying it tremendously.]

Here is a sampling of Curtis’s fine haiku:



after the burial . . .
my father’s smile
on so many faces


The Heron's Nest, Volume VIII:4 - 12, 2006



tobacco market
the auctioneer pauses
to catch his breath


Chasing the Sun: selected haiku from Haiku North America 2007



a rusty still
by the dry creek bed –
blood moon rising


The Heron's Nest, Volume X:1 - 3, 2008



school closings —
the snowmen arrive
flake by flake


The Heron's Nest, Volume XII, Number 2: June, 2010



robbing the bees
she speaks of
lip balm


The Heron's Nest, Volume XII, Number 4: December, 2010



afternoon lull...
a mercy bullet
for the rabid dog


The Heron's Nest, Volume XV, Number 2: June 2013

All poems ©Curtis Dunlap. All rights reserved.


To the question, Why Haiku? – Curtis responds:

To preserve, share, and savor snapshot moments that are as fleeting as the small poems used to convey the experience to the reader. Time goes by at an incredible pace, especially now that I've passed the half century mark. To me, writing haiku is akin to taking the finger off of life's fast forward button, slowing the pace down, and revisiting events that struck a chord with my artistic soul. …

You can follow the rest of this discussion here at Curtis’s blog. While there, please peruse the “Three Questions” interviews with links in the right-hand column– a treasure-trove of interviews in recent years with contemporary haiku poets. Some of these poets, including William J. Higginson and Peggy Lyles, are no longer with us; it’s a privilege to read their thoughts from just a few years ago.

Many thanks to Curtis Dunlap for joining us today! Stay tuned – we’ll enjoy a different poet from the HSA SE Haikufest speaker’s circle each week through the end of the year.

Now, I think it only appropriate that today’s Poetry Friday host is also an accomplished (and prolific!) haiku poet, among many other things. Please go see the amazing Diane at Random Noodling. (Oh, and let me know if you catch her napping. My theory is she doesn’t sleep.)

Poetry Friday: Mortimer Minute Stops Here. (Really, but I hope someone will jump in...)

October 24, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, Mortimer Minute, poets, poetry, dogs, animals, ponderings, writing life

Greetings, Friends!

Ever since I first heard about the Children's Poetry Blog Hop from my wonderful, talented buddy April Halprin Wayland, I've been delighted to see "The Mortimer Minute" hopping around the Poetry Friday blogosphere. I've been dodging Kind Mortimer (and invitations from fellow poetry bloggers) for weeks, however, because of a crazy travel schedule and crazy life in general this fall.

I came up for a wee bit of air last week to find a tag invite from the wonderful, talented Tricia Stohr-Hunt, whose Mortimer Minute blog post is here on her terrific Miss Rumphius Effect blog (definitely worth hopping around there). You feel bonded with a person after sharing a few moments of white-knuckled airplane-seat-gripping on a little plane taking off from Scranton, PA, following a Highlights Founders poetry workshop, into uncertain skies.... Thanks, Tricia, for thinking of me years later!

Here's how the Mortimer Minute works:

• Answer 3 questions. Pick one question from the previous Hopper. Add two of your own. Keep it short, please! This is a Blog Hop, not a Blog Long Jump. This is The Mortimer Minute—not The Mortimer Millennium!
• Invite friends. Invite 1-3 bloggers who love children’s poetry to follow you. They can be writers, teachers, librarians, or just plain old poetry lovers.
• Say thank you. In your own post, link to The Previous Hopper. Then keep The Mortimer Minute going — let us know who your Hoppers are and when they plan to post their own Mortimer Minute.


Okay, methinks, I can do that. Answer 3 questions, check. Thank you to previous Hopper, check. Invite friends.... well, that's where the hopping didn't go so well this past week. I did invite poetry blogger friends - several - but they'd all been previously Mortimer-ed and were already posting soon, or their schedules wouldn't allow them to participate, or memes in general just weren't their thing. Now, I don't particularly want Mortimer to stop at my place - really, I have a houseful of rescued animals already. (No offense, Mortimer.) They don't always play nicely with others, at least not the 16-pound somewhat demon-possessed kitty in the basement.

If you are reading this and would like a tag-after-the-fact, please by all means consider this an invitation to play along! I'll try to post a link to your site as soon as my car rolls to a stop again (traveling again this weekend and next week - author visits in schools.)

In the meantime, here's my Minute:

Mortimer: Do you have a favorite poetry book from childhood?

I can’t place my memory on one particular book, though I remember loving poems as a child, and reading was a favorite pastime in our house growing up. (I do remember thinking “Eletelephony” by Laura Richards was hilarious.)

But, spurred on by Tricia’s “well-worn and much beloved book” she shared from 1968, I dug one out of the shelves which technically belonged to my older brother, Mike, published in 1966. It is a big Western Publishing collection with photos and illustrations, My Dog, My Friend in Pictures and Rhyme. (Guess I'm continuing last week's canine theme.) Its opening poem pretty much describes the attitude both Mike and I have had since we were babes. (And congrats, Bro, on the newest doggie rescue in your house this week!)

Birthday Present
by Aileen Fisher

White?
Oh yes, a woolly white one.

Black?
Oh yes, a black-as-night one.

Tan?
I think a tan or brown one
perfect for a farm or town one.

Sleek?
Oh yes, a sleek and trim one.

Shaggy?
Any her or him one.
Tousled, frowzled,
big or small,
I’d like any kind at all –
just so it’s a dog.


Please scroll up one post for a picture of the book. And don’t miss Renée LaTulippe’s ongoing series with the incomparable Lee Bennett Hopkins on NCTE Poetry Award winners – click here for the video posted this month featuring Lee’s interview about Aileen Fisher.

Mortimer: Do you write several drafts of a poem or dash off publishable gems the first time around?

I find most writing, especially poetry, needs to "cure" - at least overnight, usually many overnights, and sometimes over a month or year or more. That is just part of the process. It would be rare that something needing fixin' doesn't jump out upon a second or twentieth reading.

Mortimer: Do you have a favorite poetic genre?

Many kinds of poetry make me swoon. Blake (1757–1827) wrote, in the opening lines of "Auguries of Innocence":

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour....


Click here for more.

Good poetry allows me that magic. The way poetry crystallizes a moment, an experience - that's probably why I'm so drawn to haiku. Speaking of which, I need to go pack. I'm participating in a Haiku Society of America regional "haikufest" this weekend in Atlanta.

So if you'll excuse me, and if any Poetry Friday bloggers want to take Mortimer...

Now, jump on over to see the wonderful, talented Irene at Live Your Poem , where she's hosting this week's Roundup AND celebrating her 1000th post. Woo-hoooo! That's enough to make you want to twitch your whiskers.

Poetry Friday: Mary Oliver's Dog Songs

October 17, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, poetry, animals, dogs




Greetings, Poetry Packmates! It's the tail end of Wolf Awareness Week, so I thought a canine post might be in order.

A very dear friend (and high school teacher - one of the main reasons we shelled out private school tuition for both of our kids if truth be told) surprised me with a special gift this month: Mary Oliver's new book, Dog Songs (The Penguin Press, 2013). Michael has quite a soft spot for dogs himself and is regularly seen romping around town with their two soft and lively cinnamon pups.

My family's own pack includes two male 14-year-old dachshund mixes (littermates) who think they're still puppies and a year-old dainty, feisty, utterly charming female Chihuahua, all three and-a-half pounds of her, that I rescued from a busy road last year. (That's another story.) I can't imagine life without dogs as part of the family.

Apparently neither can Mary Oliver, whose unassuming and accessible poems in this collection at turns imagine what our canine companions are thinking, feeling and saying, celebrate their unique and wild qualities, and mourn the brevity of their time with us.

A phrase Michael pointed out, from "School," asks:

How many summers does a little dog have?

If you journey through these poems you'll meet Percy, and Bear, and Ricky, and Benjamin, to name a few - all dogs with something to say.

Here are the opening lines from "The Sweetness of Dogs" - because I'm actually at the beach right now myself, and tonight is a full moon.

What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. It's full tonight.

So we go

....


Click here to read a review of this new collection in The New York Times.

And because it's almost Halloween, and I would hate for any picture book loving friend of dogs (and children) to miss it, please continue to celebrate with me one of my favorite works ever, Bone Dog (Roaring Brook, 2011), by the amazing Eric Rohman. Here's my my 2011 blog post featuring Bone Dog - the difficult topic of grief handled in such a brilliant way.

Now, romp as fast as you can without a leash over to this week's Roundup hosted by Cathy at Merely Day by Day. Woof!

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!

Thanks to Poet Joy Acey for the Shout-Out

August 26, 2012

Tags: poetry, poets, book tracks, ponderings, animals

Joy Acey had some fun with the new Poetry Friday Anthology, and with my poem, "Snack Rules." Click here to see what resulted when she mis-read the title, then followed that wondering and pondering into a new poem of her own. (And you might check out her follow-up post exploring rhythm.)

Joy has two fun poems in the anthology as well. I've had the privilege of meeting Joy at the two Higlights Founders Worskhops in poetry I've attended. She's an enthusiastic voice for children's poetry!

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