Click links below to follow our Progressive Poem for Nat'l Poetry Month!
Hannah enjoying poetry workshop
(Scroll down this column for tags, archives and blogroll....)
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
Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller
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.
September 8, 2016
Happy Poetry Friday!
I’m especially happy this week because on Sunday, I get to go back to the sacred grounds of the Highlights Founders workshops in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, to attend The Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children
with Georgia Heard
, Rebecca Kai Dotlich
, and some of YOU!!!
Last fall, I basked in poetic wonderfulness with Georgia and Rebecca in South Florida, at their Poetry by the Sea retreat.
As we say farewell to Summer and hello to Fall, I found a couple of their poems to guide us. This past week, I saw both a hummingbird and a ladybug. I wondered how long before the hummingbird would depart to migrate… probably not long. And the ladybug – how soon before it and its many kin come knocking to get inside the front porch, or the house even, as they try to keep warm in chill months?
First, Georgia’s, from CREATURES OF EARTH, SEA, AND SKY, illustrated by Jennifer Owings Dewey (Wordsong, 1992):
from morning glories
from a straw
all day long.
©Georgia Heard. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.
And now, Rebecca’s, from LEMONADE SUN And Other Summer Poems, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (Wordsong, 1998):
than a button,
bigger than a spot
this crimson queen
with midnight polished
her ruby shell,
across the walks,
among the petals of a rose –
tenderly she goes.
©Rebecca Kai Dotlich. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.
Many thanks to Georgia and Rebecca for sharing their poems here today.
Oh! – and, speaking of summery creatures – you noticed the bottom of the photo? Yes, our Golden Silk Orb Weaver is STILL with us. She’s been a fixture all summer long, disappearing to deposit three broods of baby spiders/egg sacs, but then returning. This news will thrill some of you and horrify others. I’m actually going to miss the old gal when her time comes to leave for good. Sigh.
For a harvest of poetry for any season, please visit our amazing Amy at The Poem Farm
for this week’s Roundup. She is also celebrating the newest book from Poetry Power Team Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell - YOU JUST WAIT (Pomelo Books). I'm thrilled to have a poem included.
Next week, I’ll still be making my way back from the workshop, but be sure to drop in on the ever-wonderful Michelle, hosting the Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty.
. The Friday after that, Sept. 23, circle back here, where I’ll have another peek at YOU JUST WAIT from Pomelo Books
February 10, 2016
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
beasts strike poses
and preen in silhouette
created by the
in a red-grit shower
that banishes bugs
and becomes next day’s
one last trumpet –
©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 –
too vast for me.
©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
Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
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!
February 4, 2016
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.
You’d think it spring -
sunny and 74.
(88, give or take)
smartly dressed as always
ties her scruffy dog to a tree
wields a shovel in her
stoops to adjust a root
straightens, then stomps
on the blade’s end
to scoop the earth.
Her white cat
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.
January 28, 2016
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.
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
December 10, 2015
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:
an egret one
with the marsh
The Heron's Nest XVII.3, Sept. 2015
jasmine’s heavy scent
from every fence
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!
October 30, 2015
Pumpkin carved by my hubby, Jeff...
I'm winding up a week of school visits just north of Atlanta - one of several authors here for "Literacy Week" sponsored by Cobb EMC and Gas South. By the end of Poetry Friday, we will have collectively spoken to 19,000 students!
So I'll offer up another classic this week, to celebrate Halloween. I know you've likely read it, but it's always worth reading, especially the delicious last line.
Theme in Yellow
by Carl Sandburg
I SPOT the hills
With yellow balls in autumn
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
Please read the rest of this short poem here.
What kind of poetry is in the truck-or-treat bag today? Hmmm... Better go Check It Out
with Jone, our wonderful host this week!
October 22, 2015
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.
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.
November 20, 2014
©Robyn Hood Black
This Thanksgiving will be a little different – the first time we haven’t spent the actual day of
with our kids. Alas, hubby Jeff has to work Wednesday and Friday, and we’re a bit too far now to come and go to his folks’ home in one day. (Our kids, both in that foothills-neck-of-the-woods, will partake of the big meal and happy crowd chaos and re-charge their cousin batteries.)
I pondered making a quick turn-around trip to be part of all that, but my neuromuscular massage therapist said NO to driving that distance solo just yet. We’re adaptable – Morgan and Seth will come here for the weekend, and we’ll have Thanksgiving again – vegetarian-style – on Saturday.
This year, each one of us has dug up roots in one location and started a new life in another. Jeff got a head start by moving here to the coast before the end of last year. Then I made a zillion trips in the spring bringing over animals and furniture and way too many boxes. Morgan graduated from Furman, moved to a lovely little rental house in the area with friends, and started teaching third grade (and taking grad classes!) Seth completed a strong freshman year at Belmont, but traded in his Nashville city slicker pass to hang his hammock in the mountains of North Georgia at Young Harris College. (Perfect fit.)
Jeff and I have been getting used to the fit of our Empty Nester jackets. We joined a terrific church and have received kind welcomes from neighbors and new friends. We’ve taken lots of walks, downtown and on the trail over the marsh, and even taken in a play or two. And, okay, sometimes we spend evenings watching TV, at least when The Voice
is on. (Morgan’s fault.)
When we were first looking into Beaufort, I hunted SCBWI members and found Kami Kinard
, author of THE BOY PROJECT and THE BOY PROBLEM from Scholastic (books I wish I’d had for Morgan back in the day!) I
contacted Kami right off, and she was not only a wealth of helpful info, she’s become a good friend. Thursday evening, she hosted a get-together to introduce me to other writers in the area. Though self-conscious about those dynamics, I'm honored and thrilled to meet more members of the tribe. [One mutual writer friend I met soon after moving here – she’s a neighbor! Confirmation that we’d settled in the right spot.]
I’d love to say everything is orderly and flowing smoothly, but I’m still wrangling with storage challenges and realistic work schedules and such. Yet mostly I’m grateful – for long-time friendships unaffected by years and miles, and by new friendships we’ve been graced with. And for my online friends – some I’ve met in person and others I hope to.
In DAYS TO CELEBRATE, the incomparable Lee Bennett Hopkins
shares an anonymous poem for Thanksgiving. (The anthology is one of many collaborations with illustrator Stephen Alcorn; I recommend buying all of them!)
The words are simple yet full of truth and warmth.
The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest is all gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway –
Thanksgiving comes again!
Posted here with permission - many thanks to LBH!
May your doorway be open to those you hold most dear. And wishing you comfort and peace if you are facing an empty chair at the table this year.
For a heaping feast of delicious poetry, please visit fellow South Carolinian Becky at Tapestry of Words
for today’s Roundup!
September 11, 2014
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?
Ode to the West Wind
by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
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!
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!
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!
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.
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?
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 ?)
bio, photos, interview links, etc.
Explore a poem or two or five....
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
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!
(Click here to visit Robyn's art business)
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Council of Teachers of English
Click here for KidLitosphere's links to current poetry round-up