Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet





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Hanging with fellow Georgia writers (from top, l-r) Tracy Walker, Heather Kolich, Donna Bowman, (bottom, middle) Janice Hardy and Paula Puckett
photo by Steve Kolich

Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
photo by Mel Hornsby

Southern Breeze Kudos Kites 09 - Donna, Robyn, Heather, Sarah, and Peggy

Robyn with Kathleen Duey, author extraordinaire http://www.kathleenduey.com

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller http://www.debbiemilleralaska.com

photo by Robyn Hood Black
Paul B. Janeczko http://www.paulbjaneczko.com

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

February 2, 2017

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


Greetings, Poetry Friends.

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

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

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

wedding invitations
the press and release
of the nib


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

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

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



stack of books
the Russian novel
cold to the touch



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

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



happy hour
everyone's glass
half-full



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




lunar eclipse
I lose some sleep
over it



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



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



Father's Day
I give myself
a good talking to



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




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



traveling alone -
the darkness around
each star



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



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

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


BYOB –

That’s Bring your own BINOCULARS!

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

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

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

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

Two updates –

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

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

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

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

spring plowing
a flock of blackbirds
turns inside out



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



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

Poetry Friday - Haiku Taking Flight...

January 5, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, HSA, workshops, birds, bird haiku, Haiku Society of America



Happy New Year!

I'm still getting my sea legs back after travel up in the hills to see family for the holidays, and after the little retail rush of December in my shop. I hope you and yours had a lovely holiday.

For haiku fans, I've just updated information on the Haiku Society of America meeting/workshop Earth Day weekend I'm coordinating in April on the coast of Georgia. Here's a link to that recent post below (or you can find it on the SE Regional page at the HSA website). A registration form is available on my Haiku page, at the top left.

Since we're going on a birdwatching Ginko (a haiku walk) that weekend, here are a few more of my own bird haiku that seem to work for this time of year; both light and dark and in-between, as I am feeling all of the above right about now:


new year
the twitter of a hundred robins
in the oak


Modern Haiku, Volume 45.1, Winter/​Spring 2014


gathering dusk
the unanswered call
of a dove


Frogpond Volume 35:3, Autumn 2012


winter chill
turkey vultures circling
one of their own


The Heron's Nest, June 2012

Poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


[Pssst.... A little bird has told me a Poetry Friday-er or two might attend the St. Simon's weekend!]

Our beautiful Linda, no stranger to writing haiku, has this week's Roundup at TeacherDance (with a Japanese proverb and intriguing picture of birds at the top of the page, I might add!)

Here's wishing you a 2017 full of poetry, and light....

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

December 1, 2016

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



Greetings, Friends!

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

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

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


HONORING THE EARTH – HSA Meeting and Earth Day Celebration

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

TENTATIVE Schedule (subject to fine-tuning!)

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

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

Saturday
Morning
Breakfast

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

Bird is the Word – Tom Painting

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

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

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

Afternoon
Lunch

HSA Business Meeting– HSA President Fay Aoyagi

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Q&A

Kukai Results
Lunch
Farewell!

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

Single Occupancy: $372 total per person for weekend

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

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

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

Robyn Hood Black
PO Box 1022
Beaufort, SC 29901

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

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

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

Birds of a haiku feather flock together!

********

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


lingering afternoon
the ebb and flow
of birdsong


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


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

Poetry Friday - Teaching Poetry!

November 17, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, teachers, students, workshops, haiku, found poetry


Happy Poetry Friday!

Many of you are at NCTE in Atlanta - what a wonderful weekend of poetry is planned in many of those sessions! Do report back.

I'm on the road too, just slightly north of that, in the North Georgia mountains. On Friday, I'll be helping daughter Morgan lead a small group of young poets (2nd and 3rd grade) at her school. We'll be playing with found poems, and I can't wait to see what they come up with.

I love sharing any kind of poetry with students. This week over at The Haiku Foundation, I'm honored to have a guest post about teaching haiku to Morgan's third graders last spring in Greenville, SC. Click here for that.

If you've been watching the news, you know the Southern mountains have been plagued with wildfires in recent weeks. Our youngest, a college senior near the Georgia-North Carolina border, started sending us pictures of smoke and haze a couple of weeks ago. (We plan to see him too this weekend, as he's on his college's homecoming court!) And though I wouldn't relish driving in rain, I do hope they get rain, and soon.

I'll close today with a recent haiku of mine, written when afternoon showers prevailed here on the Lowcountry coast:



summer storm
pavement steam rises
to meet rain



©Robyn Hood Black
Acorn, No. 37, Fall 2016


Whether you're hanging out with other poetry-loving teachers or savoring Poetry Friday in some quiet corner, thanks for coming by, and be sure to follow the trail at Friendly Fairy Tales, where Beautiful Brenda has our Roundup this week.

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

October 13, 2016

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


Hellooooo, Poetry Friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Many thanks to Pomelo Books for providing these copies.

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

Poetry Friday - Howdy from Poetry Camp, and Haiku News!

September 29, 2016

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


Happy Poetry Friday!

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

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

wedding invitations
the press and release
of the nib


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

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

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

Poetry Friday - Summer to Fall with Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

September 8, 2016

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, seasons, summer, fall, Georgia Heard, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, workshops, Highlights


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?

Enjoy!

First, Georgia’s, from CREATURES OF EARTH, SEA, AND SKY, illustrated by Jennifer Owings Dewey (Wordsong, 1992):



HUMMINGBIRD

Ruby-throated hummingbird
zig-
                        zags
                                    from morning glories
to honeysuckle
                        sipping
           honey
                                   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):


LADYBUG

Smaller
than a button,
bigger than a spot
this crimson queen
with midnight polished
polka dots
journeys in
her ruby shell,
across the walks,
along
the cracks,
among the petals of a rose –
carefully,
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!

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

June 2, 2016

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


Happy June, Poetry Lovers!

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

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

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

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

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

Poetry Friday - Sea Change

March 24, 2016

Tags: poetry, Poetry Friday, loss, workshops, ponderings


A writer friend and I were talking this week about the importance of retreats and workshops. I’m grateful to have participated in both, and I have no plans to stop any time soon. Last September I basked in “Poetry by the Sea” in Jupiter, Florida, with Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard.

This poetic dynamic duo is making plans for a second seaside gathering this fall, and they are also teaming up to lead workshop this September with the fantastic Highlights Foundation folks. [That one seems to be calling to me....]

As Serendipity would have it, yesterday I was waiting on my car in the shop and had taken my colorful art bag with some work and reading. In the pocket I found some index cards. They were comment cards from last fall’s retreat! We had each shared a poem written that weekend and everyone offered short, written responses just for the poet. It filled my heart to once again read the words of fellow participants, and I thought I might share that poem here today.


Sea Change


The Sea has hazel eyes.
She mirrors changing skies –

glint of green on sheen of blue
churning into grayish hue.

The Sea has hazel eyes –
capricious fall and rise.

Waves caress or overcome –
in pretty parts, a deadly sum.


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Reading poetry sometimes makes surprising connections for the reader, and writing poetry does so for the writer, at least for me.

I had started out planning to simply record the changing colors of the sea. Then it hit me that exactly where I was on the beach in South Florida was only a few miles always from where a college classmate of ours had drowned just months before in a deadly rip tide, while vacationing. We had not kept in touch with his family (he’d married his college sweetheart as well), but he was a beloved husband, father, community volunteer, and respected attorney, very close to my best friend’s family. Such a shock. Such a loss. In a few days, it will be exactly a year since he died.

On the Christian calendar, these are holy days, but dark ones. As we make our way toward Sunday, to the joy that is Easter, I pray for those on the journey who need comfort and solace. And for those on any journey.

Please visit Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe for this week's Roundup. Thank you, Heidi.

Poetry Friday: Poetry by the Sea Cont., with Moon Snail...

October 8, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, ponderings, writing life, workshops, sea poetry



Greetings, Poetry Friday Peeps!

Last week you kindly indulged my sharing a wee bit about the Poetry by the Sea Retreat in Jupiter, Florida, led by the amazing duo of Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard. And thanks for the kind words about my snail poem.

I mentioned fellow attendee Mary Glover in the post -- an educator, yoga instructor, poet and artist from Phoenix. She generously shared the poem she wrote about that same kind of shell in the comments, but her poem and her thoughts deserve more light, so I asked her if we could share them this week. I’m glad she agreed!

After reading her insights and her lovely poem, you’ll want to meet her, too:

Like Robyn, I was also fortunate to have participated in Poetry by the Sea. It was truly a magical time, between the moon, the lovely ocean setting, and most importantly, the extraordinary circle of poets gathered.

Being from the desert, I spent all my spare moments wandering the beach, looking for shells and sending out prayers for our planet to be healed of all the plastic littering its oceans. I was fascinated by the moon snails I found, one of which I gave to Robyn. I love what she wrote about it and have been thinking about "the mathematics of home." There are so many layers of meaning in that line.

To complete the circle of this story, here is my poem:



Moon Snail


You are a spiral, soft eggshell
brown with a tint of rose.

Wave-dropped at my feet,
I hold you in my hand as
you teach me about life.

I think of my own, spinning
faster than I can believe
to its outer edges.

Until I found you, I thought
the spiral closed in, diminished.
I can see now it's quite the
opposite, that what's left
is the expansive part.

Widening into open space,
I notice near your final curve
a well-placed opening--
a portal, perhaps,
to somewhere else.



© Mary Kenner Glover, all rights reserved.


Many thanks to Mary for sharing her evocative work. For more of the same, and for pictures of her beautiful artwork, please visit her site, Life is a Practice.

For more inspiring poetry, please drift on over to Writing the World for Kids, where the always-awesome Laura has this week’s Roundup (and her own poem about a natural wonder).

Poetry Friday - Poetry by the - Ahhhh.... - Sea!

October 1, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, ponderings, writing life, workshops, sea poetry



Happy Poetry Friday!

I'm freshly back from a sweet and salty word-filled adventure by the sea, in Jupiter, Florida, led by Poetic Forces of Nature Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard.


Yes, it was as amazing and wonderful as you're imagining. :0) For three glorious days we met, mingled, jingled (don't ask), waxed poetically, waned after fulsome readings and discussions, all to the yin and yang rhythm of ocean tides, and even under the Super Harvest Moon - gorgeous over the water - and its eclipse a couple of hours later into that intriguing Blood Moon.


How delightful to catch up with poet friends: leaders Rebecca and Georgia, and fellow attendees Stephanie (Fla.) and Dale (Ga.); and also to meet new poet friends Dorian and Jude (Fla.), and Mary, Karen, Pat, and Kitty - all from Arizona!

We wrote, read, shared and breathed poetry pretty much the whole time. Okay, maybe we ate some good food and drank a little wine, too. The last morning, I even got to share a whirlwind mini-introduction to haiku!


I found a kindred spirit in Mary Glover, an educator, yoga instructor and artist from Phoenix. (She makes rich and colorful collages, incorporating words and text.) She showed me a handful of shells she'd found, and a snail shell with a small hole in one side. Later, she presented me with its "cousin" she'd found on another beach walk - the very same kind of shell, with a little hole of its own.


Naturally, that became the subject of one of many poems I wrote during our time together.


Spiraling

for Mary

No bigger
        than my thumbprint -
this honey-dipped,
        putty-colored shell.

Snail long gone.
        Edge a little worn.

A perfect Fibonacci spiral -
        the mathematics of home.

A hole in one side
        hints of eclipse.
I see the emptiness inside.

Yet, this hole ushers in
        unexpected
        light.


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


(Mary wrote a gorgeous poem about her shell, by the way.)

Perhaps you can tell mine is written by a relatively new empty-nester?

I might tinker with other poems from the weekend with an eye to submitting them for publication somewhere. But our few days, refreshingly, did not detour into conversations about business and publishing so much as they focused on craft - on carefully considering each word we or fellow poets set to paper.

I'm already looking forward to next year!

By the way, I left my home office for a few minutes while composing this post, and below is what May, my ancient office kitty, contributed in my absence. I'm not sure what it means, but maybe it was inspired by this week's moon (?), or the idea of mathematical sequences, or both. I thought you or your cats might also enjoy. It is unedited:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++787878787878787878787878787878787878787878787878787878

For poetry that makes a little more sense today, please go savor all the links rounded up by poet and teacher extraordinaire Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe .

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 - Hide and Seek & Be Back Soon...

January 23, 2014

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

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

Greetings, Poetry Peeps!


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

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

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


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


Hide and Seek

by Walter De LaMare


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



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

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

Hope you find whatever you're seeking this week!

Poetry Friday: Some Walt Whitman for the Road

October 10, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

(excerpt)

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


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


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


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

....

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

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

Poetry Friday: Haiku and a Deja Vu

August 30, 2013

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

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

I've missed you this month!

You've missed me, too, right?

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


autumn wind
the spool
feeding the thread



©Olivia Babuka Black. All rights reserved.

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

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

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


damp earth by turn some understanding


©Tom Painting. All rights reserved.

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


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


temple gift shop
no one minds
the register



©©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

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


after lunch...
the slight smile
of the hammock



©©Elizabeth Steinglass. All rights reserved.


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

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

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

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

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

April 18, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

a spot of blood
on the unfinished quilt -
harvest moon


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

reflecting pool
trying to see past
what she's not


Frogpond, 34:3, 2011

Poems ©Terri L. French. All rights reserved.

Many thanks for joining us today, Terri!

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

*** a couple of different notes:

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

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

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

It's National Poetry Month!

April 1, 2013

Tags: Poetry Month, poetry, school visits, Highlights, workshops

I kicked off National Poetry Month with a school visit to Fair Street International Baccalaureate School on Friday. Thanks to lovely media specialist Amy Hamilton, right, for hosting me again!

Happy Poetry Month!

The Academy of American Poets designates each April as a month-long celebration of poetry. Check out the many links and resources there.

SO many great things going on in the KidLit world for Poetry Month as well. A great place to start your treasure hunt is over at Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup blog, where our wonderful Jama has compiled links to many month-long online celebrations.

I had the good fortune to usher in Poetry Month at Fair Street School (an International Baccalaureate World School) here in north Georgia on Friday. With groups from kindergarten through fifth grade, media specialist Amy Hamilton and I led students and teachers on a romp through different types of poetry. We even wrote group limericks in each presentation, and they turned out great! (I'll share a couple soon.) Thanks to Elizabeth Steinglass for filling my head with limericks lately. (Liz and I met at a Highlights Founders Workshop in poetry last year.)

Don't forget to travel along with the 2013 Progressive Poem! The wonderful Irene Latham is coordinating this special treat again, with a new line added by a children's poet every day. My line was toward th beginning last year; this year it will be toward the end! Can't wait to see what emerges. Click here for the schedule; also coming to a sidebar near you when I get it together.

How will you celebrate POETRY this month? I look forward to seeing you "on the links" - not for golf, but for poetry!
Fore......

VOICE LESSONS with Irene Latham

August 22, 2012

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


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

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

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

Take it away, Irene!

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

Guess what I learned?

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

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

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

line STRIPPED of voice, by me:

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

actual line, written by M.T. Anderson:

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

That, fellow readers and writers, is VOICE.

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

Voice Lessons: Revising for Voice

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

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


Sounds terrific, Irene! Thanks for the preview.

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

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

Hope to see you there!

Haiku Fest in Alabama Sept. 28-30

July 30, 2012

Tags: haiku, poetry, workshops, conferences

Haiku Greetings!

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

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

GINKO HAIKUFEST

Friday September 28 – Sunday September 30, 2012

Lake Guntersville State Park

1155 Lodge Drive

Guntersville, AL 35976

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

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

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

Terri L. French

1901 W. Tupelo Dr. SE

Huntsville, AL 35803

Phone: 256-303-8305

Email: terri.l.french@gmail.com

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

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: Hospitality Through the Centuries

June 14, 2012

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

with Claudia, who even loaned me a hat!, and fabulous Hostess with the Mostest Joan. The bottom photo is from 1994 - at Penshurst with the Harrises.


At last month’s Poetry for All Highlights Founders Workshop, Eileen Spinelli told us that a writer needs time to meander. So please bear with me – I’m meandering today!

Last weekend, I had the terrific good fortune to attend the SCBWI Southern Breeze summer retreat, “Show Don't Tell: How Acting Techniques Improve Writing” led by Hester Bass. At first I thought I’d find a poem celebrating acting for today, and then I wanted to celebrate hospitality – shown by Hester in her leadership, shown by Joan Broerman, our region’s founder, who along with hubby Neal welcomed all of us into their home for sessions and meals, and shown by co-RA Claudia Pearson, who graciously offered me her gorgeous guest room to bunk in for the weekend.

A search for poems on “hospitality” led to Ben Jonson’s 1616 poem, “To Penshurst.” Well, this poem led me to an old photo album. Jeff, myself and Morgan, age two at the time in 1994, made a trip to England for our 10th anniversary. We were covered up with hospitality and wonderful day trips by friends of Jeff’s family – John and Pauline Harris, and their son Chris. Their home was in Sevenoaks, Kent, not far from the Penshurst estate, and off we went. John and Pauline are both gone now, but I will always remember their warmth and enthusiasm.

I’ll also always remember that trip to Penshurst – the medieval banquet hall and its chestnut beams and long, long tables transported us back to the fourteenth century! According to my notes, we stopped for a decadent cream tea in the Tea Room on the way out, where we were bid goodbye with double rainbows outside.

I figured since the poem was written by Ben Jonson, dramatist and contemporary of Shakespeare, it qualified as both acting-related and hospitality-related. It’s an “estate poem” which looks at nature, culture and social relationships. Here’s a taste with the beginning and a bit from later on:

To Penshurst

by Ben Jonson
(excerpt)

Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show,
Of touch or marble; nor canst boast a row
Of polished pillars, or a roof of gold;
Thou hast no lantern, whereof tales are told,
Or stair, or courts; but stand’st an ancient pile,
And, these grudged at, art reverenced the while.
Thou joy’st in better marks, of soil, of air,
Of wood, of water; therein thou art fair.


But all come in, the farmer and the clown,
And no one empty-handed, to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.
Some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make
The better cheeses bring them, or else send
By their ripe daughters, whom they would commend
This way to husbands, and whose baskets bear
An emblem of themselves in plum or pear.
But what can this (more than express their love)
Add to thy free provisions, far above
The need of such? whose liberal board doth flow
With all that hospitality doth know;
Where comes no guest but is allowed to eat,
Without his fear, and of thy lord’s own meat …


For the entire poem, click here.

Oh – and did you know Ben Jonson is the only person buried in an upright position in Westminster Abbey? (Click here for more. Told you I was meandering.)

Thanks for visiting, and meander on over to Mary Lee’s A Year of Reading for the Poetry Friday roundup!

Poetry Friday: Nesting with Robins

May 25, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, nature, birds, Highlights, authors, illustrators, workshops

©Cory Corrado



Is this a great picture or what? At the Poetry for All Highlights Founders workshop last week, I shared my cabin with some special guests. Well, the inside top of the porch of my cabin. A pair of robins dutifully flew in and out and in and out to tend their nest.

The photo was taken by fellow workshop attendee Cory Corrado, a lovely and talented poet and amazing nature photographer who hails from Quebec, Canada. She spent a little time patiently waiting – okay, a long time patiently waiting – balancing herself standing on a deck chair holding out for just the right shots when the birds wouldn't fly away. See how her patience paid off?

Cory’s book of photos and poetry, “Pho-etry,” called Nature Inspires, was featured earlier this year on Poetry for All co-leader David L. Harrison’s blog (click here for the link.) You can also get a virtual look at Cory’s stunning work in the book by clicking here.

Well, I’ve been thinking about those robins. And I’m enjoying all the varied birdlife outside my own doors this spring. (Oh – and Susan Taylor Brown’s amazing bird photos on her Poppiness website! – Have you seen those or followed her bird stories there or on Facebook?)

Back to robins. Here’s a fun poem for today from The Golden Book of Poetry(1947) as shared on The Poetry Foundation website.

The Secret

By Anonymous

We have a secret, just we three,
The robin, and I, and the sweet cherry-tree;
The bird told the tree, and the tree told me,
And nobody knows it but just us three.

But of course the robin knows it best,
Because she built the--I shan't tell the rest;
And laid the four little--something in it--
I'm afraid I shall tell it every minute.

But if the tree and the robin don't peep,
I'll try my best the secret to keep;
Though I know when the little birds fly about
Then the whole secret will be out.


Now wing your way over to TeacherDance for more great poetry, where Lovely Linda has today’s Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Poetry for All Workshop, and Jean Craighead George

May 18, 2012

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, authors, illustrators, writing life, Highlights, nature, workshops

Top: Eileen Spinelli, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Rebecca Davis, Melanie Hall, David L. Harrison

middle: cabin, and having fun with Rebecca S.,

Rebecca K. D., Bill, and Jacqueline (and Cindi taking pix)

with Marjorie Maddox; Joy Acey and David

bottom: happily in the middle of a Spinelli Sandwich

What a week! I was blessed and thrilled to spend the last several days in Pennsylvania up at beautiful Boyds Mills with a few fellow Poetry Friday folks (Heidi! Joy! Liz! Julie!), and some wonderful new friends, and our fearless leaders of the Highlights Founders "Poetry for All" workshop: Rebecca Kai Dotlich, David L. Harrison, and Eileen Spinelli, along with special guests editor Rebecca Davis, illustrator Melanie Hall, and poet Marjorie Maddox. Whew!

We had serious literary discussions and explorations of craft, and some rather silly times, too, and of course amazing food from gourmet chef Marcia and her wonderful staff. And wine every afternoon!

Relishing the natural beauty up there, I managed to get in a couple of walks, though we had lots of rain. I even had a family of robins nesting up in the corner of my cabin's porch.

It was wonderful dropping in on the Highlights and Boyds Mills folks Wednesday (Hi, Joëlle! Hi, Larry!), and on the way back from that trip to Honesdale, the driver of my car, Pam, slowed down for a bear crossing the road! A beautiful, agile young creature which bounded off into the woods.

For a taste of the amazing wit, wisdom, and experience shared with us, I'll offer just one quote (from my notes) from each of our speakers:

David: "I had 67 rejections for writing stories for kids. Friends magazine bought the 68th...."

Rebecca: "Brainstorm - noodle and doodle in sketchbooks. Visualize details."

Eileen: "The deeper we go into our hearts, the richer our lives become."

also,

Melanie: "We have to try to pull something new out of ourselves. That's the task for the creative person."

Rebecca Davis: "I love it when a poetry collection can be greater than the sum of its parts."

Marjorie: "As poets, we're witnesses of the world."

(We also had a special treat of a dinner visit and a few comments from Boyds Mills Press Executive Editor Liz Van Doren!)

If you've been to a Highlights workshop, you know why several of our 21 attendees had been before. If you've never been, try to get to one someday - your Muse will thank you!

Speaking of inspiration, I was saddened to learn, when I got home late Thursday night and reconnected a little with the world, that Jean Craighead George had passed away on Tuesday (just one week after we lost Maurice Sendak). I'd like to close today's post with the last few lines of her picture book, THE WOLVES ARE BACK (illustrated by Wendell Minor; Dutton, 2008). This is a picture book rather than poetry, but the words are lovely and rich.

The grasses grew tall; the riverbank stopped eroding. Willow and aspen trees flourished. Beavers built ponds. Birds sang. Flowers bloomed.

The wilderness is in balance again.

The wolves are back.


Thank you, Jean Craighead George.

(For more, see the author's website, The New York Times, and Publisher's Weekly, inlcluding a tribute from
Wendell Minor.)

And thanks to everyone for making the poetry workshop a resounding success. For more great poetry and for thoughts about living in the moment, stop in to see Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. for today's Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Art, Fear, and Founders Workshops

May 11, 2012

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

Book Spine Poems (See end of post for text)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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


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

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

Poetry Friday is Here! A Web of Treasures…

December 9, 2011

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, animals, Highlights, writing life, nature, book tracks, workshops

Greetings! I’m thrilled to be hosting Poetry Friday today.

My Christmas gift this year, a really nice one, is a trip back to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, for another Highlights Founders Workshop in poetry. I’ll be attending Poetry for All in May (there are still a few spots available!) co-led by poet and friend Rebecca Kai Dotlich (click here, here and here for previous posts featuring Rebecca), David Harrison, and Eileen Spinelli.

You're looking at the picture and thinking, What does this have to do with spiders?

David Harrison has this wonderful poem in his collection, Bugs – Poems about Creeping Things, illustrated by Rob Shepperson (Wordsong, 2007):

spiderwebs

by David Harrison

Webs sparkle
on the lawn
like diamond
necklaces
at dawn.

Shiny droplets –
small oases –
beckon spiders
To their places.

Silently they
look and lurk.

Time now for
spider work.


(Used with permission from the author.)

And Eileen Spinelli has this wonderful picture book, Sophie’s Masterpiece, with gentle illustrations by Jane Dyer (Simon and Schuster, 2001).

Sophie was no ordinary house spider. Sophie was an artist.

The talented heroine has a hard time finding a place to live and create, however, as she is chased away from corner to corner of Beekman’s Boardinghouse.

By this time, many spider years had passed. Sophie was older. She only had energy to spin a few small things for herself… a tiny rose-patterned case for her pillow, eight colorful socks to keep herself warm.
But mostly she slept.


Until she meets someone who appreciates her and inspires her to create a very special gift - something that takes her all and becomes a loving legacy. I won’t spoil the story, but I will say my eyes were a bit misty by the end. And then, when I read the author’s note… okay, I cried.

In cultural traditions across the world, the spider represents creativity – a keeper of ancient wisdom, and sometimes a trickster. (And now you’re thinking of E. B. White’s Charlotte , aren’t you?)

Whatever your “spider work” is today, let it be inspired by a World Wide Web-ful of poetry. Include your link in the comments, and I’ll weave them all together throughout the day.

POETRY FRIDAY ROUNDUP:

Julie at The Drift Record is waking up with a cold snap and the poem, "Icicles," by Todd Boss.

Over at The Poem Farm, Amy
shares a terrific original poem, "Umbrella Path," inspired by Alix Martin's colorful painting in the collaborative SPARK 14.

Tabatha,at The Opposite of Indifference, explores poetry holiday and gift ideas (including a really cool ornament).

Myra chimes in that at Gathering Books, Iphigene discusses another Joel M. Toledo poem, "Learning to Swim" - beautiful and thought-provoking!

Jama serves up a poignant haibun by Penny Harter, "Moon-Seeking Soup," written after the death of her husband, William J. Higginson, in 2008 (both have made immeasurable contributions to the haiku world).

Heidi's in today at My Juicy Little Universe with some delightful poetry by her kindergarteners, and a discussion of their poetry collage projects.

Ruth brings us Keats and an original poem describing how a poem idea will not leave you alone at There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town.

Need a little romance today? Maria at A Poem a Day from the George Hail Library brings us Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning - and in the continuing series on sonnets, one from the latter you might not have read before.

Irene is caught up in the spirit of giving. She’s got a copy of Shel Silverstein’s EVERY THING ON IT for some lucky re-tweeter.

Join Laura today here for Janet Wong’s yoga poem, “Tree,” and here for her 15-words-or-less poem, also tree-related, and a photograph you just have to see for yourself.

Diane has an original poem, “Pie Town Family – 1940” inspired by a historical photograph, at “Random Noodling.

Her Kids of the Homefront Army features a poem about one reality of war, “Certain Advantages.”

And, Kurious Kitty is asking with Aileen Fisher, “Do Rabbits Have Christmas?” featuring one of the sparkly poems from the book, published five years after Fisher’s death.

K K’s Kwotes has a quote by Truman Capote.

Linda at TeacherDance helps us to remember those for whom the holidays are a lonely time, with “The Transparent Man” by Anthony Hecht.

How about some Ogden Nash? Sally’s got you covered at The Write Sisters with “Everybody Tells Me Everything.”

At Picture Books and Pirouettes, Kerry shares Doreen Cronin’s picture book, Wiggle, sure to get you moving this morning.

Debbie takes another look at giving with the poem “Altruism” by Molly Peacock.

Feeling a little batty? Join Joyce at Musings to enjoy thoughts about Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet (and a few verses from the poetry).

Sally at Paper Tigers brings us Oh, Grow Up: Poems to Help You Survive Parents, Chores, School and Other Afflictions by Florence Parry Heide and daughter Roxanne Heide Pierce.

Check out The Stenhouse Blog for a reverse poem, “Framing My Future,” written by Rebecca, one of Kelly Gallagher’s students.

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading encourages us to “Have a _________ Day.” (You have to click to find out!)

At Dori Reads, Doraine shares a Tennyson poem that still perfectly captures difficult emotions.

Over at Wild Rose Reader, Elaine keeps the spirit of giving going with another terrific e-book from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, Gift Tag, and a fun, original poem to fit the theme.

Brace yourself to face the animal life in a hoarder's home with Mandy's original poem at Write on the World.

David E. has a thought-provoking original poem, "how great?" - which he describes as "a found poem, a cross-out poem, a little bit of random poem." Check it out!

Lorie Ann at readergirlz also features the Gift Tag e-collection from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, and shares her poem in it, "Tucked Between Branches." If you enjoyed/enjoy those little pudgy trolls as much as I did/do, you'll love it!

At All About the Books, Janet is all about Douglas Florian's wonderful volume, mammalabilia.

Shelley at Dust Bowl Poetry shares many different poems about families facing hard times.

Tara is celebrating libraries today with a couple of terrific poems and pictures. Go join the party at A Teaching Life.

Like a little moonshine with your Chicken Spaghetti? Susan has an original found poem and a review of Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal.

Over at A Wrung Sponge, Andromeda (Andi) has a very clever idea for combining nature and learning to read! And, after my own heart, a haiku written on rocks. Really!

Mmmm... Smell cookies baking? Follow your nose to Twinkling Along and enjoy an original poem cooked up by Carlie. And some very cute pictures.

The talented Liz over at Liz in Ink is thankful for the change of seasons (brrr!) and offers "Relearning Winter" by Mark Svenvold.

If you're hosting family for a holiday meal, do check out Kelly's original "Holiday Dinner To-Do List" at Writing and Ruminating What would Martha Stewart make of it?

Joy has lots of fun holiday poems and prompts at her blog. Grab a mug of hot chocolate and head over!

Just in time for supper, Jone has a review of Katherine B. Hauth's What's For Dinner? over at Check It Out.

Eric Rohmann's BONE DOG - more than a Halloween treat...

October 30, 2011

Tags: book tracks, authors, illustrators, animals, Highlights, workshops

I've had the pleasure of hearing Caldecott medalist Eric Rohmann speak a couple of times, most recently at the fantastic Advanced Illustrators Highlights Foundation workshop last month. (See Sept. posts.)

In Honesdale, in addition to enjoying the incredibly fun relief printing workshop he offered, I chatted with him for a few moments about his new book, Bone Dog (Roaring Brook Press, 2011). The Highlights folks were gracious to provide a copy of the book for attendees, but I'd already brought one in my suitcase.

I don't have an official interview to offer, but I do have to keep shouting out about how much I LOVE this book. Eric joked during that weekend about how it was standard procedure, when writing a picture book, to kill off a main character by the second or third spread. That's actually what he did in this touching (but not sentimental), humorous, heartfelt story about a boy and his dog.

Gus's beloved old dog, Ella, dies. He goes through the motions of daily activities but is grieving this loss.

"And when Halloween came around, Gus didn't feel like trick-or-treating. But he pulled on his costume and trudged out the door."

He's dressed as a skeleton, he is, and let's just say that as he makes his way home later, some real skeletons appear and they are up to no good. The text and illustrations cause just enough tension that a young reader will be wide-eyed and worried, but not terrified.

The skeleton characters are goofy and wicked and full of themselves, and the reader can sense that they might just be too big for their nonexistent britches.

I won't spoil the story by revealing how things are resolved, but Ella appears in a new form and helps to set things right, with a brilliant idea from Gus. (The book is called Bone Dog, after all - not really a spoiler there, is it?)

Some hilarious spreads ensue, followed by a satisfying ending. Not a "happily ever after," mind you, or something tidy and sweet - but something very rich and honest. Death is a heavy subject, and this book looks it straight in the eye - but with such fun, expressive illustrations and a wacky sense of humor that readers young and old will enjoy the tale.

To learn more about the book, click here for Eric's interview with Vicky Smith posted a few days ago on the Kirkus Reviews blog.

And to learn more about Eric, check out his brand new website.

With all the starred reviews for this one-of-a-kind book, my two cents' might not amount to much - but it's Halloween and I couldn't resist sharing my favorite recent picture book treat. Go dig it up!

waving hi from SCBWI conference

October 14, 2011

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

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

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

Highlights Founders Illustrators Workshop

September 13, 2011

Tags: illustrators, Highlights, conferences, workshops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suzanne Bloom: "What we do is magic."

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

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

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

Every Second Something Happens with Melanie Hall

September 9, 2011

Tags: illustrators, poetry, Poetry Friday, writing life, Highlights, workshops

Robyn with Melanie Hall, illustrator of Every Second Something Happens and much more...
I'm still relishing my Highlights Founders Workshop in Advanced Illustration last weekend, and praying for the folks in that region facing floods this week. I'll conjure up a recap soon.

One highlight was meeting award-winning Melanie Hall, who has illustrated several volumes of poetry. I cornered her for some tips and she kindly offered insights and encouragement. Her exuberant illustrations reflect her joyous, infectious spirit. She uses a variety of media to create her colorful illustrations, which are often full of movement.

We took a close look at Every Second Something Happens - Poems for the Mind and Senses, selected by Christine San Jose and Bill Johnson (Wordsong, 2009). I particularly love the variety of pictures and the generous amounts of white space giving the poems room to breathe. Melanie designed the book with Boyds Mills's Tim Gillner.

The book offers a multiple intelligences approach to organizing the poems. From the Note to Parents: "We've organized the verse in a way that follows the natural human approaches to making sense of the world: through language, senses (eyes, ears, movement), rational thinking, dealing with others, and knowledge of ourselves. ...So this book might quite rightly be reckoned as poetry in the service of children's intellectual development. But we confess that for us it's the other way around: helping children use all their native wits and sensitivities to discover the myriad delights of poetry."

Poems by children, with names and ages listed, appear alongside works by David L. Harrison, Lucille Clifton, Dawn Watkins, and Shakespeare - just to name a few. (The book's title comes from a poem by six-year-old Sam.)

Rebecca Kai Dotlich's "A Circle of Sun" is included in the "Wiggle, Waggle, Shimmy, Shake" section. (Melanie also illustrated Rebecca's collection, Over in the Pink House.) I've used "A Circle of Sun" with very young students in school visits, and they love acting it out. Here are a few lines from the middle - for the complete poem, see Lemonade Sun or this anthology!

Excerpt from "A Circle of Sun"
by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

I gallop.
I grin.
I giggle.
I shout.
I'm Earth's many colors.
I'm morning and night.
I'm honey on toast.
I'm funny.
I'm bright.


Bright is the perfect word to describe Melanie Hall's contribution to poetry collections, including this one.

Katie has this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Secrets & Sharing Soda.

Happy Birthday to Paul Fleischman from Honesdale, Pa.

September 2, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fireflies

Light    Light

        is the ink we use

Night     Night

is our parchment

        We’re

        fireflies

fireflies      flickering

flirting

        flashing


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

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

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

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

A Pack of Poets

June 16, 2011

Tags: poetry, SCBWI, Southern Breeze, authors, Poetry Friday, school visits, Chestatee Wildlife Preserve, wolves, workshops

SCBWI Southern Breeze Poetry Retreat with Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Twenty poets gathered in the north Georgia mountains last weekend for an SCBWI Southern Breeze poetry I coordinated with special guest,
Rebecca Kai Dotlich. That thunderstorm mentioned at the end of last week’s post from Rebecca’s poem visited us more than once at the Center for New Beginnings
in Dahlonega, Georgia. We enjoyed sessions with Rebecca, who said her favorite poems offer a *surprise*, wonderful food and fellowship, individual critiques, and sparks of new poems begging to be written.

For more information and pictures, visit my POETRY page and also attendee Jean Matthew Hall’s blog. Doraine Bennett blogged as well at Dori Reads.

This week I also had the privilege of speaking to some upper elementary and middle school writers at Lakeview Academy’s Writers Camp! What a talented group of creative young people.

But wait – there’s more. It was also Zoofari Camp this week at the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve, and I popped in over there, too. I love talking about writing and also wolf education, so it was a great experience. I even brought Rio down from his pen to say hello to the campers (from a safe distance!). See pictures on my WOLVES and STUDENT GALLERY pages.

Back to the retreat – Rebecca was a terrific good sport out in the woodsy, rustic environment – particularly considering we learned “woodsy” and “rustic” are not really her thing! I have to say I loved running half-wild through the woods as a kid, and I guess I’ve never outgrown it.

Thinking about that, I dug out this poem written soon after I started volunteering with wolves three years ago. (I know – it’s a little strange! But it still applies.)


"Breath of Fresh Hair"


Sometimes the wolf smell lingers
on my skin or in my hair –

I like catching a whiff on my sleeve
in the grocery store.

I hate to wash it off in the shower.

It’s not a scent for civilized company.

It’s the smell of secrets,

of murky mist –

heady and heavy,

wild and holy.


©Robyn Hood Black
All rights reserved.

Please visit the Poetry Friday Roundup at
Check it Out!

Summer Snippets and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

June 10, 2011

Tags: poetry, Poetry Friday, authors, SCBWI, Southern Breeze, workshops

Today we welcome Rebecca Kai Dotlich for our first ever SCBWI Southern Breeze
Poetry Retreat, coordinated by yours truly. I can't wait! Folks from five states will gather to "dive into poetry" all weekend in the north Georgia mountains. I've had fun with the nametags. Amazing what some time on the internet and with Photoshop will do.... I consulted with Southern Breeze's own Vicky Alvear Shecter about a poetry goddess to use for each "poetic license" photo. She suggested Calliope, the muse of epic poetry.

Here are just a few summer snippets from Poetry Goddess Rebecca:

From LEMONDADE SUN And Other Summer Poems, Wordsong, 1998:

(from "Summer Greetings")

Hello to rose
and vines of green,
to lettuce leaves -
oh, hello beans!


(from "Lemonade")

splashing
sunshine
on frosty squares
of ice


(from "Firefly" - saw the first ones last night, by the way)

Sliver of moon
slice of a star.
Rhinestone in
a jelly jar.


(from "Nightdance")

And the sun comes up,
and the sun goes down,
and children moon-skip
all around


and, finally, since we could use some rain around here, from "Summer Storm's Plea" (SHARING THE SEASONS by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Margaret McElderry Books, 2010):

Let this downpour be good,
proud as a prank, one wild raid
of rain that drums my name:

Thunderstorm.



Poetry Retreat Info

February 4, 2011

Tags: poetry, SCBWI, Southern Breeze, authors, workshops

Here's the info on our upcoming summer POETRY RETREAT with Rebecca Kai Dotlich! (This is from our SCBWI Newsletter - feel free to email me if you need more specifics.)

June 10-12, 2011
Center for New Beginnings
Dahlonega, Georgia

Join award-winning poet and seasoned presenter Rebecca Kai Dotlich for a weekend in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia.

Participants will enjoy immersion in poetry within a workshop setting, group discussions and writing exercises to awaken the imagination, and individual critiques with Rebecca. Traditional poetry for children, for themed collections or for magazines, will be emphasized. Rebecca will also discuss rhymed picture book texts.

Accommodations will be double or triple occupancy (additional fee for private rooms), simple but comfortable, with nourishing meals prepared by a gourmet chef. All this in peaceful, natural surroundings! Ahhhh . . . (more…)

Poetry, Pictures, Panel...

October 3, 2009

Tags: authors, illustrators, speaking, bookstores, SCBWI, poetry, Highlights, workshops

Busy week!

I finally uploaded a couple of pictures from last weekend's HIGHLIGHTS Founders Workshop, "Wordplay," led by Rebecca Kai Dotlich with special guests Susan Pearson and Alice Schertle. Check out my Poetry Page for these. I'm thrilled to have met all these wonderful women! (I know guys write poetry, too, but we had an all-female crowd.) (more…)

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Media
bio, photos, interview links, etc.
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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.
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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!
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