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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Vowel Poetry Fun from Jonathan Swift & artsyletters

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

The poem I'm sharing this week is an offering of levity, with so much going on in the world this month.  From a 19th-Century copy of CROWN JEWELS (or Gems of Literature, Art, and Music ...) compiled by Henry Davenport Norhtrop and published by Pennsylvania Publishing Company in 1887, I plucked this wee riddle poem by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), then gave it the artsyletters mini collage treatment.

 

On the Vowels

 

by Jonathan Swift

 

We are little airy creatures,

All of different voice and features:

One of us in glass is set,

One of us you'll find in jet;

T'other you may see in tin,

And the fourth a box within;

If the fifth you should pursue,

It can never fly from you.

 

I thought those "little airy creatures" would pair well with some old lace! Though the blocky midcentury brass letters are anything but airy, I suppose - so here's to a little contrast!

 

If you are hungry for more vowels, and consonants, then of COURSE you must make your way to Jama's Alphabet Soup, where our beautiful & talented letter-wrangling host has this week's Roundup! 

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Poetry Friday - Melissa Whiteford St. Clair - DAR Award

Melissa Whiteford St. Clair and her winning photograph.

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  I'm happy to introduce you to a person and a poem on this Veterans Day.  Last weekend I was walking downtown and heard my name called from across the street.  A familiar face and friendly wave were just outside the Beaufort Art Association gallery. I was trying to sort it out; it looked like Melissa St. Clair, but wasn't she in a different part of the state now?  She and her husband had attended the same church as Jeff and I, though we haven't been many times since the pandemic.  That, plus their move, is probably why I didn't know about the interesting things she's been up to in the last couple of years.

 

Melissa was in town because last year, she had the winning photo in a contest, and it is on display at the art association gallery for the month of November.  Her photo of the Beaufort National Cemetery with Wreaths Across America was selected by the South Carolina Society of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) "Rise and Shine: What American Means To Me" Committee. Entries could include a caption or a short paragraph up to 100 words and were judged on interpretation of theme, creativity, and overall impression by a panel of two DAR Members and one non-DAR Member.

 

Here is the accompanying poem:

 

   What America Means to Me

 

Democracy

Hypocrisy

Boiling Points

Melting Pot

 

Juxtapositions

Traditions

Assimilate

Don't Congregate

Unity 

Impunity

 

Unrest

Blessed

Dressing graves

Heroes n'er forget

 

©Melissa Whiteford St. Clair

 

 

Sponsored by the Thomas Heyward Jr. Chapter in Beaufort, SC, St. Clair was presented with the award certificate by Mrs. Gail LaGrone Newton, State Americanism Chair and current President of the Beaufort [SC] Chapter at the 2022 SC DAR State Conference.

 

"I am honored to share this photograph and companion poem display with patrons of the Beaufort Art Association Gallery, especially during the month of November when we set aside a day, Veterans Day, to thank our active duty and retired servicemembers and leading up to the annual Wreaths Across America Day in December," she said. The full press release about the award can be found here

Melissa is no stranger to a life of service.  She married her high school sweetheart, who joined the military.  They traveled the next 30 years wherever the US Marine Corps sent them.

 

I discovered that in addition to making an appearance at the gallery for our November First Friday celebration, Melissa also attended a poetry workshop at the Pat Conroy Literary Center while she was in the neighborhood. She published a collection of poetry last year called WHITE GIRL HOMEWORK.  (You can find it on Amazon here.) I had no idea! 

 

She explains that the rise of social injustic in the United States deeply affected her emotionally, and she began a journey that led her to found White Girl Advocacy, LLC.  (Click here to learn more.) The organization's purpose is to "share history lessons plus creative arts for white women who want to be better friends, neighbors, colleagues, and community-builders - better humans."  She launched her chapbook, the full title of which is White Girl Home Work A Collection of Poems Sparked by One White Woman's Journey on the Matter of Race, on Harriet Tubman Day, March 10, in 2021.

 

Many thanks to Melissa for sharing her work with us today!  

 

The talented and wonderful Buffy Silverman has our Roundup this week; enjoy all the offerings.  And thank a veteran! 

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Poetry Friday - Recent Haiku

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  I've missed everyone the last week or two as I was traveling for my annual (completely crazy) week of author school visits as part of Cobb EMC and Gas South Literacy Week north of Atlanta.  Always great to catch up with folks there, and the dozen or more of us authors end up seeing between 20,000 and 30,000 kids in those five days.  I had 22 presentations between Monday and Friday.  Whew! But thrilled to share the poetry love. 

 

Today I'm sharing a couple of recently published haiku.  I couldn't help featuring the adorable picture of my daughter, Morgan, and their precious little one, Sawyer. He made an awfully cute pumpkin for Halloween. The first poem was written when I was with them this summer, helping out during his first month.

 

 

 

new mother's whisper

the strength

of spidersilk

 

Frogpond, Vol. 45:3, Autumn 2022

 

 

 

And this one, well - I guess it speaks for itself. 

 

 

resurrection fern

my long list

of shortcomings

 

bottle rockets #47, Vol. 20, No. 1 (August 2022)

 

 

Poems ©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

 

I hope your November is off to a good start.  The ever-amazing Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe is hosting Poetry Friday this week. Thank you, Heidi!

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Poetry Friday - Haiku Stones in an Alabama Japanese Garden

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! A fun way to enjoy haiku today....

 

Over at Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, Alabama, visitors to the Japanese Garden can now meander down a haiku path consisting of 24 haiku stones.  These feature poems mostly by contemporary haiku poets, with a couple of Basho stones and an Issa offering in the collection. The new path was launched at the Autumn Japan celebration at the beginning of this month.

 

The creative force behind the Haiku Path is Terri L. French, award-winning haiku poet extraordinaire who has also shared her leadership skills in the Haiku Society of America and The Haiku Foundation, as well as editorially in journals and in her own varied publishing endeavors.  (Learn more about Terri here.)  Also sharing time and talents for this beautiful adventure has been fellow fine poet Peggy Bilbro. (Click here for a lovely haibun of Peggy's and a brief bio.)

 

"The haiku were chosen to fit the aesthetics of the garden and the area," explains Terri. "They were placed in the ground on a path that goes behind and around the tea house."

 

Terri and Peggy chose the haiku.

 

"Redstone Federal Credit Union sponsored us and paid for all of the stones to be made by local artist, Zan Edmonds,"  Terri says.  "If we get more money, we may add more stones later."

 

You can click the photo above to see the Facebook post Terri shared, with more pictures of the festival and a few more of the stones.  

 

I'm thrilled that one of my poems was accepted for the path.

 

 

open gate

the way

my mind wanders

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black

First published in Frogpond, Vol. 41:3, Fall 2018

 

If your mind wants to wander myriad poetry paths today, head on over to see Matt Forrest Essenwine, who always has lots going on and has our Roundup this week!  Also, remember to check in on Bridget's "10.10 Poetry Anthology First Anniversary Poet Palooza" at Wee Words for Wee Ones, where you can enjoy daily bite-size introductions to many of the poets!  I'm honored to be included next week.  [NOTE: My blog will be taking a mini-Fall-break as I soon travel to North Georgia for my annual week of school author visits as part of Cobb County EMC-Gas South's Literacy Week, and as I get artsyletters geared up for the holiday craziness that usually ensues right after October!  See you back here in a couple of weeks.)

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Poetry Friday - WHAT IS A FRIEND?

 

Greetings, Poetery Lovers! I'm joining some other Poetry Friday-ers today celebrating the release of WHAT IS A FRIEND? from Pomelo Books. (You know, the powerhouse poetry publishing team of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong!)  WHAT IS A FRIEND? is the product of their recent Antho 401 class.  [I'm now taking a reprise of their Antho 201 class, which I blogged about a few weeks ago, if you want more info about Pomelo poetry magic.]  As with their other recent books, poems were written in response to photographs of children in a variety of situations.

 

This new book, geared toward ages 8 & up, explores many aspects of friendship. It's a Children's Book Council "Hot Off the Press" selection for October! And, as with the "THINGS WE" series, proceeds from sales are being donated to the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund.

 

Here's my poem:

 

 

PRESENT

 

 

   You didn't say,

          Come on – Cheer up! 

          Everything will be okay.

 

 

   You didn't say,

          I know exactly

          what it's like

          to feel that way.

 

 

   You didn't say

          anything.

 

 

   Just sat with me,

          

 

           and

       that

  meant

       everything.

 

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

When editing this poem, I was attempting to follow Janet's suggestion about changing a line that I originally had right after "Just sat with me,".  I tweaked and tweaked, until the haiku poet in me just struck it out altogether - making for a stronger poem. I'm so glad Janet flagged it in the first place, so I could toss it. 

 

Learn more about WHAT IS A FRIEND? here . Happy Book Birthday, Sylvia & Janet!

 

For more FRIEND-ly posts for Poetry Friday this week, and lots of other poetic treasures, check out the Roundup hosted by Sara Grace Tuttle.  Thanks, Sara Grace!

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Poetry Friday - "Fall, leaves, fall" by Emily Bronte

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

On the road today (a road full of farms and fields with large rolls of freshly cut hay), so I'm just here with a HAPPY FALL wave and a short, classic poem.  Autumn is my favorite season, though I wouldn't quite describe it the way Emily B. did here... but then again, there's a bit of thrill in the macabre this time of year.

 

 

 

Fall, leaves, fall

 

by Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.


I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

 

 

Wishing you and yours plenty of un-dreary days as our calendars flutter into Fall and beyond! 

 

Our year-round Rose has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Imagine the Possibilities.. drift on over and enjoy!

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Poetry Friday - Farewell to Summer with Two Classic September Poems

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Here in coastal South Carolina, the days are still warm, but not excessively hot; some leaves are scattered on the ground; and we're still keeping a cautious eye ocean-ward after an unusually quiet start to the hurricane season in our corner of the Atlantic, anyway. (The peak Atlantic season occurs in September and October.)

 

Our kids in and near the mountains report cooler days of late, and at our Upstate South Carolina house last weekend, the deep green of summer is giving away to early hints of color in the trees. 

 

Back at the coast, I've been making collages featuring actual postcards of bathing beauties from the early 1900s.  I have some for sale at a local shop here, and I'll be adding some (such as the one pictured above) to my Etsy shop, too.  I guess it's my way of hanging on to summer a wee bit, even as the calendar pages turn themselves to autumn....

 

Here are a couple of September poems to help me get oriented, and maybe they'll strike your fancy as well. The first even begins with a nod to the sea.

 

 

 

September


By Joanne Kyger (1934-2017)

 

The grasses are light brown
and the ocean comes in
long shimmering lines
under the fleet from last night
which dozes now in the early morning 

 

...

 

Enjoy the rest of this rich poem here.  And you can read more about Joanne Kyger's rich life here

 

 

And here is a poem published in 1914, a few years after that postcard above was published, as a matter of fact. 

 

 

 

September Midnight


By Sara Teasdale

 
Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.

 

The grasshopper's horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.

 

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.

 

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.

 


Originally published in Poetry, March 1914. You can read more about Sara Teasdale here

 

Back to the present, hop on over to Australia to enjoy a different season from mine in the Northern Hemisphere, and lots of great poetry - Kat Apel has our Roundup (& a "Katch-up"!).  Thanks, Kat. :0)

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Poetry Friday - Hearts in Great Britain & Poetry by Vita Sackville-West

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - I had already sipped my daily cup of English tea (Clipper) early on Thursday before I heard the worrisome news of the Queen's decline, and then, later, the sad news of her death. 

 

Between both of those pieces of news, my mind went back to our 1994 trip to England to visit friends of Jeff's family and have a look around.  (Our Morgan was just a wee two-year-old.) We were based in Kent, with a sojourn or two to London. For a couple of days, our little family stayed at a renovated Victorian farmhouse on the grounds of Sissinghurst Castle.  An Elizabethan tower survives, and in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I did visit a mansion house there.

 

Now the world-renowned gardens draw throngs of visitors each year.  These spectacular outdoor rooms were created in the 1930s by poet and writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson (an author and diplomat).  They were quite the bohemians and interesting characters.  You can learn more about them and the castle gardens here

 

Sackville-West (1892-1962) published novels as well as poetry and also wrote articles, letters, and journals. She loved the outdoors, as did Queen Elizabeth II.  

 

On our trip, at Sissinghurst, I bought an edition of two of Sackville-West's most famous works together - The Land & The Garden. The book has striking illustrations by Peter Firmin and an introduction by Nigel Nicolson (Frome and London: Webb & Bower, 1989).

 

As we're now about to welcome Fall, and with the heavy news from across The Pond, I thought these opening words from AUTMUMN (part of THE LAND) were fitting:

 

AUTUMN

 

by Vita Sackville-West

 

(excerpt)

 

How slow the darkness comes, once daylight's gone,

A slowness natural after English day,

So unimpassioned, tardy to move on,

No southern violence that burns away,

Ardent to live, and eager to be done.

The twilight lingers, etching tree on sky;

The gap's a portal on the ridge's crest;

The partridge coveys call beyond the rye;

Still some red bar of sunset cracks the west;

The orange harvest-moon like a dull sun

Rolls silent up the east above the hill;

Earth like a sleeper breathes, and all is still

This hour of after-day, the dying day's bequest,

This autumn dusk, when neither day nor night

Urges a man to strive or sleep; he stands

Filled with the calm of that familiar place,

 

...

 

(The verses go on for miles....)

 

I'm grateful that Queen Elizabeth was able to say her goodbyes in a place that was calm and familiar to her.  I heard in a news story that she liked to tell guests at Balmoral exactly where to stand outside on the grounds at midnight, to have the best view of the stars in the vast Scottish sky.

 

Our wonderful Carol has this week's Roundup at Beyond Literacy Week.  Thank you, Carol!

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Poetry Friday - Go See Linda at TeacherDance!

Hellooooo!  I'll be on the road this weekend so just offering up a signpost today - Go start your long weekend off the right way, with poetry, rounded up by our wonderful Linda at TeacherDance!  :0)  Happy Weekending!

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Poetry Friday - New Online Antho Class from Sylvia & Janet, and a Poem from Janet Clare Fagal

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

You might know that Sylvia Vardell and Janet S. Wong met years ago at a conference, and the Kidlit Poetry World has never been the same since.  ;0)  Their publishing enterprise Pomelo Books has produced many wonderful poetry anthologies for kids in the last decade, all classroom-friendly, too.  Several of us Poetry Friday folks are privileged to have poems in them, along with dozens of other poets. 

 

Sylvia just retired from a 30-year career teaching children's literature (and teaching teachers) at Texas Woman's University, and she has been a valued member of several important committees across a variety of literacy organizations.  She's also trekked across the world getting good books into the hands of kids, donning her signature one-of-a-kind outfits featuring poetry themes! She's continuing poetry-centric endeavors in her new adventures. 

 

Janet is the 2021 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children winner, with 21 books to her credit BEFORE she started co-producing anthologies.  Her A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED was released again a couple of years ago as A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED AND MORE, and that version of the suitcase became stuffed with several prestigious awards! She came to the kidlit world after practicing law, and has also volunteered with many literacy organizations.  

 

One group Janet and Sylvia are both involved with is IBBY (International Board on Books For Young People). Proceeds from their latest series of books go to the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund, which connects vulnerable children in several countries with literacy programs.

 

What is their latest series of books, you ask?  It's a group of anthologies with fantastic poems accompanying photographs of kids, and these have grown from the soil of anthhology workshops this Dynamic Poetry Duo started offering last year.  The classes are called Antho 101, 201, 301 and 401.  I've been enjoying reading lots of Poetry Friday posts about them, and was lamenting that I couldn't make the schedule happen when the workshops first emerged.  

 

But, lo and behold, this summer, when they offered Antho 401 (poetry targeted for ages 8 & up), I WAS able to join in.  I've enjoyed watching the videos and writing submissions for the book attached to this class, and helping to evaluate other poems for consideration.  Sylvia and Janet generously put participants through ALL the paces of creating and anthology - and let us peek in on their own spirited discussions of which pictures to select and why, etc., etc. I am looking forward to the live, online class gathering in a few weeks.

 

AND... they are offering Antho 201 (poetry targetd to very young readers) AGAIN this fall!  It includes recorded sessions, a live class, and a new book to be created! I'm signing up for this reprise, too, since I missed it before. 

 

Here's the scoop with an overview of the workshops and dates and registration info:

 

https://pomelobooks.com/anthologies-101

 

and here's a blog post from earlier in the year with some more information about this workshop series:

 

http://poetryforchildren.blogspot.com/2022/02/learning-about-poetry-anthologies.html

 

The published books in this series (so far!) include these collections for younger readers: THINGS WE DO, THINGS WE EAT, and THINGS WE FEEL.  

 

Here's a taste from THINGS WE DO - a delightful poem by one of our Poetry Friday friends that stole my heart, as I'm still basking in becoming a grandmother earlier this summer. (Each poem in this book corresponds to a letter of the alphabet - this one is for 'W'.)

 

WAVE

 

by Janet Clare Fagal

 

When we leave Grandma's,

she stands in the yard.

 

We get in our car.

I wave really hard.

 

Her smile is the sun.

My wave is the sky.

 

I wave from my window

for one more goodbye.

 

©Janet Clare Fagal.  Posted with permission.

 

Thanks to Janet for letting me share this poem today!  The new wee bairn in our family, Sawyer, is not quite waving yet.  BUT, this week, he started grabbing the dangling toys from his playmat as he lays beneath them!  (I require daily photos and/or videos from Morgan between visits.) And he's just twelve weeks old.  Of course, he already love rhymes and songs....

 

Many thanks also to Tanita for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week over at {fiction, instead of lies}.  And unending thanks to Janet and Sylvia, who continue to share so much poetry light in the world.

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