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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - For the Birds this Week!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - and Bird Lovers!

 

Our wonderful Round-up host today, Christie over at Wondering and Wondering, issued a call for bird poems for anyone so inclined.  Oh, I am ALWAYS inclined for birds.  I'm also a bit jealous about the educators workshop she participated in this summer with the Cornell bird folks in NY... Swoon!!!

 

We usually take our wee doggie Rita for a walk after dinner, sometimes around the neighborhood and sometimes on the Spanish Moss Trail at the end of our street.  I'm always craning my neck (ha - meant to do that?!) to see who's out and about among the tree canopy, power lines, or marshes as the sun sinks toward the horizon.

 

A few nights ago, thinking about the Poetry Friday bird-theme, I had a couple of treats on our walk.  

 

Here's the rather silly wordplay that sprouted from our sunset saunter:

 

 

Walking at Dusk, Tickled Pink

 

 

Woodpecker - pileated.

Spoonbills - roseate(d).

Birdwatcher me - très elated!

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

Those birds really ARE that pink, and they fish by swinging those curious bills horizontally back and forth along the surface of the water. 

 

Find out more here, and then click over for more about those equally magnificent pileated woodpeckers.

 

In case you missed my post last week, there are several birds in it!  I shared animal pictures from our Scotland/Ireland trip.  Over at my art blog, I shared a bunch more trip pictures of animals in art, images, and other related curiosities.  Check it out! :0)

 

Enjoy flocking over the the Roundup, and feathery thanks to Christie for the ornithological advenures in poetry!  And, not sure this will work, but here is a link to a video I posted on Facebook featuring those spoonbills. :0)

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Poetry Friday - Animals! TWO BY TWO, Trip Pictures, and New Books to Crow About...

 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

 

If you might indulge a few more trip pictures (with no promise that these are the last), I thought I'd share a brand new animal-themed book with a romping rhyme, and a general celebration of our non-human friends today. (Keep scrolling down after the post, if viewing on a computer, to see all of the animal pictures and the book cover at the bottom. IDs and locations are in the caption at the very bottom!)

 

 

Upon returning home from our amazing Scotland/Ireland family adventure this summer, I realized I had snapped several pictures of animals along with the castles and misty vistas.  Of course, I thought to myself upon this discovery.  My life has always been animal-centric, benefiting from a free-range childhood in the woods of Florida, and a lifetime of sharing life with the furred, feathered, hoofed, and scaled, and 30-plus years as a vegetarian. 

 

 

On our first full day in Edinburgh, a pigeon came to call at our apartment window overlooking James Court. We exchanged pleasantries.  I never thought conversing with birds was unusual, since I've done so since I was little, but my kids once gently let me know that not everyone goes around acting like Snow White in the forest scene in the original Disney movie. (Why not?)

 

 

This week I had a tête-à-tête with a broad-winged hawk (from a safe distance, yard to pine tree), letting it know that, No, I would not be putting my tiny Chihuahua back on the ground any time soon, thank you.

 

 

Anyway, as is my practice with close encounters of the animal variety, while in Scotland I looked up pigeon "spirit medicine" and found that it held perfect messages for the beginning of a trip that originated in vials sent off to Ancestry.com. 

 

 

"As a totem, the pigeon teaches us to return to our roots and explore our heritage. …  Pigeon also serves as a reminder that we come from a clan and are not alone."

https://www.thoughtco.com/bird-totems-4062050

 

 

Yay, pigeons!

 

 

And yay, books (especially ones with poetry!) which celebrate our fellow animals.

 

 

In 2011, it was my privilege to coordinate a children's poetry retreat with Rebecca Kai Dotlich for the SCBWI Southern Breeze region.  Among our wonderful attendees was long-time member Lisa Lowe Stauffer  Lisa's first book for children, TWO BY TWO, a board book by Zonderkids, has just been released! 

 

 

On her website, Lisa mentioned our SCBWI poetry retreat and an assignment Rebecca gave everyone.

 

 

"TWO BY TWO started as a simple, steady poem about Noah's Ark," she writes, noting that the first lines haven't changed.

 

 

On the first colorful page we find animals entering the ark:

 

 

Two by two,

 

Board the boat.

 

Shut the door.

 

Time to float.

 

 

The monkeys become bored, however, and soon they want to do much more than float.  In fact, they "free the zoo" so that all the animals can party like it's, well, a long long time ago, BC.

 

 

Illustrator Angelika Scudamore's bright and lively characters are appealing and full of expression.  Young readers/listeners will have fun pointing out all the different animals on each spread.  The trim size is a generous 8 X 8, perfect for sharing with a wee one in your lap.  Here is another taste of the fun verse:

 

 

Anaconda limbo,

 

Tigers race in pairs.

 

Ring toss on

 

the caribou,

 

Pin the tail on bears!

 

 

Did I mention this was a FUN book?  Congratulations, Lisa and Angelika!

 

 

Interestingly, another rhyming board book was born not too long after that poetry retreat.  Prolific children's author Gail Langer Karwoski penned THANK YOU, TREES (Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner) – a terrific book to share with any inhabitant of the planet. (Here's my blog post about it.) 

 

 

Other Poetry Friday regulars in attendance that weekend included Doraine Bennett and Irene Latham.  (Did I miss any other PF folks?)  Irene has written about LOTS of animals in her novels and picture books.  Keep an eye out for LOVE, AGNES: POSTCARDS FROM AN OCTOPUS (Millbrook) coming soon to a bookshelf near you!

 

 

One last shout-out. While in Edinburgh, I got to catch up with my buddy Elizabeth Dulemba, and Jane Yolen joined us for lunch.  (She and Elizabeth had a literary event together in Edinburgh that week.) Elizabeth blogged about our meet-up here.   She also blogged about TWO BY TWO with an interview with Lisa and Angelika here

 

 

Elizabeth has lent her rich artistic talents to a book written by Jane with her son, Adam Stemple.  This wonderful new book from Cornell Lab Publishing Group, CROW, NOT CROW, debuts  August 28. (Here is Jane's blog post about it, with peeks inside the pictures from Elizabeth here.)   

 

 

I can't wait to add it to my bookshelf, right next to our Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's EVERYDAY BIRDS.  Young and not-so-young readers who love birds will soon be crowing about CROW, NOT CROW! 

 

Now, flap on over to Nix the Comfort Zone, where the Magnificent Molly has our Roundup.  [What?  MORE trip pix, you ask?  Well, click on over to my new post at artsyletters for a bunch of "animals in images" (& other related curiosities) from our trip!]

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Poetry Friday - Scotland & Timely Verse by Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  We've been blessed with company since returning from our trip to Scotland and Ireland, and I've just taken up a wee space at a gift shop downtown for some of my artsyetters offerings, so I am still playing catch-up with everything else!

 

But I wanted to share a few lines from our dear old friend, Gerard Manley Hopkins.  He went to Scotland in 1881, and upon visiting Loch Lomond, wrote "Inversnaid."  Here's a link to the entire poem, and here are the lines pictured above:

 

 What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

 

 

These words and other literary quotes on the outside walls of The Scottish Parliament were just some of the diversions which slowed my progress down The Royal Mile as we walked to Holyrood Palace.

 

We would all go back to Edinburgh in a heartbeat, and I have a feeling we will!  After all, among its many attributes and siren calls, it's The World's First UNESCO City of Literature!  (More on that here.) 

 

The beautiful Hopkins verses seem so poignant and relevant here across the Pond this week, with the potential for heartbreaking environmental losses with attacks on The Endangered Species Act, and, pretty much everything else offering thoughtful stewardship of animals and plants and places we can never replace. Sigh.

 

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet!

 

For this week's Roundup, Catherine at Reading to the Core is celebrating GREAT MORNING, the brand-newest Pomelo Books poetry book!  (I'm thrilled to have a poem included.)  Catherine shares her own inspired and inspiring poem in the collection, "Walking for a Cause."

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Poetry Friday - I Hear Bagpipes....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

We are gearing up for our family "Ancestry" trip to Scotland and Ireland this month - Can't wait!  Except that I still have some 'ready' to get.... 

 

I think some Robert Burns (1759-96) is in order, from a wonderful old book (un-repurposed!) I have:

 

 

CONTENTED WI' LITTLE

Tune:  Lumps o' pudding

 

 

Contented wi' little, and cantie wi' mair,

Whene'er I forgather wi' sorrow and care,

I gie them a skelp as they're creepin' alang,

Wi' a cog o' gude swats, and an auld Scottish sang.

 

I whyles claw the elbow o' troublesome thought;

But man is a soger, and life is a faught:

My mirth and gude humour are coin in my pouch,

And my freedom's my lairdship nae monarch dare touch.

 

A towmond o' trouble, should that be my fa',

A night o' gude fellowship sowthers it a';

When at the blythe end of our journey at last,

Wha the deil ever thinks o' the road he has past?

 

Blind Chance, let her snapper and stoyte on her way,

Be't to me, be't frae me, e'en let the jad gae:

Come ease, or come travail; come pleasure or pain,

My warst word is- 'Welcome, and welcome again!'

 

 

(For help with some of those words, here's a link to a 1920 book on Google Books with a few definitions!)

 

Most of the Scots in our family tree were already over here by the time Mr. Burns was born in Scotland.  I've been staying up way too late, too many nights, chasing ancestors and rabbit trails through the brances of my Ancestry.com family tree! My family is threatening an intervention.  I even made a side trip off the interstate through South Carolina recently to go pay my respects to the bones of some newly-discovered Quaker ancestors buried in a small, historic cemetery in the middle of nowhere.... These folks were as old as our Mr. Burns, part of the Ulster Scots-Irish who came over and meandered down through the Carolinas and over into the midwest.  But I digress.

 

Christmas before last, I made my hubby and kids spit in vials and said we'd plan a trip according to where we were from.  We're all very, very, very British! (My brother happened to do the test about the same time, and so did my mother, so it's been especially fun comparing generational DNA results, too.)

 

So off to Edinburgh and Dublin it is, with a couple of day trips to the countryside.  We have ancestral connections in every corner of Great Britain, actually - Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland - as well as Ireland.  We'll mainly focus on the Celtic roots this time. 

 

What I've discovered is that basically we've got "family" on all sides of every historical conflict over there, it seems.  Sigh.  This clan attacks that one; this country fights its neighbors - and yet somehow folks cross lines and marry and have babies. Then they grow up and this group fights that group, etc. etc. The same tune across the globe, I know, across the centuries.  We can't take peace for granted, that's for sure. 

 

Speaking of clans, I've been a bit tartan-crazy in the studio lately.  I've begun making items using a couple of circa 1930 small books, published in Edinburgh, featuring tartans and coats of arms for clans and septs. When I discovered some mid-century Murano glass beads called "Scottish agate" (because they mimic the actual stones), I bought a couple of vintage necklaces to repurpose, too.  I'm having fun combining these with the tartan images, clipped and tucked under glass cabachons. 

 

I also bought an older book on the same theme on Ebay a week or two ago (didn't pay a lot for it)... I was thrilled to receive it and discover what a lovely little treasure it is!  It's pictured above.  It was published in 1891 and is just too lovely for me to dismember.  The printed tartan colors are wonderful, and - the endpapers!  The gilded edges!  And gilded design just inside the covers! It's quite safe for now and makes a delightful photo prop. 

 

Oh - just for fun, I included a pic of "explorer" necklaces I made for Morgan and myself.  100-year-old maps, cuckoo clock chain, vintage telescope charms, vintage Middle Eastern charms (she got my 1 percent in the DNA too), and some fun contemporary metal beads and compass charm.  I'll make some more of these this summer.  Hers features County Fife, where I've got one line of my family and a line of my hubby's back hundreds of years to the same place... different clans.  But same place! And that is happening quite often on my ancestral explorations, both across the Pond and in pre-and post-Colonial migrations here. 

 

My necklace is the British Isles, with a touch of the Western edge of Europe. Which is appropriate, because I JUST found out in my research that "Hood" is not English, as my brother and I thought, but was originally "Hoed" - and, DUTCH!  As in, came-from-Amsterdam-to-New-Amsterdam-before-it-was-New-York Dutch.  But that's another story.... [And, I hadn't really paid attention before, but the splotch of color over the Great Britain region on the Ancestry.com DNA map covers that edge of Europe right beside it, including the Netherlands.]

 

I'll be back with more stories and poems in a few weeks - wishing you a swoon-worthy start to June!  Buffy has just the post to get us in the swing of summer, over at the Roundup.  Enjoy!

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Poetry Friday - Royal Wishes! (& Oscar Wilde)

 

Greetings, Poetry (& Royal Wedding!) Lovers -

 

For those of you on my side of the world, is your alarm set?  My daughter Morgan will rise early in Georgia Saturday morning and I'll do the same here in South Carolina so we can catch the Royal Wedding in Real Time (& text back and forth, I'm sure)! Truth be told, while we're delighted for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we really just want to see Princess Charlotte as an attendant.

 

The world needs a good ol' happy ritual, and it certainly needs more love.  And there's an American in this wedding… so, it's kind of our patriotic duty to tune in, right? ;0)

 

I've caught bits of the PBS "Royal Wedding Watch" specials this week. I always love it when historian Lucy Worsley shows up.  In the first episode, she popped in to explain how Queen Victoria established so many wedding traditions we still enjoy, wearing white dresses among them.  When the eldest daughter of Victoria and Prince Albert, "Vicky," was wed, she carried some myrtle in her bouquet, from a plant grown from a spray that had been a gift from Albert's grandmother to the queen.  The story goes that sprigs from that very same planting have been used in royal bouquets ever since!  I've come across some accounts calling this last part a myth, but then many others still support it, so I'm going to enjoy the historical and botanical connection.

 

Hunting for a myrtle-infused poem to share today, I found "Flower of Love" by Oscar Wilde.  You remember Oscar (1854-1900), the flamboyant writer who was born in Dublin and pursued his literary career in London? From his lively mind and fraught life he gave us many wonderful quotes, including:

 

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.

- Oscar Wilde

 

Here are the first few and last few stanzas from his "Flower" poem.

 

 

Flower of Love

 

    Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault 
was, had I not been made of common clay 
I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed 
yet, seen the fuller air, the larger day.

 

    From the wildness of my wasted passion I had 
struck a better, clearer song, 
Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled 
with some Hydra-headed wrong.

 

    Had my lips been smitten into music by the 
kisses that but made them bleed, 
You had walked with Bice and the angels on 
that verdant and enamelled mead.

 

 

    Yet I am not sorry that I loved you - ah! 
what else had I a boy to do, - 
For the hungry teeth of time devour, and the 
silent-footed years pursue.

 

    Rudderless, we drift athwart a tempest, and 
when once the storm of youth is past, 
Without lyre, without lute or chorus, Death 
the silent pilot comes at last.

 

    And within the grave there is no pleasure, 
for the blindworm battens on the root, 
And Desire shudders into ashes, and the tree 
of Passion bears no fruit.

 

    Ah! what else had I to do but love you? 
God's own mother was less dear to me, 
And less dear the Cytheraean rising like an 
argent lily from the sea.

 

    I have made my choice, have lived my 
poems, and, though youth is gone in wasted days, 
I have found the lover's crown of myrtle better 
than the poet's crown of bays.

 

(Find the whole poem by scrolling down here .)

 

I'll say hello to Wilde's statue when we are in Dublin this summer! 

 

I've taken this whole royal wedding thing as artistic inspiration and come up with a few new items in my Etsy shop to celebrate.  Click here to see the necklace in the photo above, and click here to see a few brass royal coats of arms pins/bag tags with antique laundry pins, as well as a couple of Scottish coats of arms glass cabochon key chains (illustrations clipped from vintage books).  Lots more of the Scottish tartan/clan items to come… we'll be visiting some family ancestral sites around Edinburgh before we go to the ones near Dublin!  More on all that soon. 

 

Now, hop in your carriage and go share some royal waves with Rebecca at Sloth Reads. (Psstt... she's got a giveaway of a fanTAStic and oh-so-funny book that my husband and I bought - just for ourSELVES! - a few months ago.) Cheerio!

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Poetry Friday - Get Moving with some Pomelo Books Poetry Picks!

The Spanish Moss Trail, Beaufort, SC.

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

It is downright warm this week in the Lowcountry.  Our little house is on the corner of the road from the historic downtown district to the Spanish Moss Trail, a rails-to-trails-type paved fitness path that goes on for miles. This time of year, our sidewalk plays host to extra walkers, runners, bike-riders and of course lots of strollers and dogs in tow.  (Sometimes even a cat in tow.) All on their way to the trail!  I love seeing folks out enjoying the weather and being active.

 

I'm sure you've consulted your copy of THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY® FOR CELEBRATIONS from Pomelo Books and discovered that May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month

 

And you no doubt found Merry Bradshaw's wonderful poem, "Let's Go" –

 

Stretch High

Stretch Wide

Jump Forward

Jump Back …

 

Enjoy the rest of the poem with Pomelo Books on Pinterest .

 

May is also National Bike Month, and opposite "Let's Go" in the book, you'll find Michael Salinger's "Bicycle Dreams."

 

Speaking of bicycles, hop over to THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY® FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL and catch Irene Latham's poem:

 

 

BIKING ALONG WHITE RIM ROAD

 

 

We jump

    jolt

 

as wheels bump

    bolt.

 

We spin

    descend

 

across mesa-topped

     islands.

 

We loop

    swoop,

 

fly past parched

    arches.

 

We keep pace,

    race

 

chase schooling clouds.

 

 

©Irene Latham.  All rights reserved. Used with permission. (Thanks, Irene!)

 

 

Also check out Irene's "The World According to Climbers" in the same volume!

 

If basketball is your thing, you'll enjoy Avis Harley's acrostic poem, "Future Hoopsters," 

also in the book.  Click here to read it on Sylvia Vardell's Poetry for Children blog.

 

For an Avis Harley acrostic poem for the younger set, this one about baseball, look up "Last Try" in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY® K-5 Edition.   While you're there, go ahead and hop around like a kangaroo with Allan Wolf!  You can find this jumpy poem featured on Kenn Nesbitt's PoetryMinute website, too!

 

These are just a few poems from Pomelo Books anthologies to get you in shape this month. 

 

As for me, I do a bit of gentle yoga and a good bit of walking, but still …. I was rearranging cool-weather clothes for warm-weather clothes in my closet this week, and this poem  arrived in my head.

   

 

WOMAN OF A CERTAIN AGE WORKS OUT

 

 

My waistline waltzed right out the door…

 

 "Wait!" I yelled. "Whadja do that for?!"

 

It disappeared without a sound

 

except these words – "I'll see you 'round!"

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

(PS – My older brother does triathlons.  Sigh. )

 

 

Jump, bike, or otherwise propel yourself on over to Jama's Alphabet Soup, where you'll find this week's Roundup and all kinds of wonderful goodies to work off!

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Poetry Friday - Words Escape from a Student Poem Postcard

 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

Today I'm delighted to share the postcard I received from Silver Star Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington, during National Poetry Month. Media Specialist Extraordinaire and poet Jone Rush MacCulloch has spearheaded this wonderful project for many years.  Click over to Check It Out and scroll through all the "Student Poetry" posts! I've treasured the postcards from these young, talented writers.

 

This year is the first time I've received a one-line poem, and you all know how much I love reading and writing one-line haiku.  (They look simple.  They are not.)

 

I love how Jahaziel packed so much into eight words:

 

 

          Ice day words escape when cold winds blow

 

  Poem ©Jahaziel R.

 

If you are cozied up at home on a day you're iced in, do words escape from your pen?  Your keyboard?  Do they find their way into poems?  Do words escape from books as you take time to read by a crackling fire, or curled up in bed? 

 

This is the kind of poem that will absolutely return to me each winter.  I'm grateful for the gift, and send hearty congratulations to Jahaziel for this fine writing, and appreciations for sharing it.  The sparse art in winter-chill colors is just right, too.

 

May your cold winds shift to warm ones this May, and here's to escaping words!

 

Enjoy more inspiring words at Friendly Fairy Tales, where Brenda is celebrating spring and rounding up for us this week.  Thanks, Brenda!

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Poetry Friday - IMPERFECT Insights

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Can't believe April - and Poetry Month - are heading into the last lap for this year. There's been so much poetic goodness across the Kidlitopshere, it'll take me the rest of the year to catch up. Remember to check in with Jama's Roundup of National Poetry Month activities in the Kidlitosphere, and the Progressive Poem, as you savor the poetic celebrations. 

 

One highlight of the month has been the launch of IMPERFECT – poems about mistakes; an anthology for middle schoolers, brought to life by Tabatha Yeatts.  (Click here for Tabatha's blog, and here for the Team Imperfect blog.)     

 

This book contains 70 poems by 50 poets – with several familiar to Poetry Friday regulars. 

 

"In this anthology, you will find poems about all kinds of mistakes," Tabatha writes in the introduction.  And she's right – there are humorous poems about little slip-ups and tissue-worthy poems about wounded relationships.  Poetry helps us find our way.  I wish I'd had this book when I was in middle school!

 

 

ONCE UPON A TIME

 

Once upon a time

there was a girl

who never made a mistake.

 

Which is why

this is

a fairy tale.

 

©April Halprin Wayland.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.  (Click here for more about April.)

 

Succinct and to the heart of the matter – I LOVE April's poem, which she wrote specifically for this collection. (She has a funny poem in there, too.)

 

I have one poem.   It's a lighthearted look at my learning to sew.  Or, not learning, re-learning, learning by no other way than by starting over…. My mother made me many wonderful outfits growing up, and her mother sewed.  Despite the fact that I could never muster the patience to learn from my mother when I was a teenager (though I did let my grandmother show me how to make a knot in thread), I decided when I had my own children that, by bobbin, sew for them I would!  At least as long as they needed Halloween costumes.  I haven't sewn in years, but my little machine is in the back of a closet, waiting for the next generation of pitter-patter-ers.

 

 

HIDDEN IN THE SEAMS

 

Measure. 

Cut.

Pin paper pattern. Pin paper pattern.

Thread machine.

Chikita, chikita, chikita, chikita

chikita, chikita, chikita, chikita

chikita ckiki-chkkktghkCLNK

(Ugh!)

Untangle thread.

Press pieces.

Hold up.

(Argh!)

Seam ripper:

Rip rip rip rip

rip rip rip rip

Pin pin pin pin

Chikita, chikita, chikita, chikita

chikita, chikita, chikita, chikita

Zipper-time

Zippity stitchity

zip zip zip ziGGRRRP

(Ugh!)

Untangle thread.

Zippity stitchity

 

Zip zip zip zip

Backstitch – stitch – back – backstitch

Snip.

Press.

"You made that?"

"Yes!"

 

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

 

And it's pretty much the same process for every creative undertaking I've ever undertook! ;0)

 

This last Poetry Friday of Poetry Month is being hosted by the terrifically talented and also just generally terrific Irene at Live Your Poem.  Enjoy!

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Poetry Friday - Haiku - Pair, Pare, Pear

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

Here's hoping you enjoyed International Haiku Poetry Day on Tuesday (April 17).  Perhaps you joined in the worldwide Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration over at The Haiku Foundation? Jim Kacian mentions there that it was "another record-breaking showing" and that a "complete version will be made available shortly and announced on the blog." 

 

Here is a pair of haiku of mine in the current issue of Frogpond:

 

 

bone tired

the maze

of hospital halls

 


graduation cords our empty nest

 


Frogpond, Vol. 41:1, Winter 2018

poems ©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved. 

 

 

While I think a solid haiku resonates with a reader independently of its author's experiences - and sometimes for very different reasons - when I re-read my own haiku, I'm transported to the moment they came to me, or their first unedited versions anyway.  Both of these are snapshots of my life in the last year. 

 

Regarding the first poem, I made several trips back and forth to Florida beginning last summer as my mother was undergoing surgery and then months of chemo for colon cancer.  Happy to report that she is doing well now, and has even been doing some cleaning and yard work of late.  (Mom, if you're reading this - don't overdo! )

 

With the second poem, I was moving around some stuff in Seth's room (our youngest) and came across the bag of college graduation accoutrements from last May.  (And also happy to report we'll get him home for several weeks this summer, after he finishes his internship and before he starts grad school/seminary in August. Yay!)

 

The pare part of this post is about two things:  the paring of words and ideas involved in writing haiku, and sometimes the paring of responsibilities needed to meet life's curve balls.  When my mother was diagnosed with cancer last year, I wanted to be free to make those trips, so I handed over the reins as HSA (Haiku Society of America) SE Regional Coordinator to the very able Michael Henry Lee (one of my favorite poets, by the way).

 

A few weeks ago I took a tentative step back into the volunteer world for a local Habitat for Humanity art project here, but then found out a friend might be facing a significant health challenge.  Last year's lesson of being somewhat available revealed itself again, and I emailed that coordinator to bow out before fully jumping in.  She kindly emailed back, "Wow, life does come at us fast- right?" My art business is small, but it takes loads and loads of time, not to mention writing, my first hat! I appreciate her understanding. 

 

The pear I have tossed in here in conclusion.  (And with a nod to IMPERFECTion, as you'll see at the end of this post and around Poetry Friday-Land today.) We have an old, not particularly impressive tree in the middle of the back yard.  Did not even know it was a fruit tree, until one year I found some scraggly odd-shaped green orbs on the ground.  Apples?  They didn't quite look like the apples we used to have back on our little farm years ago.  Pears?  Didn't quite look like pears either.  I even brought some inside and tried to see if I could eat or cook with them, but I still wasn't quite sure what they were.  That was a couple-few years ago.

 

Then this week, I was paying better attention I guess, and caught them in an earlier state of being.  The branches are dripping with them! Some branches, anyway.  The surprise and delight of these pendulum baby pear drops just made me smile.  I hope they make you smile, too.

 

Speaking of smiling, HUGE thanks to everyone who participated in our online SURPRISE Birthday Party for Lee Bennett Hopkins here last week.  I know all your love and warm wishes touched our guest of honor.  

 

Remember to check in with Jama's Roundup of National Poetry Month activities in the Kidlitosphere, and the Progressive Poem, too.  Not caught up?  No worries - read through line by line, with no delay of gratificiation!  Unitl the current date anyway.  I'm up - gulp! - on Saturday.

 

Check out all of TODAY'S poetic wonderfulness with the inspiring Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference - and keep those party hats out, because her IMPERFECT Mistakes Anthology hits online bookstores TODAY!!! I'm honored to have a poem included and can't wait to read everyone else's. Here's to life's imperfections!

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Poetry Friday Roundup - Happy Birthday, LEE BENNETT HOPKINS!!!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy Poetry Friday!  The Roundup is Here.

 

And, SURPRISE! - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEE BENNETT HOPKINS!

 

Welcome to your Poetry Friday Birthday Party!

 

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

 

A few weeks ago, the clever and generous Linda Kulp Trout (Write Time) noticed that Lee's birthday fell on a Poetry Friday this year, the one I'd signed up to host.  Let's have a party, she suggested.  Let's do, said I.  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (The Poem Farm ) jumped into the planning posse and away we went.

 

Lots of folks in the Poetry Friday community enthusiastically came on board.  See the trail of sprinkles? EVERYONE is welcome to celebrate – leave some birthday wishes below, and/or celebrate on your blog with a link in the comments, too!

 

I'll round up links throughout the day, and everyone can go from one party room to another, with some other fun poetry posts mixed in. Enjoy them all!

 

Lee, folks will be leaving you wishes in the comments today, and many will have links to party posts.  A few other special folks have dropped by here with their greetings.... 

 

The lovely and talented Heidi Bee Roemer (heidibroemer.com) beautifully captures the kind of relationship many poets have experienced with Lee:

 

 When I first met Lee in 1999 (thereabouts) at the Butler University Children's Conference, Rebecca Kai Dotlich's LEMONADE SUN was popping off bookstore shelves. On this pivotal day, Rebecca introduced me to my poetry idol, "the world's most prolific anthologist of poetry for children," Lee Bennett Hopkins. Little did I know what a far-reaching influence he would have in my life. In a career that has spanned decades, Lee has championed numerous aspiring poets, just like me. Moreover, he has captured the adoration of his readers, young and old, who find delight and oftentimes, epiphanies, in the words of a simple poem. Lee's passion for poetry is truly contagious. Allow me please to borrow the title of his brand-spanking new book-- WORLD MAKE WAY! as we celebrate Lee Bennett Hopkins' extra-special birthday!

 

Yes - World Make Way!  Speaking of Rebecca Kai Dotlich (rebeccakaidotlich.com), she wasn't about to miss an opportunity to send along some sprinkled wishes.  Here are her words for you, Lee:

 

I know how much you love birthdays.  How much you love any celebration at all.  Being your friend IS a celebration.  Chocolate is a given, but I hope your day is filled with a little shopping, a little art, a little tapioca pudding and maybe an ice cream cone. And I hope one line of a poem comes to you, because I know that, alone, will bring you joy.  Always know how much you are loved. How lucky I am to have you as my friend for so many birthdays, and for so maaaaannnnnnny more.

 

How old is Lee, you all ask?  Well, let's just say 80 candles means he's still HOT, wouldn't you agree?

 

Wait - I hear a knock.  Why, it's Rebecca M. Davis, senior editor extraordinaire at Boyds Mills Press & Wordsong!  She's here with these words for you, Lee.  (Please imagine some of them in a vibrant purple; my blog wouldn't play nice with colors.)

 

Dearest Lee,

 

Happy 80th birthday to you!

 

Hooray for Lee—friend, poet, friend of poets! Let's call you the poet's poet. You have made and continue to make our world brighter, more joyful, more wonder-filled through your work every day.

With love and admiration,

 

Rebecca (Davis)

 

Thank you for joining us, Rebecca! 

 

Is that someone behind you?  Behind the camera?  Ohh - it's Stephanie Salkin!  She and Jude Mandell spearheaded the effort to have Lee inducted into the Florida Arts Hall of Fame last year.  Stef is busy with her camera settings, so she just sends HUGS AND KISSES, Lee!

 

ENDLESS appreciations to Tomie DePaola  (Tomie's website) for such incredible art, and for joining the celebration.

 

Thanks to everyone for draping streamers from blog to blog today, and special thanks to Charles Egita for keeping the secret! ;0)  

 

Finally, from me,  a haiku for you, Lee -- inspired by Charles: 

 

 

blooming orchids -

the poem he knows

by heart

 

                                                                                                     Robyn Hood Black

 

Now, I know EVERYONE wants to get on with the party… Enjoy clicking through all the birthday posts and poetry – what better way to celebrate?

 

WE LOVE YOU, LEE!

 

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

 

(Remember to drop in on the 2018 Kidlit Progressive Poem when you can, and check out all the Kidlit Poetry Month projects and feasts rounded up by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup!  Want to keep up with Lee's latest books and poetic adventures?  Click here for his website!)

 

The Roundup -

 

*From the Night (Before) Owls:*

 

At Write Time, Birthday-Party-Idea-Originator Linda (Kulp Trout) gets this celebration off the ground with balloons, a beautiful personal tribute to Lee featuring one of his poems, and a special giveaway!

 

Linda Mitchell continues the party with today's line in the 2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem over at A Word Edgewise.   Oh, you'll never believe where she's taken our poem's flowering protagonist, Jasmine.

 

Off to Maine we go with Donna at Mainely Write….  She has the perfect "L" day celebrations for Lee… Go See!

 

An ekphrastic poetry master, Diane at Random Noodling offers a cherita in Lee's honor based on a painting, "The Poet's Voice" (1923) by Alice Bailly [1872-1938].  (She also includes a link to Lee's terrific NPR interview for World Make Way.) 

 

Diane's Kurious Kitty gives readers a glimpse into the breadth of Lee's many, many (many) works!

 

And, speaking of World Make Way, Karen Edmisten is highlighting this special book today, with some special wishes for Lee, too.

 

Matt chimes in from Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme with an interview with Louie Chin, illustrator for Don't Ask a Dinosaur, which Matt co-wrote with Deborah Busse.  He's also got some Poetry Cubed #5 entries, and birthday wishes for Lee!

 

At Teaching Authors, Bobbi shares a fulsome post about "The Crowned Prince of Poetry" (our guest of honor, of course)with more about World Make Way as well. 

 

Alice Nine shares two poems inspired by Lee's… "Crows" and "A Deet-ed Tick"!  (I know, you have to go check them out – poems are the best gifts!)  

 

Buffy shares a "Spectacular Lee" post in honor of his anthology, Spectacular Science.  The book inspired her original poem, "Spring Questions."  (Hoping Spring makes its way to all of you in chilly climes!)

 

At Reading to the Core, Catherine shares an original, celebratory poem made from some of Lee's book titles. (Well done, Catherine!) She shares a video of Lee as well. 

 

Brenda is celebrating Lee at Friendly Fairy Tales with a poem after this Lowcountry gal's heart – "Why Salt Marshes?" – with another nod to Spectacular Science. 

 

At Today's Little Ditty, Michelle has a delightful poem for our guest of honor, "Don't Ask a Hopkinsaurus" – I dare you to get to the end without smiling.  Catch up on her current giveaways (including Don't Ask a Dinosaur by Matt Forrest Esenwine and  Deborah Bruss) and poetry projects, too!

 

Grab your party hats and blowers to go visit the Gathering Books crowd.  Fats is celebrating Lee today with some favorite poems from different anthologies.  

 

At TeacherDance, Linda B. is celebrating up a storm!  She has two poem-gifts for Lee, a haiku as part of her Poetry Month project and a colorful poem featuring lots of his book titles.   

 

You MUST check out the festive birds celebrating Lee over at Michelle Kogan's place – and her original poems for Lee.  She shares a couple of his poems, too! 

 

At Writing the World for Kids, Laura shares a poem she wrote to celebrate Lee 10 years ago, "Recipe for a Poetry Book." It still perfectly fits! 

 

Alan J. Wright at Poetry Pizzazz would like to know, "Where's the Poetry Section?" in bookstores.  Will you join him in asking?  

 

Jama, who has kindly rounded up Kisdlitopshere Poetry Month offerings at Jama's Alphabet Soup, has a celebration of World Make Way AND a giveaway! 

 

Ramona is checking in from Pleasures From the Page with warm recollections of how Lee's books have touched her over the years, and with a 13-line poem created with some of her favorite LBH book titles.  Perfect for the 13th!

 

Laura Shovan has a fascinating celebratory post sharing Lee's "Final Score," with connections between that poem and her new book, TAKEDOWN.

 

Jone Rush MaCulloch  offers a gorgeous haiku and photo honoring Lee today at Deowriter.

 

Jone is also featuring some wonderful Student Poetry at MacLibrary.  Enjoy! 

 

Raincity Librarian Jane shares a poem excerpt from "Druid Hill Park" by British Columbian poet Heidi Greco, part of the local "Poetry in Transit" program.

 

At Beyond Literacy Link, Carol has… well – Shhh!  It's a Surprise! ;0)

 

Hear those voices of happy kids?  Those are  Teacher Ann Marie Corgill's  first graders from Shades Mountain Elementary in Hoover, joining the LBH Birthday Party at The Poem Farm with Amy.  You'll also find Amy's Poetry Month project poem for today, which is something like a simile. ;0)

 

*Next Up:  The Early Birds:*

 

Our bella Renée is wishing Lee Happy Birthday via Facecbook.  At No Water River, she continues her Community Collections series for Poetry Month with Elizabeth Acevedo, renowned slam poet, presenter, educator, and verse novelist – powerful poetry!


It's almost a book birthday, too – Tabatha Yeatts's Mistakes Anthology is about to make its way in the world!  At the Team Imperfect book blog today, she's got mini mistake poem riddles by Molly Hogan.  These would be great to share with kids!

 

Craving more of that?  At The Opposite of Indifference, Tabatha is sharing more mini mistake-maker riddles ("Thieves, Fairies and Hearts") and birthday wishes for Lee!

  

Greg Pincus is in the party spirit, sharing a seasonally appropriate poem from Lee that he first featured several years ago at Gottabook.  

 

You can't have a party without Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy, and she sends colorful art and Joy-ful poetic greetings for Lee from her Hawaiin islands. (Is that a ukulele I hear?)

 

At There is no such thing as A God-forsaken town, Ruth continues the celebration with some of Lee's own words about his work life.  She also has a poem by Tony Hoagland that is guaranteed to stretch your poetic senses. 

 

Drift on over the The Drift Record, where Julie has some appreciative words for Lee along with one of his poems, and a shout-out for one of his next books! 

 

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading shares a student experience and a golden shovel poem about conquering a math problem, along with birthday wishes. 

 

Molly Hogan is out and about looking for Spring, taking gorgeous photos and documenting the outdoors in poetry.  She shares Lee's "Spring" poem, too!

 

At My Juicy Little Universe, Heidi takes us back to 2009, and the poem she read when Lee received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children.  Meander through her "Stanza Means Room" and enjoy a poetic house that grows sturdier with time.

 

Irene continues her ARTSPEAK series featuring Harlem Renaissance personalities, with a poem for today written specifically for Lee, "The Birthday Birds of Bonaventure Island." 

 

At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret celebrates Lee and World Make Way, with an original poem, "Coming home," inspired by her father's artwork.  It includes a line from "Early Evening" by Charles Ghigna.   

 

The ever-enchanting Jan at Bookseed Studio has a post that – well, the whole thing is just a work of poetic art.  Enjoy her singular way of telling a touch of Lee's story with love and panache. Lee makes the world "a whole lot brighter," and Jan does too. 

 

I double-dog dare you to get through Christie's post at Wondering and Wondering without smiling.  She's got Lee's "Under the Microscope" as inspiration for her response poem, "Under Our Stereoscope."  She's got kindergarteners!  Fairy shrimp!  And more!  The perfect birthday tribute.

 

At Wild Rose Reader,  Elaine has two poems about nighttime – one which made it into her new book, THINGS TO DO, and one which didn't.  Which one do you like best?  Either would be good inspiration for our current Kidlit Progressive Poem! She has birthday wishes for Lee, too.

 

Head over to Poetry for Children for three perfect quotes from Lee in Sylvia's Poetry Quote-a-thon series this month.  Hear, hear! 

 

Kay at A Journey Through the Pages lets us follow along on a poetic journey through her recent family vacation!  Your heart rate will slow to a smooth, steady beat reading her poem.  (And then will perk up again with birthday wishes for Lee.) 

 

Over in her Corner, Carol has created a poem inspired by Lee's "Storyteller (For Augusta Baker) from Jumping Off Library Shelves.    A tribute tucked into a tribute!

 

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect shares the ways her path has crossed with Lee's, in the classroom and beyond, and she offers a poem in his honor.  

 

At Bildungsroman, Little Willow offers up a deliciously dark poem today, "Dark Matter and Dark Energy " by Alicia Ostriker. Thanks for joining in!

 

Lisa at Steps and Staircases has some Spring-inspired paint chip poetry to celebrate Lee today.  What colorful fun! 

 

JoAnn Early Macken has a fun poem about "poetic license"  to share for Lee and all of us today.  She's also got a drawing every day this month for copies of her book, Write a Poem Step by Step.  Teachers, get thee hence! 

 

--Noon Whistle!  I must get myself hence to my Studio to open for the afternoon.  I'll be back later to Round up Afternoon post-ers.--

 

*...And now, Happy Hour:*

 

At Evolving English Teacher, Poetry Friday newcomer Glenda shares a terrific golden shovel using a line from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, in which she contemplates her long teaching career.  Many will relate to "I Have Seen Myself in Prufrock." Welcome and thanks for sharing, Glenda!

 

Welcome to Cheriee, too, who has also been posting poems each day this month at Library Matters.  Sometimes that can be a challenge, as she explores with a big dash of humor in "Another Poem." 

 

*And, Last Call...*

 

At Merely Day by Day, Cathy chimes in with wishes for Lee and a poem about black pants!

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