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Life on the Deckle Edge

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 - Thought for Food.... and a Haiku

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Our ever-effervescent hosts for Poetry Friday this week are Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, over at Poetry for Children.

 

They have some tasty poetic fare today - a brand new anthology called WHAT WE EAT, full of poem-dishes by both new and familiar poets.  I look forward to partaking of these wonderful new poems!

 

I've got a haiku today that, on the surface, is about food as well -  albeit with a more adult and somber tone.  It's in the current issue of MODERN HAIKU

 

 

estate sale

soup cans still

on the shelf

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

Modern Haiku, Vol 53:1

 

 

As an all-things-vintage lover, I do enjoy perusing antique stores, thrift shops, and the occasional estate sale.  This poem was written after visiting such an in-home sale last year, from which I emerged with a perfect heavy old straight chair for our new (second) home on the other side of the state in the SC hills. 

 

But walking through the close rooms last summer, I was struck by someone's life (I don't know whose) preserved in the moment by a few details on display for the roaming bargain hunters.  A dog leash still dangling from its hook by the back door, and soup cans standing at attention in the small, open pantry.

 

Thanks for coming by, and enjoy all the flavors of poems rounded up by Janet and Sylvia this week. 

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Poetry Friday - More Poetry Postcards! (mine included)

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

Happy Lunar New Year.  This week I'm sharing two more postcards from our New Year Poem Postcard Project swap, and my own, too, which I finally mailed out last week. ;0)

 

First up, one from our fearless leader, Jone Rush MacCulloch, who organizes this postal shindig each new year.

 

Her intriguing image features this haiku:

 

divergent pathways

a new year

alive with wonder

 

 

©Jone Rush MacCullocch

 

I'm sure that like me, you're a fan of Jone's mean camera skills as well as her poetic prowess.  I love the texture in this picture and asked her about the tracks.  She said they were bird tracks on her deck, made during the first light snow.  Beautiful!

 

Side note - I'm super excited to have learned that Jone's own "pathways" are going to drift over toward my side of the world for a trip soon, and I'm planning to hop in the car and go meet up with her!  (We live on opposite coasts.)  Jealous?  Yep, thought you might be - we'll snap a picture! ;0)

 

Second, I received a beautiful card late Thursday from Sarah Grace Tuttle.  The postcard features a colorful, inviting painting of Commonwealth Books in Boston, Massachusetts by Bob Ecksem.  Makes me want to walk right into that shop and not come out for hours!  Sarah's poem on the back offers a celebration of snow.  I know - many of you all have probably had your fill already this year, but here's a fresh and lovely perspective:

 

Let the Snow Come

 

A cool pressure blanket

to soothe the frantic world,

made of fabric in

a purple shadow pattern

threads of moonlight glitter

seams of bare branches

that can cradle me

as I rest.

 

©Sarah Grace Tuttle

 

Well, the frantic world could definitely use a cool comforter!  And we could all do with some rest under threads of moonlight, couldn't we?  Sigh. 

 

Many thanks to Jone and Sarah Grace for these gifts.

 

This year, as I was receiving so many gorgeous, inspired, and inspiring poem postcards (see the last few posts), I got a wild hair.  I thought I'd toss in a chuckle.  So in honor of the Year of the Tyger, which came padding in at the beginning of the week, I had a little fun with "The Tyger" by William Blake (1757-1827).  

 

Poet Poet, burning bright

In the blue computer light

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful syntax-y?

...

Did he who made Iambs make thee?

 

©Robyn Hood Black, after, and with apologies to, William Blake

 

(You can find Blake's original illustrated poem, from his Songs of Innocence and Experience, here and the text only here.)

 

To my pen and ink tiger sketch, I filled in with stripes which are actually snippets from Blake's draft of "The Tyger" from one of his notebooks  (copied from a reproduction in Peter Ackroyd's book, BLAKE).  It was helpful to me that Blake had so many scratch-throughs in several lines.  These offered bold horizontal darks, and also gave me comfort that even poetic geniuses make mistakes...;0)

 

Thanks again to Jone for organizing the swap, and here's to poetry running wild in 2022!

 

Now, go pounce on Unexpected Intersections, where Elisabeth is kindly rounding up Poetry Friday this week.

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Poetry Friday - Squirrel Update, Morning Glories, and Haikupedia...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

Just a couple of nice surprises this week, and another recent one.  I'm finding I appreciate those more and more….

 

First, the pictures.

 

Out of the blue I received an update on that baby squirrel I rescued a few weeks back.  (I blogged about that here.)  The wildlife rehabilitator who took the wee one on for the long term texted me this adorable picture.  And though I initially thought it was a 'he' – I was evidently wrong.  It's a SHE.  Here's what the rehabilitator wrote:

 

She is doing really well, no injuries - she just needs to be bigger.  Maybe a month and she will be released if it's warm out, but she is sweet.  I named her Robin.  It's funny because her adopted brothers are Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, and Roo, so Christopher "Robin" just worked.  Thanks for saving her.

 

Her unexpected update made my heart happy.

 

Another more subtle surprise recently is that the  rambling morning glory vine that used to confine itself to the back fence has journeyed to the side deck stairs and covered the wonky gate as well.  When we had two beautiful red hibiscus blooms this week, I decided to take a phone picture and also discovered the gentle purple flowers photobombing the larger plant.   If a plant can be effusive, that describes the morning glory vine here lately.

 

Finally, a surprise from a couple of months ago.  I was thrilled to open an email and discover an invitation to submit a bio and picture for The Haikupedia project over at The Haiku Foundation.

 

Haiku poet and editor Tzetzka Ilieva has been helping with this massive undertaking and explains it this way:  "The objective of this enormous project, initiated by Charles Trumbull and other members of The Haiku Foundation, is to create an online encyclopedia of everything about haiku." 

 

I had heard about it and knew that noted poet, editor, publisher, and haiku historian Charles Trumbull was at the helm.  I was thrilled years ago when he was still editor at Modern Haiku and he accepted some of my work, along with offering an encouraging word or two, which I greatly appreciated.

 

Here's a one-line haiku of mine from Modern Haiku just a few years back:

 

 

one door closes morning glories

 

 

 ©Robyn Hood Black.  Modern Haiku, Vol. 49.1, Winter-Spring 2018

 

 

You can learn more about Haikupedia here.

And here's my page there; I'm thrilled to be included.  [Also, very grateful to the wicked camera skills of Ginnie Hinkle, my son's girlfriend, for the new head shots!]

 

 

Here's hoping any surprises coming your way this week are pleasant ones. For inspiring poetic surprises, be sure to visit our amazing Irene, rounding up Poetry Friday for us at Live Your Poem.  Thanks, Irene!

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Poetry Friday - My "Good Night" Poem in Highlights Hello!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - 

 

A lovely surprise in the mailbox this week.  My poem "Good Night" is on the first spread of the new issue of Highlights Hello! It's a wonderful issue, "all about bedtime."  In snappy words (with the occasionall "tips" for parents and caretakers), colorful artwork, fun activities, and smiling (& snoozing) babies, I have a feeling this magazine will be a repeat treat night after night for the youngest little listeners/lookers. 

 

It's my third time with a poem in Hello, and it's always an honor.  My poem comes to life in the gorgeous artwork of Denise Hughes, who imbues a dreamy-cozy city rooftop scene with sparkly magic. 

 

Here's the poem:

 

 

Good Night

by Robyn Hood Black

 

Crescent cradle

In the sky

Sings a silver

Lullaby.

 

Twinklestars

with golden light

Wink and kiss

The world good night. 

 

 

 ©2021 Highlights for Children.

 

The inspiration for this poem came when I was driving over the old swing bridge from the islands-side back into downtown Beaufort one evening.  It wasn't black dark yet, just that lovely indigo ombre sky, and the bright crescent moon hanging over downtown reminded me of a cradle.

 

Wishing you and yours light and love this weekend! For lots of enlightening poetry and posts, please visit the multi-talented Denise at Dare to Care

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Poetry Friday - Featured in Local Life Magazine!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Oh, I've missed you so.  I've been out of town and out of pocket much of the last couple of months.  This time last year, I was quarantined and caring for family members with Covid, right after the death of my father-in-law. What a difference a year makes.  

 

Since May, we've celebrated my sister's wedding in Florida; our son's graduation from grad school at Candler/Emory in Atlanta; a postponed-from-the-holidays family gathering on my husband's side in Georgia; and the wedding of a dear friend's daughter last weekend in Georgia. Also, on Mother's Day weekend, I made a crazy solo trip to the Upstate (the foothills and mountain-y part of South Carolina) to be the first person to see a house that was coming on the market, as we've been hunting a second home/retreat-type place closer to our kids for weekends and holidays and such.  We bought it!  And, yes, it was a crazy experience in a crazy market. 

 

Then another trip over so my hubby Jeff could see what we were buying.... Then out of the blue I learned that rent for my downtown studio/shop space was going up by 70 percent(!). So I packed up seven years worth of artistic hoarding and clunkily moved it all to my house - still sorting it out here. Shhh.  That was right after said son took much of his stuff out of the house post-graduation, to move with his girlfriend to the North Carolina high country.  (His closet is now full of art and framing supplies and such.)  Then came our house closing and moving a bunch of stuff there, and taking a week to set it up and take care of repairs and lots of little necessary things.  [Jone, if you're reading this, you'll like that I've decorated it all with Celtic/Scottish, British, and Irish themes!]

 

And in the midst of all of this wonderful activity, I was invited to submit work to the Local Life Magazine here to be the featured poet for July, and the kind editors and staff chose several summer-friendly haiku to publish this month!  The poems are accompanied by a stunning photograph from the month's featured photographer, Joan Edkhardt. What a treat and what an honor.  

 

You've probably seen most of these before, but here are the poems included, followed by names of the journals in which they first appeared:

 

 

my small insights

a hummingbird

at the trumpet flower

 

 

night thunder

shaking the house

and the dog

 

 

hatchlings - 

beyond orange tape

the sea

 

 

telling it slant

a ghost crab

slips into a hole

 

 

between 

rounds of rain

rounds of treefrogs

 

 

(Haiku originally published in Modern Haiku, Prune Juice, Frogpond, Acorn, and bottle rockets. Poems ©Robyn Hood Black.)

 

 

Click here to peruse the entire issue of our local Local Life Magazine - my poems are almost at the end, and there is a lot of fun sizzle between the covers of the "hot" July issue! 

 

For lots more summer and lots more poetry, visit our wonderful Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone! Thanks for hosting the Roundup, Molly, and Stay Cool, All. 

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Poetry Friday - The 25th Red Moon Haiku Anthology

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Lots of haiku goings-on this past week, which is great with me.

 

First, on Tuesday and Thursday, I presented an online two-part haiku workshop for the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF - near Athens, Ga.), and I loved meeting the most interesting people who participated!  Our own Carol Varsalona was there, as well as other accomplished, fascinating, curious, and generous individuals.  David Oates, who lives in Athens, made the first workshop - tuck that name into your hat for later as you scroll down.

 

Second, I've been letting a commitment simmer for a while and am now ready to stir it into something.  A long-distance friend and accomplished haiku poet asked me last year if I would write the foreword for a sparkling collection of her work.  It's the first time I've written such!  I hope to do the fine quality of her poetry justice.  Such an honor!  I'll share more when she publishes her book.

 

Third, I'm way beyond thrilled to have a poem in jar of rain,  the brand new Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku (edited by Jim Kacian and the Red Moon Editorial Staff).  It's the 25th volume in this annual series, and a standard for excellence in haiku circles.  

 

From the back cover copy:

 

The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku each year assembles the finest haiku and related forms published around the world into a single book.  This volume, twenty-fifth in the most honored series in the history of English-Language Haiku, comprises 163 poems (haiku and senryu), 20 linked forms (haibun, renku, rengay and sequences), and 6 critical pieces on the reading, writing and study of the genre.

 

Jim Kacian writes in the introduction that it's the "unofficial yearbook" of English-Language Haiku - a great description. 

 

Over the course of 2020, more than 3,000 haiku (and related works) by more than 2,000 authors from around the world were nominated for inclusion. Eleven editors read these.  Then the works were placed anonymously on a roster sent to each judge, and five of ten had to vote to include each piece.  (The editor-in-chief sat out this last part.)

 

About five years ago I had a poem included in the RMA by default, because it won honorable mention in a Haiku Society of America contest.  But this is the first time a poem of mine got plucked right out of the haiku universe, so to speak. 

 

The reason I told you to tuck David's name under your hat is that he has a poem in this volume as well, as do some other poets whose work has graced the pages of this blog over time.  David granted me permission to share his poem, so here are both of ours:

 

 

 

 

family Bible

two dates by every name

but one

 

 

©David Oates. 

Originally appeared in Kokako #32 (New Zealand), eds. Patricia Prime and Margaret Beverland.

 

 

 

 

 

cold house

the children in the pictures

divide the pictures

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black. 

Originally appeared in bottle rockets #42, ed. Stanford M. Forrester.

 

 

I love these Red Moon anthologies, because not only do they offer a sampling of fine haiku from across the globe, they hint at what was going on the world any particular year as well.  Most entries in jar of rain are pretty timeless/universal (as I suppose David's and mine are), but there are also pandemic-themed poems and linked verses. 

 

The gorgeous cover, by the way, is a detail of a woodblock print by Hiroshige, Sudden Shower over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Ataki (1857).

 

You can peruse the many offerings of Red Moon Press here, specifically jar of rain here, and learn more about David and his various creative adventures (including Wordland, his streaming show on UGA's public radio station) here

 

Karen Edmisten kindly hosts our Poetry Friday Roundup this week - Enjoy!

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Poetry Friday - a blue haiku

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I had something else planned for this week, but, alas - glitches and car issues and such, so it can emerge later.

 

And speaking of plans yet to come to fruition, I had many more Valentine-y items I was going to make for my artsyletters shop this year, but they'll keep, too.  I did get some new things in the shop and posted on Instagram, including the freshly baked necklace above with vintage letter charms I couldn't resist working with. (Listing coming this eve.)

 

On a heavier note, I've tuned in to a fair bit of the impeachment trial this week.  I can't imagine the trauma felt by those who were there, as they relive the events of the insurrection and perhaps learn new things themselves about it.  I generally keep politics out of my blog posts, but I do not agree with one my state's (SC) vocal US Senators, who recently stated he is "ready to move on."  Regardless of the trial's outcome, as a country we need to acknowledge what happened, give voice to lives lost and others forever altered, with gratitude for the amazing courage and bravery shown on Jan. 6 by those who faced the mob. Oh, and make the effort to preserve our democratic republic. 

 

So now that I've changed the tone, I'll share a somber haiku just published in bottle rockets.

 

 

one blue feather

then another

then the pile

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

bottle rockets Vol. 22, No. 2 (Issue #44)

 

I was hoping to make this the year I jumped back into Cornell's Great Backyard Bird Count, but that might have to wait another year, too.  Or maybe I can participate a little bit?!  Anyone can join in and help keep track of our amazing feathered earthly comanions.  (I did learn to identify a new visitor to my new bird feeder this week, using The Cornell Lab's wonderful phone app- a pine warbler!)

 

Thanks for reading along and making safe spaces for the gamut of human (and bird) experiences.  Be sure to visit the lovely Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone for this week's Roundup. (She happens to include a Mary Oliver poem about one of my favorite birds, the Carolina Wren.)

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Poetry Friday - One More Poem Postcard Share & Haiku Workshop

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

First, HUGE Congrats to some of our hometown poetic heroes... Monday was a big awards day in kidlit-land.  THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO, written by our own Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha & illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, and published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, was named a Caldecott Honor Book!  And A PLACE AT THE TABLE, by Saadia Faruqi and our own Laura Shovan, published by Clarion Books, was a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book.  CONGRATS, you two, and to all who were recognized across all the categories. 

 

Speaking of nice surprises, I received another New Year Poem Postcard this week!  Rebecca Herzog sent this energetic collage/haiku combination above.  I was humming along to the excerpted lyrics floating in the art on the front (love those layers!!) before reading her own musical poem on the back. 

 

 

 

A QUIET MORNING

REFLECTIONS ON A NEW YEAR

MUSIC TO MY EARS

 

 

 

Image and poem ©Rebecca Herzog.

 

 

Thanks for the uplifting mailbox gift, Becky!

 

And, speaking of haiku, I'm excited to share that I'll be leading a free online two-part haiku workshop for the Oconee County Arts Foundation (Watkinsville, Georgia) at the end of next month, February 23rd and 25th, from 1-2:30 p.m. each day. It's part of a wonderful month-long program, "Small Works Inspired by Poetry."

Click here for more info, and here for the description and registration page.   The foundation director says local and non-local folks are welcome to register. (These free workshops will not be recorded by OCAF since participants will be potentially on the screen and permissions would be required, etc.)

 

Now, tap your toes and warm up your voice - our beautiful Jan at Bookseedstudio has the Roundup today on a theme that Becky's poem and art complement perfectly! 

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