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Life on the Deckle Edge

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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Happy Thanksgiving/Happy Poetry Friday!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Poetry Friday!  

 

Just these few lines from Henry VI Part II today, that my dearest friend Sue posted, and I tracked down and borrowed...

 

O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
William Shakespeare
Henry VI, Part II, Act 1, Scene 1

 

I had just made this new ornament (with vintage elements, such as the way-cool 1964 US postage stamp celebrating The Bard), and it seemed like a good fit. Well, technically the stamp is deliciously dark with nods to Hamlet, but still. 

 

AND, one thing I am SO thankful for is the news that Janet Wong has received the NCTE Excellence in Poetry Award!!  I was so excited when I read the news on my computer last weekend that I jumped up and jammed my toe. (It's all good.)

What a fine recognition for such a Powerhouse of Poetry!!

 

--Wishing you and yours a safe & happy holiday weekend during these unusual times.

 

You'll find the Poetry Friday Roundup at Carol's Corner - Thanks, Carol!

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Poetry Friday - The Roundup is HERE! :0)

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Welcome to the Poetry Friday Roundup.  Everyone's invited! :0)

 

Do you know about "mast years" when it comes to trees?  Oaks, particularly. In a mast year, trees drop zillions of acorns on the ground, on your driveway, on your metal roof making you jump umpteen times a day, on the top of your car.... (That was a scientific description.  For a folklore-ish one, click here.)

 

Here in the Lowcountry this fall, we're crunching acorns underfoot with every step.  

 

Sometimes poets (& editors!) have a mast year.  Or at least a mast season.  

 

Take Sylvia Vardell, for example.  No sooner did she welcome her wonderful new anthology, A WORLD FULL OF POEMS (DK Children) into the world, than it was time to launch the newest collection from Pomelo Books with co-poetic-superhero Janet Wong, HOP TO IT - Poems to Get You Moving.  (Here's the link.  And here's a link to my poem in it, and a graphic with the Blog Tour schedule.)

 

This fun new anthology features a hundred poems designed to get us all up and moving around, or at least to offer some much-needed mini-breaks during a long school day (virtual or in-person), sprinkled with fun facts and inviting illustrations by Franzi Paetzold. 

 

Each poem is complemented by Sylvia's always-terrific activity suggestions, a fun fact nugget, a spot illustration, a teeny language arts or poetry connection, and a book title on a similar subject.  But wait - there's more!  In the EXTRA! EXTRA! section at the end, you'll find even MORE resources and ideas to keep the poetry, and your body, hopping! 

 

And, speaking of trees, here's a poem from HOP TO IT by our own Margaret Simon, just begging to be acted out:

 

 

ZEN TREE

 

I am a tree.

A tree is what I want to be.

I spread my branches wide. 

I stand tall.

I reach my roots into deep earth.

I grow and grow and grow.

And at the end of the day,

when the sun falls down,

and sprinkles orange all over my leaves,

I wrap myslef in a holding hug.

 

 

©Margaret Simon.  Used with permission.

 

 

 I can think of a couple of other folks who are having a mast year when it comes to published books...

 

Check out Irene Latham's website here, and visit her book pages! So many wonderful new titles, just THIS year, including one co-authored with Charles Waters, DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD, which is a favorite of one of my daughter's students in Georgia. 

 

Then there's Laura Purdie Salas's treasure trove of new titles this year... Find out about them here.  And for nonfiction lovers, Laura shared so much goodness in her Small Reads November newsletter, including a long peek at NONFICTION WRITERS DIG DEEP, edited by Melissa Stewart. 

 

All of these books would make FABulous holiday gifts, don't you think? 

 

As would Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's follow up to READ, READ READ.  It's called... WRITE WRITE WRITE!  (Click here for  more.)

 

And Jeannine Atkins's new title in the footsteps of FIDNING WONDERS, this one about math:  GRASPING MYSTERIES - Girls Who Loved Math.  (Click here for more.)

 

If you need book ideas for the wee-est of wee ones, check out Heidi Bee Roemer's books here. What little one could resist a book called PEEKITY BOO - What YOU Can Do!

 

I've already gifted Morgan, my daughter who teaches third grade, a copy of HOP TO IT, and a few others!  And other folks on my Christmas list will be getting some poetry....

 

The great thing about giving poetry is that it both enriches the recipient, and supports everyone who works so hard to create these treasures.  

 

These ideas are in NO way complete or conclusive!  MANY wonderful titles (maybe yours?) have recently made their way into the world and would make a wonderful present for some young, curious soul - or a young-at-heart one!  Feel free to mention your own suggestions in the comments, and readers can peruse those, too.

 

For the best gift ideas ever, be sure to check out Jama Kim Rattigan's "Nine Cool Things on a Tuesday" posts over at her Alphabet Soup blog.  Here's a link to the post from Nov. 3, which I am thrilled and honored to have a mention in!  (Thanks, Jama, and Mr. C.)

 

In fact, a few of us Poetry Friday-ers have Etsy shops.  Michelle Kogan offers bright and colorul and inspirational art and products sure to delight a recipient.  (Click here.)

 

Last week's host, Susan Bruck, offers colorful wool wares and more at SoulBlossomLiving on Etsy. 

 

And here's a link to my shop, artsyletters.  (By the way, I'll soon send out my little holiday postcard.  If you don't receive it already and would like to be added to my real-world mailing list, shoot me an email with your real-world address.) 

And, can you keep a secret?  It'll have a 15 percent off coupon code good through Dec. 15.  Okay, I'll tell you the code, but shhhhh.... please don't post or share widely.  It's for my special peeps!  You can enter STAR15 in the Coupon Code box, or just use this link directly.  I will be listing several new items in the next couple of weeks, so feel free to keep that handy for Cyber Week shopping, or whenever you might need a gift for a reader or writer or POET on your holiday list. 

 

Your post, I know, will be a gift to readers this week!  Please include your link in a comment below, and I'll round up old-school-style and list the links right here starting Friday morning. Happy Poetry Friday!

 

 

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

 

Little Willow starts us off this week with a lovely moonlit offering at Bildungsroman.

 

Ever-busy Laura Purdie Salas shares a personal post and poem today at Small Reads for Brighter Days.  She wrote "When Hope is Not Easy" just before the 2016 election, and revisits it now, with some light from the recent one. 

 

I'm beyond humbled and delighted that Linda Mitchell grabbed some inspiration here last week and shares two original haiku/haiga - one gentle, one sharp - perfect for November. Enjoy at A Word Edgewise!

 

Heidi, who has been oh-so-busy serving on the NCTE Poetry Awards Committee (!), chimes in with an aubade in response to a Sunday Swaggers challenge. Her poem, and post, brim with "extra unexpected joy" as always, at My Juicy Little Universe

 

You might guess from his blog's title, "Poetry Pizzazz," that Alan J. Wright loves alliteration.  He shares a fun original alliterative poem today, and some bits of bewitching backstory. 

 

This lifelong dog lover is wagging away at Laura Shovan's offering today... does your dog 'help' you do yoga, too? Enjoy Laura's original poem, a couple of book recommendations and of COURSE - cute dog pix. 

 

Michelle in celebrating World Kindness Day at Today's Little Ditty, with a remarkable poem by psychiatrist Helen Montague Foster.  (I'll be sharing this post with my psychiatrists hubby!)

 

Have you seen the movie, Arrival? Have you lived through a quarantine?  And answer to either or both of those will set you up to appreciate Tabatha's offering at The Opposite of Indifference today - a poem by Natalia Conte.

 

One reason I so love Poetry Friday, beyond the delicious poetry, is that I'm always learning something new!  The lovely Janice Scully shares a perfectly peaceful post and picture today at Salt City Verse, with a reflective haiku and an explanation of "meromictic" - what a fun word!

 

At Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, Matt Forrest Essenwine gives us a sneak peek at a new anthology featuring some poetic and artistic stars from New England - FRIENDS & ANEMONES - Ocean Poems for Children. (Is that a great title, or what?!)  One of Matt's poems in the book will have you taking a stern look over the bow....

 

More moonlight magic awaits over at Teacher Dance today, where the ever-lovely Linda shares a poetic treasure she found in an old book from the beloved bookstore where she helps out.  It's Walter de la Mare's "Silver" - how have I lived up to now without this poem? It's pure shimmer. 

 

The sparkle doesn't stop there.  Get ready for some serious ooh-ing and ahh-ing at Beyond Literacy Link, where Carol shares poems and GORgeous paintings inspired by her many recent "awe walks" in Autumn.

 

If your feet are more fidget-y than stroll-y, Kathryn Apel has the poem for you with some more HOP TO IT fun! I was delighted to 'meet' Kat in a recent Zoom gathering celebrating the release of the book.  Today, Kat shares her reading of her poem there, "Fit as a Fidget" - along with a writing prompt, too!  

 

At her Alphabet Soup, Jama offers the most delicious post featuring a delightful, diminutive kitchen diva and her multi-legged kitchen crew, who star in The Tiny Baker by Hayley Barrett and illustrated by Alison Jay.  This rhyming picture book will have you looking at any wayward bug that lands in your kitchen with a new eye!

 

I don't know exactly what time it is in Switzerland right now, but you'd have to get up pretty early to keep up with Bridget and her ever-clever way with words.  Today she enlightens us about the many mushrooms popping up all over, with plenty of puns and a fun wee poem!  (Is it a mast year for mushrooms over there?) Hopo on over to Wee Words for Wee Ones and see for yourself. 

 

Michelle Kogan is readying for an art show and also an online poetry reading through the Poetry Foundation, but she's got a few goodies to savor in the midst of the flurries, including some original haiku and art.  Good luck with all, Michelle!

 

At Lit Bits and Pieces, Fran extends the tree theme this week with a rich post of wonder, poetry, images - and even some science behind tree communication - it 'leaves' me both challenged and nourished. 

 

And twist my arm to share another post featuring haiku!  At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee brings us haiku from her daily diary (even if they all didn't make it onto Twitter).  You'll recognize our 'present moment' in many of them, with nods to current events. 

 

At Nix the Comfort Zone, Molly offers some thoughtful photographs and haiku, and an inadvertent life lesson on perspective. Thanks, Molly!

 

Kimberly Hutmacher brings us words from one of the geographical front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a somber haiku and a hopeful haiku. (I share Kimberly's frustration, as our family and extended family has experienced illness and loss because of the virus.)

 

Margaret, at Reflections on the Teche, reflects on another big news story, the election - with her couldn't-help-herself poem in response to events with inspiration from other poetic voices.  

 

Yay - Rose at Imagine the Possibilities is Hopping to It as well today, with a post featuring her oh-so-fun "Can You Wriggle Like a Worm."  Well, can you? ;0)

 

Our Dear Jan of BookSeed Studio has a Mast Year of a post today - with her responses to the election, and history, and Veteran's Day, and her beloved.  Grab a second cup of tea and enjoy all the thoughtfulness and links.  She also offers up a GREAT suggestion for a book for these times, Georgia Heard's THIS PLACE I KNOW - Poems of Comfort.  (Jan has excerpts.)

 

At There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town, Ruth shares a poignant and powerful poem by Miroslav Holub from Naomi Shihab Nye's anthology, THIS SAME SKY.

 

True to Irene's bountiful year this year, her post today at Live Your Poem is a buffet: she's highlighting three poetry books (including HOP TO IT!) which would make wonderful holiday gifts, and she's got a poem as part of her ArtSpeak series, which is a gift across space and time. 

 

Karen Eastlund is in this week with more beautiful fall photographs and an equally lovely poem. How many shades of yellow can you think of? :0)

 

The amazing Myra brings us a voice I look forward to learning more about:  Vidyan Ravinthiran.  She has his poem "As a Child" at Gathering Books today - so powerful. 

 

--I am off to keep shop a bit - running late!  - but will return this afternoon.  Thanks to all for participating!!--

 

And... Closing out the day (well, the Eastern time one here!) is Jone Rush MacCulloch!  What a treat to get to go on so many walks in Fall woods with you folks this week, and peek at journals, pictures, art. Jone shares all three this week, part of her #Autumn Gratiku series.  AND, you can sign up for her New Year's Poem Postcard Swap, too!

 

WAIT - There's more!  Carol at The Apples in My Orchard brings us along on a trip to their beautiful cabin celebrating the warmth of this cozy getaway with some hiaku.  Ahhhh....  AND, Carol is a long time Etsy seller, too!  Check out her lovely handmade jewelry and unique face masks at CarolsJewelryOrchard on Etsy. 

 

And don't miss Susan's post at Soul Blossom Living.  It made me slow down and tear up.  She takes us on a prairie walk, with a rich long look at gratitude this November, and her poem about it.  (It's multi-sensory - she has video links, too!)

 

I am so grateful for you all.

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Poetry Friday - Helping Hand Haiku and a World of Thanks

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

What a week.  In the midst of the chaos and anticipation and general global angst, bright spots have been found.  First, a big THANKS to Jama Kim Rattigan, who kindly included some of my artsyletters wares in her "Nine Cool Things on a Tuesday" post - she does find the COOLest things, with help from Mr. Cornelius, of course. I enjoyed the delightful diversions!

 

Also, I've just started perusing the latest haiku anthology from Robert Epstein, THE HELPING HAND HAIKU ANTHOLOGY (Including Senryu, Tanka, and Haiga).  The collection includes poems about kindness between humans and non-humans alike.  It's hot off the press, and I've not had time to read much yet. But it's a refreshing tonic for these stressful days!

 

Robert was kind enough to include three of my haiku:

 

 

sorting darks and lights

my love note

in his pocket

 

HSA Members' Anthology, 2019 - A Moment's Longing, edited by Tanya McDonald.

 

 

 

blue mask she smiles with her eyes

 

 

 

hatchlings - 

beyond orange tape,

the sea

 

Frogpond 42:3, Fall 2019

 

 

And, finally, I'm running around trying to get my shop ready for our November First Friday event.  (Masks required!)  As we did last month, we'll have a table set up with cards and pens for folks to write holiday notes to deployed service members.  I was running shy of the total Thank You cards I wanted to send this month, so I asked my daughter Morgan if her third graders might want to write some. 

 

They were excited to participate, she said, and wrote them this week.  (She made a lesson out of it.)  That daughter of mine also enlisted fellow third-grade classrooms, so she'll be mailing me a whole bunch to send!  I can't wait to receive them and send them on with others I've been collecting.  Now I can get the December batch going.

 

I am grateful for TEACHERS, for all the active duty MILITARY who serve, and for our VETERANS (Happy Veterans' Day next week!).  I'm grateful for kindnesses great and small.  I'm grateful for poetry.  And, for YOU!

 

Fellow Etsy shop owner Susan has our Poetry Friday Roundup over at Soul Blossom Living today - thanks, Susan!  (You can find her on Etsy at SoulBlossomLiving - she even has a fun felted mouse kit! And circle back here next week, where I'll be Rounding Up with some HOP TO IT fun & poetic holiday gift ideas.)

 

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Poetry Friday - Found Poem Collage & How-To!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  This week I had the wonderful opportunity to present a workshop for the young creators of the 2020 Camp Conroy. Pat Conroy was a devoted and lifelong teacher at heart, as you might know about the acclaimed author, beloved around the world as well as here in his own Lowcountry. For the third year, the Pat Conroy Literacy Center has assembled a team of top-notch creative teachers  who spend a couple of weeks in intensive workshopping and creating with eager participants.  An extra person is brought in here or there, and I got to be one of those folks this year!  Of course, when I signed on months ago, who knew we would all be doing these things v-i-r-t-u-a-l-l-y.....?  

 

But Center Director Jonathan Haupt and his fearless Camp Conroy team - Miho Kinnas, Lisa Anne Cullen, and Robin Prince Monroe - (three amazing published writers, poets, teachers and visual artists - look 'em up!) embraced the challenge and have been offering a lively and nurturing experience via Zoom.  One bonus of this arrangement this year is that a few young creators are chiming in from other parts of the world, contributing their own creations to what the local Campers will produce as group projects and collections. 

 

"This is our chance to share a little bit of Camp Conroy's Great Love with all of those sheltering and educating at home this summer," they say. Plans are for local participants to gather in July for an in-person event celebrating the unveiling of this year's "Camp Conroy Book."

 

I led a Found Poem Mixed Media Collage workshop, much like the one I led for Poetry Camp out in Bellingham, Washington, a few years ago, and have since offered in Beaufort, too.  But how to do this from a distance?  Now, that was a little trickier. 

 

First, I made supply kits for each participant and added them to the big pre-Camp mailing the Center was doing. Check.

 

Then, I recorded a how-to video - my first time trying such a thing. Should be a piece of cake, I thought, having posted all those poem-reading videos on my Robyn Hood Black YouTube Channel in April.  Right?  Well, the recording part took a while (this is usually a 90-minute to two-hour workshop, after all), but thanks to my new little phone tripod, I got it done. 

 

Then I put all the pieces parts together, editing and chopping, editing and chopping.  Then I tried to upload the video. 

 

"Mwaaa - haaaa - haaaaa" laughed all the invisible techno-gods in unison at my hubris. I tried uploading to YouTube, on my heretofore unused artsyletters Channel.  Hours and hours (a couple of different overnights, even....) - No Go.  Stuck at 99 percent and then - failure.  I tried uploading to the Center's Dropbox.  Hours and hours... well, you get the picture.  

 

So here's a tip, stumbled onto after bleary-eyed days of looking for some magical virtual key - worth your reading of this post, if nothing else:  to upload a video longer than 15 minutes to YouTube, you have to have a verified account.  What's a verified account?  You go to settings (I think - it's all a blur) and look around for the "Verify account" option.  Then, you simply type in your cell phone number or email address and wait for one of those handy six-digit codes banks often use to make sure you are you and not a robot.  Type in the six numbers, and  - poof!  You're verified.  And your - cough-cough - 48-minute cinematic feat might just upload in less than two hours, and process fairly quickly after that.  (Insert emoji with hand slapping forehead right about here.)

 

Back to poetry.  So the video was made accessible, and the young campers had a day or two to work on their collages before we all "met" on Wednesday afternoon.  As always when working with kids, I was amazed at their creativity and fresh perspectives.  Some were still working on theirs, but several pieces were to a finished or at least share-able stage.  Such talented writers and artists!! I'm always energized seeing what creative young folks come up with. Oh, and the three teachers played along in a closing found-poem activity, too - I can tell they are all having as much fun as the kids.

 

Above you see the collage I made as a sample.  The text is from a 1960-ish EduCard featuring a science experiment.  I "found" a poem about balance because:  1.) There's a wonderful yoga studio above the Literary Center; 2.) I've been inspired by so many people taking a Stand lately; and, 3.) I probably - nope, definitely - need a little more balance in my life.

Anyway, here is the poem:

 

 

 

Keep in Balance

 

 

 

earth pulls       everthing

 

     to center.  This place

 

    will not fall

 

when your body is 

 

    "base"

 

  You will

 

Stand

 

         bring your center 

and see what happens.

 

 

Poem found by Robyn Hood Black. 

 

 

If you're looking for a creative project to wile away a summer day, or if you need an activity for kids or grandkids or such, feel free to have a look at the video I made! There's a mini studio tour at the beginning.  It's a bit choppy, with my crazed efforts at making it shorter so it would load somewhere, etc., but you'll get the steps.  You can adapt this project to materials you have handy, and improvise away, too!

Here's the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVo_d5CqgBs

 

Wishing you a balanced weekend during which you find lots of poetry... you can start over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, where the lovely Tricia has our Roundup this week!  (Program Note - I'll be taking a wee little break for the next couple of Fridays, but see you in July!  And, if you don't get my quarterly(-ish) artsyletters newsletter, I'll be sending one out soon; you can sign up here. )  Thanks, and take good care!

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Poetry Friday - Now That You Have Time to Read and Write... David G. Lanoue's HAIKU GUY OMNIBUS (& More!)

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Happy Spring!  It's a comfort that the seasons still appear in turn.  

 

"Surreal" is definitely the word which keeps popping up like the daffodils.  I hope you and yours are well. 

 

If you're shuttered and going a little stir-crazy, maybe you're tackling that big pile of books on the bedroom nightstand?  Or ordering new books?  You might recall being curious about David G. Lanoue's HAIKU GUY series, after reading about it here somewhere, or maybe even half a dozen years ago in a column I wrote on Janice Hardy's Fiction University blog.  Well, good news!  To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series, David has JUST released the HAIKU GUY OMNIBUS!  

 

This hefty, handy paperback features HAIKU GUY, LAUGHING BUDDHA, HAIKU WARS, FROG POET, and DEWDROP WORLD, all in one place. 

 

The back cover copy explains it well:

 

Five interconnected narratives explore the art of haiku by following the adventures of Buck-Teeth, a fictional student of haiku master Cup-of-Tea (the historical Issa).  Sliding easily back and forth between Old Japan and contemporary New Orleans, between the unfolding stories and the author's writing group commenting on those stories, the five meandering narratives reflect on the meaning of life, the purpose of poetry, and the search for enlightenment.  Though each little novel stands alone, together they form parts of a greater whole that, author David G. Lanoue suggests, can be discovered in the same way that one finds shapes in midsummer clouds - hence his advice to the reader with which he ends his Preface, "Squint hard."

 

These stories are both entertaining and inspiring, and unlike anything you've read before!  If you haven't read them, I know you'll enjoy the journey. 

 

Many of you know David through his "Daily Issa" contributions to your inbox. I don't know about you, but in these more-than-challenging times, I lap these up like a hummingbird at a trumpet flower. Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) is beloved as one of the early haiku masters who found beauty in and connection with all living things despite a life full of hardships. (Here is info about David's Issa books.) 

 

David teaches English and world literature at Xavier College in New Orleans and is a translator of Japanese haiku as well as a writer. He was president of the Haiku Society of America from 2013 to 2015.  In addition to poetry and these unique haiku/fiction combinations, his books also include scholarly criticism, and the wonderful WRITE LIKE ISSA how-to guide, which I'm thrilled to have a poem in. 

 

Thursday's "Daily Issa" haiku was perfect for the first day of Spring:

 

 

at my dinner tray

a sparrow chirps...

spring rain

 

 

I featured a few of David's Issa haiku on some seasonal business-card-sized poem cards in my Etsy shop, including this one for Spring:

 

 

the mountain sunset

within my grasp...

spring butterfly

 

 

(I've also featured this particular card in a Send Spring Cheer pack I've just come up with. My idea is to encourage folks to send notes to those who might be feeling especially isolated right now.  The pack includes my wren and book note cards, eight first-class flower Forever stamps, eight spring Issa cards, and a sheet of sparkly red heart stickers.  It's listed at just a feather above my cost with free shipping, ready-made with all that's needed for sending, except the writer's personal note and the walk to the mailbox.)

 

Many thanks, and hearty congratulations, to David for the new book!  And much appreciation for the beauty and kindness added to the world through so many works. 

 

Sending love to all in these trying days.  I hope the chatter of birds and the surprise of new blooms can cheer your heart as you venture out for some fresh air and Vitamin D each day.  (And for those of you in snow, I hope Spring arrives soon!)

 

For more poetry (and art!) to help you through, please visit the lovely and talented Michelle Kogan for this week's Roundup.

 

All in this together. XO

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Poetry Friday - A Wee Evergreen Found Poem...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Have you been among the 75 percent of the country unpacking coats and scarves and socks this week?  Brrrr!  It's been two layers of sweaters on the Chihuahua for her morning walks the past few days...

 

Perhaps it gets us in the mood for the holiday season, though.  Thursday night our little downtown began an initiative for shops to stay open until 7 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays.  I tossed my beret into the ring and agreed, with just a few exceptions for holidays themselves.  

 

So the elves are busy, busy - though not nearly as far along as I thought they'd be by now!  (Okay, truth be told, the one rather sleep-deprived and overworked elf is still working on getting a bunch of new items listed on Etsy this weekend. Bring on the coffee!  The tea!  The hot chocolate!) ;0)  I'm slowly getting more collage & altered pieces-in-progress finished up, like the one above celebrating the coming holly-laced holidays.

 

 

lovers of
delight turn
to


evergreens,

holly and
mistletoe
with
ivy

 

©Robyn Hood Black, found in "The Garden in December" in a bound compilation of Cassell's Family Magazine, Cassell & Company Limited, London, Paris & Melbourne, 1890.

 

(More coming soon, including ornaments!)

 

In the meantime, I'm hoping to catch up on some Poetry Friday visiting during the quiet stretches in the studio.  One never knows, but there's usually a good bit of quiet in those open hours, since I'm tucked upstairs in a historic building,.  Folks have to 1.) want to come up and 2.) be able to navigage those steep stairs if they do! 

 

This week's Roundup start with a big ol' par-TAY over at Michelle's Today's Little Ditty, with the launch of THE BEST OF TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY 2017-18.  (I'm thrilled to have two poems in another volume in this series!) Poetry always makes a good gift, no?   Enjoy the festivities, and all the great links Michelle is rounding up. Congrats, Michelle, and Cheers to all!

 

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Poetry Friday - Welcome, November - and... Influencers!

(Link in process!) 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers -- Happy November!  (I know - I can't believe it either....)

 

While away last week during my annual crazy stretch of author school visits in the Atlanta area, I got to catch up with a dear and wonderful author friend of mine. A couple of years ago, I think it was, she introduced me to the term "influencer" re. social media.  Her very creative daughter, a young mom, was working at home as an Instagram influencer.  (If I understand it right, some folks with an artistic eye and savvy business sense - and with lots of follwers - are compensated by companies for featuring their products in enticing lifestyle shots.)

 

I've heard the phrase quite a lot since that conversation, also because I have a 20-something-year-old daughter myself who follows a couple of these accounts.

 

Influence is a term and idea we could discuss over coffee or tea, and I think we'd have to refill the cups more than once. As we turn the corner toward the end of this year and the beginning of a new one - an election year - I've been pondering getting more involved than I usually do. (At least after the holiday glitter and dust settle. I've now switched gears into 'happily frenzied mode' with my art business for the next several weeks.)  

 

Anyway, I've been given the contact information for a local person helping with the South Carolina campaign effort for a presidential candidate I admire, and I hope to reach out and be a tad useful in the new year.  

 

Election Day for this year is this coming Tuesday, Nov. 5.  Hence, my sharing the little magnet above (the gloss is still drying), made with a commemorative US postage stamp issued in 1968 - "Register & Vote."  I am in love with the typeface on this stamp, and that glorious weathervane eagle.  Probably some glass cab jewelry and bookmarks will happen, too.... ;0)

 

Here's a short poem for pondering, written by 19th-Century theologian and hymn writer Frederick William Faber, found in one of the delightful Victorian books in my studio stash, Golden Thoughts on Mother, Home and Heaven from Poetic and Prose Literature of All Ages and All Lands (Gotta love those Victorian titles!), New York:  E. B. Treat, 1879.

 

 

Power of Influence

 

by F. W. Faber

 

Our many deeds, the thoughts that we have thought, 

They go out from us thronging every hour;

And in them all is folded up a power

That on the earth doth move them to and fro;

And mighty are the marvels they have wrought,

In hearts we know not, and may never know.

 

 

Poetry Friday is ALWAYS a good influence on me!  So is today's host. For the Roundup, move thyself over to The Opposite of Indifference, where the ever-creative and ever-thoughtful Tabatha always inspires. 

 

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Poetry Friday - A Little 'Grave' Poetry...



Greetings, Poetry (& Halloween) Lovers!

 

To celebrate this particular season of the year (my favorite), I thought a little 'grave' poetry was in order.  So here is something by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894):

 

 

Requiem
 
Under the wide and starry sky,
    Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
    And I laid me down with a will.

 

This be the verse you grave for me:
    Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill.

 

 

Lilting and lovely for a weighty subject, isn't it? (Learn more about RLS here.)

 

This poem was penned in 1890, and our dear poet requested it be inscribed on his tombstone.  On December 3, 1894, Stevenson collapsed and died, possibly suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. Born in Edinburgh, he had traveled quite a bit and had moved his family to Samoa four or five years before his death.  He is buried in a tomb at Mt. Vaea, where he had built a beautiful estate, and the poem is indeed inscribed there.  

  

At this online site of the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum there, you can peek into the rooms of the mansion he built (restored after storm damage in the 1990s), enjoy the lush vistas, and see the tomb upon which those lines above are inscribed. 

 

[Photo/studio aside...  Every day or two this month I've been posting "October Offerings" on my artsylettersgifts Instagram, - & would love some more followers!  The bookmark featured with Stevenson's poem above includes a snippet of a Victorian illustration from 1869, when our poet would have been 19 years old. :0)  ]

 

And speaking of beautiful people with South Pacific connections, our one and only Jama is rounding up Poetry Friday this week at Jama's Alphabet Soup!  I'm sure Mr. Cornelius is helping. I recently purchased her Hawai'ian story, THE WOMAN IN THE MOON, simply because I didn't have it, and I love folktales!  Here's a link to Jama's Amazon page in case you need a copy of DUMPLING SOUP or TRUMAN'S ANT FARM.  Jama's writing in any form is timeless!

 

Note: After our 35th Furman reunion this weekend (!)  I'll be frolicking/working hard just north of Atlanta doing author school visits for Cobb EMC/Gas South's Literacy Week. So this post will still be up next Friday.  The host for Poetry Friday NEXT week will be the lovely Karen Edmisten.  I hope to catch up on my own Poetry Friday rounding/reading during downtime in the hotel next week! :0) 

Thanks for coming by. 

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Poetry Friday - To the Moon, and Friday the 13th!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Back from our "hurrication" and all is well at our humble abode; Beaufort was very fortunate for the most part.  Thanks for the kind wishes last week!

 

If you're still keeping a weather eye out, you might know that this is Friday the 13th - AND, a full moon!  The next time those two tingly occurances will coincide will be August 13, 2049.  (Quick, do the math - how old will you be?!) 

 

This is a Harvest Moon, because it occurs closest to the Autumnal equinox.  It's not feeling much like fall in many places, including here, at the moment.... but I've seen a wee leaf drift here or there. And I got a good look at the almost-full moon as I came out of my studio last night; its face was so very clear!

 

I have a thing for the number 13, having researched it for a former poetry project that may or may not ever come to harvest.  It's a number that's a bit bewitching of course, as is the moon.... All that feminine energy, 13 lunar months in a year, and such.  

 

In Act V of Shakespeare's The Tempest, we read of Caliban: 

 

  His mother was a witch, and one so strong/That could control the moon.

 

For more playful enjoyment of today's "lunacy," here is a poem by Robert Louis Stephenson (1850-1894)...

 

 

The Moon

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

 

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

 

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

 

 

That first line, and several others, make my swooooon!  I'm sure we could come up with a clever "moon/swoon" line.  In fact, just one more line and we'd have a 13-line poem.

 

This time of year in my artsyletters studio, things begin to get a little dark.... I'm beginning to add to my "haunted jewelry" section, and some darkly delicious elements are creeping into other items. For instance, how could I resist the little black cat charm in the bookmark above, in vintage picasso/jet Czech glass?  And how could I resist dangling a vintage pewter articulated fish skeleton beneath it?  

 

Fall brings out the mischief in me. Lots more studio mischief to come. (I have some more black and orange earrings, for instance, made with snips from a magazine cover from the 1860s - when Robert Louis Stephenson was still a teenager!) I'm also still playing with skeleton images under glass cabs, from a French encyclopedia page from the 1920s. I can't help myself. I've got some Nevermore/Raven earrings, too, which I try to keep stocked at the amazing bookstore around the corner from my shop, Nevermore Books. (If you need to indulge your dark-side aesthetic sensibilities to help you embrace the impending season, click over to their home page and enjoy the ambiance.)

 

Here's to the Friday the 13th Full Moon - may you dance, howl, bay, prance, and most of all, compose poetry bathed in its lovely, spooky light! And here's to Laura Purdie Salas, celebrating aNOTHER wonderful new picture book and hosting us all for Poetry Friday at Writing the World for Kids. (She's got a give-away, too!)

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