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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Wordplay over at Mary Lee's! (& my artsy newsletter info)

 

Quick Wave from the Front Lines of Summer!  Somehow Friday rolled back around before I was poetically ready.  Be sure to visit Mary Lee for the Roundup - and for a fun, blitzy poem. 

 

Since tomorrow is another wonderful "folk arrival day" at Chez Black, and since it's also First Friday downtown and my shop is, um, a disaster at the moment... I didn't get a post together.  But I did get an "enhanced" artsyletters newsletter out Thurs. eve. - a TRAVEL EDITION with pictures!  If you're intersted, shoot me an email and I'll forward it to you.  (You can sign up for future newsletters on the right side of the page here.) 

 

Happy Weekending!

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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 - ISSA's Seasonal Haiku - on Mini Cards!



Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

I hope your year is off to a good start. With the turn of the calendar, I got inspired to create some mini haiku cards - one for each season. Each card features a poem by haiku master Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), translated by Dr. David G. Lanoue. (Hint - need to peruse Issa's seasonal haiku? Just go to David's HaikuGuy.com, find the Kobayashi Issa website page, and type in the season - or any subject - you're looking for, and you'll be rewarded with relevant results from David's 10,000-plus translations! You can also learn how to sign up for "Daily Issa" - a haiku each day in your inbox. I love these and I know some of you are seasoned fans, too.)

Here are the haiku I selected to feature on the cards. Let's start with spring,which, if I understand the Japanese calendar in Issa's time correctly, would be just a week or two away right now and which would herald a new year.


the mountain sunset
within my grasp ...
spring butterfly


summer mountain -
with each step more
of the sea


from leaf to leaf
tumbling down ...
autumn dew


first winter rain -
the world fills up
with haiku



Poems by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue. Used with permission.


For the cards, I lettered each haiku in an italic hand. Then I scanned an antique map (Rand, McNally & Co.'s Map of the World, from an 1885 Business Atlas) into Photoshop as a background, making sure Japan was included in the small section. I digitally adjusted colors to suggest each season - pink for spring (cherry blossoms, after all!), green for summer, browns for fall, and an icy blue for winter. The back of each card is the same, acknowledging Issa as poet and David as translator. I had the designs commercially printed onto 2-inch by 3 1/2-inch cards with gloss coating on the fronts.

I'm making these available in little gift bags with one of each card, or for sale as individual designs. This week I tucked a little bag into a friend's birthday card before mailing! And, well, there's Valentine's Day coming up... click here if you'd like to see these in my Etsy shop.

And be sure to click over to Beyond Literacy Link, where the lovely and tireless Carol has this week's Roundup. She has a call to participate in her Winter Wonderland Gallery, too - check it out for lots of cozy company in poetry and art!

Before you go, what is your favorite season? Can you pick a favorite haiku from the small sampling above?
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Poetry Friday - Little Bits & Leftovers (Found Poetry Ornaments)


Happy Post-Thankgsgiving!

I hope you and yours had a warm and wonderful holiday together. As some face empty chairs at the table, or empty pockets, and as we often cringe to turn on the news, shared times of celebration are to be especially savored.

As are leftovers! Today I have some little bits to share which don't add calories. In recent years, I've been able to find great little gold frames to use for found poem ornaments for my Etsy shop, but they are elusive. This year I found some silver(ish) photo frames made the same way, but they're a bit rough around the edges. They are lightweight - aluminum? - and they have scritches and scratches, particularly at the tops.

No matter - I had to conjure up a few ornaments with them anyway. Two regular sized ones; two tiny ones, for now. (I finished listing these while traveling, and one listing got swallowed up in some cyber black hole on Etsy. I'll get it posted later Friday after I'm back.[Update - fixed now!])

I used vintage stamps for the images on one side of these, and found poems/phrases clipped from GOLDEN DAYS For Boys and Girls, Vol. XVIII -- No. 6, December 26, 1896, (and one from January 22, 1898) [Philadelphia: James Elverson, Publisher] on the others.

The first is my wish for this season:

kind,
indulgent
Christmas Eve
People
everywhere.


It has a postage stamp with a classic painting of the nativity on the back. I'm not sure of its country of origin.

The second, from an article about making Christmas gifts:

you have made
beauty
perfectly
like
old gold and
scarlet


with a beautiful Australian Christmas nativity stamp on the reverse side, printed in a gorgeous red (on my handpainted verdigris background).

The third, a small one and the one temporarily lost on Etsy, has a Canadian Christmas stamp on the back - a jolly Santa! - and the following:

buried up
drifted
what fun it was
all bundled up



The fourth, also small, is perhaps my favorite. And I do hope you'll forgive/indulge me. The stamp side features a four-cent US postage stamp from 1977 which reads, "A Public That Reads - A Root of Democracy" (backed by the handpainted verdigris).

Here's the found text:

heathenish
Christmas
liberal


For this one, a quote by G K. Chesterton (1874-1936) floated in my mind: "Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly."

I've made lots of new magnets this year with letters and vintage literary stamps (new Emily D!), and I posted a bit of a magnet how-to on my artsyletters site. I also featured that Chesterton quote in my new artsyletters letter newsletter, and there's a sign-up button on the right at artsyletters.com. Seasonal only - I won't have my act together to conjure one up more often than four times a year! ;0) Here are links to my Etsy shop magnet section and ornament section. (Free shipping on orders of $25 & up this Black Friday through Cyber Monday!) ;0)

Whatever shape your own leftovers take - culinary or literary - I hope you have a relaxing and peaceful weekend before the whirlwind of December! Continue the poetic celebrating over at Carol's Corner, where Carol is Rounding Up and sharing Carole Boston Weatherford's SCHOMBURG: THE MAN WHO BUILT A LIBRARY.
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Poetry Friday - Poe and Unexpected Gifts


October Greetings, Poetry Peeps! I do love this month so.

At the moment, various projects with a spooky bent are strewn around my studio. I’ve been acquiring vintage or literary-themed postage stamps lately, and when I stumbled upon this recent 2009 image above celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allen Poe, well – more on that in a minute. The 42-cent stamp features a portrait by Michael J. Deas, who, according to the USPS web page about the stamp, is also an expert on portraits and daguerreotypes of the mysterious author and poet.

Even in miniscule form, I find Deas’s portrait haunting and full of life… the eyes really do follow you! I also recently discovered a wholesale supplier of hearty pewter shepherd’s hook bookmarks, ready for the addition of charms or oddities. And I found a wonderful pewter raven charm. Somehow I knew these things all needed to come together, so I placed the stamp on a vintage-y cardstock background (re-purposed from part of an old promotional postcard I’d had printed a few years ago) and made a magnet, then made a bookmark with a few links of black chain and the pewter components, and combined these with a pack of my raven note cards. Voilà – a Raven-Poe Gift Pack. (I’ve gone a little crazy with new gift packs to add to my regulars – other new ones pictured above, all made in a similar fashion, include a Bird Lover’s Pack, a Cat Lover’s Pack, A Book Lover’s Pack, and an additional Teacher Gift Pack.)

Back to Poe - Here are two excerpts from Poe’s 1850 poem, “The Bells”


                     The Bells
           by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

                            I

      Hear the sledges with the bells-
            Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
      How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
      While the stars that oversprinkle
      All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
      Keeping time, time, time,
      In a sort of Runic rhyme,
    To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
      From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
            Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


                            IV

          Hear the tolling of the bells-
              Iron Bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
      In the silence of the night,
      How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
      For every sound that floats
      From the rust within their throats
              Is a groan. …



For the poem its in entirety, click here.


Speaking of stamps, a Poetry Friday friend emailed to see if I ever used vintage stamps? And here I was, with little piles all around.

And speaking of gifts, I learned a new-to-me word on the subject this week, and I must share it with fellow wordsmiths. We had dinner with another couple Wednesday night, and my very dear friend pulled something from her purse and said, “Here – a sursy for you.”

“A what?” I asked, eyeing the fetching little box of pumpkin spice caramels.

“Sursy,” she said. “A little gift.” Well, I went crazy over the caramels AND the word, and was surprised I didn’t know it.

My friend’s husband started Googling and quickly determined that it didn’t share the same spelling with the goddess Circe – it’s just “s-u-r-s-y.” He found this definition in the Urban Dictionary: “A term commonly used in the South to denote a small, unexpected gift.”

Why didn't I know this word? – I am a Southerner after all, but – okay, perhaps growing up in Florida was not quite the same as growing up in the Carolinas. (A debate for another day.)

I told my friend that I had just received a lovely fall note in the mail from a far-away poetry friend, and it had a little Pumpkin Spice teabag enclosed. I guess it was a sursy?! And wouldn’t it be perfect to sip a cup of that tea with one of those caramels?

I’m grateful to these friends for unexpected gifts. Especially this week, when the horror has not been of the tingly Poe variety, but has seared our hearts.

Poetry Friday, for me, is always restorative. One soul-filling sursy after another. Enjoy each treasure today with our beautiful Violet, gathering all in the Roundup this week.  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - Happy Fall, Y'all.... with Haiku


Happy Autumnal Equinox!

My favorite season, Fall - and I recall it's a favorite of many Poetry Friday-ers. I went hunting for some fall haiku written by yours truly and was surprised to discover I had far more from winter, spring, and summer. Maybe because fall always seems to be the busiest season?

I did make a fall-friendly note card for sale in my artsyletters shop on Etsy, featuring a poem by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) translated by poet and scholar Dr. David G. Lanoue, who kindly agreed to let me use it:


traveling geese
the human heart, too,
wanders


Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue.


And I discovered that one of my earliest published haiku was a fall one:


autumn breeze
escorted to the mailbox
by an acorn



Notes from the Gean, Dec. 2011 (No longer publishing.)


I also found another I wrote as a kind of "desk haiku" - not my usual, but it came about as I was describing 'process' for a blog post a while back, now an essay on my Haiku page. [The link is the second PDF under "FOR WRITERS" - (the 5-page one)!] Anyway, here's the finished sample haiku:


burning leaves
a V of geese
regroups



Poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


I hope your fall is full of all your favorite things - colorful maple leaves, woodsmoke, hot chocolate perhaps? Acorns and squirrel chatter? Holiday planning? By the way, which do you usually say - 'autumn' or 'fall'? :0)

Whatever you call it, it's a great season to visit a farm - especially a Poem Farm. Thanks to Amy for hosting the Round Up today! When you stop by, be sure to congratulate her on her brand new wonderful book, READ, READ, READ just released from Wordsong! (CONGRATS, Amy!)
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Poetry Friday - Old Words to Ring in New Poetry Month


Helllooo, Poetry Lovers!

Tomorrow we ring in "our" month - National Poetry Month! Read all about it here, at The Academy of American Poets.

I decided to celebrate in my studio with a new collage, made from antique elements.

The words simply read:


POETRY


poetry has

beauty


arrayed in

truth



poem found by Robyn Hood Black

The image is from the May 2015 issue of Woman's World. The text was clipped directly from A. A. Smith's introduction to Poetry and Art, Columbia Publishing Company, 1892. The "title" was clipped from The Poetry Book 5, Huber-Bruner-Curry, circa. 1926. Two vintage topaz-colored glass hearts dangle from the bottom of the fancy vintage bronze-colored metal frame (made in Italy).

Much poetic goodness will be springing up all over the Kidlitosphere this month. Our wonderful Jama wrangles together events and keeps a running list over at Jama's Alphabet Soup .

One highlight is always The Progressive Poem, started and coordinated by our lovely Irene Latham. It travels each day to a different blog, adding a line each day, and it's always surprising to see where the words take us. (It parks right here on April 25.)

A terrific-sounding new adventure this year will be The Poetry Mosaic at Bookology. A different poet reading his or her poetry will be added each day of the month. (I'm thrilled to get to participate, along with some other Poetry Friday regulars. (-- *hint*, you'll have to wait a while for mine... ;0) )

Many more celebrations are in the works, and terrific poetry posts throughout April. Visit the ever-amazing Amy at The Poem Farm today for a launch into Poetry Month!
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Poetry Friday - Science and Poetry - and Valentines?


Greetings from the sunny South. I will not complain about the little chill in the February breezes, I promise.

More fun in the mail this week - after the January poem postcard exchange (scroll down for my posts on that last month), and birthday cards, I had another treat in store - a copy of the January 2017 issue of Science & Children featuring one of my poems from the Poetry Friday Anthology of Science from Pomelo Books. PFA Anthology creators Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have a great column called"The Poetry of Science" in the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) magazine. My poem on bioprinting got to join some terrific technology-themed articles and activities in January.



Printing, Pressed Beyond Words...


Our printers today are still evolving.

So many projects - and problems they're solving!


In layers of plastic, a virtual mold:

printers are spitting out things you can hold.


These 3-D devices can also print gels,

stacking amazing assortments of cells.


Need a blood vessel? An organ, an ear?

Bioprinting is real - bioprinting is here!



©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Teachers can take on one or all of Sylvia's famous "Take 5" activities which connect the poem to teaching standards, as well as to other poems and publications exploring a similar theme. Three cheers for poetry and science!

And now, to R-E-A-L-L-Y stretch that theme, just for fun I've included a little studio adventure for the forthcoming holiday. I had a blast making my poem postcards to send in January, and for each one I used a unique vintage library card catalog card. And now, I'm making actual cards out of them. Complete with a vintage pocket and blank vintage check-out card on the inside, perfect for a tucked-in message!

(How does this relate to science? I'm getting there....)

I thought some of the catalog cards for nonfiction science books lent themselves to a Valentine bent - the ones on magnetism! - so I made a romantic-y greeting card from one. The illustration above the altered catalog card I clipped from the February 1927 issue of Country Life.

This lacks a true poetic sense, methinks, but it's kind of fun:

     simple
                  attraction
Includes
                Magnetism


For better pictures and a peek at process and such, click here to hop over to my artsyletters blog, where I posted about these cards.

Now, opportunities abound to indulge your love of poetry with Captivating Katie, who has this week's Roundup over at
The Logonauts
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Poetry Friday - More Micro Found Poem Ornaments!


Happy Thanksgiving Weekend/poetry Friday!

I hope you and yours have enjoyed good company and good food. Warmest thoughts for those with an empty chair at the table this year.

I made a fun discovery while cleaning up my studio recently - I found a few more of those miniature frames I made "found poem ornaments" from two years ago (with a how-to) . Who knew these extra frames were hiding in the supply closet? (Or stashed in a box under a table...?) Those little ornaments sold right away, so I figured I'd better conjure these into shape for this year.

As before, I put a tiny print of my "Writer Mouse" drawing on one side, and a found poem/phrase on the other. Below are the highlighted texts. They were all clipped directly from GOLDEN DAYS For Boys and Girls, Vol. XVIII -- No. 6, December 26, 1896, Philadelphia: James Elverson, Publisher.

The first two were found in "A Perilous Sleigh-Ride" by A. E. Conard:


sleds
await
families


jolly
taken altogether,
Our crew


And the third came from "Frankincense and Myrrh" by Mary N. Prescott:


little children
see Santa Claus
a comfort
in the world


(More pictures of these in my Etsy shop..) Update: Click on "Sold" items number on the left-hand side to see the listing pictures - at least two of them!

Wishing you and your jolly crew comfort and fun during these holidays and beyond. More poetry is just waiting to be discovered at Carol's Corner, where thoughtful Carol has our Roundup this week!
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Poetry Friday - YOU JUST WAIT Winners, Hurricane Update, & Makerspace Link


Hellooooo, Poetry Friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Many thanks to Pomelo Books for providing these copies.

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