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Life on the Deckle Edge

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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Poetry Friday - Just an Artsy Wave this Week!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

Somehow with the Fourth and with First Friday downtown to prepare for, I didn't quite get a real post up this week. On the slightest chance you missed my social media slathering of links to my artsyletters Letter for Summer, which has an Independence Day/Americana/history bent, here's the link if you're interested!  

 

Hope you're enjoying the holilday weekend! Savor all the poetry offerings today rounded up by the ever-talented Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.  

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Poetry Friday - Celebrate Indie Bookstore Day!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day, which you can learn all about here. Now, just reading that sentence, didn't your FAVORITE bookstore (past or present) pop right into your mind?  Where would we be without our beloved indie bookstores?

 

One of my faves here in Beaufort is Nevermore Books, owned by Lorrie and David Anderson.  They started out just off Bay Street in a cozy basement nook of a historic building, shortly after we moved here.  Now they have a bit more elbow room (but still a cool, mysterious vibe) on historic Craven Street.  [I think they moved just to be able to use their tagline, "Look for the Raven on Craven."]  Check out their darkly delightful website here

 

I was hoping to be there in person Saturday but we've had a change of plans for the day.  I've been conjuring up some items to have available there, though, as it's been way too long since I've restocked artsyletters goodies in the shop. My name ended up in the paper for the celebration (Thanks, Lorrie!), so I'll be sure to send along some old and new things, such as the book club gift pack pictured above, fresh out of the creative oven.   

 

Do you have a special bookstore (or five) you'll be dropping in on Saturday? New or used, books are treasures.  I've got a 1997 version (with a 2003 preface) of The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations, edited by Peter Kemp.  In browsing the theme of "Books," I found several quotes reminding me that books haven't always been with us humans, and there could be a time when they are not (but I hope that's not true). 

 

Here's a quote by Martial (A.D. c. 40 - c. 104), apparently written around 84 or 85 A.D., on the codex. The source is Lionel Casson in Libraries in the Ancient World (2001):

 

You want to take my poems wherever you go,

As companions, say, on a trip to some distant land?

Buy this.  It's packed tight into parchment pages, so,

Leave your rolls at home, for this takes just one hand!

 

--Catch a running start on our ancient Roman poet, Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis), at OxfordBibliographies.com .

 

A bit closer to our own time, just a century and a half back, our beloved Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886) penned one of my favorite poems about books, and I'm guessing it's one of yours, too.

 

 

There is no frigate like a book (1263)


There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human soul.

 

*Sigh* and *swoon*.  Here's the poem's page at poets.org

 

For more wonderful poetry today, prancing and otherwise, visit the amazing Carol at Beyond Literacy Link.  And keep checking in on the Progressive Poem - Just a few more days and it will be complete!

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Poetry Friday - Quick John Adams Quote & Poetry Month Links

 

You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.

 

John Adams (1735-1826)

 

Letter to John Quincy Adams, 14 May, 1781.

 

Source:  The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations, edited by Peter Kemp (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997, 2003).

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Happy National Poetry Month. 

 

The quote above makes me think of  Poem in Your Pocket Day!  You still have plenty of time to head over to Pomelo Books, where all kinds of poem cards are available to download, use, and share, along with tons of other wonderful resources.

 

Poem in Your Pocket Day is just one of many celebrations in April,  National Poetry Month.

 

Be sure to visit Jama's Alphabet Soup, where Jama is (again!) kindly rounding up Kidlitosphere links for all the special Poetry Month goodness. (As an example, see what Donna's got going on every day this month at Mainely Write!)

 

The 2019 Kidlit Progressive Poem is in full swing - or, full swim.  Find the links for each day over at Progeressive Poem founder Irene's! (I'll post a line here myself on Tax Day, April 15.)

 

Karen Edmisten has our first Poetry Month Roundup! Thanks, Karen. Enjoy the spring harvest of words! 

(Note - I'll catch up later in the weekend, but Friday evening is our Spring Art Walk in downtown Beaufort, so I've got to get my studio in shape today!)

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Poetry Friday - Poetical Wave and Ars Poetica

Greetings, Poetry Lovers -

 

On the road again ( I know!), but I wanted to chime in with a wish for a HAPPY POETRY MONTH which starts on Monday!

 

I came across some lines from Archibald MacLeish's "Ars Poetica" this week, and thought it would be a great poem to revisit, to whet our Poetry Month appetites.  (Ars Poetica simply means "The Art of Poetry." Horace had the original version back in 19 B.C.)

 

Archibald MacLeish was born in 1892 - the same year that clipped text word "POETICAL" above appeared in a Victorian book!

 

 

Ars Poetica


by Archibald MacLeish (1892 - 1982)

 
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

 

Dumb

As old medallions to the thumb,

 

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

 

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

 

...

 

Click here for the rest of the poem, especially its famous last line.

 

Continue your poetical jump start with the wonderful Carol, who is appreciating daffodils and rounding up for us over at Carol's Corner.  

Have a great weekend! 

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