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Life on the Deckle Edge

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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Poetry Friday - Victorian Found Poem/Writing Advice...


Greetings, Poetry Folks!

I hope you have had a wonderful holiday with people you love. The holidays can be tricky - virtual hugs if that wasn't the case for you this year. We have been counting our blessings visiting with family.

In fact, we're still visiting, so today I'm offering just a bit of fun from the studio. I've been drooling over HILL'S MANUAL - SOCIAL AND BUSINESS FORMS: GUIDE TO CORRECT WRITING (Chicago, Moses Warren & Co. Publishers, 1880), with all its Victorian flourish and advice for every communication situation, per Victorian standards. I'll be making lots of art from it I'm sure, and for starters I've made a small shadow box (6 inches by 6 inches) with a found poem for writers. (Above - Click here to view on Etsy.)

Here's the "revealed" text - more of an adage than a poem, perhaps, but I hope you enjoy!

Writing

writing
becomes the
familiar
teacher
that will entertain and
instruct while
faculties of mind are employed


Kind of a 19th-Century-inspired expression of our modern maxim encountered at writing conferences, on blogs, etc.: BIC ("Butt in Chair")! Though maybe after a big meal this week, we need to temper that discipline with an extra walk or two.

Enjoy, I hope, a long weekend! And FIND lots of great poetry to keep you company at Carol's Corner with our delightful Poetry Friday host.
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Poetry Friday: A Poem to Wear, Perhaps?



Happy Labor Day Weekend, Poetry Lovers!

I'll be busy laboring today, with Beaufort's First Fridays After Five downtown tonight. I usually open my studio and serve a few goodies on First Fridays.

I've discovered a new little item to make in my studio (because, Lord knows, I need another project.) I've been trying to get some more haiku in there, as the few haiku cards I made when I opened sold out. (I know, I need to make some more!)

I wanted to try something with a short poem of mine published in Acorn back in 2012. While this haiku was originally written on a trip home to visit family in Florida, where I grew up, it's taken on new significance for me here in our still-somewhat-new digs in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where there is Spanish moss aplenty.

home again
twists and turns
of the live oak


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


First I put the poem on an "Art Bites" 2-inch X 2-inch panel, attaching a little brass chain for hanging. (Third picture.) I plan on making more of these miniature art pieces.

Then I thought it would be fun to try a haiku poem to wear. I discovered metal bezel trays with glass cabochons sized to fit, perfect for pendants. Oh, dear - if you ever start making these, let me warn you, it's addictive. For the first one I wrote and illustrated the same poem, and then experimented my way through several steps with various glazes and drying times in-between to get the art and metal and glass to play nicely together. But the result was fun!



So, I went treasure hunting in some of my late 1800s books, and found some gorgeous illuminated initials, as well as a darling illustration of a house opening a story about Charlotte Brontë's home. Out came the knife, and into pendants they went.

Then I sojourned through one of my old typewriter manuals (this one about 100 years old) and discovered I could "find" words or phrases to highlight in the typing exercises, much like I would do when coaxing a found poem from an old text.

All these I need to make into necklaces, but you can see the finished pendants in the pictures. And you can see that I am out of control.

The last picture is a necklace I made from an illustration out of a German encyclopedia from 1887, the Meyers Konversations-Lexicon, Vol. 7 (G), Fourth Edition, Leipzig, Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts. It's snipped from a geological illustration, so I added some vintage Czech agate beads from the 1920s, and a fetching brass key. Or key charm? Honestly, I don't know where this hearty little beauty came from, but it had the right patina and size.

Thanks for indulging my poetic and artistic meanderings. If you'd like a little more haiku with your morning coffee, I had a short guest post over at the Grog Blog on Monday.

And for more poetry of all kinds this week, please visit the ever lovely Linda at Teacher Dance.

See you back here next week, when I'll have the Roundup!  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - A Few Haiku; Writers Wrule...

© Robyn Hood Black
Happy November!

Next week, we'll enjoy another Student Haiku Poet of the Month. To tide you over, here are a few of my recent (fairly recent anyway) published haiku:



lingering afternoon
the ebb and flow
of birdsong



This World - Haiku Society of America 2013 Members' Anthology




firelight -
old friends meet
for the first time



gazing at flowers - Haiku Society of America Southeast Region 2013 Anthology



and, I can't believe it's been almost a year since I wrote this next one. (Not sure the fog ever completely lifted...):



december fog my to do to do to do list



Modern Haiku, Volume 45.3, Autumn 2014


All poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


How about you - are you glancing at the calendar in shocked disbelief, stocking up on extra boxes of Wheaties? [Note to self: insert blatant self-promotional segue here... ;0) ]

Many of you have kindly purchased from my Etsy store, artsyletters , the last two holiday seasons. Though this past year has involved a complicated interstate move and a late summer injury that knocked me out of work for a couple of months, I'm slip-sliding back into the crazy stream here just in time for the holidays. While I haven't been able to make intricate fine art (but I'm almost back enough for that!), I've been busy making some new items for literary and artistic types.

In addition to the Book Nerd gift pack and Poet gift pack I conjured up last year, I've just added a Teachers Rule gift pack , a Writers Wrule gift pack, and a Maker Magnet gift pack for your favorite artisan. I'm listing new items each week.

Now, wish me luck - I'm opening the doors of my studio this evening for downtown Beaufort's "First Friday" fun, where businesses stay open from 5 to 8 and folks meander and mingle. (There's a lot of meandering and mingling in the "slow"-country.)

Thanks!! I'll lift a cup of hot cider to all our Poetry Friday peeps. All busy, of course, posting wonderful poetry - and we're rounded up today by the amazingly talented Diane, PF host extraordinaire, at Random Noodling. Diane also offers a perfect welcome to November in poem & picture.
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Poetry Friday: Summer Solstice, New Seasons, and a Few Lines from Christina Rosetti

Beaufort River and marina

Things definitely went from warm to hot in our new neck of the woods this week – it’s Summer Solstice time! I consulted Lee Bennet Hopkins’s wonderful DAYS TO CELEBRATE (Greenwillow, 2005) to see what he had featured for this time of the year.

Ahh, a few lines from Christina G. Rosetti (1830-1894):

Stay, June, Stay

      Stay, June, stay! –
If only we could stop the moon
And June!


Click here to read more from Rosetti’s “Sing-Song.”

I must say, the third poem speaks to me as a new empty-nester just moved to the seaside:

III.
What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow:
What are brief? to-day and to-morrow:
What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth:
What are deep? the ocean and truth.




Yes, yes – BUT… there’s still a spring in my step. Hubby Jeff and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage on Sunday. With two house payments – anyone wanna buy a rambling ‘70s house in Georgia? – and kids in college and grad school, our celebration will involve a walk downtown for some wine and dinner! And it’s a lovely downtown. Those of you who have been kind enough to ask for new studio pictures, they’re up on my art blog! You can take a quick tour in pictures of my artsyletters adventure in this new, beautiful location.

Wishing you and yours a June of sun and good memories. Enjoy poems for all seasons rounded up this week by our effervescent Jone at Check It Out.
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