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Life on the Deckle Edge

POETRY FRIDAY - Rounding Up the Flock HERE Today!

 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

You've come to the right place for the Roundup.  All are welcome - enjoy the posts and please leave your links in the comments.  I'll round them up old school throughout the day on Friday.  (Note - with privacy changes, I no longer have access to the email addresses of commenters, so do be sure to leave your links!)

 

Here's another recently published haiku:

 

 

Scottish rain

tourists storm

the castle

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black

Modern Haiku 50:1, Winter-Spring 2019

 

 

Ahhhh, Scotland... I'm still pining for that amazing place and fondly recalling our family explorations last June. One memory leads to another to another....

 

Like our first full day in Edinburgh, when I'd made arrangments to meet up with my buddy Elizabeth Dulemba and her wonderful husband, Stan. And Elizabeth brought along her buddy, Jane Yolen!  We all had a delightful lunch that spanned hours.

 

Did you know Jane recently surpassed the 365-books mark?  Talk about prolific!  You can read a different Jane Yolen book every day of the year.  Pretty sure she's already got Leap Year covered now, too.  (Learn more about Jane here.)

 

One book which is oh-so-timely right about now was written by Jane with her son, Adam Stemple, and illustrated by Elizabeth. ((Learn more about Elizabeth here.)  In CROW NOT CROW, published by the Cornell Lab Publishing Group last fall, a father introduces his daughter to birding using the "crow, not crow" method for identifying birds.  I know this is Poetry Friday and the text is not actually poetry, but we have many bird lovers among us, and I wanted to make sure you know about this book! 

 

Were you craning your neck this past weekend? Cornell, along with Audubon and Bird Studies Canada, sponsors the Great Backyard Bird Count every President's Day weekend. I participated several years when we lived in Georgia, and need to get back in the swing here in SC!  Amateurs are welcome, and folks submit their tallies from all over the world. In fact, in case you were among those counting but you didn't get all your numbers in, you can submit them until March 1. Learn more here

 

The many birds around here in recent days have all been twitterpated - raise your hand if you know which Disney movie that comes from! ;0)

 

By the way, that adorable bird in the picture?  The one my son-in-law Matt and I were smitten with, cameras in hand? It's a coal-tit - they look very much like our chickadees here in North America.  This one found lodging at a beautiful little stone cottage in Luss, on the banks of Loch Lomond, where a birdhouse was hung with these painted words:  "BED AND BOARD, 5 FLIES P/N (per night)" - and "4 stars" at the top! 

 

Ahhhh, Scotland...

 

Thanks for following this "flight of ideas" - Read on for the Roundup!  [& Catherine Flynn reminds us: "There are just two more weeks until March 8th, International Women's Day. I'll be hosting the Roundup that day and would love it if people help to celebrate the day by sharing poems that honor women. You can read more here". Thanks, Catherine.]

 

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

 

We all mourn the loss of poetry icon Paul B. Janeczko this week.  Almost exactly 10 years ago, I heard him speak at a conference in Georgia, where he said, "Good poetry explodes with possibilities."

 

***(adding this bit in...)

 

In the comments below, Jane Yolen has gifted us with some lovely lines for Paul Janeczko.  I'm sharing them here, too, so all can more easily see:

 

Dark

 

The morning is darker, deeper, a color that tears see.

There is no reason for death except to cleanse life's slate.

We write new wisdoms, forget the old.

Dance when you can, my friends.

Don't always do what you are told.

 

Jane Yolen ©2019 all rights reserved

 

(Thank you for sharing, Jane.)***

 

Our lovely Linda at TeacherDance has a remembrance in Paul Janezcko's honor, and an intriguing follow-up about a 19th-Century poet she discovered, after some digging, by way of an old anthology.  Click over to meet Celia Thaxter.

 

Little Willow checks in from Bildungsroman today with a few lines by Janne Robinson that might burn your tongue.... (Little Willow, I always enjoy your posts though I've never figured out how to comment on them!)    

 

Hungry?  As always, Jama has the perfect special on her poetic menu today.  Saunter over to her Alphabet Soup for  Hannah's Tall Order, an A to Z  Sandwich, by Linda Vander Heyden and Kayla Herren.  Bring your appetite and a sense of adventure!

 

Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link treats us to a lovely review of H IS FOR HAIKU by Sydell Rosenberg, the picture book collection lovingly brought to life by Rosenberg's daughter, Amy Losak.  You'll also get a peek at the Long Island weather (sending sunshine from here, Carol!) and Carol's poetic and artistic interpretations inspired by the book. 

 

Having grown up as "Robyn Hood," I can relate to Alan J Wright's offering at Poetry Pizzazz.  His original "Call the Roll" poem might have you conjuring up your own possibilities for playful classroom rolls, too!  

 

If ever need more color in your world, go see Michelle Kogan.  She is breaking in a brand new iPad this week with sketches and haiku.  (My favorite is "Remember me…")  Enjoy! 

 

At Reading to the Core, Catherine shares "For You" by Karla Kuskin, a perfect poem to honor Paul B. Janeczko.  It's also a perfect choice for those of us who miss special kitties in our lives.

 

At Gathering Books, Fats shares powerful writing by Warsan Shire, an award-winning Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. With jolting and masterful imagery, Shire's work reflects "the harrowing experiences of refugees and immigrants, to tell stories of suffering, displacement, and healing."

 

Linda is waving from a cozy snow day over at A Word Edgewise to share a book all about the most extravagant adventuring – COUTNDOWN – 2979 Days to the Moon by Suzanne Slade.  Our guide explores this scientific book in verse from three perspectives – reader, teacher librarian, and writer.  Enjoy the journey! 

 

Join Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for two original poems as brief but potent explorations of bravery, productivity and peace… you'll have to click over to see for yourself!

 

If you need a bit of good-vibes inspiration this week (who doesn't?!), tune in to The Drift Record, where Julie is sharing a gorgeous poem by A. E. Stallings and an absolutely infectious positive attitude.  Better than vitamins!

 

Left you wanting more, eh?  Here's a link to Books Around the Table, where Julie, no stranger to wide net casting, shares this poem PLUS other links which have been inspiring her lately.  (A must-read for Darwin fans, and for origami lovers.)

 

At There is No Such thing as a Godforsaken Town, Ruth has an inspiring original response poem to a Monet painting, and some thoughts about her oh-so-productive year of meeting her writing goals.  And her usual dose of refreshing frankness! 

 

So many talented teachers in our Poetry Friday crew... Mary Lee is sharing two fantastic student poems today at A Year of Reading. You'll enjoy her thoughts behind writing workshop for her fifth graders, too!

 

The ever-clever Jan at Bookseed Studio has a book giveaway!  It's a great one, too – Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Fred Koehler's newest synergistic collaboration, WHAT IF/THEN WE? Jan is sweetening the pot, too, with a generous addition.  AND, she's got some very fun words found in the wild, inviting you to share your own rare sightings….

 

At Friendly Fairy Tales, the focus today is on… focus! Enjoy Brenda's original poem and photo.  

 

From Nix the Comfort Zone, Molly brings us a beautiful original poem, "Invitation" inspired by other Poetry Friday folks and "word collections." She also has an intriguing haiku that missed a deadline, but doesn't miss the boat… (an obscure reference, kind of; I might be getting a little Poetry-Friday-punch-drunk).

 

Heidi has poured grief into a wonderful book spine poem honoring several of Paul B. Janeczko's most beloved titles over at My Juicy Little Universe.  Thank you, Heidi. 

 

At Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, Matt also shares remembrances of this brilliant lost light, as well as one of his favorite PBJ poems. 

 

Since our Scotland trip was the result of family trees and DNA tests, I particularly love Amy's family history poem today over at The Poem Farm!  And a photo there suggests where said Amy might have gotten some of her sass, as well as good looks. ;0) Amy also has beautiful words to remember and honor Paul Janeczko today. 

 

At Live Your Poem, Irene is also mining family memories and inviting us to do the same in a year-long project inspired by Patty Dann's THE BUTTERFLY HOURS.  Enjoy her sticky sweet poetic remembrance, "A Taste of Summer."  And three cheers for Irene's hand-raise – of COURSE she would know that it's in BAMBI's forest where creatures become twitterpated this time of year… 

 

Christie chimes in with Two Blue Herons (you'll understand when you click over) at Wondering and Wondering.  Polyphonic Renaissance music and haiku, too – double-love! 

 

Carol takes us on a snowy tour at The Apples in My Orchard and offers up a poem celebrating the color White.  Bring your snowshoes! 

 

Ramona at Pleasures from the Page has a beautiful post honoring Paul B. Janeczko, and a generous give-away offer as well. Some of her favorite titles are probably some of yours, too. 

 

Elaine is also celebrating Paul at Wild Rose Reader.  She's chosen to honor him with "Yellow Sonnet" by Paul Zimmer, from Janeczko's book, THE PLACE MY WORDS ARE LOOKING FOR. 

 

Did you see the Super Snow Moon this week?  It was too cloudy in my corner of the Universe.  But Amy at Mrs. Merrill's Book Break, has us covered with a photoraph and her original poem full of heart, "Full Moon Dreaming." 

 

Speaking of snow, at Check it Out, Jone shares student poems and art inspired by our own Laura Purdie Salas's SNOWMAN-COLD=PUDDLE. SO clever these young creators are!

 

Jone also remembers Paul B. Janeczko and some of his many books at Deowriter today – thank you, Jone, for helping us all to say thanks. 

 

AliceNine offers a poignant post about loveliness which can grow out of growing old – good to ponder as we grapple with life and the end of life this week. 

 

At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret brings us the end-of-day golden light with some golden shovel poems. Enjoy!

 

Last but not least, Susan at Soul Blossom Living leaves us smiling with a couple of fun limericks to make you feel cool as a cucumber.

 

Have a great weekend, All!

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Poetry Friday - For the Birds this Week!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - and Bird Lovers!

 

Our wonderful Round-up host today, Christie over at Wondering and Wondering, issued a call for bird poems for anyone so inclined.  Oh, I am ALWAYS inclined for birds.  I'm also a bit jealous about the educators workshop she participated in this summer with the Cornell bird folks in NY... Swoon!!!

 

We usually take our wee doggie Rita for a walk after dinner, sometimes around the neighborhood and sometimes on the Spanish Moss Trail at the end of our street.  I'm always craning my neck (ha - meant to do that?!) to see who's out and about among the tree canopy, power lines, or marshes as the sun sinks toward the horizon.

 

A few nights ago, thinking about the Poetry Friday bird-theme, I had a couple of treats on our walk.  

 

Here's the rather silly wordplay that sprouted from our sunset saunter:

 

 

Walking at Dusk, Tickled Pink

 

 

Woodpecker - pileated.

Spoonbills - roseate(d).

Birdwatcher me - très elated!

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

Those birds really ARE that pink, and they fish by swinging those curious bills horizontally back and forth along the surface of the water. 

 

Find out more here, and then click over for more about those equally magnificent pileated woodpeckers.

 

In case you missed my post last week, there are several birds in it!  I shared animal pictures from our Scotland/Ireland trip.  Over at my art blog, I shared a bunch more trip pictures of animals in art, images, and other related curiosities.  Check it out! :0)

 

Enjoy flocking over the the Roundup, and feathery thanks to Christie for the ornithological advenures in poetry!  And, not sure this will work, but here is a link to a video I posted on Facebook featuring those spoonbills. :0)

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Poetry Friday - Animals! TWO BY TWO, Trip Pictures, and New Books to Crow About...

 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

 

If you might indulge a few more trip pictures (with no promise that these are the last), I thought I'd share a brand new animal-themed book with a romping rhyme, and a general celebration of our non-human friends today. (Keep scrolling down after the post, if viewing on a computer, to see all of the animal pictures and the book cover at the bottom. IDs and locations are in the caption at the very bottom!)

 

 

Upon returning home from our amazing Scotland/Ireland family adventure this summer, I realized I had snapped several pictures of animals along with the castles and misty vistas.  Of course, I thought to myself upon this discovery.  My life has always been animal-centric, benefiting from a free-range childhood in the woods of Florida, and a lifetime of sharing life with the furred, feathered, hoofed, and scaled, and 30-plus years as a vegetarian. 

 

 

On our first full day in Edinburgh, a pigeon came to call at our apartment window overlooking James Court. We exchanged pleasantries.  I never thought conversing with birds was unusual, since I've done so since I was little, but my kids once gently let me know that not everyone goes around acting like Snow White in the forest scene in the original Disney movie. (Why not?)

 

 

This week I had a tête-à-tête with a broad-winged hawk (from a safe distance, yard to pine tree), letting it know that, No, I would not be putting my tiny Chihuahua back on the ground any time soon, thank you.

 

 

Anyway, as is my practice with close encounters of the animal variety, while in Scotland I looked up pigeon "spirit medicine" and found that it held perfect messages for the beginning of a trip that originated in vials sent off to Ancestry.com. 

 

 

"As a totem, the pigeon teaches us to return to our roots and explore our heritage. …  Pigeon also serves as a reminder that we come from a clan and are not alone."

https://www.thoughtco.com/bird-totems-4062050

 

 

Yay, pigeons!

 

 

And yay, books (especially ones with poetry!) which celebrate our fellow animals.

 

 

In 2011, it was my privilege to coordinate a children's poetry retreat with Rebecca Kai Dotlich for the SCBWI Southern Breeze region.  Among our wonderful attendees was long-time member Lisa Lowe Stauffer  Lisa's first book for children, TWO BY TWO, a board book by Zonderkids, has just been released! 

 

 

On her website, Lisa mentioned our SCBWI poetry retreat and an assignment Rebecca gave everyone.

 

 

"TWO BY TWO started as a simple, steady poem about Noah's Ark," she writes, noting that the first lines haven't changed.

 

 

On the first colorful page we find animals entering the ark:

 

 

Two by two,

 

Board the boat.

 

Shut the door.

 

Time to float.

 

 

The monkeys become bored, however, and soon they want to do much more than float.  In fact, they "free the zoo" so that all the animals can party like it's, well, a long long time ago, BC.

 

 

Illustrator Angelika Scudamore's bright and lively characters are appealing and full of expression.  Young readers/listeners will have fun pointing out all the different animals on each spread.  The trim size is a generous 8 X 8, perfect for sharing with a wee one in your lap.  Here is another taste of the fun verse:

 

 

Anaconda limbo,

 

Tigers race in pairs.

 

Ring toss on

 

the caribou,

 

Pin the tail on bears!

 

 

Did I mention this was a FUN book?  Congratulations, Lisa and Angelika!

 

 

Interestingly, another rhyming board book was born not too long after that poetry retreat.  Prolific children's author Gail Langer Karwoski penned THANK YOU, TREES (Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner) – a terrific book to share with any inhabitant of the planet. (Here's my blog post about it.) 

 

 

Other Poetry Friday regulars in attendance that weekend included Doraine Bennett and Irene Latham.  (Did I miss any other PF folks?)  Irene has written about LOTS of animals in her novels and picture books.  Keep an eye out for LOVE, AGNES: POSTCARDS FROM AN OCTOPUS (Millbrook) coming soon to a bookshelf near you!

 

 

One last shout-out. While in Edinburgh, I got to catch up with my buddy Elizabeth Dulemba, and Jane Yolen joined us for lunch.  (She and Elizabeth had a literary event together in Edinburgh that week.) Elizabeth blogged about our meet-up here.   She also blogged about TWO BY TWO with an interview with Lisa and Angelika here

 

 

Elizabeth has lent her rich artistic talents to a book written by Jane with her son, Adam Stemple.  This wonderful new book from Cornell Lab Publishing Group, CROW, NOT CROW, debuts  August 28. (Here is Jane's blog post about it, with peeks inside the pictures from Elizabeth here.)   

 

 

I can't wait to add it to my bookshelf, right next to our Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's EVERYDAY BIRDS.  Young and not-so-young readers who love birds will soon be crowing about CROW, NOT CROW! 

 

Now, flap on over to Nix the Comfort Zone, where the Magnificent Molly has our Roundup.  [What?  MORE trip pix, you ask?  Well, click on over to my new post at artsyletters for a bunch of "animals in images" (& other related curiosities) from our trip!]

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Poetry Friday - Summer Poem Swap Treasures from Margaret Simon


Howdy, Fellow Poetry Lovers - how is it the end of July already?

Teacher-Daughter Morgan is finishing up her classroom prep in Georgia, ready for the Meet and Greet in just a few days... And my special "guest" today will be back in the swing of school in coming days, too!

This morning I heard a "teakettle-teakettle-teakettle" chirp outside the bedroom window, and I immediately thought of Margaret Simon. She sent me the most wonderful Carolina Wren-inspired Summer Poem Swap poem, plus other treasures! (Many thanks to Tabatha for coordinating these wonderful Swaps.)

Margaret included a lovely card and note explaining that in May, she was visiting her parents and watched a Carolina Wren feeding her babies in a nest built in a flower pot. She also kindly mentioned my Carolina Wren block print/cards in my Etsy shop, and she included its image on the sheet with her poem!

[My image came about after I was smitten with a painting by Camille Engel that my good friend Peggy Jo Shaw uses as a logo for her writing & editorial business, Wren Cottage. I wanted my own reference, of course, for anything I made, though my relief print would be stylized. I set up a stack of vintage books next to a nest-filled flower pot that was on MY back porch years ago, then waited across the patio slumped in a chair for "our" wren to land on them! Many close calls before she finally lit on the books, almost an hour later, and I snapped a (fuzzy-but-good-enough) picture. ;0) ]

Here is the poem Margaret sent:


Carolina Wren

From the back porch,
we watched a cinnamon-colored bird
hop in and out
like a child bouncing
on a trampoline--
flower pot
to birch
to pine needle mulch--
           hop,
                 hop,
                      hop.

From a quivering branch,
a teakettle tweet--
Mom and Pop
tag teaming
carry insects,
caterpillars,
other crawling creatures.
Looping return--
           disappear,
                 reappear,
                      disappear.

Under rising red vinca
unkowing flowers
sway like a metronome.
A nest nook
echoes notes
from tiny, open
begging yellow beaks--
           peep,
                 peep,
                      peep.



©Margaret Simon. All rights reserved.


Isn't that SO wren-like? It makes me cheer for that little wren family.

Margaret also sent the oh-so-lovely mixed media wooden plaque in soothing blues, perfect for someone from the splashy bayou to send to someone in the balmy lowcountry! Its text reads, "Words are your paintbrush" with a little raised feature that says "DELIGHT." (I get to add it to my beautiful "Art by Margaret" poem swap collection!)

Many thanks to Margaret for these gifts, and for permission to share them this week.

[Aside: This week is also "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel.... Speaking of block print animal designs in my Etsy shop, I went a little crazy when the USPS issued some brand-new Forever shark stamps on Wednesday. I paired these with my shark note cards, made up a fun mini metal bookmark with vintage pewter shark tooth charm, and put it all together in a limited edition Shark Gift Pack. It has tooth. And charm.]

Whether your summer travels have you in the air or the water this week, please make your way on over to A Word Edgewise, where Linda - also gearing up for a new school year, I'm sure - has the Roundup and a nest-full of poetic inspiration today!
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Poetry Friday - Haiku Flies When You're Having Fun...


Whew - I don't know about you, but I feel like April is flying by.

I can't believe it's already time for the Haiku Society of America/Southeast Region HONORING THE EARTH meeting & workshop I'm coordinating in St. Simons Island, Georgia! Hence, I'll keep this short, since the road beckons.

For our Earth Day celebration, part of our time will be spent on a birding ginko (haiku walk), led by haiku poet and teacher extraordinaire Tom Painting of Atlanta.

With birds on the brain, I thought I'd share this haiku of mine that appears in the current Frogpond:


our different truths
the rusty underside
of a bluebird



© Robyn Hood Black
Frogpond, Vol. 40, No. 1


Speaking of haiku and birds... Another of our speakers - poet, author, past HSA president and professor, David G. Lanoue - has agreed to allow me to use some of his ISSA translations in art and such. (His translations of haiku by Kobayashi Issa, who lived from 1763 to 1828, number more than 10,000.)

I got out my pointed calligraphy pen, ink, and pencils and such and designed a note card, above, with one of the poems David said he particularly liked. The colors might be more fall-like than spring, but I've gone ahead and listed it in my artsyletterEtsy shop. :0)

Here's the poem pictured above:


traveling geese
the human heart, too,
wanders


Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue


Thanks for lighting on a branch over here today, and enjoy all the poetic flights of fancy rounded up for us this week by the amazing Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.
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Poetry Friday - Haiku Taking Flight...



Happy New Year!

I'm still getting my sea legs back after travel up in the hills to see family for the holidays, and after the little retail rush of December in my shop. I hope you and yours had a lovely holiday.

For haiku fans, I've just updated information on the Haiku Society of America meeting/workshop Earth Day weekend I'm coordinating in April on the coast of Georgia. Here's a link to that recent post below (or you can find it on the SE Regional page at the HSA website). A registration form is available on my Haiku page, at the top left.

Since we're going on a birdwatching Ginko (a haiku walk) that weekend, here are a few more of my own bird haiku that seem to work for this time of year; both light and dark and in-between, as I am feeling all of the above right about now:


new year
the twitter of a hundred robins
in the oak


Modern Haiku, Volume 45.1, Winter/​Spring 2014


gathering dusk
the unanswered call
of a dove


Frogpond Volume 35:3, Autumn 2012


winter chill
turkey vultures circling
one of their own


The Heron's Nest, June 2012

Poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


[Pssst.... A little bird has told me a Poetry Friday-er or two might attend the St. Simon's weekend!]

Our beautiful Linda, no stranger to writing haiku, has this week's Roundup at TeacherDance (with a Japanese proverb and intriguing picture of birds at the top of the page, I might add!)

Here's wishing you a 2017 full of poetry, and light....
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Poetry Friday - EVERY DAY BIRDS and Extra Credit Q&A with Amy LV!


Dear Poetry Friends,

Such a special treat today – No April Foolin’! If you’re a Poetry Friday regular, you know that our own Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is fluttering around with a beautiful brand-new book, EVERY DAY BIRDS, published by Orchard/Scholastic. If you’re a PF newbie, Welcome!

I’m one of those lucky ducks who can call Amy friend, as well as poetic inspiration in human form. You can learn more about Amy and her work here. And in case you haven’t heard… her debut poetry picture book, FOREST HAS A SONG, illustrated by Robbin Gourley (Clarion) just won the inaugural SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award!

EVERY DAY BIRDS, her second picture book for young readers, offers a closer look at many common birds, brought to colorful life with papercut illustrations by Dylan Metrano. Kirkus calls it “beginning birding at its best.” Here's a taste:


Hawk hunts every day for prey.

Cardinal flashes fire.

Woodpecker taps hollow trees.

Crow rests on a wire. …



Click around the Kidlitosphere and Poetry Friday blogs, and you’ll find lots of love for this book. Amy’s post celebrating its lift-off ihere. I thought it wouldt be fun to ask Amy just a few “Extra Credit” questions inspired by EVERY DAY BIRDS to give us a peek behind the scenes of her life poetic. Here we go!

Amy’s Extra Credit Q&A


Early bird or night owl?

I am a night owl who is trying to be an early bird!

Hummingbird drinks flower nectar. Coffee, tea, or something else for you?

Tea. I have a glass teapot, and my children and I enjoy trying all different kinds of tea, from flowery tea to fruity tea to herby tea. I like the varied colors of teas brewing, and holding a warm mug in my hands feels so cozy. This said, I am always happy to go out for coffee with a friend. And since I live in chilly Western New York, I am a fan of hot cocoa (lots of whipped cream) too.

Are you more chirpy bluebird or boisterous blue jay?

People often think of bluebirds as cheerful creatures, and I am a cheerful soul. To be truthful, though, I can also be bossy as a blue jay.

Chickadee wears a black cap. What’s your favorite hat?

My current favorite is a new crazy bird hat, a superb gift from Librarian Jim Worthington. I cannot stop laughing when I wear it because the birds’ wings flap on springs. Someone told me that she could not take me seriously in this hat, and I like this idea of not being taken too seriously.

In addition to being a poet, you’re a traveling speaker and teacher. How many times a year do you fly?

I try not to fly too frequently as I love being in my nest with my nest mates, but I do take three or four sky-trips each year.

Gull stares at the sea. What do you stare at when you are waiting for inspiration to strike?

Sometimes I stare out my window and sometimes into deep nothingness. Sometimes I stare at my empty paper and sometimes into my own head.


Thank you to my friend-with-the-beautiful-bird-name-Robyn for inviting me to your blog home today. I am a big fan of your work. xo, a.


Thank YOU, Dear Amy, for lighting on a branch over here this week to spread your sunshine!

For more great poetry sure to have you soaring, wing it on over to Amy’s home turf, The Poem Farm, where she happens to be our gracious host ringing in National Poetry Month today. Her blog is also celebrating its sixth anniversary this week. I’m sure there are still some cake crumbs around… (Which, by the way, Mr. Cornelius might find as he visits blogs for Jama’s roundup of National Poetry Month special events here, including links the 2016 Kidlit Progressive Poem organized by Irene.) Read More 
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Poetry Friday - Of Carolina Wren Connections...


It's almost here... National Poetry Month! Most of you know the Academy of American Poets and the poets.org site.

"Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month, held every April, is the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture."

[Many of our Poetry Friday peeps go all out in April - Jama will be compiling a whole menu of special blog events and links over at Jama's Alphabet Soup.]

You might also subscribe to the Academy's "Poem-a-Day" feature, in which a new poem magically appears in your inbox each day. I was enchanted by an offering earlier this week, both its subject and luscious writing.

The poem is "The Carolina Wren" by Laura Donnelly. Here's a bit from the middle, to send you off to read the whole poem:

from The Carolina Wren

...
Only later, this other, same-same-again song,
a bird I could not see but heard

when I walked from the house to the studio,
studio to the house, its three notes

repeated like a child’s up and down
on a trampoline looping

the ground to the sky—
....


Copyright © 2015 by Laura Donnelly. Click here to read the entire lovely poem.

I've enjoyed watching and hearing a wren or two in our "Carolina" yard this week. At our former house in Georgia, our back patio was a regular nesting site each spring for a wren pair. I was so impressed by the industry and care they would take in building a carefully sheltered nest, and then tending their offspring from first shell-crack to first tentative flight. It was a lot of work!

And then this week, a kind note from friend - Poetry Friday-er, talented author, and - I'm happy to say - artsyletters customer Jan Godown Annino. (Check out her new bloggie look at Bookseed Studio - you'll love it!)

Jan had bought some of my wren and books notecards (design above) and sent me a message. We ended up swapping wren stories. Mine was simply that one year the aforementioned nesting pair built their twiggy home in a pot on our patio. I really wanted to make a relief print of a Carolina wren and some old books, so I set the stage. Though I knew my finished art would be simplified and stylized, I wanted a reliable reference picture. I placed a small stack of vintage books next to the pot, thinking Mama Wren would probably perch there for a wee second while tending her peeping babies.

Then I stashed myself across the patio, hunkered low in a chair with my camera, and waited. And waited. And waited. She did come back and forth a few times, but it took more than one attempt on my part to click at just the right moment, and from far away. The pictures were not National Geographic quality, but they provided enough visual information for me to sketch by, and I was able to get to work.

Now this current rambling would be incomplete without my also mentioning another friend: writer/author/editor extraordinaire and public relations expert P. J. Shaw (Peggy, to me!). I was so thankful to get to catch up with Peggy at our recent SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle in Atlanta. Peggy was my editor for WOLVES (Intervisual Books, 2008) a few moons ago, and I was always impressed by her quick eye and ear when wrangling a manuscript.

In addition to her job as Public Relations Director at a large private school in Atlanta, Peggy offers editorial services to individuals and organizations through her business, Wren Cottage. Isn't that a wonderful name? The masthead on her website features a rich and gorgeous painting of a wren sitting atop some books by artist Camille Engel . That image obviously spoke to me as I watched "our" wrens making so many trips to and fro on the patio, where I used to shoot all my Etsy product pictures before we moved to South Carolina and I landed a real studio space.

I suppose along with Laura Donnelly's "looping" images in her poem, I can't help connecting the sight or sound of a wren with my memories of other wrens that I checked on daily for weeks and weeks, or my associations with wren-loving creative people like Jan and Peggy. Poetry loops us all together.

Please wing your way back here next week, when we'll kick off Poetry Month with another talented Student Haiku Poet of the Month! Until then, enjoy all the great poetry rounded up this week and set to flight by the multi-talented Jone at Check It Out!
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Poetry Friday - a Haiku for the New Year

Yay Images
Happy New Year!

I hope you and yours have enjoyed a lovely holiday, and you are ready to leap head-first into a new year filled with poetry. Like my crazy hubby and son leaped into the chilly Atlantic today as part of the "Pelican Plunge" at Hunting Island....

Last year, I was still in the foothills of north Georgia, where I'd penned the following haiku:


new year
the twitter of a hundred robins
in the oak



Modern Haiku, Volume 45.1, Winter/​Spring 2014

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


I haven't seen those huge flocks of robins here in my new yard near the coast, but there is plenty of wonderful bird life. And it's very nice to greet the new year from the same nest this year, rather than two different locations on the map!

Please make a migratory stop here next week, as we'll celebrate our January Student Haiku Poet of the Month. Such a treat for me to feature the work of these fine young poets.

Rounding up our first Poetry Friday for2015 is the wonderful Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Be sure to also check out her post featuring the Cybils finalists for poetry - the rounds have included books by some of our own amazing Poetry Friday community. Congratulations to all the nominees! [If you're a PF regular, you'll recognize the talented judges' names, too.] The incomparable Syliva Vardell has featured the shortlist at Poetry for Children, and there you can also find all of the 36 nominated poetry titles for 2014. I'll take one of each, please.
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Poetry Friday: Summer Poem Swap Haiga from Heidi Mordhorst


Happy Middle-of-August!

I’ve just returned from helping our daughter Morgan set up her new third grade classroom in Greenville, SC, and we’re about to head out to the north Georgia mountains to get our son Seth settled into his college apartment on campus. I hope your back-to-school-ing is going well if you are a parent or teacher or media specialist or student or such! Whether your August involves school or not, I’m sure you’ll enjoy stopping just for a moment to enjoy another Summer Poem Swap treasure.


sodden robin
unmiserable to the
naked eye



©Heidi Mordhorst. All rights reserved.


This gem is from our ever talented Poetry Friday host this week, Heidi Mordhorst (who greets this time of year as a teacher and a mom herself!). How lovely that she paired her haiku with this wonderful photograph of my namesake in the bird world. In an accompanying note, Heidi said she loved the “resilience” of this feathered friend. We’ve certainly seen our share of “sodden” this summer; our back yard flooded last weekend. Many cities (including Greenville) in several regions of the country have dealt with serious flooding this week.

You might know from Diane and her wonderful blog that a haiku and visual image presented together is called a “haiga,” and I’m honored Heidi sent me one!

As Stephen Addis explains in the jacket flap of his book, THE ART OF HAIKU (Shambhala, 2012):

All the great haiku masters created paintings (called haiga) or calligraphy in connection with their poems, and the words and images were intended to be enjoyed together, enhancing each other, and each adding its own dimension to the reader’s and viewer’s understanding.

Many thanks to Heidi for this haiga, and to Tabatha for organizing our sensational SWAP.

Here’s hoping you are unmiserable - nice and dry in fact, and ready to enjoy more poetry! Join the flock over at Heidi’s My Juicy Little Universe.  Read More 
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