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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - A Wandering Haiku

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Just a wee haiku over here today.  This one appears in the current Frogpond,  Vol. 41:3 (Fall 2018), though somehow my name was left out of the index this time.  But the poem's in!

 

 

open gate

the way

my mind wanders

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

 

I remember when I was in my first job after graduating college and getting married.  I was an editorial assistant/publications secretary at the seminary where my husband was getting his first grad degree.  I wasn't the greatest secretary, that is FOR sure!  But I did love to write.  Sometime before I left to try newspaper writing (where I found out I was terrible at the news part, but good at features....) my boss said, "You're a bit of a dreamer, aren't you?" 

 

Well - yeah.  I'm more pragmatic at this stage of life, but still a bit of a dreamer!

 

Here's to dreams, and also to the belly-real comforts we all wish each other at Thanksgiving.  And wishes for healing for those in the midst of trauma right now, in California and anywhere.

 

On a ligher note, if you'll be doing any Cyber-shopping over the Thanksgiving holidays, Etsy is cooking up a sale for Cyber Week November 20-26.  I'll be offering 10 percent off shop-wide at artsyletters on Etsy, with reduced or free domestic shipping (depending on order amount). While you're on Etsy, check out the lovely offerings over at fellow Poetry Friday-er Michelle Kogan's shop, too!

 

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.  I'm so very thankful for our Poetry Friday community, newcomers and old friends alike. 

 

I'm especially thankful for our amazingly generous and talented Linda, who is hosting the Roundup today at TeacherDance.  She's even got a special giveaway today - told you she was generous! 

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Poetry Friday - This Title Is Longer than my Poem...

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

There will be lots of words over here next week, when I host Poetry Friday.  

 

So this week I thought I 'd simply share the shortest poem I've ever had published - four words!  (You might recall my spring post about one-line haiku, sometimes called monoku.  Here's the link if you missed it.)

 

Today's poem appears in the summer issue of Modern Haiku.

 

 

 

a penny saved verdigris

 


Modern Haiku, Vol. 49.2, Summer 2018

 

 ©Robyn Hood Black

 

 

I had verdigris on my mind this spring, having recently turned in my batch of writing for the Core Essentials Character Education Curriculum I've been contributing to for many years.  I handle the animals, colors, and quotes corresponding to each monthly value.  Often I suggest/pick these items too, and this year I tossed in "verdigris."  I've always been enchanted by that variegated blue-green sheen over metal.  (And it wasn't hard to find a bit in my studio, either!)

 

Did you know it took the Statue of Liberty 30 years to change from her coppery brown to that beautiful green patina?  One must be patient with verdigris, and with poetry! Even the shortest poems appear when they want to, on their own time.

 

Thanks to our colorful, thoughtful Margaret for hosting the Roundup this week at Reflections on the Teche, where you can find links to poetry of varied lengths and learn about Zeno Zines! (See you back here next Friday.) :0)

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Poetry Friday - Biscuit Crumbs - a few Southern Haiku

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Haiku Society of America, the HSA Southeast Region has published an anthology of haiku, senryu, and haibun by members.  Editors for the project were Regional Coordinator Michael Henry Lee, along with Terri L. French and David Oates.  

 

The collection is titled Biscuit Crumbs, taken from this wonderful poem by our fearless leader:

 

 

biscuit crumbs

making a memory

from scratch

 

©Michael Henry Lee.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission. (Thanks, Michael!)

 

 

All the works in the collection are infused with a distinctive Southern flavor.  

 

Here are the haiku by yours truly that were selected.  The first is previously unpublished, and the other two appeared in issues of Acorn.

 

 

anoles 

in brown and green

the story changes...

 

 

-------------

 

 

home again

twists and turns

of the live oak

 

Acorn, Spring 2012

 

 

------------

 

 

outgoing tide

the losses I keep

to myself

 

Acorn, Fall 2015

 

 

Acorn is one of my favorite journals.  Here is a poem of mine in the current issue:

 

 

winter's end

clusters of blossoms

on the half-dead tree

 

Acorn, # 40, Spring 2018

 

 

poems ©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

Many thanks to Michael, David, and Terri for their hard work in putting together this anthology. I'll enjoy dipping into it again and again, and it doesn't come with calories like real biscuits do!

 

Speaking of Southern flavor, saunter on over to Reflections on the Teche, where our beautiful Margaret is sippin' Luzianne iced tea out on the bayou, collectin' all our poems this week....

 

Wishing everyone a good and safe Memorial Day weekend.  Special gratitude for all who serve in our military, and prayers for any military family touched by loss. 

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Poetry Friday - Words Escape from a Student Poem Postcard

 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

Today I'm delighted to share the postcard I received from Silver Star Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington, during National Poetry Month. Media Specialist Extraordinaire and poet Jone Rush MacCulloch has spearheaded this wonderful project for many years.  Click over to Check It Out and scroll through all the "Student Poetry" posts! I've treasured the postcards from these young, talented writers.

 

This year is the first time I've received a one-line poem, and you all know how much I love reading and writing one-line haiku.  (They look simple.  They are not.)

 

I love how Jahaziel packed so much into eight words:

 

 

          Ice day words escape when cold winds blow

 

  Poem ©Jahaziel R.

 

If you are cozied up at home on a day you're iced in, do words escape from your pen?  Your keyboard?  Do they find their way into poems?  Do words escape from books as you take time to read by a crackling fire, or curled up in bed? 

 

This is the kind of poem that will absolutely return to me each winter.  I'm grateful for the gift, and send hearty congratulations to Jahaziel for this fine writing, and appreciations for sharing it.  The sparse art in winter-chill colors is just right, too.

 

May your cold winds shift to warm ones this May, and here's to escaping words!

 

Enjoy more inspiring words at Friendly Fairy Tales, where Brenda is celebrating spring and rounding up for us this week.  Thanks, Brenda!

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Poetry Friday - Haiku - Pair, Pare, Pear

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

Here's hoping you enjoyed International Haiku Poetry Day on Tuesday (April 17).  Perhaps you joined in the worldwide Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration over at The Haiku Foundation? Jim Kacian mentions there that it was "another record-breaking showing" and that a "complete version will be made available shortly and announced on the blog." 

 

Here is a pair of haiku of mine in the current issue of Frogpond:

 

 

bone tired

the maze

of hospital halls

 


graduation cords our empty nest

 


Frogpond, Vol. 41:1, Winter 2018

poems ©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved. 

 

 

While I think a solid haiku resonates with a reader independently of its author's experiences - and sometimes for very different reasons - when I re-read my own haiku, I'm transported to the moment they came to me, or their first unedited versions anyway.  Both of these are snapshots of my life in the last year. 

 

Regarding the first poem, I made several trips back and forth to Florida beginning last summer as my mother was undergoing surgery and then months of chemo for colon cancer.  Happy to report that she is doing well now, and has even been doing some cleaning and yard work of late.  (Mom, if you're reading this - don't overdo! )

 

With the second poem, I was moving around some stuff in Seth's room (our youngest) and came across the bag of college graduation accoutrements from last May.  (And also happy to report we'll get him home for several weeks this summer, after he finishes his internship and before he starts grad school/seminary in August. Yay!)

 

The pare part of this post is about two things:  the paring of words and ideas involved in writing haiku, and sometimes the paring of responsibilities needed to meet life's curve balls.  When my mother was diagnosed with cancer last year, I wanted to be free to make those trips, so I handed over the reins as HSA (Haiku Society of America) SE Regional Coordinator to the very able Michael Henry Lee (one of my favorite poets, by the way).

 

A few weeks ago I took a tentative step back into the volunteer world for a local Habitat for Humanity art project here, but then found out a friend might be facing a significant health challenge.  Last year's lesson of being somewhat available revealed itself again, and I emailed that coordinator to bow out before fully jumping in.  She kindly emailed back, "Wow, life does come at us fast- right?" My art business is small, but it takes loads and loads of time, not to mention writing, my first hat! I appreciate her understanding. 

 

The pear I have tossed in here in conclusion.  (And with a nod to IMPERFECTion, as you'll see at the end of this post and around Poetry Friday-Land today.) We have an old, not particularly impressive tree in the middle of the back yard.  Did not even know it was a fruit tree, until one year I found some scraggly odd-shaped green orbs on the ground.  Apples?  They didn't quite look like the apples we used to have back on our little farm years ago.  Pears?  Didn't quite look like pears either.  I even brought some inside and tried to see if I could eat or cook with them, but I still wasn't quite sure what they were.  That was a couple-few years ago.

 

Then this week, I was paying better attention I guess, and caught them in an earlier state of being.  The branches are dripping with them! Some branches, anyway.  The surprise and delight of these pendulum baby pear drops just made me smile.  I hope they make you smile, too.

 

Speaking of smiling, HUGE thanks to everyone who participated in our online SURPRISE Birthday Party for Lee Bennett Hopkins here last week.  I know all your love and warm wishes touched our guest of honor.  

 

Remember to check in with Jama's Roundup of National Poetry Month activities in the Kidlitosphere, and the Progressive Poem, too.  Not caught up?  No worries - read through line by line, with no delay of gratificiation!  Unitl the current date anyway.  I'm up - gulp! - on Saturday.

 

Check out all of TODAY'S poetic wonderfulness with the inspiring Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference - and keep those party hats out, because her IMPERFECT Mistakes Anthology hits online bookstores TODAY!!! I'm honored to have a poem included and can't wait to read everyone else's. Here's to life's imperfections!

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Poetry Friday - H IS FOR HAIKU Visit with Amy Losak

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy first Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month!

 

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Haiku Society of America.  I'll be celebrating by teaching an introductory haiku writing class for our local OLLI program (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) in November.  But what better way to share haiku NOW with young readers and writers than with a brand new picture book to be released Tuesday, a week before International Haiku Poetry Day (April 17)?

 

If you visited Sylvia Vardell's Poetry for Children last Friday, you read about H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z, by Sydell Rosenberg,  illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi  and published by Penny Candy Books. This book has come to be because of the dedicated efforts of Amy Losak, daughter of the late author.  

 

I'm delighted that Amy has dropped by for a cup of coffee and to tell us more about the book. Grab your own mug and enjoy!

 

Welcome, Amy!  Your mother, Sydell Rosenberg, was a charter member of the Haiku Society of America in 1968 and served as secretary in 1975.  She had poems published in many anthologies during her life. Tell us a bit about her haiku.

 

Mom's haiku are akin to what I call "word-pictures." I consider them more sketch-like, or little stories. They don't follow the "rules" of haiku today. In the classic 1974 text, The Haiku Anthology, she called her poems "city haiku." Mom was a New York teacher, so I believe she may have written much of her haiku/senryu with kids in mind. Her style changed over time too and some of her later work became more spare. She had a pretty straightforward, conversational "voice," but I think some of her work is gently lyrical, as well. And while her poems reflect her NY surroundings, they are "universal," as well.

 

How did you find a publisher for your mother's work?

 

I am grateful to poet Aubrie Cox, who first told me about Penny Candy Books, started by poets Chad Reynolds and Alexis Orgera. I then researched Penny Candy Books and was delighted with their story and the variety of books they are dedicated to producing.

 

What did you most enjoy about this process, and what was most challenging?

 

Marshalling the commitment to fulfill Syd Rosenberg's decades-old dream of a traditionally published picture book, years after her death in 1996, was a joy. It took years for me to gather the stamina, and when I finally got underway a few years ago, I felt a sense of accomplishment – and relief. The actual process of organizing and reviewing Syd's work (some of it previously published in journals), and retaining her "voice" as I made some edits I felt were necessary specifically for a children's book … this was, of course, difficult, even draining. I've never done anything like this before and I felt a deep sense of responsibility, on several levels. This has been a novel, exciting – and nerve-wracking, even sometimes painful -- process. Overall, I'm overjoyed.

 

How does haiku speak to you, as a reader and as a poet?

 

Years ago, I never imagined that I would be writing my own haiku and senryu. But clearly, Mom had an influence on me, and I hope she knows. Haiku is wondrous. Sometimes, it intimidates me. But it has opened a new world for me – a different way of being, of seeing. I'm a late beginner, and I always will be a beginner. That's OK. I continue to learn from this wonderful community.

 

Amy also adds,

 

I wish I knew more about Syd's process/approach, and her own views about haiku when she was writing and interacting with other haijin via HSA, etc. Alas, I don't. I didn't pay much attention back then. I regret this now, of course (so many questions!). But I know that the haiku community meant the world to her. It had a rich, deep, lasting impact on both her personal and literary life.

 

Thank you again for joining us today, Amy!

 

Students will enjoy the poetic images in H is for Haiku, as well as the bold, inviting art by Sawsan Chalabi.  This image definitely "caught my eye":

 

GLEAMING IN PROFILE

SPOILING ITS OWN CAMOUFLAGE –

THE IGUANA'S EYE

 

My favorite poem (today, anyway!) is this one:

 

UP AND DOWN THE BLOCK

HOMEOWNERS MATE THE COVERS

OF GUSTED TRASH CANS

 

I've enjoyed sharing the book with my third-grade-teacher-daughter Morgan, here for a couple of days on Spring Break.  I'll reluctantly part with my copy so she can share with her students and order a new one for me.

 

I did have to remind myself that these haiku were written decades ago.  You all know I am in the camp of contemporary haiku poets who avoid 5-7-5 construction because it's not an accurate "translation" of Japanese sounds into English syllables and can sometimes make for clunky poems.  I also think of haiku in present tense, and this collection includes poems written in present and in past tense.

 

H is for Haiku includes a lovely introduction and bit of context by Amy, and a beautiful short passage, "What is Haiku?" by the author. This excerpt from the latter is exquisite to me:

 

Haiku is that fledgling moment,

when the wingstrokes become sure – when the

bird has staying power in the air.

 

Book Text ©Amy Losak; Illutrations ©Sawson Chalabi

 

Congratulations to Amy and Sawsan Chalabi and Penny Candy Books. Raising my coffee cup to Sydell Rosenberg, with wishes that this collection has staying power, and also with gratitude for the vision of those who formed The Haiku Society of America those many years ago.

 

Now head on over to see another Amy, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, for today's Poetry Friday Roundup at one of my favorite places in the world, The Poem Farm.  Remember to drop in on the 2018 Kidlit Progressive Poem when you can, and check out all the Kidlit Poetry Month projects and feasts rounded up by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup.  (& Special thanks to Jama for featuring some artsyletters items on her "nine cool things on a Tuesday" post this week!)

 

Circle back HERE for next week's Poetry Friday Roundup!  (Extra note for today - my studio will be open for our town's Spring ArtWalk this eve., so I'm whirling-dervishing a bit and might not be as timely as I'd like responding to comments.  I'll get back soon and I appreciate your visiting!)

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Poetry Friday - Monoku Times Two (or Three...)


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

Recently I sent my semi-regular batch of new haiku submissions off to journals, and one of the acceptances that came back this week was for a very short monoku. What's a monoku? A one-line haiku. In English-language haiku, this approach has been around for decades. There's something about how condensed and compressed such a poem is, how crystallized, that - as long as it does its job with juxtaposition and layered possibilities of meaning, - I just love.

I'll share the mentioned poem after it's published. Modern Haiku accepted it with a nice note. I can share two others MH published in the current issue, though:



one door closes morning glories



after the hurricane leaf blowers



Modern Haiku, Vol. 49.1, Winter-Spring 2018
poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Looking back, one of my earliest published haiku was a monoku:



rush of wind my imperfect t'ai chi



A Hundred Gourds, March 2012
©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Several one-line haiku I've had published since then are among my favorites, if I had to pick from my own.

Most of us travel paths in children's lit, and usually I prefer a good book for young readers to a book for adults any day. Books for kids must be precise, concise. Of course, that's something I love about poetry - and, to me, the most concise kind of poetry is haiku. (Maybe the most concise type of haiku is a monoku?)

My personal preference is not for one-word poems or something that seems to be simply a clever word trick, though some of these are published with special formatting and such. I generally hold to the notion that a haiku should contain two juxtaposed images.

The one-line haiku that have come to me have always arrived all in one piece, in a singular, fleeting, but palpable moment. They've been little gifts. No haggling, no teeth-gnashing for just the right word, or tweaking and playing with lines and breaks. Just two images fully formed into a little handful of words, drifting down like the surprise of a feather.

(PS/pssst - In case you're a haiku fan stocking up on short poems for Poem in Your Pocket Day, I've got ISSA Seasons mini haiku cards for sale in my Etsy shop here. If you need a different kind of discounted amount, just give me a holler.)

Now, drift on over to Today's Little Ditty, where the ever-surprising Michelle has this week's Roundup, complete with tons of poetry teaching tips from PF regulars and guests, just in time for April. (Be sure to catch the March challenge from Nikki Grimes while you're over there, too!)
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Poetry Friday - A Few Haiku



Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

I hope you had a chance to see the Super-Blue-Blood Moon this week. We were blessed with clear skies. Not the clearest of plans, though, as we mis-read moonrise time for Tuesday night and didn't get in place for proper gawking until the moon had been comfortably released from the horizon. Also, I got up early Wednesday expecting to see the blood moon - brilliant white greeted me, and then I read that the eclipse wouldn't be visible in our corner of the world this time around.

Still, the owls were lively and it was a brilliant way to start the day. No wonder centuries of haiku poets have written about their experiences "moon-gazing."

I don't have moon poems today, but here are a couple more of my haiku published in journals in the fall, and another which just came out (on the first page, even!) in bottle rockets.



longest day
she spells out the words
in the diagnosis


Modern Haiku 48:3, Autumn 2017



empty window
the last of her fur
in the lint trap


Frogpond 40:3, Autumn 2017



bus stop
the hard places
where she sleeps


bottle rockets #38, 2018


Thanks for coming by! For all kinds of poetry that will surely illuminate your weekend, visit our wonderful Donna at Mainely Write. (She also has an inspirational moon post from Wednesday/Thurs., Jan. 31, if you'd like some spiritual moon-swooning!)
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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 - Haiku by Liz and Yours Truly in ACORN



Greetings, Poetry Friends! For those in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope you are having a lovely fall. Many recent weather challenges in parts of the US, I know.

Fall brings acorns, and if you are a serious fan of haiku, perhaps it should bring the haiku journal Acorn to your doorstep. When I first fell into the form, I fell in love with this gem of a journal. I enjoyed and studied it, and have been fortunate to have my own poems appear in it over the years.

Founded by A.C. Missias in 1998, Acorn was edited by Carolyn Hall when I discovered it. Susan Antolin took over editorial reins in 2012. The selective pocket-sized journal, with its simple layout and contributors from around the world, is published twice a year.

My poem in the current issue is one of several I've written after visiting our son, Seth, in Asheville. He is doing a service-year internship there with an urban ministry program which primarily serves those experiencing homelessness, as well as others in the community. After taking Seth out to breakfast one quiet Sunday morning, as we walked a few blocks back to our car, I was struck by the following image:


empty street
she stoops to pocket
a half-cigarette



©Robyn Hood Black
Acorn, No. 39: Fall 2017



This week Charlotte Digregorio asked if she could feature this poem as a daily haiku on her terrific Writer's Blog. (Thank you, Charlotte!)

(To simply move on from my poem without further explication, skip this wee paragraph.) Heavy-handed poetic devices are avoided in haiku, but subtle ones can be slipped in if they don't detract from the images. In this poem, I thought the consonance of "st" and "p" sounds worked, because the reader is stopped by them somewhat, as the subject stops to pick up a used cigarette. Also, the word "stoop" can carry more than one connotation. Its meaning as a noun might even come to mind, silently suggesting a resting place where an unhoused person might rest or sleep for a spell at the entrance to a building.

Back to Acorn...

I was delighted to see a poem by our own Elizabeth Steinglass in the current issue as well.

Liz is another big fan of the journal.

"I love holding a volume of Acorn in my hand," she says. "It's just the right size and the paper is beautiful, but in a subtle way that provides a perfect backdrop for the haiku."

In the way of haiku, hers is both timeless and timely. I believe many will find that it particularly resonates this week, so I leave you with her rich words.


hands cupped
around a fragile flame
candlelight vigil



©Elizabeth Steinglass
Acorn, No. 39: Fall 2017



(Thanks for sharing, Liz.) Love and light to those who especially need it this week.

One pocket of our Poetry Friday universe which always offers warmth and light is Jama's Alphabet Soup - Visit Jama today for both, and for the Roundup!
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