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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Haiku Poetry Day, the HSA Spring Meeting, and the Santa Maria

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

I love living in a historic town, and this week it's even moreso... a gorgeous replica of the Santa Maria is parked in the neighborhood and open for tours.  (I enjoyed touring a much larger Spanish Galleon in Port Royal a few years ago, too.)

 

If the photo above whets your appetite, you might enjoy this video of the gracious little ship arriving in our bay.  

 

What does any of this have to do with Poetry Month?  Bear with me....  

 

Our little town, Beaufort South Carolina, vies with St. Augustine, Florida (part of my growing-up stomping grounds), as the nation's oldest city.  Well, here's the thing - St. Augustine IS the nation's oldest continually inhabited city, while the Port Royal area of my current fair county was settled first.  Politics, bad manners with the native neighbors, and other factors contributed to its demise, and there was a spell of years before the next settlement got settled.  Of course, all of this jabber refers to European settlement/conquest; there were civilizations here long before "we" arrived, thank you very much. 

 

I've always loved St. Augustine, and I can't wait to make a little trip there next month for the Haiku Society of America's Spring National Meeting, with the theme, "The Eternal Now: Haiku in the Ancient City"!  It's May 17-19.  I'm especially delighted that I'll get to see some Florida poetry friends including our own Michelle Heidenrich Barnes and my pal Stephanie Salkin. (Be sure to check out Michelle's recent post here featuring her honorable mention winning entry in the Triangle/D.C. area Golden Haiku contest; she also shares winning poems by Elizabeth Steinglass and Diane Mayr! CONGRATS all around!) 

 

I am honored that at the St. Augustine meeting, I'll be leading a session.  The historic setting got me thinking about my own history running wild in the woods of Florida, and then about family history, especially with the ancestry research and travel you've all been kind enough to indulge me in this past year or so. I believe haiku can connect us with our own family histories as well as with our corporate human family around the globe.  Both the Florida setting and my Lowcountry SC environs reminded me of this poem I wrote a few years back:

 

 

home again
twists and turns
of the live oak

 

Acorn, Spring 2012

Biscuit Crumbs, HSA SE Anthology, 2018

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved.

 

 

That poem came about before I knew we would be moving to the coast of South Carolina; I wrote it on a trip home to see my folks in Orlando.  But I found it applied, somehow,  after we moved here, too - these live oaks make me feel right at home. 

 

ALL this to say, that haiku is where the title of my session comes from:

 

"Reach of a Live Oak - Haiku and Our Family Tree."  I'm enjoying putting my talk/workshop together!

 

The conference will also feature Michael Henry Lee, Southeast Coordinator & Host (& one of my favorite poets!); the Coquina Haiku Circle of St. Augustine, helping to host; HSA President Fay Aoyagi; Stanford M. Forrester (Sekiro); Antoinette Libro; and Tom Painting.  A fun outing or two are in the works as well!  For a detailed schedule, please see the Haiku Society of America and click the link, currently on the front page. 

 

(Amazing to think that the original Santa Maria sailed the seas almost 200 years before haiku existed as we know it today, as its own short form championed by Basho in the 1600s.)

 

If you can't make the meeting, be sure to raise a glass and a pen on Wednesday, April 17, for International Haiku Poetry Day!  Click here for more info from The Haiku Foundation. 

 

And enjoy all the wonderfulness to savor this Poetry Month, including our Kidlit Progressive Poem, which lands here on Monday.  (Click that link to see the schedule at founder Irene's blog. Matt started the whole thing off this year as a found poem, and it's been fun to unfold a new found line each day.)

 

Speaking of Irene, who is Speaking of Art again this year for Poetry Month, she has the Roundup today. Thank you, Irene!!

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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 - Cleaning and Scrubbing Will Wait...

 

 

 

first frost
today she misplaced
our names

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black

 

Frogpond Vol. 42:1 (Winter 2019)

& selected for a forthcoming anthology TBA

 

I wrote this poem after a Thanksgiving visit with my mother-in-law, Marjorie, when she was in the hospital. Her struggles with Parkinson's had been mounting and coming fast after living with the disease for many years. Even in the midst of overwhelming challenges, however, humor can be a balm - and she kept her quick wit. 

 

The wonderful nurse working this past Thanksgiving engaged Marge in conversation.

 

"Who is that?" she asked, pointing to my husband, Jeff, at Marge's bedside. 

 

"That's Tim," Marge said.

 

"No, Mom, that's your favorite son," my husband smiled.  "I'm Jeff."

 

The nurse nodded toward me, sitting in a chair at the foot of the bed.  "And what is her name?" 

 

Marge took a long look at me and then told the nurse, "Oh - she changes hers a lot."

 

I almost fell off of said chair, chuckling at such a clever quip. 

 

Marge did recall our names on some subsequent visits and calls - the mind is a tricky thing. And while we all knew her health was declining, her passing last week still felt like a shock.  She left her husband of 62 years, Reuben, five children, thirteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. 

 

Tim, an Episcopal priest, officiated at her service on Saturday.  All of the music and readings and remembrances were offered by her grandchildren - as she would have wanted it.  Our nephew Will planned the music and played piano, with our son Seth playing guitar and singing along with another cousin, Olivia. Our daughter Morgan read a passage from Job.

 

Marge and Reuben had started "GranCamp" more than 25 years ago, a special, themed week each summer just for cousins (and, much later, their spouses).  Potty training was the only requirement. That rule even got bent when great-grands came along.  The goal was to create strong bonds between all these cousins, and as the oldest, Ben, said from the platform on Saturday, "It worked." (A few years ago, Will directed a Gran Camp video, complete with their original, jaunty GranCamp Song which was sung at Marge's service.)

 

Marge was valedictorian of her high school class and earned an education degree at North Georgia College. She was active in church and community endeavors.  She and Reuben had an open door, always - hosting several international students over the years as well as anybody who ever needed a safe harbor with a warm bed, good coffee, and no judgment. Oh, and ice cream any time of day or night. 

 

Her generosity and her quirks were celebrated with much joy on Saturday. It was a remembrance with as much laughter as tears.  She loved to read, and she could remember many lines of favorite poems.  The ones that just about every family member could quote - from her sharing them so often - reflected her philosphy about the preciousness of children.  She frequently shared these excerpted lines by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton (1921-2018):

 

 

From "Song for a Fifth Child (Babies Don't Keep)"

 

...
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

...

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby. Babies don't keep.

 

Click here for the entire poem, and a lovely bit of biography about the poet. 

 

Here is a link to Marge's obituary, largely written by Will.  Marge's other daughter-in-law, Patricia, and I tussled a bit with last minute edits.  But that was okay - we just wanted the words to be right, words that can only capture glimpses of a bright life. 

 

I found the obituary for Ruth Hulburt Hamilton here, which also includes a copy of her famous poem. 

 

Thanks for the kind words and thoughts this past week, and thanks to our oh-so-talented Jone, who has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Check it Out - Enjoy. (& I'll see you HERE for the Roundup next week!)

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Poetry Friday - New Year Poem Postcard

Greertings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

Last weekend I was on the road, and more of the same this weekend, truth be told.  

 

But I wanted to pop in with a wave and a THANK YOU to you dear and talented poets who have brightened my January with poem postcards.  (& BIG hugs to Jone Rush MacCulloch, who conjured up the exchange.) The examples above are brimming with New Year natural imagery, and pigs (it's the Year of the Pig), and - some touches of pink! (The flip side of Irene's card sports a pink flamingo, in homage to my home state of Florida.) If I misplaced a card in my haste to snap a photograph, my apologies. [And I owe a couple of folks responses to other wonderful surprises via the mail... I plan to catch up next week!  Thank you.]

 

The postcard I sent out, above, echoed a similar theme to the ones I was lucky enough to receive. Sea fog sometimes shrouds our usually bright little town with mystery and wonder.  And if the sun comes out, well - Nature takes her course. I'm hoping some of the fog I feel over our country right now might lift in favor of light and warmth this year, too.

 

 

new year
sea fog surrenders
to sun

 

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

 

 

Photo credit goes to my hubby, Jeff, who kindly and speedily rolled down the passenger window as I was driving us to church recently, crossing over the bridge.  "You have a new phone with a good camera - Quick!  I need a picture of fog over the marsh!"

 

Then I played with the image a little, "floating" a picture of a compass from a 1700s replica map I  have, featuring the Southeastern coast. To this I dabbed a sparkle or two of metallic gold paint, then "antiqued" the edges with brown ink. 

 

Making several, in case I messed up, I decided to list a few in my Etsy shop, too. :0) Thanks for the inspiration, Jone, and all the other participants.  

 

Here's hoping the sunny days outnumber the others in your year ahead.... 

 

In fact, at Going to Walden, Tara is offering a Linda Pastan poem pondering the goings-on of the world, and rounding up lots of enlightening poetry links! Enjoy. 

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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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