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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday/Poetry Month... Mini Poem Movies Continue with "Mural Compass"

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  I'm still "pausing for poems" each weekday in April with mini poem movies featuring some of my published poems and haiku. Today, it's "Mural Compass" from THE POETRY OF US, edited by J. Patrick Lewis (National Geographic, 2018). Here's the video link, which goes live at 12 a.m. April 10. 

 

Thanks to Matt Forrest Essenwine for last week's heads' up that this anthology was chosen as the April 2020 "Book of the Month" for Read Across America by the National Education Association. A great choice for folks unable to travel right now! Click here for a teaching guide from NEA.   

 

My poem takes readers to Philadelphia, celebrating the country's largest community outdoor art project.  It is a 'kyrielle' - and that was a fun challenge!

 

 

Mural Compass

 

Tall figures rise from city ground.

They speak to me without a sound

from vibrant faces, facing sun - 

these paintings are for everyone.

 

Chartreuse and purple pop the street,

kaleidoscoping at my feet.

Graffiti marks are now long gone.

These paintings are for everyone.

 

On buildings bare and bridges wide

where history and hope collide

shine songs of freedom, fame, and fun -

these paintings are for everyone. 

 

©Robyn Hood Black

 

 

For a bit more about this poem and book, you can read a post of mine from Sept. 2018 here.  [I don't think I mentioned in that post how this poem was written in the middle of a hurricane evacuation... a story for another day!]

 

Here's a link to my YouTube Channel, where during April I'm posting published poems for kids every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and published haiku suitable for kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Subscribe if you like, to catch all of them!

 

Oh, and if you want to visit artsyletters land, here's a link to my fresh-off-the-virtual-press Spring newsletter. (You can subscribe to that, too!  I only have my act together to send one out three or four times a year.)

 

Wishing you safe poetic travels as you enjoy all the offerings rounded up for us this week at one of my all-time favorite destinations, THE POEM FARM.  Thanks for hosting, Amy!

 

(Children under the age of 13 may only comment with demonstrated parental consent - Thank you!)

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POETRY MONTH - I Pause for Haiku Continues with "spring breeze"

 

Greetings Poetry Lovers!

 

I Pause for Haiku continues today with a spring haiku.  Click here to hear Robyn read it! What happens when a little wind crosses the surface of water?

 

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in April, I'm reading a poem for kids; every Tuesday and Thursday, it's haiku suitable for kids  I hope you enjoy, and feel free to share with teachers and students!  Thanks.

 

Click here for my YouTube Channel.

 

(Children under 13 must have demonstrated parental consent to leave a comment - Thank you!)

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POETRY MONTH Mini Movies Continue with "We See with These" - a Found Poem

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  I'm enjoying making these "I Pause for Poems" mini poem movies for you!

 

Today it's a FOUND poem -  "We See with These," (©2012 by Robyn Hood Black) from THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK - A BOOK OF FOUND POEMS (Roaring Brook Press, 2012), edited by Georgia Heard and illustrated by Antoine Guilloppé.

 

Where can YOU find a poem today?

 

Click here for the poem.

 

Click here for my YouTube Channel.

 

(Children under 13 must have demonstrated parental consent to leave a comment - Thank you!)

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POETRY MONTH - I Pause for Haiku today with "June heat"....

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! I PAUSE FOR HAIKU today with "June heat" from ACORN #30 (Spring 2013).

 

This one is especially for my stepdad, Jack, who called me this week to talk about the catbird in their Florida yard!  (Click the picture to hear the poem.)

 

Do you have a favorite bird?  Maybe you can write a poem about it, even one as short as a haiku.

 

Moongazing is a popular traditional subject for haiku, and tonight will be a good night to do it - it's a Full Pink Supermoon.  Click here for more info, and enjoy the great and small wonders all around. 

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POETRY MONTH - Mini poem videos continue with "Blank"...

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Thanks for all the kind comments and shares about my mini-poem-videos project, I PAUSE FOR POEMS, via YouTube.  I'm glad teachers are finding useful!  Today's poem is in response to a Today's Little Ditty challenge posed by Douglas Florian in 2016 - to write a poem about nothing. Mine is called "Blank." ;0)  Thanks to Michelle Heidenrich Barnes for all her Ditty magic. 

 

I'll continue sharing poems for kids on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and haiku suitable for kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  

 

Here is today's poem, and here is my YouTube Channel

 

Stay safe, and have a poetry-filled Monday.  

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Poetry Friday - My NATIONAL POETRY MONTH mini videos continue... :0)

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy National Poetry Month.

 

Each weekday in April, I'm sharing a new short video featuring me reading one of my published poems.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, these are poems for children.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, these are haiku suitable for children.

 

(So, three down... a bunch to go!)

 

Today's reading is from THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY (K-5 edition) from POMELO BOOKS by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Click here to hear it, and/or click here for my YouTube channel. (Note, I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm learning... Ha!)

 

 

Trouble on the Trail

 

The woods are great and everything,

but now I feel an itch. 

 

My arms are turning kind of red;

my body wants to twitch.

 

You think that's poison ivy there?

Now that would be some joke. 

 

You don't?  Oh good.  But what was that?

You think it's poison oak?

 

 

©2012 by Robyn Hood Black

 

 

Thanks to my family for helping with this project (Morgan mentioned looking for online content for her third-graders; Seth whipped up some original guitar magic and texted it to me; and hubby Jeff followed me around this past weekend with my new-ish iPhone to make some recordings!). Special thanks to all the teachers, media specialists, and school staff, who, like Morgan, are missing their students so and doing their best to educate from afar. 

 

Speaking of amazing teachers, the always-adventurous Heidi has our Roundup today at My Juicy Little Universe.  And be sure to check out all the special Poetry Month projects around the Kidlitosphere at Jama's yearly Alphabet Soup Roundup.  Thank you, you Wonderful Women! AND, follow the Progressive Poem, this year organized by another amazing teacher, Margaret!

 

Wishing you and yours peace and safety and health in these surreal days.  Read, and write, lots and lots of poems!

 

(Note - Children under the age of 13 may only comment with demonstrated parental consent.  Thank you.)

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Poetry Month - I Pause for Haiku - "between"

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  

 

My National Poetry Month project continues with "I Pause for Poems" and "I Pause for Haiku" mini original poem movies.  Today I'm reading a haiku which originally appeared in bottle rockets, #41, August 2019.  The photo with the text, and the sound effects accompanying it, came from our back yard.  You'll see. ;0) 

 

Click here for the link, and here for my YouTube channel. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in April, I'll add a poem for kids.  Each Tuesday and Thursday this month, I'll add a haiku.

 

For all kinds of National Poetry Month project magic, visit the lovely Jama who has rounded up poetic wonders around the Kidlitosphere at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

 

(Note - Children under the age of 13 may only comment with demonstrated parental consent. Thank you.)

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Happy National Poetry Month! I PAUSE FOR POEMS with a Video each Weekday.... :0)

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - and,

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!

 

I'm embarking on a new adventure, I PAUSE FOR POEMS.  My teacher-daughter Morgan, like many of you and others across the country, is seeking more online content than usual for students during these challenging weeks. 

 

So I grabbed a good-natured husband, and the new-ish iPhone my kids made me get, and took off outdoors, books in hand.  Then I solicited some long-distance guitar magic from son Seth.  And then I went hunting for that video channel on YouTube I'd "claimed" a million years ago.... And then I watched some generous tutorials. [These have greatly helped but certainly haven't smoothed out all my glitches and imperfections, but here we go anyway!]

 

Each weekday in April, I'll share a new short video featuring me reading one of my published poems.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, these will be poems for children.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, these will be even shorter videos featuring a haiku suitable for children.

 

The first foray, pictured above, is my reading of "Sincerely," (©2015 by Robyn Hood Black/©2015 by Pomelo Books) which appears in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS as well as in HERE WE GO and GREAT MORNING, all from POMELO BOOKS by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. 

 

Thanks to my family for helping, to teachers for teaching, and to everyone who makes poems and books. Each April, the magnificent Jama Kim Rattigan rounds up special National Poetry Month projects throughout the Kidlitosphere (with help from Mr. Cornelius, I am certain.)  You can find her list at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

 

To follow my poem video adventures, here's a link to my YouTube channel.

 

Thanks for tagging along, and here's to a soul-nourishing Poetry Month!

 

(Note - Children under the age of 13 may only comment with demonstrated parental consent.  Thank you.)

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Poetry Friday - Dictionary for a Better World

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

For the last decade give or take, I've written for a wonderful Character Education program, CORE ESSENTIAL VALUES, used by schools across the country. (If my editor happens to be reading this, I know I'm behind!  Sorry!  You'll hear from me soon…) A different core value is celebrated each month.  My bits of territory in the greater monthly offerings include an animal profile that somehow links to the value; a color that does the same, and quotations which reflect and expand its meaning.  I'll try to do a real post about it all.  I mention it now simply because I feel that such education is important – vitally important.  Perhaps it reinforces what a student is learning at home, or perhaps it introduces students to ways of being or conversations they don't often experience otherwise.

 

This interest is part of the reason I was so excited about the second book co-authored by my friends Irene Latham and Charles Waters, whose groundbreaking CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR?  (Carolrhoda Books, 2018) has helped foster discussions of race relations for all ages. 

 

Chances are you've heard the buzz about, or are lucky enough to have read, DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD – Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z (hot off the press, also from Carolrhoda). "Rich" is the word that fills my mind and heart to describe this unique treasure.  It includes: poetry galore, in many familiar and off-the-beaten-path forms;  quotations that inspire and challenge (from contemporary voices and those that live on through their words); and thoughtful reflections throughout from both Irene and Charles. The back is chock-full of resources, making this volume oh-so-handy for teachers, media specialists, and parents.

 

And, the ART!  Oh, my.  Well, first, I'd dare you to resist the colorful cover.  It is a treat throughout – Mehrdokht Amini's varied images provide surprises at every turn, but are unified with an accessibility and sophistication through bold colors anchored with lots of (wonderful) dark shades, and a downright symphony of lively lettering and type. (Here is her website.)

 

The idea for the book sprouted two years ago when Charles and Irene were each waiting on flights home from snowy Michigan, after their school visit for that day got cancelled because of the weather.  Some free hours in a restaurant, some conversation… and, magic!  A book idea was born.

 

As Charles notes, however, these things are rarely an easy, straight shot.

 

"Through a rejection of another book idea, this book came into being," he says. "When one door closes, find that sliver of sunlight elsewhere."

 

Good advice!

 

And this book is full of good advice.  In addition to a poem to savor, each "entry" on an alphabetical topic (& some letters get more than one topic!) includes a quotation, a reflection (either "Charles says…" or "Irene says…" – or, for the four they co-wrote, "Irene and Charles say…"), and, finally, a "Try It" exercise suggesting ways to incorporate the theme into daily life. 

Many poetic forms will be familiar (cinquain,  persona, found poem), while others might be new to you (tricube, shadorma, etheree).

 

You'll see in the photo above that my Chihuaha's favorite poem was Irene's senryu. My little Rita does love mealtime!

 

SERVICE

 

helping hands fill plates

with meat-and-potato peaks

hope is gravy

 

©Irene Latham

 

The quote that goes along with this poem is from Lao-tzu (Tao Te Ching):

 

"The heart that gives, gathers."

 

Irene's response paragraph introduces us to some of her favorite childhood memories, when she lived down the street from a convent in Louisiana.  "One of my favorite things to do was to hang out in that enormous kitchen and help make cookies and soup to serve at retreats and community events," she writes.   The "Try it" piece invites readers to seek out service organizations and find one that fits.  "Sign up and serve just one shift, and see where it leads you."

 

Speaking of Japanese poetry forms, Irene says, "The poem that went through the most revisions -- and we still wish we could revise it at least one more time -- is 'Equality,' the renga. For that reason, it's one we ALWAYS read at school visits. So kids will know it takes a lot of work to find the right words... and even when a poem looks 'done' (as it does in a published book), there are often ways it can be improved."

 

I'll bet students are eager to add stanzas of their own.

 

Here are a couple from Irene and Charles:

 

...

 

star student, or one

who doesn't enjoy reading

we are all equal

 

whichever bathrooms we choose,

each of us wants to feel safe

 

 ...

 

This book will make readers of many different backgrounds feel safe, and, beyond that, inspired.  And beyond that, hopeful.

 

Certainly welcome in these challenging days! And a great jumping off point for National Poetry Month, don't you think? In fact, Naomi Shihab Nye has chosen DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD as the Young People's Poet Laureate Book Pick for April! :0) Here is a PDF with more of the book's story. (Learn more about Irene here and more about Charles here.) 

 

 

For more great poetry this week, visit our amazing and thoughtful Tabatha, who is always about making the world better, at The Opposite of Indifference.

*(Also, I'm working on my Spring artsyletters newsletter, which will include an old but timely poem and a quote or two, so I'll add the link here when it's ready.)* :0)

 

 Wishing you and yours the best of health.

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Poetry Friday - Now That You Have Time to Read and Write... David G. Lanoue's HAIKU GUY OMNIBUS (& More!)

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Happy Spring!  It's a comfort that the seasons still appear in turn.  

 

"Surreal" is definitely the word which keeps popping up like the daffodils.  I hope you and yours are well. 

 

If you're shuttered and going a little stir-crazy, maybe you're tackling that big pile of books on the bedroom nightstand?  Or ordering new books?  You might recall being curious about David G. Lanoue's HAIKU GUY series, after reading about it here somewhere, or maybe even half a dozen years ago in a column I wrote on Janice Hardy's Fiction University blog.  Well, good news!  To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series, David has JUST released the HAIKU GUY OMNIBUS!  

 

This hefty, handy paperback features HAIKU GUY, LAUGHING BUDDHA, HAIKU WARS, FROG POET, and DEWDROP WORLD, all in one place. 

 

The back cover copy explains it well:

 

Five interconnected narratives explore the art of haiku by following the adventures of Buck-Teeth, a fictional student of haiku master Cup-of-Tea (the historical Issa).  Sliding easily back and forth between Old Japan and contemporary New Orleans, between the unfolding stories and the author's writing group commenting on those stories, the five meandering narratives reflect on the meaning of life, the purpose of poetry, and the search for enlightenment.  Though each little novel stands alone, together they form parts of a greater whole that, author David G. Lanoue suggests, can be discovered in the same way that one finds shapes in midsummer clouds - hence his advice to the reader with which he ends his Preface, "Squint hard."

 

These stories are both entertaining and inspiring, and unlike anything you've read before!  If you haven't read them, I know you'll enjoy the journey. 

 

Many of you know David through his "Daily Issa" contributions to your inbox. I don't know about you, but in these more-than-challenging times, I lap these up like a hummingbird at a trumpet flower. Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) is beloved as one of the early haiku masters who found beauty in and connection with all living things despite a life full of hardships. (Here is info about David's Issa books.) 

 

David teaches English and world literature at Xavier College in New Orleans and is a translator of Japanese haiku as well as a writer. He was president of the Haiku Society of America from 2013 to 2015.  In addition to poetry and these unique haiku/fiction combinations, his books also include scholarly criticism, and the wonderful WRITE LIKE ISSA how-to guide, which I'm thrilled to have a poem in. 

 

Thursday's "Daily Issa" haiku was perfect for the first day of Spring:

 

 

at my dinner tray

a sparrow chirps...

spring rain

 

 

I featured a few of David's Issa haiku on some seasonal business-card-sized poem cards in my Etsy shop, including this one for Spring:

 

 

the mountain sunset

within my grasp...

spring butterfly

 

 

(I've also featured this particular card in a Send Spring Cheer pack I've just come up with. My idea is to encourage folks to send notes to those who might be feeling especially isolated right now.  The pack includes my wren and book note cards, eight first-class flower Forever stamps, eight spring Issa cards, and a sheet of sparkly red heart stickers.  It's listed at just a feather above my cost with free shipping, ready-made with all that's needed for sending, except the writer's personal note and the walk to the mailbox.)

 

Many thanks, and hearty congratulations, to David for the new book!  And much appreciation for the beauty and kindness added to the world through so many works. 

 

Sending love to all in these trying days.  I hope the chatter of birds and the surprise of new blooms can cheer your heart as you venture out for some fresh air and Vitamin D each day.  (And for those of you in snow, I hope Spring arrives soon!)

 

For more poetry (and art!) to help you through, please visit the lovely and talented Michelle Kogan for this week's Roundup.

 

All in this together. XO

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