April 12, 2016

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

NPM 2015: What Are You Wearing, Robyn Hood Black?

We've been having a National Poetry Month costume party here at Author Amok. 

Find the official NPM 2015 poster
at the Academy of American Poets
Throughout April, guest bloggers are putting on their costumes and best outfits as we feature poetry about clothes. Why clothes? Read this post.

In addition to the guest bloggers, every Friday in April I'll post a round-up of original clothing poems. (Send those via email to laurashovan at gmail dot com or leave them in the comments). You'll find this week's writing prompt at the bottom of this post.

Meet today's guest blogger, poet and artist Robyn Hood Black

Robyn and poet Alice Schertle
are sporting matching denim looks.
Happy Poetry Month, Laura!

What am I wearing? Confession: sometimes I blog in my PJs. And usually with an old cat on my lap. That may or may not be the case as I type this.

Margaret’s amazing post on Monday highlighted high heels, and the potent memories made over clothing between mother and daughter. My daughter Morgan was here on break this past weekend and we might have gone shopping for her at Talbot’s. (She’s a new teacher. I’m a writer/artist. As I posted on Facebook once while packing for a trip, she has classic fashion tastes – think Kate Middleton or Michelle Obama – while I am more like Stevie Nicks at a flea market.) 

Morgan and I also might have driven 30 minutes to see the new Disney Cinderella movie on Saturday afternoon. Her third-graders had said it has more of a “girl-power” message than the traditional prince-saves-girl theme, and it stars one of our favorite Downton Abbey actors, Lily James (the irrepressible “Lady Rose”). We thoroughly enjoyed it. 

It did remind me, though, of a childhood memory – a local department store had held an event in which hopeful girls could try on a glass slipper to win – I don’t remember what, but it must have been something enticing. I do remember NOT being the special magical princess.

But really now, can you imagine wearing – much less dancing the night away in – actual glass high-heeled shoes?! 

[Confession from AuthorAmok: Laura can, indeed, imagine this. She has a nice-sized collection of glass shoes.]

AuthorAmok is admiring blogger and
novelist Annette Benton's

collection of Fenton glass slippers.

On the opposite end of the comfort scale would be a soft, well-worn sweatshirt. One with some miles and stories in the threads. That’s the subject of the poem I’d like to share today.

Hand-me-down Sweatshirt
by Alice Schertle

I’m a hand-me-down sweatshirt
with zipper and hood.
I’m everyone’s favorite
and still looking good.

I’ve been lost and recovered,
been torn and been sewn,
been dribbled on, tumbled in,
rained on and blown.

I started out Wendell’s,
was passed down to May,
she passed me to Karly,
I’m Andrew’s today.

So zip up my zipper
and pull up my hood.
I’m a friend of the family
and still looking good.

©Alice Schertle.  All rights reserved. Posted with permission from the author.

This poem is from Button Up!  Wrinkled Rhymes by award-winning poet Alice Schertle, with illustrations by Petra Mathers (Harcourt Children’s Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009).  

Find it on Oprah's Book Club!
I got my own personalized hot-off-the-press copy when I met Alice at a Highlights Founders workshop in poetry in Honesdale, led by Rebecca Kai Dotlich along with Susan Pearson and Alice. (And, yes – those few days were special AND magical!!)

If you know Alice’s work, well – I’ve read the word “genius” describing her more than once. She’s an absolute master of meter and her curiosity and imagination know no bounds. You might be familiar with her Little Blue Truck series among many other beloved titles.

When Button Up was released, Elaine Magliaro at Wild Rose Reader posted a wonderful review here. The book includes 15 persona, or “mask,” poems. These require a poet’s taking on a character and writing in first person.  A fun form to try with students, for sure!  Some of the gems in this collection include “Bertie’s Shoelaces,” “Joshua’s Jammies,” and “The Song of Harvey’s Golashes” (“…O there’s mud up to our tops,/we hope Harvey never stops/making deep, wet footprints in the lawn,/in the lawn.”)

Personally, I hope Alice Schertle never stops making poetry!

Many thanks for having me today, Laura.

Robyn, Alice's poem reminds me of a story. My friend, who has three children, bought a new sweatshirt -- NOT a hand-me-down, for once! -- for her youngest. This young daughter was so enthralled by how soft and wonderful the brand-new fleece of the sweatshirt felt. She'd never had a new sweatshirt before and it was a delight to her senses.

On the other hand, my daughter's current favorite "jacket" is actually a sweatshirt she swiped from her older brother. Thanks so much for visiting and for reminding us that comfortable clothes are among the most treasured items in our closets.

ICYMI: In this series...
Jane Elkin looks in her childhood closet. Poems by Mark Irwin and Ron Koertge.

*Your suggested clothing poem prompt for Friday, April 10: Shoes.
On the practical level, they protect our feet from lumps and bumps. But shoes can be engineered for running, biking, or dance. They can be impractical works of art, colorful and sky-high. Our favorite footwear might be a pair of well-worn slippers. What does a pair of shoes say about the wearer?

Send your poems any time. I'll post original work on Friday.


Irene Latham said...

Ha! Robyn and Morgan remind me of me and my niece shopping... she's all classic put-together and I am a-little-this-a-little-that.... love Robyn's post and Alice's poem and do have a fondness for the many lives a piece of clothing can live. I also saw Cinderella. Mixed feelings. And no glass slippers for me... flip flops! xo

Buffy Silverman said...

Love reading the details of Robyn and Morgan's day out--I think Morgan's sense of style matches my daughter's fashion sense (that she most definitely did not inherit from me!) My 30 plus year old green hoodie is one of my few essential wardrobe is as soft and comfortable as Alice Schertle's poem!

Renee LaTulippe said...

I love BUTTON UP - and hearing about Robyn's shopping trip!

Laura, do you know the song "This Shirt" by Mary Chapin Carpenter? It's just fabulous - she's a poet with the lyrics:

Tabatha said...

I like how the sweatshirt is "a friend of the family." :-) My kids share clothes A LOT!

I also liked Robyn's description of her style as "like Stevie Nicks at a flea market." Made me smile!

Now I want to see Laura's glass shoes!

Robyn Hood Black said...

So much fun joining in the poetic trunk show today - Thanks, Laura, for having me, and to you lovely poets for dropping by! (...& appreciation again to Alice for sharing her just-right poem.)

Linda B said...

Oh, this is so nice to hear, Robyn. I love those old hand-me-downs, & love Button Up, have shared it with teachers recently. Our family has an old ragg wool sweater that stretches to fit just about anyone who needs an extra layer. Your post reminds me of that.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Linda - that sounds like a more cozy version of "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," which I haven't thought of since Morgan got hooked on the series years ago! :0) Glad to hear Button Up continues to make the rounds in capable hands, too....

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Robyn and Laura--

Alice Schertle's book "A Lucky Thing" was one of the books I studied and studied in the library back in 1999 when I was thinking of trying to write a book. She is a dear mentor to me, although I've never met her.

I love knowing more about you and Morgan and your style choices, and I'll be adding to this mother-daughter theme in my own post on Monday. Thanks for this comfortable, cozy post!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks, Heidi - looking forward to your post!,

Catherine Johnson said...

Lovely post! This reminds me of shopping trips with my sister and my mum.

jan godown annino said...

This poem by Alice Schertle makes me want to find my fave sweatshirt cause it's a wee bit drizzly & cool here tonite in north Florida.

Robyn I have this mask collection BUTTON UP! that is
15 kinds of fabulous & I think it's because you mentioned Alice in one of your articles at your blog. Didn't know of her until then, 'tis how ignorant I am & why I glom onto Poetry Friday for a big portion of my education.

I'm throwing confetti over you for having been to that glorious poetry workshop!

Gre8T post collaboration - Laura & Alice & Robyn. Brava! Brava! Brava!