April 12, 2016

Monday, April 20, 2015

NPM 2015: What Are You Wearing, Robyn Campbell?

"The Raven" Infinity Scarf is available at Etsy.
What are you wearing for National Poetry Month 2015, readers? Will it be a pair of Emily Dickinson tights, or today's find: An infinity scarf printed with Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"?

Throughout April, guest bloggers are dressing up in their poetry finery as Author Amok features poems 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 and recommended 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.

We touched on hand-me-downs when Robyn Hood Black tried on Alice Schertle's "Hand-me-down Sweatshirt" for size. Today, guest blogger Robyn Campbell is taking another look at "not-so-new" clothes with a poem by Mary Ann Hoberman.

So, Robyn, what are you wearing?

I am thrilled to take part in Laura's brainchild for National Poetry Month. Everyone needs clothes (I hope). :-) Clothes can be our statement. They can show the world who we are. What our personalities  look like. What is deep inside our souls. Watch what people wear. It will give you a zoom lens into their identities. Thank you, Laura for letting me take part in your lovely blog this month. 

What I'm wearing today is old vintage clothes from Mary Ann Hoberman's picture book, I Like Old Clothes, illustrated by Patrice Barton. 

As you'll see when you read the text, the words stand on their own. No need to see the charming illustrations (although I recommend you own a copy of this endearing picture book) but her word choice is exquisite. I have used it as a mentor text. The illustrations are different from the original ones published back in 1976. What a fun story. I was a little girl who loved old clothes so this is especially meaningful to me. I loved shopping for clothes someone else once owned because I knew there was a history with them. After all, they might have been worn by a princess or a movie star. No matter who wore them, they had to have had an interesting life before I got them. So for me, this is more than just a symbol, it's a way of life. Even today, I love shopping in the stores that sell hand-me-downs. Just as the story says, I like old clothes. :-)

From I Like Old Clothes
by Mary Ann Hoberman

I like old clothes,
Hand-me-down clothes,
Worn outgrown clothes,
Not-my-own clothes.
When somebody grows
And gives me her clothes,
I don’t say, “What, those?”
And turn up my nose
The way some people do
When their clothes aren’t new.
I like old clothes.
I really do.
Clothes with a history,
Clothes with a mystery,
Sweaters and shirts
That are brother-and-sistery,
Clothes that belonged to a friend of a friend,
Who wore them to school when she lived in East Bend.
“You lived in East Bend once, Blue Sweater,” I say.
“Just think, you are living in my town today.”

To read the rest of the poem, visit your library,
or find your own copy of I Like Old Clothes
from Amazon
 or Indibound.
Mary Ann Hoberman has written forty-five children's picture books, almost all of them in verse. She's a former United States Children's Poet Laureate who wrote the wonderful middle grade novel entitled Strawberry Hill.

As a contrast to Mary Ann's poem, I offer another take on old clothes. A haiku by Anni Morris.

Toothless zips, wrong size.
Tired elastic with no spring
Loose threads, color drained

So there are always two sides to the old clothes argument. Which side are you on? 

Thank you for reading. 

Robyn Campbell loves writing poetry and picture books and wearing old clothes. She's currently revising her middle-grade novel, writing a poetry book for kids and she plans on self-publishing a writing book for 8-12-year- old children. She lives in NC on her farm, and when not writing or homeschooling, Robyn can be found at the barn with her horses. She blogs at
Robyn, I have had some beloved vintage finds over the years. In high school, I was rarely seen without my black and red check men's suit jacket. (It looked great with jeans and a black beret. I thought.) More recently: this leather coat for $12. (Great for cosplay!)

Remember when I was
The Fourth Doctor
for Halloween?
ICYMI: In our poetry closet, you will find...

Jane Elkin looks in her childhood closet. Poems by Mark Irwin and Ron Koertge.
Linda Baie's outfit would not be complete without a poem in her pocket.

*Your suggested clothing poem prompt for Friday, April 24: Vintage
Tell the story of an old article of clothing. It might be the oldest thing currently hanging in your closet, something you found in a vintage or second hand store, a Christening gown passed down through your family (I have my grandfather's, from 1898), or an old concert tee that you can part with, even though it no longer fits. Begin with "It reminds me of the time when..."

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


Tabatha said...

Has anybody mentioned Macklemore's Thrift Shop re: old clothes yet? The first poem made me think of "I wear your granddad's clothes/I look incredible." I fall in the pro-old clothes category, but I appreciated the haiku's perspective too.

Teresa Robeson said...

I grew up on hand-me-downs and still prefer shopping at thrift stores. :) Now I need to get a copy of I LIKE OLD CLOTHES. :) Thanks, Robyn!

Love Laura's Doctor Who costume, too!

Robyn Campbell said...

Thanks for including me in this fun, Laura. I loved Tabatha's comment above. I love the haiku's angle too. I've passed on some great clothing because the pieces were way too tired. Laura, LOVE the picture. LOVE it. xo

Robyn Campbell said...

Someone commented you look like Inspector Gadget, Laura. I agree. Fun, fun, fun!

Bish Denham said...

Most of what I wear are thrift shop finds. My mother, being a very talented seamstress, was able to not only alter my sister's clothes to fit me, but could redesign them so they looked new and/or different: a larger/smaller collar, puffed/fitted sleeves, empire/fitted waist...

Natalie Aguirre said...

What a fun way to celebrate poetry. I used to love shopping at thrift stores. Right now I just don't need many clothes because I'm working at home. It's fun just dressing casual.

Catherine Johnson said...

Fab post, Robyn! I love that poem.

Renee LaTulippe said...

Thank you for sharing Hoberman's poem, Robyn! I have never read it and I love her rhyme and sound here.

When I was in college, I ONLY wore long black skirts and oversize men's blazers, both from the thrift store. Oh, and LOTS of rhinestones, even during the day. :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I had a few hand-me-downs growing up, but I'll admit, I'm a new clothes kind of guy.

Linda B said...

One of my grandfathers, much loved, farmed a little but lived in town, wore old clothes most of the time. My brother & I have talked about our own love of wearing old soft clothes when we get home from work. Some people don't change until bedtime; I always do. I love the variety of things found at thrift stores, & love Mary Ann's poem, so glad you shared. I've never seen it before.

Donna Smith said...

I loved both of those old clothes poems. Both are so true. I kept a couple pieces of clothing my parents wore. Hoping to someday put a piece into a quilt for each grandchild.

Author Amok said...

Donna -- My mom made a quilt for each of her grandchildren. My son's was made from his old (elementary school) soccer jerseys. So adorable and what a great way to recycle old clothes.

Lisa said...

I like "vintage" clothing as well and wish I could wear it all the time. But there is that down side to it, as you mentioned. Still, some of the styles are much more fun that what one finds nowadays. Love the "Dr. Who" photo! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Robyn does a great job here helping us think about "old" clothes along with Mary Ann Hoberman!

I've always been a new-clothes kind of person too, but I realized recently that it doesn't have to be NEW-new, it just has to be new-to-me to get that little thrill. More and more I'm shopping and thrift and resale shops, partly as a way to participate in a reuse/upcycle approach to clothes. It's true, though, that I must get my sewing machine set up again to make everything fit right. And you wouldn't believe the piles of worn out things I'm saving for those quilts I'm going to make...

Karen Lange said...

I never thought about old clothes quite like this. Thanks, Robyn! I always knew you were a genius! xo :) Laura, thanks so much for hosting Robyn! She is a treasure, isn't she?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. I have some vintage pieces as well. It's interesting to think about where they've been and how old they are.