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Archive for the tag “PACYA”

Interview with poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins

I don’t know how they do it. I have so many writer friends who somehow find the time to not only write stories and poetry, but update their blog every other day, maintain a family, run errands, and do all the other stuff that life requires…and yet for me, it’s always a struggle. I really don’t know how they keep it all together! Myself, I’m taking care of the kids, trying to keep on top of my voiceover business, keeping the house and yard from looking too shabby, trying to be a good hubby, AND find time to get all my writing in. And invariably, every day ends with me wondering where the hours all went.

That said, I’m reposting this interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins today. I’ve been out straight lately with commercial production work and writing children’s poems to submit to a few select publications, and since this interview was first shared in the fall of 2012 (Nov. 13, to be exact), I thought it remained on the shelf long enough and deserved a second posting! I hope you like it…

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Lee Bennett Hopkins’ name is synonymous with children’s literature. He has written and edited numerous award-winning books; he’s worked with a veritable who’s-who of authors, from Dr. Seuss to Madeleine L’Engle; and he has even been an elementary school educator.  In addition to the numerous awards he’s received over the years, he was recognized by Guinness World Records in 2011 as the world’s most prolific anthologist of poetry for children:  at the time, he had edited 113 different titles. and he’s not slowing down.

I recently wrapped up an interview with Lee for Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults (PACYA), which we just finished editing and formatting yesterday….you can find the interview HERE.

PACYA is featuring all the recipients of the prestigious National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children; in addition to Lee, you can read biographies and interviews with poets like Karla Kuskin, X.J. Kennedy, Myra Cohn Livingston, Nikki Grimes, and more.  (I had the honour of interviewing U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis a few weeks ago, and that interview will be posted in a couple weeks.)  See the complete list of all the featured poets along with links to their pages HERE.

My thanks to PACYA for helping to promote children’s poetry, and for giving me the opportunity to help them in their efforts!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Interview with Children’s Poet/Author David Elliott

photo courtesy of Michael Seamens

I have had the opportunity to interview some incredible folks over the years. Just from the children’s literature universe, I’ve chatted with folks like Lee Bennett Hopkins, Charles Ghigna, J. Patrick Lewis, Douglas Florian, and newcomer Vikram Madan.

While working in radio, I interviewed rock stars like Alice Cooper, the guys from Def Leppard, Rik Emmett of Triumph, and others.

I’ve also interviewed lots of country music artists from Charlie Daniels to Jason Aldean, from Ricky Skaggs to Jeff Foxworthy.

But until now, I had never interviewed someone who lived in the same town I do!

The bottle-washing, English-teaching, popsicle-stick-maker-next-door

I just completed an interview with children’s author and poet David Elliott, who already has an impressive catalogue of titles and is currently under contract for 6 more to come out over the next couple years. He’s also currently working on a number of other projects, including a middle grade book and a YA novel. Yes, he’s a busy fellow.

I invite you to read more about David at the Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults blog, Poetry at Play. It was for PACYA that I did this interview, and being able to visit David at his home just a couple miles away from me and chat about writing and living and our surprising connections was a wonderful experience. Who knew that both he and I formerly lived in the same part of VT before moving to our current homes?

Who knew we both shared the same “writer’s worry” of not being able to execute our ideas the way they deserve?

And what are the odds that he had been inside my home – visiting the former owner – before I had even been inside my home?

Inspiration, research, and the importance of getting out of the way

I hope you enjoy the interview!  We talk about why inspiration is overrated, the vast amount of research that is sometimes necessary to write a two-stanza poem, and one of the most important things a writer – any writer – can do.

Again, here’s that link: Poetry at Play

And thank you, as always, for stopping by!

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PoetsGarage-badgeDid you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it!  To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter , Facebook, and Pinterest!

Poem in Your Pocket Day

I thought it would be appropriate to publish a short post on National “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” sponsored by the Academy of American Poets.  This is another opportunity for people to find, read, share, and appreciate poetry during national Poetry Month.

Today, I’m sharing something I wrote a couple years ago. This poem was written after reading a Poetry Advocates for Children & Young Adults blog post by Father Goose himself, Charles Ghigna.  He had asked readers to comment on the topic, “What is poetry?”  This is what I came up with…

“A Poem”

A poem has a heartbeat,
A poem has a touch;
One minute it may let you go
Or hold you in its clutch.

A poem’s breath is subtle,
Each tooth a tapered knife.
It laughs and cries
with open eyes;
In short, a poem’s…life!

- © 2011 Matt Forrest Esenwine

Speaking of Charles Ghigna – I hope you’ll plan to visit here this Monday (April 22), for an exclusive interview with Father Goose! We’ll learn how one person manages to write early readers, non-rhyming picture books, adult poetry, and YA novels in verse; why an old 1923 Underwood typewriter means so much to him; and how his wife ‘secretly’ helped him create a book of love poems.

Liebster Blog Award

I was recently notified by fellow writer/blogger Violet Nesdoly that this blog has been nominated for a Liebster Award!  Violet is a freelance writer, children’s poet, and book reviewer who I met online a few months ago, shortly after I began this blog – so I felt honoured that I made that much of an impression on her after only blogging since August!

But – what IS a Liebster Award?

Well, it’s a sort of cybernetic, blogger-to-blogger ‘high-five.’   Aside from the fact that the ‘award’ is given to blogs with under 3,000 followers (don’t remind me!), there are no special requirements, no panel of judges, no prize money, and no bikini models to present me with a gold trophy during some nationally-televised broadcast hosted by Tom Bergeron.  “Liebster” is a German word meaning ‘darling’ or ‘favourite,’ so this award is simply bestowed upon bloggers by fellow bloggers who have taken a particular liking to them (thanks, Violet!), and a virtual pat on the back ias perfectly fine with me!

I accept this award on behalf of–  oh, well, I’ll keep it short:

liebster-blog-award1To accept the award, Violet told me I needed to:
– Proudly display the Liebster button on my blog (check!)
– List five random facts about myself
– Pass the Liebster award on to other blogs (as many as five)

Hmm…5 random facts about Matt Forrest? Let’s see…

1) The great American patriot, Patrick Henry, is a great-uncle.
2) I wrote my first Elizabethan sonnet when I was in 9th grade; two years later, I had a poem published for the first time.
3) My favourite meal is barbecued baby-back ribs with fries, cold iceberg-tomato salad with bleu cheese or Russian dressing, and all the Moxie I can drink.
4) I used to teach contemporary country dance; from the Two-Step to the Tush-Push, if you wanted to learn it, I was the guy to call!
5) The dirt road I grew up on is still a dirt road, and my parents still live there. That’s not insignificant.

There are five bloggers who come to mind, who I think deserve this award. Knowing this award is for smaller blogs, I’m not sure how many followers they have – but I’m surmising they have less than 3000 followers.  They certainly deserve more.  The nominees are:

Poetry At Play - Steven Withrow and the folks at Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults (PACYA) keep readers on top of what’s happening in the world of childern’s poetry. Between articles and interviews with poets like J. Patrick Lewis, Joyce Sidman, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Nikki Grimes, Douglas Florian, and many others, you could find yourself spending a lot of spare time there!

For the Love of Reading - The Sarcasm Goddess writes about life, love, bacon, and the strange things that happen to all of us from time to time – that seem to happen to her on a regular basis.  If you’re looking for a blog that will put a smile on your face – even if it’s a wry smirk – this is your blog.

The Drawer of M.M. Socks - Alvaro Salinas, Jr., aka M.M. Socks, writes and illustrates children’s stories and poems that encourage kids to use their creativity and imagination.  Some of his poems are funny, others are more thought-provoking…but always enjoyable.

The Voice of Your Business - Derek Chappell not only keeps voice talent on top of industry news, he regularly posts links to the top voiceover blogs around the country (many of which I presume have well over 3000 followers and are therefore not included in my list!).

I.Droo.It - Like M.M. Socks (above), Samuel Kent, aka, The Lunchbox Doodler, writes and illustrates children’s poems and one-frame cartoons. (What is it about writer-illustrators that they need aliases??) You’ll enjoy his humourous drawings and tales, but once you read why he calls himself The Lunchbox Doodler, you’ll find yourself wanting to read more!

There are dozens of other folks I could have put on this list, but I’m guessing – and really, all I can do is guess – that they have over 3000 followers, because they are either so well-known, or so deeply entrenched in kid lit, poetry, writing, or voiceover/broadcasting.  To my friends with under 3000 followers whom I did not nominate…please do not send hate mail or leave flaming bags of dog poo on my porch.  I simply overestimated your influence – so take that as a compliment!

If you are interested in finding more great blogs to follow, check out the list to the right of the screen (“Blogs I Follow”) or take a glimpse at the 40+ bloggers who stopped by here a couple of weeks ago for Poetry Friday.  And remember, if you’ve read a few of my posts already and enjoyed them, please consider subscribing and sharing this blog with friends.

And thank you for your support!

Interview with children’s poet/artist Douglas Florian

Last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing children’s poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins and U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis for Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults (PACYA).  I’m thrilled to say this year is getting off to a great start, as I just completed my latest interview – with artist and children’s poet/illustrator Douglas Florian!

Florian has written and/or illustrated dozens of books for children and is also an accomplished artist whose works have been exhibited in over 30 solo and group shows.  He has a great sense of humour but takes his work seriously….I invite you to check it out!

Why does he consider himself an ‘authorstrator?’  Why is ‘closing your mouth’ such a good idea?  What does he try never to sit on??  Find the answers to these riveting questions and much more in my complete interview with Douglas Florian HERE…and be sure to search around PACYA’s blog for more interviews, info, and insight!

Poetry Friday: Poems about poetry, inspired by poets

A little something to set the mood. Poets are supposed to be dark and brooding, aren’t we?

No, that’s not as redundant as it sounds.

Today I’m sharing three short poems that were written in response to blog posts by other children’s poets.  All three are about poetry, and were inspired by different means.

My point in sharing these, aside from simply offering them up for your reading pleasure, is to show
how inspirational networking can be!  Before I read the blog posts that inspired these poems, I had no intention of writing anything…but then, BAM!  The poems came to me, and I couldn’t help but work them out and get them on paper.

The first one, “A Poem,” was written after reading a Poetry Advocates for Children & Young Adults blog post by Father Goose himself, Charles Ghigna.  He had asked readers to comment on the topic, “What is poetry?”  Now, this was back in Nov. or Dec. 2011 – so I forget if the responses had to be in verse, but of course that was the form I chose:

“A Poem”

A poem has a heartbeat,
A poem has a touch;
One minute it may let you go
Or hold you in its clutch.

A poem’s breath is subtle,
Each tooth a tapered knife.
It laughs and cries with open eyes;
In short, a poem’s…life!

- © 2011 Matt Forrest Esenwine

The second poem, “Poet’s Plight,” was also written as a response to something Charles wrote; this time, it was a poem he had posted on his own blog, titled “Write Walking.”  He wasn’t asking anyone to reply, but as soon as I read his poem, I felt like I had to ‘answer’ it.  I initially wrote it in only about 5 or 10 minutes, so I’ve tweaked it since then…but I kind of like it.

Charles’ original poem:

“Write Walking”

If you should pass me on the way
And wonder what I said,
Please forgive the mutters made—
I’m writing in my head.

-  © Charles Ghigna, reproduced with permission of the author

And my ‘response:’

“Poet’s Plight (Just the Right Word)”
(
Response to Charles Ghigna’s “Write Walking”)

And likewise, should you pass me by
And distant be my gaze,
Do not think me aloof or shy –
I haven’t slept in days!

- © 2012 Matt Forrest Esenwine

The third poem, “The Poet,” would never have been written had it not been for poets David L. Harrison and J. Patrick Lewis, who challenged readers of David’s blog to write their own Careerhymes, Pat’s original form of light verse in which a type of occupation appears in the first line.  Talk about rolling a pebble down a hill and watching it turn into an enormous, hurtling snowball!  There were so many responses, it was hard to keep track of everyone.  This is one of several I volunteered:

“The Poet”

A poet has but one desire;
Imagination feeds it.
He sets his sullen soul afire
And almost no one reads it.

- © 2013 Matt Forrest Esenwine

See that?  Three poems that demanded I call them into existence.  If I hadn’t read the blogs, these would have never seen the light of day.

So the next time you wonder if you should bother reading a blog, or commenting on a Facebook post, or posting a Tweet, don’t think of social networking as a tedious business necessity or a luxury you just don’t have time for – think of it as potential digital inspiration!

Ready for more poetry?  Then visit Renee LaTulippe at No Water River for today’s roundup, and have a great weekend!

Interview with U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis

Poet and author J. Patrick Lewis was 56 years old when, in 1998, he retired early from his position as professor of economics at Otterbein College in Ohio to become a full-time writer.  During his career, he has written over 80 books and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2011 Poetry Award from the National Council of Teachers of English.  That same year, Pat was named 2011-13 U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

I recently wrapped up an interview with Pat for Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults (PACYA), which you can find HERE.  On their www.PoetryAtPlay.Org blog, PACYA is featuring all the recipients of the prestigious National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children (NCTE).  A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins, who had also received this honour; in addition to Pat and Lee, you can read biographies and interviews with other NCTE Award-winning children’s poets like Nikki Grimes, Mary Ann Hoberman, David McCord, and more.  (See the complete list of all the featured poets along with links to their pages HERE)

So please visit PACYA’s blog and see how they are promoting children’s poetry!  And my thanks again to PACYA for giving me the opportunity to share Pat’s informative and inspiring thoughts!

Poetry Friday: some hard acts to follow…

If you’ve been following Poetry at Play (the website/blog for Poetry Advocates for Children & Young Adults), you’ve recently had the opportunity to read some remarkable poetry from some of the luminaries in the world of children’s literature.

Poet, author, and film producer Steven Withrow, who founded PACYA last year, has been featuring a different poet each week.  The series kicked off August 2 with a fantastic new poem, “Instructions Found After the Flood,” by U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, from the new poetry anthology, The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, due out in September.  Jane Yolen followed with a “Summer Sijo,” by which David L. Harrison was then inspired to write “The Acrobat”…and last week, Kate Coombs offered up “Code Name Lizard,” from her book Earth Bones.

So where is this all leading?

Strangely…to me!

I’m still trying to figure out how I ended up being the 5th person in this series – these are, indeed, some very tough acts to follow – but I do hope you like it.  Like last week’s post, this is part of the manuscript for my winter-themed collection, which I’m still working on.  Here’s the link:  http://poetryatplay.org/

And here’s the link for all the other folks who are taking part in Poetry Friday today:  http://poetryforchildren.blogspot.com/

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

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