Poetry Friday: Froggy prose and toady poetry

Before we get to the poetry, let’s just talk a little bit about prose.

THIS prose, to be precise!

Elliot the Heart-Shaped Frog (Rainstorm Publishing) is a color/shape primer based on a Goldilocks-like tale, as our little green hero leaves the pond he grew up in and searches for the perfect new home! It hits bookshelves this coming Tuesday, and as I was sharing the news about it earlier this week, it occurred to me that this book features two “firsts” for me…

For one thing, it’s a board book, something I’ve never published before. If novelists find it difficult to tell a story in picture book form, I can tell you as a picture book author that it’s even more difficult telling a story in board book form! Word ecomomy is crucial, and it’s important that the plot be simple enough for a young child to grasp it, yet not so simple it becomes mind-numbing for the poor sap who has to read it every day. (Let’s face it, we’ve all been that peson at some point, grumbling about having to read the same book, over and over!)

This is also, interestingly, the first and only book I’ve had published in prose. Eleven books either already out or under contract…and they all rhyme, except for this little guy. People ask if I ever write in prose, and I say yes – even though there’s very little proof! So now I can hand them this book and say, “HERE! PROSE!! SEE????”

So in keeping with today’s amphibious theme, I thought I’d share a short little bit of light verse I wrote about Elliot’s cousin (with apologies to Ogden Nash):

The Toad

The toad is quite the peaceful bloke;
he’d rather trill a song than croak.
No matter what his cousin says,
he has no need of princesses.

© 2021 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

For today’s complete poetry Friday roundup, head over to Laura Shovan’s blog where she is celebrating Amanda Gorman’s incredible inauguration poem!

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Coming March 2, 2021!

Contrasting the past with the present, this picture book takes you through a lyrical exploration of the world as it was before humans made their mark.

============================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

============================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

============================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=============================================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

============================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

============================================================

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Poetry & picture books – an interview with Linda Brennan

First of all, let me say thank you to everyone who has sent me warm wishes and thoughts regarding the passing of my mom two weeks ago. Last Friday, I posted the poem I wrote for her and dad, and have had numerous folks asking if they could share it – and by all means, please feel free to do so! It’s a wonderful way to keep her spirit alive, connecting others with what I have to imagine is a universal theme.

And although it has been a sad, melancholy time, it turned quite jubilant two days ago when I saw this had been officially announced in Publisher’s Weekly:

You read that correctly – it’s scheduled for THIS FALL, which is lightning-fast in this business. Illustrations are already underway, and I can’t wait to tell you more as we get closer to launch date!

So between the highs and lows that 2021 has kicked off with, today I wanted to share a post from someone else’s blog! I recently enjoyed the privelege of being interviewed by Rhode Island author Linda Crotta Brennan, for her blog, Lupine Seeds, and am so happy to be able to share that interview with you here!

It was great fun sharing my thoughts on writing poetry, publishing poetry, and understanding poetry – and how I’ve managed to transfer my love and knowledge of the genre to picture books. She also asked me about my collaborations, like Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (POW! Kids Books, 2018), co-authored with Deborah Bruss, and my upcoming book with Charles Ghigna, Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, March, 2021), which were a lot of fun to write. I do hope you’ll check it out!

In the interview, I offer a few suggestions for poetry books you might consider reading, if you want to learn more about writing or reading poetry, particularly children’s poetry. So I thought I’d share one of the poems Laura Purdie Salas published a few years ago in her book, Catch Your Breath: Writing Poignant Poetry (Capstone, 2015), the perfect book for teens who are just starting to get their feet wet writing poetry:

Abandonment (haiku)

sparrow sweetly sings
melancholy melody;
her mate, on the ground.

© 2015 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Laura had wanted a poem that showcased alliteration, assonance, and consonance – so I gave her as short a poem as I could, ha! Today, Margaret Simon is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Reflections on the Teche, with some nestling poems (found poems created from within another poem) she crafted from Richard Blanco’s One Today.

============================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

============================================================

Coming January 26, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Children will love to follow along on a Goldilocks-like journey as Elliot searches for the perfect place to rest in this new board book! 

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Contrasting the past with the present, this picture book takes you through a lyrical exploration of the world as it was before humans made their mark.

============================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

============================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=============================================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

============================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

============================================================

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “The Measure of a Love”

I hope you’ll pardon my absence for the past couple of Fridays; 2020, the year that will go down in infamy, officially ended with the death of my mother, Virginia, on New Year’s Eve.

She had been in a nursing home for the past 5 years or so, but began seriously declining over the summer, when she was placed on hospice; at the time, none of us thought she would make it to the end of the year.

But in true Mom form, she wasn’t going to go until she was ready – and that meant hanging on until literally the beginning of the new year, just minutes after New Zealand and the folks on the other side of the world were greeting 2021 for the first time.

“I’ll show them,” she must have been thinking, as she peacefully and quietly slipped from her sleep, my father by her side.

Mom & Dad at their 50th anniversary celebration, 2009.

It has been difficult saying goodbye these past few weeks, as I could only visit her in person twice, with full PPE gear on – but it’s been especially difficult for Dad, whose quarantined nursing home room now has an empty bed to remind him of what happened. But if there’s any good news in this – aside from the fact that she’s no longer in pain – it’s that she and Dad were able to spend an incredible amount of time together, holding hands, reminiscing, and reminding each other of their love.

Dad told me how hard it was to be there watching her slowly die each day, and I can’t imagine how hard that must have been, but I reminded him that it was a blessing in that so many of us regret we never had a chance to tell our loved ones what we should have told them; Mom and Dad had months to do that. I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done for me.

.

The Measure of a Love
……….for Forrest and Virginia

Love. How does one measure such a thing?
An inch is always exactly so long; likewise,
a liter always a liter. No more, no less. Circumference
of a circle, area of a rhombus – these things
we determine precisely with absolute specificity. No guessing,
no quandaries. Quadratic equations, memorized formulas
reassure us of certainty, definiteness. Everything
as it should be, ordered and cyclical. Yet, love…

How does one measure such a thing?

Hard enough to plot a point. How long the line radiates,
unfixed; mass, velocity, speed are subject to fluctuation. Never
straight, it twists and curls like a series of French curves
laid end-to-end, upside down and backwards, so that none
can claim an obvious theorem or divine proportion. Let this,
then, be the formulary: 2 hearts plus 61 years multiplied
by the grace of God, times infinite kind words and kisses, never
divided nor subtracted – always multiplied, multiplied,
multiplied. There is no taking away. This, after all, is love.

And how does one measure such a thing?

© 2021 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Today, Sylvia Vardell is our Poetry Friday hostess, so head over to her blog, Poetry for Children, for the complete link roundup AND a long list of all the cool new poetry books coming out this year for young people!

============================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

============================================================

Coming January 26, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Children will love to follow along on a Goldilocks-like journey as Elliot searches for the perfect place to rest in this new board book! 

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Contrasting the past with the present, this picture book takes you through a lyrical exploration of the world as it was before humans made their mark.

============================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

============================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=============================================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

============================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

============================================================

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “What the Snow Clouds Know”

This post was first published exactly 5 years ago today, on Dec. 18, 2015. I was wondering what to share today, but Mother Nature decided to supply me with my answer, in the form of 22 inches of snow! Yep, the first significant snowfall of the season was overwhelming, to say the least. Moreover, we got less than many of our friends in the area: 25-28 inches was the norm for our town, and a friend 20 minutes up the road in New London (the late Tomie dePaola’s hoemtown) received 41 inches! So I felt that dusting off this little baby was the best approach to take – especially considering I spent the majority of today snowblowing, shovelling, and roof-raking. Whew, I’m beat!

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I originally wrote this poem early this year as a challenge from poet Joyce Sidman on writer/blogger Michelle H. Barnes’ blog. Since we’re only a week away from Christmas with still no snow in the forecast, I thought I’d share it today!

What The Snow Clouds Know

What’s born above will soon be gone
to comfort what it falls upon.
Beauty blooms before the dawn.
This the snow clouds know.

Limbs are weak; snow is strong.
Days are short; nights are long.
Coyote sings a lonesome song;
this the snow clouds know.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulll

While the white stuff has dusted our town, Michelle Kogan is hosting Poetry Friday today with a different kind of dust – stardust! Visit her blog for all of today’s poetry links and fun…and if you’re looking for a unique holiday gift, nearly all the books listed below can be personally-signed, by ordering from my local indie bookstore! Scroll down for all the details.

=============================================================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

=============================================================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

=============================================================================================

Coming January 26, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Children will love to follow along on a Goldilocks-like journey as Elliot searches for the perfect place to rest in this new board book! 

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Contrasting the past with the present, this picture book takes you through a lyrical exploration of the world as it was before humans made their mark.

=============================================================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=============================================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

=============================================================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

=============================================================================================

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

You have no idea how long I’ve been sitting on this list poem, waiting for December to roll around so I could share it. You see, I wrote this in late April – but didn’t feel a Christmas poem would be quite the thing folks would want to read just a few week after Easter.

I’m not sure what inspired me to write a Christmas poem, however I can say that our new dog probably had something to do with it. We adopted Lake, a Great Dane, exactly one week before Covid-19 shut down the country – and it quickly became apparent that, as good a dog as he was, he was very much a food-motivated fellow.

I got the feeling that if Lake started putting together a list of his favorite cookies, it would end up looking something like this! So, since this Christmas I won’t be baking the 800+ cookies I usually do (and if you don’t believe me, check out this post or this one), I figured a poem about Christmas cookies would have to suffice.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is poetryfridaybutton-fulll.jpg

Looking for more poetry? Head over to Buffy Silverman’s blog, where she’s hosting today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup! And if you’re looking for a unique holiday gift, nearly all the books listed below can be personally-signed, by ordering from my local indie bookstore! Scroll down for all the details.

=============================================================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

=============================================================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

=============================================================================================

Coming January 26, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Children will love to follow along on a Goldilocks-like journey as Elliot searches for the perfect place to rest in this new board book! 

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Contrasting the past with the present, this picture book takes you through a lyrical exploration of the world as it was before humans made their mark.

=============================================================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=============================================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

=============================================================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

=============================================================================================

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Using friends’ children’s poetry books in the (home school) classroom

If I told you what a tough year it’s been for us…you’d probably have an even tougher story.

Things have been tough all over, as they say.

Our kitchen table – err, classroom

Here, our two kids started off the school year doing remote schooling, but between computer glitches, hard-to-find links, and an inordinate amount of unhealthy screen time (3 hours for school doesn’t allow for any TV or game time), it was just not working out.

So my wife and I decided to bite the bullet and go full-blown home school. Fortunately for us, here in New Hampshire, there are absolutely no requirements for people who home school their kids; as long as students know what they need to know at the end of the year, in order to move on to the next grade, what we do between now and then is completely up to us.

So we purchased two Saxon Math programs, two ELA courses, and an American history course, and figured we could fill in the rest. What was most important was that we had the “big” courses in hand, structured and focused, so nothing would slip through the cracks.

What has been fun, has been supplementing all this with poetry!

© 2019 Disney-Hyperion, all rights reserved

How lucky am I to have so many friends’ poetry collections?? Whether it’s Marilyn Singer’s Who Named Their Pony Macaroni? (Disney-Hyperion, 2019), Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Forest Has a Song (Clarion Books, 2013), or Leslie Bulion’s Hey There, Stink Bug! (Charlesbridge, 2008), we had plenty of subjects from which to choose. I created question-and-answer pages for each book (hand-written, as my printer was down) covering everything from science to reading comprehension – and the poems within these books served as the catalyst.

Joyce Sidman’s Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014) is next on the list, but there are myriad other poetry books out there from other friends, too – including collections by David Harrison, Jane Yolen, and Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong, the dynamic duo behind Pomelo Books.

And of course, there’s this book:

(Sorry, just had to sneak in an extra plug!)

If you happen to be home schooling – or just looking to add a new angle to your students’ academics – consider poetry! These days, there’s a poetry book about darned near every subject you can imagine. Poems, by their very nature, describe their subjects in ways textbooks and web page entries cannot; they distill their subjects, elevate their subjects, and offer unusual, creative perspectives. There are poems about nature, science, math, relationships, music – pick a subject, and there’s likely a book of poetry about it somewhere.

(Many of the books I’ve contributed to, listed below, include “Construction People” and “School People” (Wordsong, 2020 & 2018), “Poems Are Teachers” (Heinemann, 2017), and the National Geographic anthologies)

And considering today is Poetry Friday, you have the opportunity to check out a wide range of poems in the kidlitosphere by visiting A Year of Reading, where Mary Lee is hosting the poetry roundup with a spotlight on Irene Latham’s next book, D-39: A Robodog’s Journey (Charlesbridge, 2021)!

===============================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

===============================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

================================================================

Coming January 26, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Children will love to follow along on a Goldilocks-like journey as Elliot searches for the perfect place to rest in this new board book! 

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Contrasting the past with the present, this picture book takes you through a lyrical exploration of the world as it was before humans made their mark.

===============================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

================================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

================================================================

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Friends & Anemones” #BookBirthday!

It’s finally here, in all its 70-page glory!!

All images © 2020 The Writers Loft Press, all rights reserved; cover design by Jodie Apeseche

Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, created by members of The Writer’s Loft in Sherborn, Massachusetts, is officially available for sale!

Filled with poems and illustrations by more than 60 New England-based authors and illustrators, including Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Peter H. Reynolds, Josh Funk, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Kip Wilson, Suwin Chan, and Yours Truly, the book has been a true labor of love to create, and I’m very happy to not only share another one of my poems here, but to welcome editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly here to the ol’ Triple-R to celebrate.

Matt:  First of all, thanks for joining me today! It’s so exciting to be celebrating a book birthday together. This is the third anthology published by The Writers Loft but the first one I’ve been involved with, so I was wondering…once you decided on oceans as a theme, what were your next steps? Was the process any different for this book than the others?

Heather:  Thanks Matt, for having us!

Kristen: The big difference this time was that we suspected we would have many more submissions than we did for An Assortment of Animals, so we decided to find judges to help us make the calls on which poems were the strongest. And that’s how we were lucky enough to find you and Kip Wilson to help us out! Also, we had a lot more people this time. So the communication was more complicated. More moving parts. Also we had an intern last fall, Penelope McDonald, and she was a great help in keeping us organized!

Matt: You both have stated elsewhere that you’ve learned from previous anthologies the necessity of soft deadlines – especially with regards to the coronavirus upending everyone’s schedules! (Kristen even mentions this in her Editor’s Note in the book) So now that you’re old pros at this (ha!), was there anything that surprised you?

Kristen: I was surprised at the artists’ reaction to the lockdown and the pandemic in general, in that some of them used the time to draw and paint and be creative, and all the quiet time at home made them ultra-productive. And others found it paralyzing and couldn’t work at all.

Heather: I learn something new each time I work in collaboration. I think it’s why I love it so much. My role is different from Kristen’s in that she has the dream for these anthologies and their outcomes in her mind. I just shut my eyes, say yes, and have faith that Kristen’s dream will turn out amazing. And you know what? IT ALWAYS DOES.

I focus on helping everyone on the project learn at each step–learn about drafting, revising, working with editors and art directors, meeting deadlines, building online presences, marketing, doing author/illustrator events, and creating multiple revenue paths. I believe in Kristen and her dreams without question. Even though I can’t see exactly where we’re going, I know it will be somewhere much better than I’ve ever been before. I’m always deliciously surprised and amazed at the outcome. So THANK YOU KRISTEN, for bringing me on this journey! 

My “Goblin Shark” pantoum, side-by-side with Jane Yolen’s “The Slime Eel,” © 2020 The Writers Loft Press. (click to enlarge)

Matt: I have to say, I really enjoyed judging all the poems with Kip! Writers submitted the poems to you folks, and then Kip and I judged them as to whether they were ready for inclusion or needed some revision. But how did you determine which illustrators were paired with which poems, and what problems did you encounter, if any?

Kristen: I find this part really fun. We were lucky enough to set up a meeting with the artists just before the pandemic took over the United States–I think it was late February. We printed out all the poems (without poets’ names) and put them on a big board, organized loosely by subject. And we let the artists just read the poems and choose what moved them.

Most of them found a few poems they liked, and some even started sketching that day how they would combine multiple poems on a page. Many of them seemed interested in sort of scary or fierce ocean creatures so we recruited more poets (Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, in fact!) to write more of those.

Matt:  What was the most rewarding aspect of creating this book? Any surprises along the way?

Heather: I always find the most rewarding part of creating books like this to be the ability to say YES to illustrators and authors who are hearing NO most of the time. And to see how when we work in collaboration, the end product is far and beyond more spectacular than it would ever have been if we were working alone.

My favorite part by far is when the artwork starts coming in. Even the rough sketches. There is MAGIC that happens when words are illustrated. I am forever indebted to the illustrators for this! And, boy, did Jodie Apeseche blow me away with this cover!

Matt: I do want to make sure readers are aware that there is a charitable aspect of this book. What is the Rozalia Project, and how did they come to be the beneficiaries of this project?

Kristen: To do my own part in decreasing ocean trash and single-use plastic in general, I started researching companies that use sustainable packaging. I bought shampoo that is a bar of soap and laundry detergent that comes in little dried-up soap sheets, and beeswax wraps.

One of the beeswax wrap companies is a part of 1% for the Planet, and had links to environmental non-profits on their website. And Rozalia Project was one of them! So I clicked it, saw that it is a New England ocean clean up and education group, and that they do free events for kids all over the New England coast, and I thought…perfect.

Heather: At this point, we decided to gift the first month’s profits to the Rozalia Project. And then when we met Ashley Sullivan, the Executive Director at the Rozalia Project, and were thrilled. Hearing first-hand about all the education and clean-up they do along the coast of New England, we knew it was a perfect match. And the thought of being able to meet up and help out when they sail down to Boston on the American Promise clinched our happiness over the partnership!

Please check them out at https://rozaliaproject.org/about and email us a picture of your own promise to the ocean using the coloring page at the end of Friends & Anemones!

Matt:  The Writers Loft really is an incredible group, in part because of its diversity of talent, from best-selling authors & illustrators to pre-published folks working up the ranks. Can you tell readers a little bit about how it was first created, and any upcoming events/plans?

Kristen: I’m going to let Heather answer most of this, but I’ll just say, for me it was serendipity. Back in late 2012 I decided I needed some kind of writing community because I was so lonely as a writer. So I started blogging, and I met a few people but they were mostly thousands of miles away. Then one day, one blogger got us all together in person in Cambridge. That night I met Heather and Anna Stanizewski–and a few weeks later Heather started the Writers’ Loft. Which was exactly what I needed!      

The Writers Loft, Sherborn, MA

Heather: When I first started the Writers’ Loft in 2013, I didn’t know what it would be, I just knew it needed to BE. The road to publication can be a lonely one, fraught with rejection and disappointment. But I thought, maybe it doesn’t have to be! Maybe we write better, illustrate better, learn better, and understand better when we do it together. And that tenant holds true–in much bigger ways than I ever imagined. We all find the shortest path between where we are now and where we want to go when we share knowledge, resources, and support.

At the Writers’ Loft, we help all kinds of writers and author/illustrators achieve success through critique groups, classes, workshops, meetings with agents/editors, self-publishing support, and publications like this anthology. When the pandemic hit, we moved all our supports and programs online and built on the 500+ local Lofters to embrace serious authors and illustrators from around the world! Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary pursuit. We create better books when we do it together! Join us: www.thewritersloft.org

Matt: Well, congratulations again, and thanks so much for asking me to be a part of this incredible book!

Heather: Matt, thank you so much for hosting us, and thank you for being a judge and for your support along the way for this project – we are richer because of your involvement!

Purchase “Friends & Anemones” at Peter H. Reynolds’ The Blue Bunny!

Check out the BOOK TRAILER for FRIENDS & ANEMONES!

Want to see a little bit more of Friends & Anemones? Need more poetry, in general? Then head over to Teacher Dance, where Linda Baie is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with her review of our book!

===============================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

===============================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

================================================================

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

===============================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

================================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

================================================================

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Friends & Anemones” sneak peek!

We are just one week away from a Book Birthday, folks!

All images © 2020 The Writers Loft Press, all rights reserved; cover design by Jodie Apeseche

Created by the members of The Writer’s Loft in Massachusetts and spearheaded by editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly, Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children arrives Friday, Nov. 20 – in all its 70-page glory!

Yes, SEVENTY PAGES, filled with poems and illustrations by more than 60 New England-based authors and illustrators, including Jane Yolen (with whom I share a spread), Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Peter H. Reynolds, Josh Funk, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Kip Wilson, Priscilla Alpaugh, and Yours Truly along with many others.

If you follow the folks at KidLit411, you will likely see the book’s trailer premiere today, if you haven’t already. We also have a virtual book launch planned for Peter Reynold’s book store (see below) – but I thought I’d give you an inside look at a spread featuring one of my three poems:

(click to enlarge)

And no, you’re not seeing things…if you’re trying to orient yourself, this is one of a few spreads that was designed to be held sideways, so the top of the spread is actually the left side of the book, and the bottom is the right side.

There are a number of different poetic forms in this book; my poem, “Unmoored,” is a cherita, “The Lowest Peak” and “Stormy” (the latter of which was written by the spread’s illustrator, Suwin Chan) are both haiku, and “Giant Squid” is rhyming verse made up of double couplets. And as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m also very proud to have been asked by Heather and Kristen if I would join Kip Wilson in judging all the submitted poems – so it’s gratifying to see the poems we selected in print!

VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH THIS SUNDAY!

Peter H. Reynolds, author of such popular books as The Dot, The Word Collector, and I Am Human, is a member of The Writer’s Loft and operates The Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, Mass, just outside of Boston. That’s where we’ll be hosting the official virtual book launch for Friends & Anemomes this Sunday, Nov. 15…so I hope you’ll join us for the celebration and a sneak peek inside the book with several of the contributors!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT “FRIENDS & ANEMONES!”

ENTER TO WIN A FREE COPY HERE!

For more poetry, head on over to Robyn Hood Black’s blog, Life on the Deckle Edge, for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

===============================================================

Very excited to be part of this annual event, online this weekend, SAT. & SUN.!

================================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

===============================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

================================================================

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

===============================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

================================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

================================================================

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Friends & Anemones” coming soon!

There’s a new children’s poetry anthology coming your way Nov. 20…

© 2020 The Writers Loft Press, all rights reserved; cover design by Jodie Apeseche

Created by the members of The Writer’s Loft in Massachusetts and spearheaded by editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly, Friends & Anemones is not your typical children’s poetry anthology.

For one thing, it’s 70 pages long! Yes, you read that correctly – SEVENTY PAGES, and well-worth every penny you spend on it. Moreover, it includes work by nearly 70 New England-based authors and illustrators, including Yours Truly, Jane Yolen (with whom I share a spread), Peter Reynolds, Brian Lies, Josh Funk, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Kip Wilson, and many others.

I’m very proud to add that Kip and I are more than just contributors, too; we were asked by Heather and Kristen if we would judge all the submitted poems (and there were a bunch!) to determine which ones were best, which needed some revision, and which might need to be turned away. It was certainly a time-consuming task, but a wholly enjoyable one, as well – and what an incredible result!

I can’t share too much more about the book yet, as we’re planning a book trailer premiere with the folks at KidLit411 next week, a virtual book launch at Peter Reynold’s book store (see below), and a forthcoming blog tour…but here’s a small taste, the opening of one of my poems, “Goblin Shark,” a pantoum:

Who knows what deep-sea tales you hold
of dark and solitary trails
within that dreadful, briny cold    
where no sun shines, nor seaman sails.

In dark and solitary trails
one hundred meters down or more
(where no sun shines, nor seaman sails)…

As I mentioned, Jane Yolen and I share a spread which features this poem and a poem she wrote about a slime eel – and if you don’t know anything about either of these creatures, suffice it to say it’s likely the most disgustingly cool spread in the book! I can’t wait for you to see it!

Peter Reynolds, author of such wonderful books as The Dot, The Word Collector, and I Am Human, is a member of The Writer’s Loft and operates an indie bookstore known as The Blue Bunny in Dedham, Mass, just outside of Boston. That’s where we’ll be hosting the official virtual book launch for Friends & Anemomes on Sunday, Nov. 15…so I hope you’ll join us for the celebration and a sneak peek inside the book!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT “FRIENDS & ANEMONES!”

Susan Bruck is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with kangaroos and dactyls at her blog, Soul Blossom Living, so please be sure to stop by and check out all the poetry links!

===============================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

===============================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

================================================================

I’ve teamed up with several children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them! Here’s what you can look forward to seeing this month.

================================================================

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

===============================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

================================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

================================================================

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “September Song”

This post was originally published 5 years ago on October 22, 2015, and although I’m about a month behind, I wanted to share it again because the poem, a triolet, is one of my favorites. The photo is a favorite, too – it was taken by my friend Aubrey, just up the road from our house. Yes, New Hampshire really IS as beautiful as you’ve heard!

================================================================

photo courtesy Aubrey Mueller, 2019

 

September Song

The autumn wind is growing colder.
As the hills are set ablaze,
a shiver stirs my neck and shoulder –
the autumn wind is growing colder.
These woods and I, just one month older,
yearn for summer’s sun-drenched days.
The autumn wind is growing colder
as the hills are set ablaze.

– © 2015 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulllIf you’re looking for some Halloween-themed reading material, might I offer up a list of reading lists that have surfaced across the interwebs? (I admit, they all include Flashlight Night!)

And of course, if you’re looking for more poetry, head on over to the Poetry Friday roundup, which you’ll find at Linda Baie’s blog, Teacher Dance. Linda is celebrating with a pre-Halloween poetry party featuring a poem for the kids and a poem for the grown-ups!

Happy Halloween!

A middle-aged guy reliving his ’80’s glory days, complete with mullet and wraparound shades. Scary, no?

===============================================================

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

===============================================================

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

================================================================

I’ve teamed up with several children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them! Here’s what you can look forward to seeing this month.

================================================================

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

===============================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

================================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

================================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

================================================================

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the link up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails). Also feel free to visit my website HERE. You can also follow me via Twitter Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!