“Flashlight Night” Book Birthday!

It’s official: Flashlight Night is finally here – on National Talk Like a Pirate Day, no less!

I’ve had lots of adult and children’s poems published in anthologies, journals, and such…but this is my first full-length picture book, and I’m so thrilled and humbled by all the coverage and positive reviews it’s been receiving.

I am doubly pleased that so many folks – reviewers, average readers, and even illustrator Fred Koehler himself – have referred to my text as a “poem.” Because even though it’s a picture book (and I wrote it to be a picture book), I have always considered it poetry.

The “Flashlight Night” blog tour is underway:

Starting with Jama Kim Rattigan this past Friday and continuing through next Tues., various kidlit blogs have joined together to celebrate the arrival of my little baby. Today, Penny Parker Klostermann is featuring a guest blog by Yours Truly in which I talk about how the book came to be, as well as some of the things I deliberately did which I was afraid might hinder my chances of getting published.

Here is a list of blogs where you can learn more about the book, the inspiration behind it, and the guy who wrote it – and a special TV interview with the illustrator (details below!):

Friday 9/15                  Jama’s Alphabet Soup
Monday 9/18               KitLit Exchange/The Loud Library Lady
Tuesday 9/19               Penny Klostermann Book Blog
Wednesday 9/20        Unleashing Readers
Thursday 9/21             KidLit Frenzy
Friday 9/22                  Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Monday 9/25               Librarian in Cute Shoes
Tuesday 9/26               Nerdy Book Club

Illustrator Fred Koehler makes his KidLit TV debut:

A few weeks ago,the folks at KidLit TV interviewed Fred about his work on Flashlight Night (as well as his amazing talent in general), and today they’re sharing it on their website!

In the video, Fred talks about playing with flashlights in the woods as a child (much as I did!), his 3-week excursion to the U.K. to take photos and sketches of tall ships, architecture, and Durdle Door. (What’s Durdle Door, you ask? Do a quick Google search, and if you’ve read the book, you’ll immediately see the connection!)

Click to enlarge Fred’s version of Durdle Door!

…and the Goodreads Giveaway has begun!

My publisher, Boyds Mills Press, has teamed up with Goodreads to give away TWENTY COPIES of Flashlight Night! The contest started at midnight last night and will wrap up at 11:59pm PT next Tue., Sept. 26. So head on over and enter…and good luck!

Book signings/readings/appearances:

I will be visiting a number of bookstores in the New Hampshire area, and while some dates have been confirmed, others have not. Here’s the list, so far:

Sept. 23, 6:30pm:  Innisfree Bookshop, Meredith, NH
Sept. 30, 4pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 11, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH

I’ll be sure to let you know when and where I’ll be as soon as I know where I’ll be!

Oh, and I had the pleasure of stopping by a local radio station this morning and chatting with the hosts about the book. If you’d care to listen to our on-air interview, you can check it out here:

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed the book enough to write about it!

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Thank you, as always, for your support…if you decide to pick up a copy, I hope you and your kids enjoy it as much as Fred and I – along with editor Rebecca Davis, of course – have enjoyed creating it!

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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!
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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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Tiny poem, colossal subject

Before we get to today’s poem, I have to let you know…the Flashlight Night blog tour is underway, in advance of the book’s birthday, next Tue., Sept. 19!

Starting today and continuing for a week-and-a-half, you can visit various kidlit blogs to learn more about the book, the inspiration behind it, and the guys who wrote and illustrated it. (And if you check out Jama Kim Rattigan’s post today, you’ll also discover a brand-new cookie recipe!)

Here’s the schedule:

Friday 9/15                  Jama’s Alphabet Soup
Monday 9/18               KitLit Exchange/The Loud Library Lady
Tuesday 9/19               Penny Klostermann Book Blog
Wednesday 9/20        Unleashing Readers
Thursday 9/21             KidLit Frenzy
Friday 9/22                  Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Monday 9/25               Librarian in Cute Shoes
Tuesday 9/26               Nerdy Book Club

Also, starting at midnight, 12:00am PT on Tue., Sept. 19 (publication day) you can enter our Flashlight Night Goodreads giveaway! You could win one of TWENTY COPIES of the book, so don’t forget! The contest will wrap up at 11:59pm PT on Tue., Sept. 26.

© 2017 Boyds Mills Press, all rights reserved (click to enlarge)

On to the poetry!

As soon as I knew illustrator Fred Koehler was going to include the Kraken in Flashlight Night, I’ve been wanting to research giant squids. I finally got around to that the other night, and discovered that giant squids aren’t the ‘biggest’ squids out there…

After reading about the amazing colossal squid – the largest mollusk in the world and nearly twice as large as its cousin – I felt compelled to write something about it. The largest one ever found weighed almost 1100 pounds (as much as a grand piano), but researchers believe many are bigger based on the size of the beaks they have found inside sperm whale’s stomachs!

photo courtesy New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries

Unfortunately, because they live deep in the cold waters surrounding Antarctica, not much is known about them, although we do know they have the largest eyeballs (11 inches wide!) of any creature on earth and, unlike their smaller relatives, have hooks attached to their suckers, which help them hold onto prey. These are dangerous sea critters, indeed.

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So to honor this giant – err, ahem, I mean – colossal – animal, I wrote a tiny little haiku:

Colossal Squid

life, death – dark, icy –
deep in Southern Ocean seas,
tales of tentacles

– © 2017 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

I hope you’ll stop by Michelle H. Barnes’ little home on the web, Today’s Little Ditty, where she is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup with “pleas for Peace” in advance of International Peace Day, Sept. 21.

And if you missed my post from this  Tuesday about all the things I learned at the state fair – from throwing axes to saluting french fries – I hope you’ll check it out HERE!

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Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! 

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you 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 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!

Amusement rides and chainmail socks: What I learned at the state fair, Vol. VI

(click to enlarge)

Ah, yes…fair season is upon us!

Last weekend, I spent four days at the Hopkinton State Fair – the largest fair in New Hampshire –  wandering the grounds reminding people when the cattle pulls start, what stage the hypnotist was on, and where the bathrooms were.

I’m the announcer for the fair, so when you hear a voice on the PA system echoing through the trees, that’s me. It’s a very unique sort of job, and one that’s a heck of a lot of fun, but it does require a lot work; 55 hours in 4 days can wear one down, and I put in less hours than many of the other employees!

But I’m there every year, and every year I learn something new. Which is why I’ve been putting this annual post together for 7 years now…to shed some light on my lessons learned and observations made.  In the past, I’ve become educated on the problems with skimpy clothing, I’ve discovered the most despised candies in the universe, and, like you, have enjoyed more than my fair share of Australian Battered Savs.

What golden nuggets of wisdom did I discern this year? Read on, faithful reader:

  1. When you smell cotton candy at 8:30 in the morning, you know it’s going to be a great day. #Truth
  2. Some people just do not know how to park. Invariably, every year we get fair goers who don’t want to follow the parking pattern or the fair employees who are showing people where to park. These folks inevitably have to move their vehicles one they’re in the gate and as far away from their vehicle as possible. Once such fellow parked his big SUV in a spot that wasn’t a parking space, and ended up blocking the fire department entrance. I spent at least 2 hours paging him over the PA system to move it, and when he finally did, he parked it right beside an agricultural trailer…which he ended up blocking.
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  3. Justin and Ryan from Recycled Percussion should not quit their day jobs.
    30 seconds after it started…it was all over for these two. (click to enlarge)

    The band, which formed in a small town 30 minutes from here and is now a top-selling Las Vegas act, played at our fair for the very first time on Labor Day. They’re good guys, and had cancelled many of their shows in order to spend time in Texas helping with relief efforts, but they made the trek up here to put on this one show, and it was terrific. The night before the show, however, Justin and Ryan were given the opportunity to drive in the annual demolition derby…and were both knocked out within 30 seconds!
    .

  4. Timbersports will probably never show up in the Olympics. Everyone was excited that the Axe Women Loggers of Maine were returning for another year. Individuals in the group hold multiple National & International Lumber Jill and Timbersports titles and their shows include demonstrations of axe throwing, cross-cut sawing, standing block chopping, and log rolling…none of which will probably ever end up as an Olympic event. Their spokesperson explained that, in the Olympics, equipment is standardized so that every athlete has a fair opportunity to showcase his/her abilities. In timbersports, one doesn’t have that luxury; if one person’s log happens to have an internal knot, it could not only dull the blade – or even break it – it completely shuts down that athlete. So “luck,” like it or not, can play a huge role in a competitor’s performance, which is a no-go when it comes to the Olympics.
    .

    The throw…


    …nailed it!

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  5. Speaking of the Axe Women…they wear chainmail socks. You know chainmail – those tiny links of metal King Arthur’s knights wore to protect themselves under their suits of armor? Well, professional timbersports athletes wear chainmail socks to protect their feet during competitive chopping events, like the one pictured. These ax blades are made of a special metal that is so sharp, one really can shave one’s arms with it – so if it happens to slip and smash into your boot, you’ll still be able to walk away with your toes intact. You might be screaming in agony, but your toes will thank you.  

    (click to enlarge any photo)
  6. Under-the-counter cheese beats over-the-counter cheese. I didn’t know “under-the-counter” cheese was even a thing, and I’ve been going to fairs my entire life! Sold by a family-run establishment known as the Yankee Cheeseman, this particular cheese is an extra-sharp cheddar that’s even sharper than their sharpest, XXXXX sharp cheddar. Aged TEN YEARS, this cheddar is so sharp, when you bite into it, it bites you back. SO. GOOD. The reason it’s called “under-the-counter cheese” is because it’s so sharp, and the texture is often a bit uneven, that many folks who are unfamiliar with it think there’s something wrong with it – so the vendors don’t even put it out on display or offer free samples. You can only buy it if you ask for it…and at $17/pound, it’s worth every penny.
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  7. I love playing the national anthem from the grandstand tower.
    (click to enlarge)

    It’s a tradition here the fair that we play the Star-Spangled Banner everyday at noon. It was only until this year that I realized that when I stand to pay respect, remove my hat, and put my hand over my heart…I’m also saluting fries. And that just makes me happy.
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  8. False advertising can show up anywhere.
    I spent a good 3 hours inside this place and couldn’t give away my beads to anyone.
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    Ripoff.
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    By the way, I also learned that a merry-go-round may feature various types of animals in addition to horses. but a carousel can only have horses. Bet you didn’t know that, didja??
    .

So those are this year’s words of wisdom! I’m already looking forward to 2018 – and also looking forward to enjoying at least one or two fairs with the family. But I’ll make sure I park where I’m supposed to.

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By the way, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who showed up for Flashlight Night‘s national book launch at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA last Thursday and the local release party at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH this past Sunday!

In Cambridge with Carol Gordon Ekster, who also released her new book, “You Know What?”
In Warner, NH! Good crowds both days.

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

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! 

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you 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 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!

Poetry Friday: Flashlights and Dinosaurs and Roundups – oh, my!

Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin…it’s such a crazy, busy week, and there’s so much to talk about!

I have big news about my debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, Sept. 19, 2017) – actually, THREE different news items – plus, news about my second book, due out this spring.

But first, let me welcome you to the Poetry Friday roundup! This is the place where you can find links to all of the poetry-related posts in the blogosphere. So leave your links in the comments below, and I’ll put them together in this post throughout the day.

“Flashlight Night” News #1:  National Book Launch!

Last night, Carol Gordon Ekster, whose new picture book is You Know What? (Clavis, 2017), and I hosted a dual book launch at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass. What a success!

Clockwise from top: our books; Carol starting things off; some guy who vaguely looks like me having a grand time (Photo credit, Josh Funk)

Thank you to everyone who attended!

Loved the size of the crowd!
Oh, and did I mention there was food? Yes, I should have mentioned that…

 

“Flashlight Night” News #2:  One of the Best Picture Books of 2017!

Last Friday, the folks at The Children’s Book Review announced their list of what they feel are the best children’s books of the year…and Flashlight Night made the cut!

I’m so excited about this, not only because I wrote it, but because it was such a beautiful example of teamwork – between me, illustrator Fred Koehler (who came up with the concept of reality being in darkness and fantasy being illuminated by the flashlight), and my editor, Rebecca Davis, who steered the project from start to finish.

And just in case you missed that link, here it is again, so you can read the complete list – which includes books from friends and fellow writers like David Elliott, Josh, Funk, Patricia Toht, and many others.

“Flashlight Night” News #3:  On sale at Amazon!

I always like to books locally, whenever possible, because doing so helps support the businesses closest to us. But if you really want to pick up a copy and are having a  tough time with your finances, I am please to tell you that Amazon has it for almost five dollars less than the standard price: just $12.11!

Second book news: COVER REVEAL!

In the midst of all this Flashlight news, I learned something about Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, March 2018), the book I co-authored with author & critique partner Deb Bruss…we have a release date and a cover!

(click to enlarge)

 

Wait til you see what’s inside! Illustrator Louis Chin is having fun depicting 14 different dinosaur species and the utter havoc they wreak while getting ready for a birthday party.

With big, bold colors, crazy situations, and a 2-page glossary at the end detailing the unique attributes of each dinosaur, this book is completely unlike Flashlight – so I’m eager to see what people think of it! It’s already for pre-order, so CLICK HERE for details.

Local release party this weekend!

Just a reminder: if you’re in the area, please stop by MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH this Sunday for the local release party, starting at 2pm. More info can be found HERE.

So thank you for stopping by today! Leave your Poetry Friday links in the comments, and I’ll round them up…

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“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you 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 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!

Poetry Friday: More “Flashlight” news and reviews!

In less than a week, little ol’ Flashlight Night will be making its debut at its national book launch in Boston (well, technically, Cambridge), Mass. – and with that in mind, I thought I should probably share with you all the exciting events lined up!

Official Book Launch Parties:  

Although Flashlight doesn’t ‘officially’ arrive in the world until Sept. 19, there are not one, but TWO special release parties planned in advance – where folks will have the opportunity to purchase the book before it’s released! How cool is that??

The first party is at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass. on Thursday night, Sept. 7 at 7pm. I’ll be there for a dual book launch with Carol Gordon Ekster, whose latest picture book, You Know What? (Clavis, 2017) will be sharing the spotlight. More details can be found HERE.

Then, that following Sunday, Sept. 10, I will be at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH for the local release party, starting at 2pm. (Whew, what a week!) Details on this event can be found HERE.

“Flashlight Night” is having its own blog tour!

Starting the Friday before it’s released, there will be a week-and-a-half long tour of kidlit blogs where you can learn more about the book, the inspiration behind it, and the guy who write it…and a brand-new cookie recipe. (You’ll figure out how that ties in to everything else in due time!)

Here’s the schedule:

Friday 9/15                  Jama’s Alphabet Soup
Monday 9/18               KitLit Exchange/The Loud Library Lady
Tuesday 9/19               Penny Klostermann Book Blog
Wednesday 9/20        Unleashing Readers
Thursday 9/21             KidLit Frenzy
Friday 9/22                  Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Monday 9/25               Librarian in Cute Shoes
Tuesday 9/26               Nerdy Book Club

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* * * (News about the GOODREADS GIVEAWAY follows, below!) * * *

Click to enlarge images (©2017 Boyds Mills Press, all rights reserved)

 

Goodreads Giveaway:

That’s right! My publisher, Boyds Mills Press, has teamed up with Goodreads to give away TWENTY COPIES of Flashlight Night! The contest will begin at midnight, 12:00am PT on Tue., Sept. 19 (release day!) and finish at 11:59pm PT on Tue., Sept. 26. So make a note to remind yourself to enter, and good luck!

Book signings/readings/appearances:

In addition to the two book launches I mentioned above, I will also be visiting a number of bookstores in the New Hampshire area. Here’s the list, so far – and keep in mind that of of the times might change:

Sept. 23, 6pm:  Innisfree Bookshop, Meredith, NH
Sept. 30, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 11, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH

More dates will be added as we go along, and I’ll be sure to let you know when and where I’ll be as soon as I know where I’ll be!

Illustrator Fred Koehler makes his KidLit TV debut!

A few weeks ago,the folks at KidLit TV interviewed Fred about his work on Flashlight Night (as well as his amazing talent in general), and as soon as it is posted on their website, I’ll be sharing the post here and on Facebook and Twitter. From what I’ve heard, everyone had a lot of fun doing it, so I’m very eager to see how it turned out.

AND…the latest review!!

I’ve been looking forward to seeing what the School Library Journal thinks of Fred and my efforts, and was so pleased to read an incredible review! A little of what they have to say:

The verse is incantatory, summoning jungle beasts, Egyptian tombs, pirate ships, and the like. Koehler’s digitally colored pencil drawings cleverly depict what’s really in the kids’ surroundings while also showing what they are imagining…This is a simple idea that’s engagingly executed.

So whaddaya know…I wrote “incantatory verse!” Love, love, love this! (You can read  more once the SLJ’s Sept. issue is published.) Thank you to Fred, Rebbeca Davis my editor, Kerry McManus who is handling  promotions at Boyds Mills Pres, and everyone involved!

And thank YOU again for following along with me on this journey – I appreciate your support. Simply taking the time to read my blog posts means a lot to me. For all of today’s Poetry Friday links and fun, you can find the complete roundup at Kathryn Apel’s blog, where she is celebrating child’s play!

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“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you 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 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!

Poetry Friday: “Wall in the Woods”

This post was originally published back in November of 2013…wow, hard to believe it’s been nearly 4 years! Why am I sharing it again? Well, I was looking through some of my past posts and for some reason, this one spoke to me, asking to be given new life. So I was happy to oblige! By the way, Jone MacCulloch has the complete Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, so please be sure to Check It Out!

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“Poetry in Windows”

I just like the way that sounds.  “Poetry in Windows.”  It conjures up all sorts of images, from actual poems in actual windows, to more abstract definitions of “poetry” and perhaps some transcendental interpretations of ‘windows.’

In this case, however, we’re talking about the former.  Specifically, The New Hampshire Writers Project’s annual Poetry in Windows event.

First, a little background:  The New Hampshire Writers’ Project (NHWP) will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.  The 650 member-strong organization hosts several writing workshops throughout the year, two literary festivals, and Writers’ Day, a day of workshops, literary flash competitions, and book sales involving 250 writers from across New England. Their keynoter on April 6, 2013 will be author Andre Dubus III.  Last year, NHWP hosted 13 state poets laureate for a festival.  In addition to a formal program, they had readings across the state with New Hampshire poets.
NHWP offers workshops, publishing advice, a quarterly New Hampshire Writer magazine, and several free events across the state, like Writers’ Night Out, a free social held the first Monday of the month.  (Membership is open to writers of all genres as well as readers and patrons who want to support the local writing community…so please click HERE and find out more!)
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Now then, getting back to “Poetry in Windows”…
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This is one of the many events NHWP hosts each year.  Writers and non-writers alike were asked to submit poems that somehow reflected the Granite State, and the best were selected to be displayed in the windows of downtown merchants of several NH communities, including the state capital, Concord.
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I was honoured to have one of my poems chosen!
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I didn’t write this poem with NH necessarily in mind; however, I did write it based on my life here, growing up in a rural town (my folks’ house is still on a dirt road!), being close to nature, and raising my kids in the country as well.  Hmmm…sounds like I wrote it with NH in mind, after all!  I based it on something I used to tell my daughters when we’d see stone walls meandering across our property or even through the woods:  that we’ll never really know why they were put there.
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Other poets selected for the downtown Concord event included my good friend Sylvia Beaupre, Brandon Amico, Dianalee Velie, Midge Goldberg, Nancy Stewart, Barbara Hobbie, Linda Dyer, Marjorie Matthews, Jacqueline Garnett, Janet Barry, Becky Sakellariou, and Jennifer Militello.
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So if you happen to be in Concord, stop by Centrix Bank at 11 South Main St. and you’ll see this on display, along with all these other fine folks’ works throughout downtown.  I hope you enjoy it!
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Wall in the Woods

There’s a wall in the woods, hidden under the trees,
Made of mossy old stones piled high;
Where the soft fiddleheads grow and slowly unfurl,
And a thin little brook bubbles by.

There’s a wall in the woods neither level nor straight,
Sinking into the dirt and the clay.
It is strong but unsteady; deep cracks show its age,
For its builders have long passed away.

There’s a wall in the woods.  Years ago, in its youth,
This was farmland, a pasture, a field –
Now, meandering through the damp ruins of time
With its history gently concealed.

There’s a wall in the woods – yet there’s no way to tell
If it suffered through flood, fire or drought,
And we never will know what was being kept in…
Or, perhaps…what was being kept out.
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– © 2012 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“Balladic verse” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you for your support – and stay tuned for details about the big September Blog Tour and book signings that are coming up!

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

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!
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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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Willow Warbler”

As many of you may know, my wife and I celebrated our 9th anniversary last weekend. Since this is the “willow” year, we both observed tradition and had dinner at the only place we could possibly go:

We also gave each other a proper gift. She presented me with a beautiful handmade pen fashioned from willow (followed by a weekend getaway to our Honeymoon spot!) and I gave her a framed picture of a willow warbler…

  

(And yes, I had to include a handful of dried willow behind the picture, as well!)

Now, a picture of a bird might not seem like that big of a deal for an anniversary gift, but I had a feeling my wife would really like it because of what it actually was:  a reclaimed page from an old book that could not be salvaged. I bought it from an Etsy shop in the U.K. that specializes in this sort of thing, so the fact that it was a bird (which my wife loves) on a willow branch, on a page from a book from England, made it rather special – and fortunately, my wife loved it. (Whew!)

So in-between all the things I’m working on this week, I sat down and spent a few minutes penning a little light verse to go along with the picture. It’s no award-winning piece of poetry, but I thought I’d share it nonetheless because I rather like it:

Willow Warbler

Willow warbler whistles a tune
to lure the ladies and make them swoon.
When willows pale, it’s warbler’s time
to take wing for a warmer clime.

– © 2017 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Summer is winding down for all of us, including the warbler, who winters in sub-Saharan Africa (well, at least the European warblers do.) I hope you have a great weekend, and please be sure to visit Kay McGriff at A Journey Through the Pages for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“Balladic verse” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you for your support – and stay tuned for details about the big September Blog Tour and book signings that are coming up!

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

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 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!