Poetry Friday is here – with AWESOME news!

poetryfridaybutton-fulllA town-wide brownout that fried my computer.

A family of four battling the worst cold we’ve had in years, simultaneously.

Parents in ill health.

Such are the tribulations I’ve been dealing with over the past two weeks, which is why my blogging has been at a minimum. I apologize for being nearly invisible lately! Fortunately, the computer is back up & running (thank you, Dell tech support!) after hours and hours of re-installs, the family is starting to get over our illness, and my folks seem to be fairly stable…so I’m thrilled that I can finally make the announcement:

I’ve got a book deal!!

It is a pleasure and an honour to announce that I have signed a contract with Boyd’s Mills Press (one of Highlights magazine’s book publishing divisions) to publish my very first full-length picture book, Flashlight Night! I’m also very proud to have the wonderful and highly-esteemed Rebecca Davis as my editor…and now that the manuscript is approved and we can move forward, we’ve been discussing possible illustrators. A few have come to mind, so we’re hopeful one of them will work out!

boyds logo

What is Flashlight Night about? Well, let’s just say it’s a poetic adventure that’s not what it seems. I’ll tell you more as we get closer to publication, which we hope will be in 2017. Keep checking back here for updated posts!

(Now then, if you’ll allow me to pull myself off the ceiling, I’d like to share today’s Poetry Friday poem…!)

This is a tanka – a Japanese form that is similar to haiku but is two lines longer and actually predates the haiku – and was written rather quickly (about half an hour) as part of a Facebook challenge. I was tagged to share four poems in four days by Heidi E.Y. Stemple, the daughter of Jane Yolen and a fine author/poet in her own right, with the requirement that I share each one on my Facebook wall.

Now, I didn’t have to write four new poems, I just had to share four poems – so I simply could have posted some of my favourites of other writers. But that would have been too easy! Instead, I borrowed Heidi’s plan to write four poems about spring on her farm and decided to write four poems about springtime in the woods. The first one I wrote I shared on my wall yesterday (Thursday) morning; the one I’m sharing today is the second of four. Hope you like it:

New Hampshire, Spring

Drone bees search a queen;
tom turkey struts the treeline
white-tailed buck defends
while sparrow sings a ballad.
All woodland, looking for love.

– © Matt Forrest Esenwine, 2015

What will I write tomorrow? No idea! But feel free to connect with me on Facebook (or Twitter, Pinterest, or anywhere else you may find me) and we can keep up with each other!

As you probably know from the title of this post, I’m hosting Poetry Friday today – so please leave your links in the comments and I’ll update the post throughout the day. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone is up to!


Laura Shovan shares an excerpt from a new medical poetry anthology (yes, you heard right!) at Author Amok.

Robyn Hood Black provides a recap of a meeting of the Haiku Society of America and a short review of a book of author Jack Kerouac’s haikus at Life on the Deckle Edge. (Kerouac wrote haiku? Who knew??)

Fellow Granite Stater Diane Mayr recaps her time spent – and a poem written! – at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival at Random Noodling; meanwhile, over at Kurious Kitty, a touching Mary Oliver poem pays tribute to one of Diane’s co-workers.

Laura Purdie Salas find inspiration for her “poetryaction” series of poems from Jamie Swenson’s book, If You Were a Dog, at Writing the World for Kids.

What does Pompeii know? Linda Baie shares a poem about that exact question! It was written by a 5th-grade student, and you can see it at Teacher Dance.

Tara at A Teaching Life shares a poem by Gregory Djanikian that seems to speak to all those affected by the end of the school year – the students that are leaving, as well as the teachers that are saying goodbye.

Over at A Year of Reading, Mary Lee Hahn also says goodbye to another school year with her original poem.

In the “Haiku Garden” of Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle H. Barnes features a haiku by award-winning writer Loree Griffin Burns.

I love to hear about young children writing – and Jone MacCulloch recently received a poem from a first-grader, which she shares at Check It Out.

Sally Murphy spent three days at a young writers’ festival and was poetically inspired!

Donna Smith is very proud of a 2nd-grader she’s been working with, who just wrote her very first poems! She shares them both, along with two original poems of hers, at Mainely Write.

Penny Parker Klosterman features another familial collaboration – this time, it’s Julie Rowan-Zoch and her son, Aaron with a funny springtime poem. (although it’s not really that funny for the main character!)

Have you ever “doodled while you listened?” That’s what Heidi Mordhorst is doing over at My Juicy Little Universe, as she shares a page from her writer’s notebook.

If you’re a fan of nursery rhymes, be sure to check out Irene Latham’s review of the new anthology, Over the Hills and Far Away, at Live Your Poem.

It’s Chalkabration time at Reflections on the Teche, where Margaret Gibson Simon shares some poems in chalk that her students wrote just as the school year was coming to a close.

Keri Collins Lewis accepted a poetry challenge from Nikki Grimes and shares her success at Keri Recommends.

This Sunday is Bob Dylan’s birthday, and Jama Kim Rattigan is celebrating with all things Bob…and a meatball recipe! (Yes, there IS a connection) Visit Jama’s Alphabet Soup for the details.

There’s still no water at the No Water River…but there IS Douglas Florian! Renee LaTulippe interviews the author/poet/artist/illustrator/all-around good guy about his brand-new book, How to Draw a Dragon.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater shares an original poem about writing at The Poem Farm – and is hoping you’ll share your notebooks!

What do Edwin Markham and Mark Knopfler have in common? Aside from the obvious “mark”s in their names, they have Tabatha Yeatts – who shares some words of wisdom from these two gentlemen at The Opposite of Indifference!

At There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town, Ruth is gearing up for her daughter’s last day of high school and shares a poem from the Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School.

Catherine Johnson is celebrating Armadillo Day (ok, that’s a made-up thing, but they  SHOULD have its own day, shouldn’t they?) with poems by Eric Ode and Douglas Florian, and her original artwork.

Fats Suela shares two poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, one of the world’s most popular and influential poets (and a favorite of author/poet Kwame Alexander). Head on over to Gathering Books for the poems as well as background info on Nye and her writing.

At Dori Reads, Doraine Bennett reviews Susan Van Hecke’s Under the Freedom Tree and also shares a poem from it.

Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry is a new book out by Vern Klousky, and Lorie Ann Grover shares a snippet from the book at ReaderTotz.

Lorie Ann also shares an original haiku at her blog, On Point.

Holly Thompson interviews Margarita Engle in Sylvia Vardell’s latest Poet-to-Poet interview series…check it out at Poetry for Children.

You can also visit Holly’s blog, Hatbooks, to read more about her interview!

Little Willow shares a piece from Martha Brockenbrough’s novel, The Game of Love and Death, at her blog, Bildungsroman.

Last but certainly never least, Joy Acey is in the middle of the same “4 poems in 4 days” Facebook challenge that I’m a part of, and she already has two poems up on her blog, Poetry for Kids Joy.

THIS JUST IN! Carol Varsalona is discussing inspiration, process, and notebooks at Beyond Literacy, as she takes part in Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s “Sharing Our Notebooks” project.

ALSO JUST IN! At Pleasures from the Page, Ramona is enjoying several poetry books by Barbara Esbensen and shares one of Esbensen’s poems – just in time for the end of the school year.


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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107 thoughts on “Poetry Friday is here – with AWESOME news!

  1. CONGRATULATIONS! This is awesome news! We will be housemates, since I have one poetry collection coming out with WordSong and a picture book coming out with Boyds Mills, both with Rebecca as editor. I’m thrilled to be working with her–she is so thoughtful. So excited for you–you’ve worked so hard for this!

    I’m in with a poetryaction to Jamie Swenson’s IF YOU WERE A DOG at http://www.laurasalas.com/blog/for-teachers/prxn-if-dog/

    Happiest of Poetry Fridays to you:>)


    1. Thanks, Diane. I don’t know what is it with the area of the state I’m in, but Warner-Sunapee-New London just teems with writers and illustrators! (Tomie Depaola, Maxine Kumin, Donald Hall, David Elliott, True Kelley…)


  2. My imagination is running wild with that title of your coming book, Matt, & then your words “it isn’t what it seems”. Hm-m-m. Congratulations!! I’m glad the tough things in the past weeks are getting better, and love the romantic poem. Spring really is the love season, isn’t it? Thanks for hosting! I’ve been gone for two weeks with my students, so finally want to share the wonderful poem from Ruben, one of Jone McCullough’s students: http://www.teacherdance.org/2015/05/the-best-poem-in-mail.html


    1. Thank you, Michelle – although you must have better eyes than I, because I certainly didn’t see it coming! I had my hopes, of course, and was very proud of the manuscript…but one never knows what may come of our little babies. I’m glad this one gets to meet everyone!


  3. Wowza, Matt – congratulations on your wonderful news!! Rebecca is THE BEST. Your book is in excellent hands! I can’t wait until it is in MY hands. Yay!
    I’m in with a look at a gorgeous new anthology OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY, nursery rhymes from around the world collected by Elizabeth Hammill, with art by 70 different artists! It’s something to behold. http://www.irenelatham.blogspot.com/2015/05/over-hills-and-far-away-treasury-of.html


  4. Huge Congratulations on your book deal, Matt! That’s too awesome and I’m so happy for you.

    Love the tanka, last line made me smile. 🙂

    At Alphabet Soup, I’m celebrating Bob Dylan’s 74th birthday (which is actually Sunday), with a ditty from his Theme Time Radio Hour Show and a recipe for his special meatballs:


    Have a great holiday weekend — glad to hear your parents and your family are all better and that your computer is up and running again (I hate tech problems — and have had my share of 3 hour phone sessions with Dell).


  5. Pingback: weekend feast: one bob dylan, one birthday, one meat ball (+ recipe) | Jama's Alphabet Soup

  6. Jessica Bigi

    Hope your family starts felling beater soon wonderful news about your book

    I’m just sharing this poem today

    Poem By Jessica Bigi

    Rose petal tea
    Stepping from
    Evening rains
    Mothers rose powder
    Cool white on my face
    Rose cream softening
    Grammies hands
    A symphony of poppers
    Sweeping across rose gardens
    I sit swinging
    Listening To evening song
    The breath of roses growing
    On life’s trellises
    I sip rose Petal tea


  7. BEST NEWS EVER! I already congratulated you on FB, but please allow me to say …
    WOOOOOOOO – HOOOOOOOO!!!! I am just as thrilled by the book deal as I am that you are working with Rebecca Davis! I hope you will share bits and pieces of your progress and process (as allowed) as you go along. You work so hard, Matt, and deserve all good stuff that comes your way. Between 2015 and 2017, my shelves will be filling with friends’ books — and three of those are from Poets’ Garage! Huzzah!

    OK, down to business. I am in today with a poetry video and interview with DOUGLAS FLORIAN! We’re celebrating his new book HOW TO DRAW A DRAGON, so come on over for some barbecue! http://www.nowaterriver.com/poetry-picture-bookhow-to-draw-a-dragon-by-douglas-florian/


    1. Thank you, Renee – your support means a lot to me! I’ve known Rebecca for about 3 years or so now, so I’m especially thrilled that she has been so supportive in looking at my various manuscripts and providing some feedback to help me improve. Ironically, I’ve always sent her poetry collections, and the first time I send her a PB, she picks it up!

      By the way…You just reminded me that I haven’t shared the news at the Garage – so I’ll need to find some time to do that. Thanks! And I can’t wait to read your interview with Douglas – he’s a great guy!


  8. Pingback: A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt-Guests Julie Rowan-Zoch and son, Aaron Zoch | Penny Parker Klostermann

  9. Wonderful news! Glad your family is better and the tech problems are resolved. I’m sharing some new-to-me books by Barbara Juster Esbensen and one of her poems for the last day of school. Love your poem New Hampshire, Spring. I’m off for a hike in the NY woods today – I’ll keep an eye out for woodland love.


  10. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

    Congratulations, Matt! SO THRILLED for you!

    I’m in with a post I put up the other day in honor of my friend, Kevin Slattery, who died earlier this week. It’s an original poem entitled “Let’s Make it a Long Goodbye”, which I wrote for Kevin about two years ago, after his diagnosis. Here’s the link: http://kellyrfineman.livejournal.com/861285.html


  11. Fats Suela

    First off, congratulations on your new book deal! I’m sure it’s going to be very exciting these coming years for you! I hope your illustrator choices also work out well. I am up for Poetry Friday this week, and I share two poems written by a poet who has been featured so many times on GatheringBooks. Naomi Shihab Nye’s collection, 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, was published after 9/11 as a heartfelt wish for peace.

    I have “Flinn, On the Bus” and “The Clean Rinse” as my contribution for Poetry Friday. Here’s the link:


    Thank you for hosting the roundup post this week! =)


  12. Matt, congrats on the book deal! And I feel your computer pain — I’m running around today trying to get my crashed laptop taken care of, but I just posted a link to Poetry Friday to send readers over to congratulate you. So glad to hear your family and your parents are doing better!


  13. jsquiresbooks

    Thanks for hosting and congratulations on the book contract.
    My selection is: “In The Sea” by David Elliott; illustrated by Holly Meade.


  14. Matt, although I started my Poetry Friday offering a few days ago, life got in the way (which I know you have experienced lately) so my post is late in coming. I am so happy for you that you received your first full length picture book offer. It is such an exciting venture after the amazing amount of issues that have plagued your household since wintertime. Thank you for hosting and providing a look into New Hampshire springtime. I am hoping that one of your poems will be offered for Spring’s Symphony. A photo to accompany one of them would be the only touch left. I will send you my Poetry Friday piece as soon as I can.


  15. Pingback: 2015 in review: Thank you! – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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