Poetry Friday: “Front Porch”

I just put the finishing touches on my 5-year-old’s Tyrannosaurus Rex costume (every year it seems I need to engage in a major feat of engineering for his outfits – last year, he went as a biplane!), so I thought I’d share a little something for Halloween.

I hope you like it – and I hope you’ll “check out” Jone MacCulloch’s little home on the web, Check It Out, for all of today’s Poetry Friday links and fun!

Front Porch

I’m not surprised the jack o’lantern
has two glowing eyes.
I’m not surprised its jagged grin
has drawn a dozen flies.
I’m not surprised its hollow head
is blazing like a torch.
I am concerned, however,
that it’s floating off the porch!

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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Poetry Friday: “September Song”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllToday I’m sharing a triolet I originally wrote about a year and a half ago, but which has gone through so many revisions I’ve lost count. Hope you enjoy it! Be sure to stop by Jama’s Alphabet Soup for all of today’s Poetry Friday links (and button candy!).

September Song

The autumn wind is growing colder.
As all 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 all the hills are set ablaze.

– © 2015 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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A favour…

I have a quick favour to ask you. It won’t take long, unless you enjoy it.

Before we get to that, I need to explain why I haven’t been around much lately…

First, it’s been an another insanely busy week (I know, I’ve said that before, but I really mean it this time!) I recently wrapped up a marathon radio commercial production project for a good client of mine, American Cottage Rugs. I recorded the owner interview-style, sorted through the 45-55 minutes of her audio, and ended up producing 27 – yes, 27 – radio commercials. Whew!

Plus, I have been trying to finish up a picture book manuscript and get some new Cybils-Logo-2015-Round-Lgquery letters sent out to potential publishers – and I’ve got two other books AND a poetry collection I need to work on. I’m also in the process of tracking down at least five dozen young adult and middle-grade graphic novels (that’s right, I said five dozen!) as part of my responsibilities as a 1st-round panelist for the CYBILS Awards.

My wife and I are also attempting to get several rooms in our house moved and emptied in advance of a) winter and b) major construction work to repair ice dam damage we received last winter. The downstairs playroom will become our bedroom, our bedroom will become our 2-year-old’s room, and her room (the nursery) will become my long-awaited “real” studio. (My current studio is a side room near a common area upstairs – it’s ok, but not ideal)

Oh, and did I mention my wife and I have only been getting 2-3 hours of sleep each night for the past week? It seems our daughter is apparently suffering from something called “separation anxiety” – which means it takes us 2-3 hours to get her to fall asleep, and when she wakes up 3 or 4 times during the course of the night, it’s almost impossible to get her back to sleep. Oy.

Matt Tea 1Anyway, somehow in the midst of all this I managed to finally get my website updated – and this is where you come in! If you have the time and interest, I’d love for you to check it out and see what you think. The biggest change is the landing page, which allows the viewer the option of choosing my voiceover site or my children’s writer site.

If you’ve ever had the uncontrollable urge to learn more about me, your dreams have come true, right HERE! Thanks in advance, and I hope you’re enjoying these cool, colorful autumn days!

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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)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry is out now!

Oh, happy day! (Actually, happy week!) The fifth book to which I have contributed this year hit stores just a few days ago…and it’s something!

NG Book of Nature Poetry coverFormer U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis has followed up his National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry (National Geographic Kids, 2012) with this brand-new anthology filled with bright, bold National Geographic photos – and I’m so proud to be able to be a part of it. It’s also a thrill seeing so many of my fellow writer friends’ names inside, too!

There are classic poems from some of literature’s most esteemed poets like Frost, Wordsworth, Dickenson, and Thoreau, as well as new poems from contemporary poets like Billy Collins, Jane Yolen, and Lewis himself. Pat has also included a number of poems from writers who are, at best, virtual unknowns (e.g., Yours Truly) – a fact for which I shall be eternally grateful.

One great example of the balance of established writer / emerging writer (which I suppose is a better term than “virtual unknown,” yes?) that you will see on these pages is below. I had no idea my poem, “Rainbow Eucalyptus,” was going to be paired with one from my friend Charles Ghigna, but it was a pleasant surprise, indeed:

© 2015 National Geographic Society, Charles Ghigna, and Matt Forrest Esenwine; all rights reserved. (click to enlarge)
A large, beautiful coffee table book, The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Kids, 2015) is available now at bookstores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy!
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poetryfridaybutton-fulllAlso be sure to stop by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s The Poem Farm for all of today’s Poetry Friday links and fun. (Amy is also a contributor to this book, with a poem about Arizona’s Petrified Forest)
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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)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Halloween haiku

Is there such a thing as a Halloween haiku? Hmmm…not sure. But why not??

(click to enlarge)
I know, it’s still a bit early for Halloween – or is it? I was going to hold off on sharing this until later in the month, but then I realized there are only 3 weeks left until Halloween…so I’m not waiting any longer!
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By the way, there are only 6 days left to get your nominations in for the 10th annual CYBILS Awards! For more details on my role with the CYBILS, check out this past Tuesday’s post, and to nominate your favorite children’s book, click HERE.
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poetryfridaybutton-fulllAnd for all of today’s Poetry Friday fun, links, and hi-jinx, be sure to visit Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids!
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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!
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)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

The 10th Annual CYBILS Awards are back!

Hard to believe, but nominations for the TENTH annual CYBILS Awards are now open!

Cybils-Logo-2015-Round-LgEvery fall, the CYBILS – an acronym for Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards – begins accepting nominations of books that readers, authors, agents, and publishers feel are the best of the year.

And for the third year in a row, I’m very honored to be one of the judges!

Two years ago, I was a second-round judge in the Poetry category. As such, I worked with a handful of other judges to sort through 7 books that had been pared down from nearly two dozen that the first-round panelists had deliberated. Ultimately, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Forest Has a Song (Clarion, 2013) nabbed the top spot.

Then last year, I returned to my role, and along with the other second-round judges managed to nail down a winner, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014). This was a tough decision, because it was the first time verse novels were included in the Poetry category – up til then, collections and anthologies had a nearly exclusive lock on the category. This time around, we had three novels from which to choose!

From what I hear, there are even more verse novels this year – which should make the judging even more difficult. It’s my hope that eventually verse novels get their own category because it’s extremely difficult comparing a book of poems for  7- or 8-year-olds like Jon J. Muth’s Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons (Scholastic, 2014) with Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014).

Oh, and the reason I say “from what I hear” is because I will not be involved with the Poetry category in any way this time around…this year, I am a first-round panelist for the Graphic Novel category! As someone who grew up with comic books – and their big, bold graphics – I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons. I’ve read a number of graphic novels but the genre is still fairly new to me, so I’m guessing I was chosen to provide a fresh perspective. I’ve already started reading a couple of nominees and am having a blast.

I will miss being a part of the Poetry category, but didn’t feel it would be appropriate to be a part of it, since I have poems in four different anthologies this year, and any one of them – or all of them! – might be nominated. I trust my poetry friends who will be judging will do an admirable job, though.

So before the nominations close on October 15, please log on the CYBILS website and nominate your favourite children’s books from this past year! From Middle Grade and YA Fiction to Non-Fiction, Picture Books and Book Apps, I’m sure there is a category you’ll want to nominate a book for. And stay tuned for updates, right here!

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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)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

 

Poetry Friday: An excerpt from “Dear Tomato”

Poetry_Friday logoEarlier this year, I was pleased to announce that one of the first children’s books I had the pleasure of contributing to had just hit stores. Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food & Agriculture Poems – edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte – was finally available!

And although I continued to promote this collection of children’s poems, I just realized a few weeks ago I’ve never shared any of my poems from the book here. Time to do something about that!

I am very proud to have three poems included in the book, including this one:

Fair is Fair
(a lesson in Fair Trade)

Mother’s coffee,
Father’s tea,
Sister’s cocoa…
all might be
a farmer’s only
chance to give
his family
a chance to live.

– © 2015 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Dear Tomato coverI hope you’ll pick up a copy of Dear Tomato, if you haven’t already. Just click the cover graphic and you’ll be whisked away to Amazon-land!

I also hope you’ll check out all the Poetry Friday links at Heidi Mordhorst’s little home on the web, My Juicy Little Universe. Today, it’s a diverse universe of verse! Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.

Oh, and if you didn’t get a chance to read my post from this past Tuesday, please take just a couple minutes and learn about why I’m encouraging folks to #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading. If you deliberately write without an audience in mind, it can be very liberating…so come learn more!

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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!
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)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!