Poetry Friday: Autumn inspiration (haiku)

Once again, I need to thank children’s author/poet Laura Purdie Salas for proving the inspiration I needed for a Poetry Friday post!

At Laura’s blog, she regularly shares a poetry prompt feature she calls “15 Words or Less,” in which she posts a picture and solicits short poems from readers, using 15 words or less. With all the hub-bub surrounding Flashlight Night lately, I hadn’t had the time to think about what I was going to post today…but then I came upon Laura’s latest post, and BOOM:  I had two haiku written for her blog and for mine!

One of the haiku I really liked, and tweaked a bit after posting it on her blog. Here’s the photo she shared yesterday, followed by my haiku:

(photo courtesy Laura Purdie Salas, used with permission)

non-consuming fire,
autumn phenomenon stuns;
Nature’s burning bush

– © 2017, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Inspiration is not the only thing you’ll find at Laura’s blog; today, you’ll also find the Poetry Friday roundup, along with her review of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s new poetry collection, Read! Read! Read! (Boyds Mills Press), which I featured here last week!

(Oh, and get ready:  “Poetry…Cubed!” returns next Friday, with an opportunity for you to win a signed copy of “Flashlight Night!”)

Book signings/readings/appearances:

Wow, is it really almost Saturday? I’m looking forward being part of the local Barnes & Noble Author Event tomorrow, to benefit the Manchester (NH) Library! In fact, I’m visiting a number of bookstores in the New Hampshire area, and while I have the list nailed down, some times and venues are still being worked on.

Here’s what I know, so far:

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
Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH

As dates are added, I’ll be sure to let you know when and where I’ll be!

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

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

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

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

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“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 stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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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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Poetry Friday: “Read! Read! Read!”

Can you believe it? Today we’re celebrating a book that’s NOT Flashlight Night!

(But hang on…there are a couple of Flashlight Night news bits I need to share later! You weren’t going to make it out that easily.)

You see, I’m doing something I rarely do on Poetry Friday: featuring poetry by someone other than Yours Truly. You see, I started off my blog with the intention of sharing my writing with the world every Friday, so I think I’ve only shared others’ poetry on Friday two or three times since I started the blog 5 years ago.

Today, I’m shining the flashlight (sorry, shameless plug) on my friend, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and her new poetry collection, Read! Read! Read! (Boyds Mills Press), which just came out this past Tuesday, Sept. 19:

If the name of the publishing company, Boyds Mills Press, sounds familiar, that’s because they are the same folks who published Flashlight Night – and if the publishing date sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same date as Flashlight Night!

Amy and I even shared the same wonderful editor, Rebecca Davis…so I just had to give Amy’s new book some love. It’s so good!

Read! Read! Read! celebrates the joy of reading in every way possible: from learning how to write letters and then put them together; to reading books, street signs and everything in-between; and even the joy to be found in sneaking a little under-the-covers reading by flashlight. (A-ha! This whole thing is starting to make sense to you, isn’t it, dear reader??)

(Click to enlarge) All text/images © Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Ryan O’Rourke, and Boyds Mills Press. Used with permission; all rights reserved

Honestly, I had no idea Amy was going to include a poem in her book that so perfectly complements the ending of my little book…but it’s a sweet one, isn’t it? She also includes this little gem, which is quite possibly the most fun poem to speak aloud ever written:One of the things I like most about this book is that it’s not just about the act of reading – it’s about the joy and satisfaction that is gained from stories and the feelings associated with the words and images on the pages:

I have to add, Ryan O’Rourke’s illustrations strike a balance of playfulness and peace – and his color palette creates a classic, storybook feel to each page. I highly recommend this one, folks!

And by the way, for all of today’s poetry links and hi-jinks – and more news about Read! Read! Read! – head on over to Amy’s blog, The Poem Farm, where she’s hosting Poetry Friday today! (I’m sure that can’t possibly be a coincidence…)

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Now, if for some reason you’ve been living under a rock or have been busy crashing into Saturn’s atmosphere, you probably heard about this little book called Flashlight Night. It’s already received multiple positive reviews, but we just learned yesterday that it’s now listed listed as one of Amazon’s editors’ “Best Books of the Month!”

So if you’d like to learn more about the book, the blog tour that’s currently underway (today we’re at Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook), and see where I’ll be in the coming few weeks, please check out this past Tuesday’s post, with all the details!

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to tell others 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

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

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

“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)
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“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!
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)
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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.
    .
  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!

    .

  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.
    .
  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.
    .
    .

  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.
    .
    Ripoff.
    .
    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.

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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!