Poetry Friday: “The Art of Autumn”

(click to enlarge)

After sharing my poem from several years ago last week, I wasn’t planning on digging into the archives again today – but I stumbled upon this little ditty and felt it was appropriate, considering the time of year. Last night we finally had our first frost of the season – only about a month later than normal! – so I suppose it’s time to start thinking apples, pumpkin, and leaf-raking, after all.

Interestingly, even though I wrote this almost exactly 3 years ago in Oct. 2014, I never shared this poem here at Triple-R. It had been written and formatted (and subsequently published) on Carol Varsalona’s blog, Beyond Literacy, as part of her “Finding Fall” gallery. So I thought it was about time it made its debut here!

You may think that today is unlucky, but you’d be quite wrong; Irene Latham is celebrating Friday the 13th by hosting Poetry Friday at her blog, Live Your Poem. And I’m celebrating because a book I wrote is presently on display in a museum…and I’m not even dead yet!

How cool is that??


I would be remiss if I did not make mention of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s new book, Poems are Teachers (Heinemann), which just arrived in the world last Friday!

The book is geared to educators, to help them not only teach poetry, but to understand all the things that poetry can teach those who read it: language, perspective, rhythm, etc. For example, my contribution, “Soccer Sides,” uses two halves of a poem to show how a writer can compare and contrast.

I was honored that Amy asked me to include something for the book and am proud to be part of a collection that includes writers like Kwame Alexander, Jane Yolen, David L. Harrison, Jack Prelutsky, Charles Ghigna, and many, MANY others – including lots of folks from the Poetry Friday community.

“Flashlight Night” NEWS:

Imagine you’ve just published your first full-length picture book, and it has received all kinds of national attention and praise. Imagine seeing the original artwork along with your words hanging on a museum wall (see above!). Imagine how exciting and humbling and thrilling that would be.

Now…imagine that book being a potential award-winner!

The annual CYBILS Awards are now accepting nominations for a variety of children’s lit genres like YA, graphic novels, poetry, and picture books – and what do you know – Flashlight Night is one of the many, many books nominated in the Picture Book Category! Thank you so much to Linda Baie for nominating our little book, and many thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where and when the Flashlight Night road tour stops next, here’s my schedule so far. If you’re in the NH area tomorrow, I hope you’ll consider stopping by BAM! in Concord:

  • Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
  • Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center / Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Toadstool Bookshop, Keene/Peterborough/Milford, NH

I’ll continue updating this as dates are added…and thank you again for your support!


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

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“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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22 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “The Art of Autumn”

  1. Love your imagery, Matt—the painted trees painting the ground. I was just talking to my folks in PA, they said the leaves are coming down without changing color at all—it’s been too warm. 😦 We’re used to that here in Florida, but in Pennsylvania??? Glad to hear you finally got your first frost in NH!


  2. lindabaie

    Our ground is being painted, and painted again, Matt. Love your poem, and congrats for being in Amy’s book. I can’t wait to read the book! You’re welcome for my nomination, so well deserved. Best wishes in the deliberations! I’m off to Highlights tomorrow, remember my first time with you and all the others, a special memory! And, wish I was closer to see the museum installation-so great!


  3. OH, your enthusiasm is contagious! First frost….we are waiting still in Virginia. I have a feeling we will be waiting a while since we’ve had near tropical heat. But, once the weather turns, I’m sure I’ll be complaining about the cold. It is very COOL that your book is in a museum and you are still alive. lol. Mother Nature’s painting is a swell ditty. I think today is the day we will buy pumpkins.


    1. Thank you, LInda! It was in the 80s here just a couple of days ago, so the fact that we had such a hard frost was quite surprising … but then again, up here in New England, nothing is all that surprising when he comes to the weather! Enjoy your pumpkin picking !


  4. amyludwigvanderwater

    I adore the surprise in your poem! Thank you! This is my favorite time of year….well, one of them. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words and your fun poem in POEMS ARE TEACHERS. I know that soccer players…and all children…will enjoy it! That museum exhibit is awesome! x


  5. Beautiful poem, Matt. Having at last experienced a leaf-dropping autumn, I know what you are talking about. And experience your poem in my heart – not just my imagination. It’s a lovely feeling!


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