Poetry Friday: “Poems are Teachers” winner & a nighttime tanka

Before we get to poetry or book signing schedules or anything like that, I need to take care of some business…by announcing a WINNER!

Last Friday, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and her Poems Are Teachers publishing company, Heinemann, were kind enough to offer a free copy of the book to one of my blog readers.

Well, there were a LOT of entries…but only one name could be drawn. So thanks to the official Random Number Generator, the winner of a free copy of Poems Are Teachers is…


Congratulations, Kristen! Thank you so, so much for following my blog and connecting on Twitter – your book is on its way, direct from Heinemann!

As for today’s poem, I thought a little Halloween-themed ditty might be apropos. But as any writer knows, what you plan to write and what you end up writing are often two different things. As I sat down to write – late at night, as per usual – my mind was tired, my eyes were heavy, and…well, I’ll let you read:

(click to enlarge)

Yep, a tanka about falling asleep while trying to write. No idea where that came from, huh??

By the way, my friend Brenda Davis Harsham is hosting Poetry Friday today at her blog, Friendly Fairy Tales – and I know she definitely has some Halloween-inspired poetry to share, even if Yours Truly failed on that account! I’m also excited to be spending Poetry Friday at Barnes & Noble in Manchester, NH tonight at 6, as I take part in a benefit to raise money for Ste. Marie Child Care in the Queen City. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll stop by and get a book signed!


Speaking of book signings…

The Flashlight Night road tour continues! If you’re trying to find me, here’s my updated schedule:

  • Oct. 27, 6pm (TONIGHT!):  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center / Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • Nov. 11: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA (“The Making of a Book” Children’s Author Day)
  • Nov. 18, 3pm: Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH
  • Dec. 2: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • Dec. 3, 11am: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH

I’ll continue revising this as dates are added or times are changed…so please check my FB page for any last-minute updates!


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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25 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Poems are Teachers” winner & a nighttime tanka

  1. amyludwigvanderwater

    “my midnight inspiration” – oh yeah! Mark used to find me face in my notebook (socks off!) in front of the heater….out cold. Thank you for the smiles…. And thank you too for the post and giveaway! Happy Poetry Friday! xx


  2. There’s definitely an other-worldly feel to your tanka. I love the line “mind melts to demi-slumber” and that phrase will now come to my mind when I find myself nodding off in the midst of planning, writing, or reading.


  3. I can totally relate to your sleepy tanka! Also, tomorrow I’ll finally get my hands on a copy of Flashlight Night–Fred Koehler is going to be at a local bookstore so I’m taking the family. Can’t wait to read it.


  4. lindabaie

    At least you made sense, Matt. I’ve written late at night and mostly manage, but sometimes that next morning I find the words just a bit mixed up! I love “the clock has disappeared”!


    1. Thanks, Brenda – I hope we’ll see you there! Here’s the schedule:

      The Making of a Book – Saturday, November 11th – 12pm – 4pm
      Meet local authors and participate in a special author scavenger hunt for a chance to win prizes!

      The Making of a Book – Talk: Getting Started – 1pm (Cheryl Lawton Malone)
      You think you’re ready to write a book! But… where do you start? Please join us for a special talk about the process and craft of turning your ideas into a book.

      The Making of a Book – Talk: The Road to Publication – 3pm (Elaine DiMopolous)
      You’ve written your book – but now what? Please join us for a talk as an experienced author shares tips and stories about working through the publication process.

      Looking forward to seeing you, if it works within your schedule.

      Liked by 1 person

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