Poetry Friday: #PoetryCubed! Part IV

It’s back again! An opportunity to kick some brain cells into gear and write some poetry – and maybe win a free book, as well!

If you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network (or have participated in #PoetryCubed! before), then you already know how this works…

On the TV show, chefs battle each other by creating dishes using specific, and sometimes odd, ingredients. For example, contestants might have to create appetizers using pork belly, pickles, and Oreos, and then come up with entrees using tripe, fennel, and boxed mac ‘n cheese.

For #PoetryCubed!, I’ve taken the premise of the TV show and applied it to poetry – but without the 20-minute time limit, lacerated appendages, and broken dreams. Here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
  • The poem can be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. And most importantly…it also doesn’t have to be very good! This is about having fun, so no pressure allowed! Remember my mantra: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
  • The only hitch is that you need to include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month of November. Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of a little book you may have heard about called Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

Now…without any further ado…here are your three images (click on any to enlarge):


Is your mind tickling yet? I’ll start things off with my own response to this prompt, a senryu:

carnival ride love
spins the head, lights up eyes, tastes
sickeningly sweet

– © 2017 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

There are two things you should know about this poem:

  • I wrote it in about 15 minutes, so I don’t want you thinking you need to spend hours perfecting something. #PoetryCubed is about kick-starting your creative juices, not polishing a terza rima for The Atlantic.
  • It’s a 3-line poem that uses imagery from all 3 photos (sweet carnival food, a lighthouse candle spinning, and the “ride” and “head, lights” references) so your poem doesn’t need to be that long – although it can be a hundred lines long if that’s where the muse leads you.

Good luck! I’ll look forward to seeing what you come up with and will announce the winner on Fri., Dec. 1! In the meantime, I hope you’ll stop by Teacher Dance, where Linda Baie is hosting Poetry Friday today with a couple of November cinquains.


The “Flashlight Night” road tour continues!

If you’re wondering where I’ll be and when I’ll be there, here’s my updated schedule:

  • Nov. 11: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA (“The Making of a Book” Children’s Author Day)
  • Nov. 18, 3pm: Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH
  • Dec. 2, 12pm: 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


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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22 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: #PoetryCubed! Part IV

  1. lindabaie

    I do love your ‘poetry cubed’, Matt, and what everyone brings to the table, like your senryu. “Sickenly sweet” is what carnivals are made of, right? Happy weekend!


    1. I understand how hard it can be to find enough time to do all the things we want to do…I’ve been trying to join in Michelle Barnes’ TLD Challenge for a few months now! I do hope some inspirations strikes, though – would love to share something of yours here!


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