Poetry Friday: More #PoetryCubed entries AND we have a winner!

I’m so excited I have more #PoetryCubed! entries to share today! We have a winner to announce, book signing news, and a special Flashlight Night review from Jan at Bookseed Studio!

First up: #PoetryCubed! On The Food Network show “Chopped!“, chefs battle each other by creating dishes using specific, and sometimes odd, ingredients. For example, contestants might have to create appetizers using radicchio, bologna, and kumquats, and then turn around and come up with entrees using prawns, pork belly, and Cheez Wiz.

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

  • Using the 3 images below as inspiratio, readers were asked to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
  • The poem could be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. And most importantly…it didn’t have to be very good! This was about having fun and stimulating a few brain cells; remember, #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
  • The only hitch is that a reference to all three images in the poem needed to be included – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
  • Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer would be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

Here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):



Today we have two poems to round out the challenge. First up is Kay McGriff, whose title alone begs a person to read…

The Ghosts of Art

Headlights slash
flickering shadows
through the trees
to glitter against
the metal skeletons
whirling in the wind.
Whimsical sculptures
sprinkle light
with twirling blades
to shine a beacon
for unwary drivers
rounding the fateful curve
where no one really died.
But still the screams
echo from the backseat
as we chase a ghost
who only lived in legend.

– © 2017, Kay Jernigan McGriff, all rights reserved


And finally, we have something from my former Highlights Foundation workshop attendee, Lind Baie, who used the lighthouse image as a springboard to draw in the other images:

Lighthouse Home

Headlights show the final stop–
Miss Matilda’s Pastry Shop
where powdered sugar in the air
leaves tastes of home before we’re there.
Load gifts and sweets on a skiff that waits
for Mom and Pop, our Christmas date.

– © 2017, Linda Baie, all rights reserved


I have to say, these three images have been quite inspiring for a lot of people! I started things off with a senryu, but we’ve also had haikus & rhyming poems, poems about vegetables, chocolate, and submarines, and even poems about hangovers, Christmas cookies, and the souls of the dead. I encourage you to click these links and read all the different perspectives and angles that our blog followers have embraced – all based on these three simple photos.

But out of all these poems, only one name could be chosen at random, and that name is…


Congratulations, Patty! (Patty told me she’s never entered this sort of challenge before, so I’m glad her leap of faith paid off!) A signed copy of Flashlight Night will be in the mail and headed her way very soon…and thank you to everyone who took part!


Speaking of Flashlight Night, Jan Godown Annino is sharing a review of my book at her Bookseed Studio blog today – and it appears she enjoyed it! She asked illustrator Fred Koehler and me to share a little childhood background; where we grew up, what we did, how our young experiences helped create this little adventure we call Flashlight Night. I do hope you check out her post!

I also encourage you to visit Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup.

Will there be cookies? Oh, yes!!

(ALSO: Please make a note to remind yourself to stop by here on Friday, Dec. 15, as I’ll be hosting a little online holiday party for everyone who loves children’s poetry!

This is a little shindig that David L. Harrison, Joy Acey, and I started at David’s blog a few years ago, and we decided that perhaps it might be fun to move the party around from venue to venue…so this year, it’s moving from David’s place to my little home on the web right here. We’ll have lots of food and conversation, possibly a game or two, and hopefully plenty of poetry! I look forward to welcoming you. That’s Dec. 15 – all day long! – right here at the ol’ Triple-R.)


The “Flashlight Night” road tour continues!

Here’s my latest schedule – and yes, this weekend is going to be a BUSY one:

  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA (Children’s Author Book Panel)
  • Dec. 3, 1pm: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH (Signing & Book Fair)
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed): Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (early 2018): 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

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“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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28 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: More #PoetryCubed entries AND we have a winner!

  1. Matt,
    Nothing I like better than a party, and a Christmas Holiday party is a special treat. Turn the heat up for me. I imagine I’ll need a sweater. Did I mention it was 76 degrees here yesterday.


  2. Poetry Chopped I mean Cubed has been great fun once again, Matt. Even more fun is watching *Flashlight Night* popping up everywhere! (Guess it’s time to take it of my bedside pile and get it into my classroom!) I do hope that wherever you go you are making sure to let readers know that it’s POETRY they’re loving…

    Looking forward to the holiday poetry party, too!


    1. Thank you, Heidi! One of the biggest compliments I’ve received from some of the reviews (School Library Journal, for one) is that it is referred to as a “poem” – which just makes me so proud. Yes, it is a rhyming picture book, but in my mind, it’s a poem first and foremost…and I’m glad so many others agree!


  3. Diane Mayr

    I’ll be able to attend your party since I’m taking the day off to host the Round-Up on the 15th. That means I’ll have a little time to sneak in a poetry snack or two! I hope you have something good on tap, too!


  4. lindabaie

    Thanks for sharing my poem, Matt. Poetry Cubed is always fun, as is the holiday party with David, and now moving on to you and Joy. It will be terrific! I saw Flashlight Night at the library again yesterday, then a family that snapped it up! It’s making the rounds!


  5. Enjoyed reading all the poems submitted for the challenge, Matt. Tickled with Linda’s powdery delicious verse this week. 🙂 Congrats to Patty, and I look forward to your holiday party next week.


  6. This post lights up the night, Matt.
    So glad to read of all this illuminated goodness for FLASHLIGHT NIGHT
    & to read these luminous poems by Linda & Kay. I am new to this poem-making series &
    have added catching up with the others to my list. Appreciations for the Bookseedstudio shout out. And applause for your book tour endurance!


  7. Hey this was fun Matt, thanks for putting it all together and sharing all of these poems. I had read Kay’s on her blog earlier–it’s a powerfully strong poem. Linda’s is such fun and perfect for this time of year. Thanks, Cheers!


  8. Pingback: Poetry Friday: “The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2016” AND a new way to purchase my children’s books! – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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