Poetry Friday: Kicking off National Poetry Month early w/ “Poetry Cubed #5, Dino Edition!”

National Poetry Month begins this Sunday, April 1, and I have a lot planned here at the ol’ Triple-R:  an interview with Amy Losak about her late mother’s new children’s book H is for Haiku (Penny Candy Books, April 10, 2018); an interview with Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids, April 17, 2018) illustrator Louie Chin; details about our “Dinosaur Tour” blog tour; Irene Latham’s 2018 Progressive Poem; and several examples of student poetry from workshops I’ve been part of.

In addition to all of this, I thought it would be fun to host another round of “Poetry…Cubed!” This time…with a little thematic element added.

If you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network, you know that chefs battle each other by trying to create the best dishes they can using specific and sometimes rather strange ingredients given to them in a special basket. (Were it not for this show, I’d never have known what durian, geoduck, or caul fat was.)

So for this contest, I’ve taken the premise of the TV show and applied it to poetry! 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 important:  it doesn’t have to be good! This is where my mantra comes in: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading. This is about having fun creating. Unlike the “real” Chopped, no one is judging you!
  • The hitch is that you need to include a reference to all three images in the one poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract. (And since this is poetry we’re talking about, we play fast and loose with this rule!)
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month of April. Out of all the poems submitted, one writer will be chosen at random to receive a personally-signed copy of the brand-new children’s book EVERYONE is talking about (and by “everyone” I mean ME), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!

Keep in mind, I can only format poems to a small degree – so if possible, try to refrain from lots of unusual breaks and text placement. I’ll do my best to format your poem per your wishes, but WordPress will only allow me to do so much.

And now, here are your three images (click on any to enlarge):

Hmmm…notice anything peculiar about these allegedly random images? I admit, I thought I’d play around with the contest and indulge in a little shameless self-promotion with these – and if you know anything about Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), you’ll understand!

So to get things started, I’ll share a haiku (or more accurately, a senryu) I just came up with using all three images. And honestly, I didn’t spend more than 5 minutes thinking about the poem and then writing it; as I said earlier, this isn’t about perfection, this is about getting your brain working and getting the words out.

claws sink in, subtle
lightness camouflages pain;
a happy ending

– © 2018 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Amazing how three simple, child-friendly images can inspire three rather dark lines, isn’t it? Now it’s your turn! Send me what you come up with, and I’ll put you in the drawing just for your effort. Remember, no judging here!

For all of today’s Poetry Friday links, head on over to Heidi Mordhorst’s My Juicy Little Universe for the complete roundup and a kickoff for Irene Latham’s annual Progressive Poem!

Speaking of the Progressive Poem, here’s a list of all the writers/bloggers participating – including Yours Truly, once again:

April 1 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
2 Jane at Raincity Librarian
3 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
9 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
10 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
14 Heidi at my juicy little universe
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
21 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
22 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
25 Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads


SCHOOL PEOPLE are here…and the DINOSAURS are on their way!

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR hits bookshelves April 17!

New dates continue to be added to the Dinosaur Tour! Here’s the most up-to-date schedule:

  • Sat., April 14, 11am:  Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH, (Children’s Author Day with illustrator Ryan O’Rourke AND Local Book Launch for Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!)
  • Sat., April 14, 2pm:  Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH, (Children’s Author Day with illustrator Ryan O’Rourke AND Local Book Launch for Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!)
  • Tue., April 17, 7pm:  Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur Dual National Launch Party!! (with Holly Thompson, One Wave at a Time reading/signing/discussion)
  • Thur., April 26, 10:30am:  Pillsbury Free Library, Warner, NH, Dinosaur Storytime with Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People!
  • Sat., April 28, 10:30am: Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., April 28, 2pm: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing (with Sara Levine, Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones reading/signing)
  • Sun., April 29, 2pm:  MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing and discussion
  • Sat., May 5, 10am: Barnes & Noble, Burlington, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., May 5, 1pm:  Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., May 12, 11am:  Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Wed., May 16, 12pm: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People signing
  • Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing


Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 


Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)


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16 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Kicking off National Poetry Month early w/ “Poetry Cubed #5, Dino Edition!”

  1. Kay Mcgriff

    Looks like lots of poetry fun headed your way this month. I’m looking forward to seeing the Progressive Poem unfold, and Poetry Cubed is always fun to play!


  2. More cubed! Yay!
    Matt, you won the jelly beans! Where can I send it? I think I may have had your address at one time, but not sure where I have it stored at this point! I’ll email you my email.


  3. Pingback: Poetry Friday: #PoetryCUBED returns, just in time for National Poetry Month! – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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