Poetry Friday: #PoetryOutLoud with Eavan Boland – AND a contest winner!

Last week, my friend, David L. Harrison, stopped by to chat about his new children’s poetry anthology, After Dark: Poems About Nocturnal Animals (Wordsong, 2020). I told you I was going to give away a copy of the book – and I plan to do just that! But first…

I was honored to once again be asked to be one of several performance judges for the New Hampshire State Poetry Out Loud semi-finals at New England College in Henniker, NH this past Wed. night. High school students memorize and recite two poems each and are judged on accuracy, elocution, dramatic interpretation, and other criteria. Three move on to the state finals, next week, and that student will then go on to the nationals.

I have to say, it’s exciting to see so many young people with a zeal for poetry! From Tennyson to Dickinson, from Amy Lowell to William Butler Yeats, poets of all persuasions – and generations – were well-represented. So today, I thought I’d share one of the poems that was recited, which also happens to be one of the more contemporary poems of the night, by Irish poet Eavan Boland:

And Soul

My mother died one summer—
the wettest in the records of the state.
Crops rotted in the west.
Checked tablecloths dissolved in back gardens.
Empty deck chairs collected rain.
As I took my way to her
through traffic, through lilacs dripping blackly
behind houses
and on curbsides, to pay her
the last tribute of a daughter, I thought of something…

– ©2007 by Eavan Boland

(read the poem in its entirety HERE)

Speaking of poetry, I’m gearing up for another crazy month of rhymes, rhythm, and ridiculousness with Madness Poetry! It’s the nation’s largest (and possibly only) bracketed children’s poetry competition. 64 ‘authletes,” as we are called, are each given a random word and have 36 hours to write a poem using that word. Voting then takes place among authletes, public, and even schools – and whoever wins their round moves on to the next round, much in No photo description available.the way that the NCAA’s March Madness works. Eventually, one winner will be crowned champion and will walk away with cash, prizes, fame, fortune, and a small trophy! (Well, a trophy, at least) If you’d like to see who’s participating and who’s up against whom, click the logo, above. And to stay on top of all the action with updates and authlete interaction, be sure to follow the Madness Poetry Facebook page by clicking the picture of “The Thinkier” trophy!


I have a copy of After Dark to give away to one lucky blog follower, thanks to our good friends at Boyds Mills & Kane (my Flashlight Night publisher, by the way)! Of all the folks who commented on last week’s post, the random name chosen is…

Lynn Vieira!

Congratulations, Lynn – please email me your address so I can get the book mailed out to you pronto! Interesting side note: Lynn left her comment at 4:53pm EST – just SEVEN MINUTES before the deadline. That’s cutting it closer than anyone else who’s ever entered one of my giveaways – whew! For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head over to Sloth Reads, where Rebecca Herzog is handling the hosting duties with a recap of Laura Shovan’s Daily Poem Project from last month.

Have you pre-ordered yet??

In stores Aug. 18, 2020!

I’ve teamed up with several other children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year! And there are a LOT of them, too – including SEVEN in March, plus the new poetry anthology Construction People (Wordsong, March 17, 2020), of which I’m a contributor:


Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)


Thank you to everyone for your support!


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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12 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: #PoetryOutLoud with Eavan Boland – AND a contest winner!

  1. lindabaie

    I’m looking forward to seeing you and others in the Madness Poetry, Matt. It’s always fun to read everyone’s poems! This poem that was given at your contest must have been wonderful to see and hear. Rain offers a wide range of emotions, especially when it seems never to cease. I was struck by “and now/mother”, a riveting line. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thank you for introducing me to Poetry Out Loud website and all the poetry available there! I stopped to read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem “How Do I Love Thee?” Boland’s lovely work reminded me of my journeys to see my mother before she died. Thank you, Matt, for the post and the list of books I need to get to this month.


  3. Thanks for your post Matt – almost so much going on over here! I love that highschoolers are being encouraged to learn and recite poetry. Learning a poem can be heard but it it is also such a physical experience, and longlasting too. ‘And Soul’ just took my breath away.


  4. What a fascinating poem, and moreso to me now that I have visited Ireland.
    “all of it
    ending up almost every evening
    inside our speech—
    coast canal ocean river stream and now
    mother and I drove on and although
    the mind is unreliable in grief, at
    the next cloudburst it almost seemed
    they could be shades of each other,”
    and thanks for reminding me that I plan to do more performance this year so I should hie myself over to my local Writer’s Center today for the open mic! Thanks for giving time to Poetry Out Loud!

    Liked by 1 person

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