Poetry Friday ROUNDUP: “Construction People” arrives…Madness Poetry Round 1 voting ends today…AND a “Night Wishes” Sneak Peek!

Wow, what a busy day today! It’s Poetry Friday and there’s so much going on, I can’t wait to tell you…

First of all, Round One voting in the nation’s largest bracketed children’s poetry competition, Madness! Poetry, is underway…and wraps up TODAY!

As of this writing, a mere 1/10th of a percent separates us, so it’s a nail-biter among nail-biters! 

Please vote for your favorites! Voting ends at various times this afternoon, but my matchup with Laurie Kaiser closes at 5:15pm EDST, which means there’s not much time left to cast your vote. BUT…if you do vote, please vote for your favorite, even if it’s not mine.

In case you don’t know, each pair of competitors (or ‘authletes’) is given a specific word; we then have 36 hours to write a children’s poem using that exact word. Voting then takes place, and whoever wins their round moves on to the next, much in No photo description available.the way that the NCAA’s March Madness works. Eventually, one winner will be crowned champion and receive “The Thinkier” trophy!

Laurie and I were given the word “submerged,” and came up with two very different poems – so please check out our matchup (and all of them), and thanks so much for supporting children’s poetry!

(AGAIN: Voting ends at 5:15pm EDST Today)

Feeding into this “poetry madness,” so to speak, is the fact that Construction People (Wordsong) arrives next Tuesday, March 17! It has always been an honor to be part of a Lee Bennett Hopkins anthology, and to be included in 3 of his final 4 books (Lee passed away last August), is truly a blessing.

(click to enlarge)

Construction People is a follow-up to 2018’s School People, which featured poems about all the grown-ups a child meets at school. In this new book, there are poems about all the folks involved in building a skyscraper, from the architect to the carpenters, from the elevator installers to the plumbers!

But I have to admit…when Lee asked me to write a poem about the construction project manager, I was a bit leery. Where was the fun, the pizzazz, the cool sounds and energy and imagery one would expect? But once I did some research and realized how stressful – and integral – the position is, I knew I could do it. As for the structure of the poem, I knew it needed to be a villanelle, with its tall, skyscraper-like shape and almost obsessively repetitive lines. I hope you like it!

One of my favorite poems is Lee’s…although I’m not sure if I like it because it’s a wonderful poem, or if it’s because it was one of my friend’s last published poems:

(click to enlarge)

Construction People arrives everywhere this coming Tuesday!

In other news…

Another of Lee’s last anthologies has a publishing date! In addition to Construction People (Wordsong), which comes out next week, have you heard about Night Wishes (Eerdmans), which arrives this fall? I just learned from the publisher that we can expect to see it in stores everywhere Sept. 15:

As a child falls asleep, all the inanimate objects in her room wish her “good night” in their own, special ways:  the mattress, bookshelf, rocking horse…all of them offer their words through 14 poets, myself included. (In fact, you’ll notice my “Pillow” is even included in the official description!)

Here’s just a little taste of what to expect…

I wish I could share the rest of the poem, but we’ll all have to wait until we get closer to the publication date, Sept. 15! It’s such a beautiful book, I can’t wait for you to see it. Pre-orders are available now, though, so don’t let me stop you from clicking the links, ha!

Thanks so much for visiting the ol’ Triple-R! Please leave your links and news in the comments below and I’ll round them up old school-style throughout the day…


Speaking of new books…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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69 thoughts on “Poetry Friday ROUNDUP: “Construction People” arrives…Madness Poetry Round 1 voting ends today…AND a “Night Wishes” Sneak Peek!

  1. laurashovan222

    Thanks for hosting, Matt! Good luck as an authlete!

    I’m featuring my third book this week, VOICES FLY. I co-edited this poetry workshop/anthology with fellow visiting poet Ginny Crawford. For teachers who need resources due to virtual schooling, the entire book — with 8 workshop descriptions –is a free PDF. In my blog, I share “The Word Pond” for emerging writers.



  2. lindabaie

    Best wishes in the “madness”, Matt. The poems, like always, were all clever & fun. A family friend, best friend of my son still & while growing up just became certified as a “project manager” and has taken a big job as one. I think I’ll send him your poem. It is a very big deal & I love the pressure coming through in your poem. Night Wishes is going to be so sweet! I haven’t published yet, but am sharing Irene Latham’s & Charles Waters’ “Dictionary for A Better World”, so needed today & tomorrow, & on! Thanks for hosting!


  3. Thanks for hosting Matt! What a wonderful cornucopia of poetry anthologies your included in, many congratulations, and for your own forthcoming books too! “I count the bills we need to pay” this line is so timely now with so many people having to stretch dollars, and possibly missing work–excellent form to pick for the topic. All the best with “Madness Poetry” competition! I’m sharing some art and a poem called “Relieving Anxiety,” in efforts to help the anxiousness that many of us are feeling today: https://moreart4all.wordpress.com/2020/03/12/poetry-friday-relieving-anxiety/


  4. Ooh, I especially love the hum, the sing, the tap, and the chime. Such lovely words to capture the noise of a construction site! Congrats on ALL the good news. Wow! And I love your submerged poem! Voted:>)

    I’m at https://laurasalas.com/poems-for-teachers/belief-in-birds-and-asking-teachers-for-poetry-tips-poetry-friday/ with a poem and new life for some art from ruined books. And asking teachers to share their favorite classroom poetry-writing tips for an upcoming presentation.

    Thanks for hosting!


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  7. amyludwigvanderwater

    Oh, I am missing Lee. Thank you for sharing his books and the peeks… Thank you, too, for hosting. Happy Madness!

    Over at The Poem Farm, I have a poem titled “The Land of Notknowing” – another poem for children in the time of COVID-19.

    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for reminding us about Madness! Poetry. I voted and I’m sharing the link with my middle school book club today. I’m looking forward to new anthologies. Congrats on having poems in both of them.
    My golden shovel poem,”Moving Forward,” is a call to “hear the hum” during tough times. I found my words from Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters.


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