Poetry Friday: Kicking off National Poetry Month with a Giveaway Winner (ALSO: the NEA Read Across America Book of the Month)

Last Friday, we celebrated the release of Vikram Madan’s brand-new children’s poetry collection, ‘A HATFUL OF DRAGONS’ (Wordsong, 2020), which officially arrives in April. Out of all the folks who left comments to enter a drawing to win a free copy, the one name that was selected at random was…


Congratulations, Margaret! Be sure to email me your mailing address so the good folks at Boyds Mills & Kane can send you your copy. And thank you so much for visiting the ol’ Triple-R!

(If you didn’t get a chance to check out my interview with Vikram, you can still find it HERE)

Now, for today’s poem…I was looking through the National Education Association’s list of “Books of the Month” that they are using to promote their Read Across America initiative when I came across this cover, for April:

Former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis edited this third book in National Geographic’s series of poetry/photography coffee table books, and I was so proud to contribute to this book when it came out two years ago, I felt I had to share my poem here…

And yes, Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’ kept going through my mind while I thought about the Nevada sands, giant structures, and my blank verse sonnet…so I had to give a tip of the hat at the very end. What a book for National Poetry Month! I’m so honored to be included in a book that contains poetry from such diverse people as Robert Frost, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jane Yolen, and so many others.

(By the way, if you’d like to learn more about some of the attractions I make reference to in the poem, check out “The Strat”‘s official website!)

Since it’s Poetry Friday, you’ll probably want to check out all the other links and fun, so head over to My Juicy Little Universe where Heidi Mordhorst is handling her hosting with aplomb (we need more plombs, no that I think about it) and sharing two poems – one from H.D. (aka, Hilda Doolittle, an incredible American poet with whom you may be unfamiliar) and one from Billy Collins!


For some time now I’ve been wanting to help my educator and parent friends with educational videos geared to understanding poetry, and now my “Wit & Wordplay” videos, as I call them, are available on my YouTube channel! These videos focus on poetry: how to write it, how to appreciate it, and tips on having fun with it. There are several ready for viewing, and more are on the way – so be sure to subscribe or check back often!

You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website. If you think any of this information might be useful for someone you know, I hope you’ll share.

What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!


Pre-orders are available now!

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!


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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33 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Kicking off National Poetry Month with a Giveaway Winner (ALSO: the NEA Read Across America Book of the Month)

  1. Love the poem and the mental image it gave me of a place I’ve never been. A perfect way to travel while we are all staying so close to our homes. I also popped over and listened to the first of your videos. So cool to hear your voice, and your wisdom, from the comfort of your pillow fort.


  2. HI, Matt–Thanks for sharing the NEA Read Across America site. Somehow I didn’t know that existed! Cool to see “our” book selected for April (thanks, J. Pat.) I’m afraid you were misled by my post…the poem I included is by H.D., not Hei-Di! We do need more plombs and also less misling, so perhaps you should correct that. Hope you and yours are staying safe and productive.


  3. lindabaie

    This ‘geography’ will make a wonderful guide across American as we only travel via words or online. I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but imagine I might cry if I visited it now. Thanks for sharing your poem, Matt. I’ll check on your videos, too.


  4. Kay Mcgriff

    What a great collection to travel across the country while we stay at home. Thanks for sharing your contribution to it. It creates a strong image of somewhere I’ve not yet been. Stay safe at home.


  5. Linda Mitchell

    A wonderful post, Matt! I love seeing more and more of your poems published. Your joy and enthusiasm is contagious. The Poetry of US is a perfect and literal ‘Read Across America’ selection. I love that you found it to share with us.


  6. Wonderful to have Pat’s anthology selected, and enjoyed reading your fabulous poem. I’ve been to Las Vegas only once (that was enough for me since I don’t like to gamble) and you’ve captured the spirit of the place.


  7. Linda KulpTrout

    Matt, I’ve loved your poem since I first read it. Like you, I’m proud to have a poem in this gorgeous collection. I hope you and your family are staying well and finding ways to enjoy your time together.


  8. Thanks for everything Matt, sharing this poem, sharing your youtube channel, and introducing me to the Read Across America site. I’m now going to go and see if I can find something similar for us here in Canada.


  9. haitiruth

    Thanks for sharing your poem! I love the Ozymandias allusion. Hope you’re doing well! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


  10. Love this collection! Thanks for sharing your poem. I would love to check out The Strat’s site and your videos, but trying really hard to stay focused and visit my Poetry Friday friends. I’m off!


  11. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    So cool and exciting that The Poetry of US was chosen by the NEA! It really is the perfect pick for reading across America, and the best way to travel right now, without doubt. Thanks for the heads up, Matt. Happy Poetry Month!


  12. So much to love here, Matt. I hardly know where to begin! I’m so intrigued by “Once Upon Another Time.” Just pre-ordered it, as it sounds fabulous! Keep up the great #parenting during #rona IG posts. Loving those!!! Peace and stay safe.


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