Poetry Friday: #PoetryOutLoud this week, a #BookBirthday next week!

This week has been, to say the least, insane – one of the busiest weeks I can remember, honestly. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we’re homeschooling our kids this year (thank you, Covid), so time is at a premium to begin with…but with a book coming out next Tue., March 2, all my spare time has been spent prepping and organizing for the big day!

First of all, there’s the ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME Blog Tour, featuring TEN awesome bloggers spotlighting the book, sharing their reviews, and interviewing my co-author, Charles Ghigna and me. And what’s REALLY cool? Most are offering a free copy of the book to give away – so be sure to check out as many of them as you can and increase your odds!


2/25:      Ellen Leventhal:  https://www.ellenleventhal.com/#blog
2/26:      Michelle Knott: http://mrsknottsbooknook.blogspot.com/
3/1:        Maria Marshall: https://www.mariacmarshall.com/blog
3/2:        Matt Forrest Esenwine: https://mattforrest.wordpress.com 
3/3:        Jan Godown Annino at Bookseed Studio: https://bookseedstudio.wordpress.com/
3/4:        Celebrate Picture Books: https://celebratepicturebooks.com/ (will begin giveaway on 3/5)
3/5:        Maria Marshall #PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday): https://www.mariacmarshall.com/blog
3/5:        KidLit411 – Charles Ghigna interview http://www.kidlit411.com/
3/10:      Melissa Stoller: https://www.melissastoller.com/blog
3/16:      Kellee Moye at Unleashing Readers: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/
5/5:        Andrew Hackett https://www.andrewhacket.com/blog

Not only are Charles, illustrator Andres Landazabal, and I indebted to these fine folks for their support and kind words, we are also greatly appreciative of the American Library Association’s Booklist Online for their tremendously positive review, calling our book “a neccessary addition to picture book collections”– as well as all our fellow authors and illustrators who’ve shared their opinions of our book on both our Amazon page and the back cover:

I’m grateful to teachers, too! Specifically, the twelve schools across the country who’ve invited me to read the book to their students the day it comes out – which also happens to be the NEA’s Read Across America Day. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a picture book birthday than by reading to kids all day long!

The folks at New Hampshire radio station 105.5 JYY have also been extremely supportive, by inviting me to chat with my former radio partner, Nazzy, for a half-hour live podcast two days ago. We talked about all things involving writing, publishing, and the necessity of being willing to take a leap of faith:

Are you getting the feeling I’ve been just a little bit out straight?

Well, that’s just part of the story…because I am also once again one of the judges for our state’s Poetry Out Loud semi-finals! Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest that encourages the memorization and performance of poetry by our country’s high schools students.

I’ve been involved for nearly 5 years now, and it’s always amazing to watch these young people bringing life to the words of classic and contemporary poetry. This year, due to Covid, I’ll be judging performances virtually, as each student has recorded their performance and submitted it for review; it’s not exactly the live atmosphere we’ve been used to, but at least we’re able to do it!

For their performances, students are allowed to choose the poems they recite from a list of poems provided by the national Poetry Out Loud organization, so for today’s Poetry Friday post, I thought I’d share one of my favorites that one of our state’s students will be performing this year:

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over to Karen Edmisten’s blog, where she and Billy Collins contemplate their existence over a bowl of Cheerios!



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I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.


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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

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!




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18 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: #PoetryOutLoud this week, a #BookBirthday next week!

  1. Janet F.

    Hi Matt! Check in with Book Ends! Congratulations on a busy week and lots of success. My school has not participated in Poetry Out Loud since my friend who became the HS librarian retired. (She loved my gr 3 poetry work and was eager to begin POL once she moved to our HS. I rejoiced and helped her. ) I miss it. I met Dana Gioia whom I admire (and we are connected by a mutual friend) he began it as you may know. I will find an article by him I like a lot and will send. Congratulations on your new books!! Looking forward to Elliot, too. (Frogs are popular in my grandkids’ house!)


  2. lindabaie

    My book is ordered, Matt. Congratulations again to you & Charles. Being busy may mean tired, but it’s also a good thing! I love the Yeats poem. How great that it was selected. Enjoy these next days!


  3. Thank you for the Yeats poem, Matt. It’s the moment of peace and grounding I needed this morning. And…wow. Busy is indeed an understatement. Congratulations on your book birthday tomorrow and the blog tour and everything–can’t wait to read this lovely-looking book!


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