Poetry Friday: The ROUNDUP is here – and we’re celebrating one whole year of Friends & Anemones!

One year ago, in the middle of a pandemic, a very unique and fun book arrived on the scene…and today we’re celebrating its 1-year birthday!

Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, created by members of The Writer’s Loft in Sherborn, Massachusetts, was officially published November 8, 2020!

With poems and illustrations by more than 60 New England authors and illustrators like Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Peter H. Reynolds, Jodie Apeseche, Josh Funk, Bob Thibeault, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, and many others (including Yours Truly), the book clocks in at a solid 70 pages!

The book is especially dear to my heart, because I didn’t just contribute 3 poems; editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly asked author Kip Wilson and I to judge all the submissions, to determine which were the best and which needed some revision. It was quite the time-intensive task (a little consonance there, for you poetry fans), but we had a lot of fun doing it – and were glad we were able to help others in polishing their poems for publication (a little aliteration, as well, just to keep you on your toes).

You can read my interview with Wixted & Kelly HERE and learn about how they came up with the idea, how they navigated the process, and how they managed to pull it all off during a nationwide shutdown!

One of the most impressive spreads in the book features a beautiful illustration by Leanne Leutkemeyer with a poem by Amanda Smith:

All images © 2020 The Writers Loft Press, reprinted with permission, all rights reserved

And since I’ve shared my “Goblin Shark” pantoum and “Unmoored” cherita in past blog posts, I thought I’d share my third poem, a haiku:

I love variety (I’m the kind of guy who orders the appetizer sampler at a restaurant because I don’t want to miss out on anything!), so I wanted to make sure each poem I submitted was very different in style and form. I figured pantoum/cherita/haiku was a pretty good mix.

If you are new to Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy – at 70 pages, it’s hefty, so you’re defintely getting your money’s worth. Of course you can order it from Amazon and B&N, but if you purchase it from my hometown indie bookstore, I’d be happy to sign it!

And by the way…if you’ve not heard about this company, you need to check them out! Products are made from recycled ocean plastic, and funds go to help continue ocean cleanup and the preservation of ocean life.

Since it is Poetry Friday, I’m very proud to be hosting the festivities – so you need go no further for today’s offical round up! Just leave your links in the comments below and I’ll round them up throughout the day, old school-style!

Denise Krebs shares a beautiful wedding gift: a pantoum!

The autumn season inspired Michelle Kogan to write two haiku.

Also in a fall mood, Carol Varsalona reviews Ashley Wolff’s new picture book, How to Help a Pumpkin Grow.

Carmela Martino features a creative NF book about the American Revolution along with one of her 3 contributions to Bridget Magee’s new release, 10.10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways.

Poetry is all about finding new, interesting connections, and Linda Baie connects Daylight Savings Time with poet Ted Kooser.

One of the reasons I love poetry is because it can cram a lot of imagery and emotion into a tight space…and Alan J. Wright is doing just that today with some short, witty light verse!

Molly Hogan is stepping outside of her “comfort zone” by sharing two very personal, emotional poems.

Our Aussie friend Kathryn Apel, along with our other Aussie friend, Sally Murphy, recently helped the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature develop the Australian Verse Novel Resource, a fantastic idea that I hope catches on stateside!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is contemplating change – trees, leaves, bees – and offers a thoughtful poem, “Circles.”

The great artist Vincent Van Gogh once said that he would “never stand for anything of importance”…but Tabatha Yeatts is in with an original poem to prove otherwise.

Linda Mitchell has news of a poetry contest and an original award-winning poem about sisters and sibling love.

Tim Gels has much to be thankful for, and since this is the perfect month to show thankfulness he shares 3 tankas about thanks.

Have you ever considered making poetry out of trash? Susan Thomsen does just that, with blackout poetry from an old book!

Heidi Mordhorst shares a n/ode to autumn today – and no, that’s not a misprint!

Gratiku: I love that word! Ruth shares a haiku about gratitude, this time about the importance of tea and the comfort it provides.

There’s something about this time of year that gets folks in a haiku/tanka mood, and Christie Wyman joins in with a beautiful autumnal poem.

Irene Latham‘s latest latest ArtSpeak: Four Seasons poem is inspired by fog and friendship.

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love pizza, in one way, shape, or form – and Jama Rattigan reviews a brand-new children’s book, We Love Pizza, by Elenia Beretta.

Mary Lee Hahn takes a look at what it means to “persevere” and shares an incredibly powerful original poem.

Yesterday was spent raking and leaf-blowing with my kids…and Karen Eastlund was apparently doing the same thing, as she offers a short fall poem she is still working on, but which is coming along nicely.

Margaret Simon is prepping for a poetry reading with some esteeemed company, and shares a few student poems from the Poet-Tree!

Janice Scully is offering a positive, inspirational poem she wrote about the climate crisis.

In honor of Veterans Day, Linda Kulp Trout (an Air Force veteran herself) shares a poem she wrote to thank veterans for their work and sacrifice, which originally appeared in the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Poemlo Books, 2015)..

Carol Labuzzetta has been dealing with seasonal, personal, and literary challenges this past week, and shares an update – along with an original autumn poem.

What do you do when a home you love…is no longer recognizable? Catherine Flynn explores that difficult situation with an original poem.

Laura Purdie Salas has rounded up several short poems for fall, that originally appeared in her e-newsletter for educators.

Mary Cronin spotlights a new biographical verse novel, The Traveling Camera: Lewis Hine and the Fight to End Child Labor, by Alexandra Hinrichs.

Almost-last but definitely not least, we have TWO different post about the incredibly talented Janet Wong, who is receiving the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children at NCTE’s annual (virtual) convention next week! Her friend and Pomelo Books co-hort, Dr. Sylvia Vardell, shares a fun video interview with Janet you have to see…while Jone MacCulloch shares part II of her online interview with Janet.

And finally, a perfect way to put a big red bow on our Poetry Friday celebration: Leigh Anne Eck says “tanka you” with a beautiful original tanka!



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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, (Astra Young Readers, 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 covers below to order!

Arriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (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?)


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72 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The ROUNDUP is here – and we’re celebrating one whole year of Friends & Anemones!

  1. Denise Krebs

    Matt, congratulations on the one-year anniversary. It has been fascinating to read all three of your entries in the Friends and Anemones anthology. Yes, a haiku, pantoum, and cherita are quite a unique collection. The illustrations are mesmerizing too. I haven’t heard of cherita, so I will be trying my hand at that soon too. For my post, I wrote a pantoum about a new wedding couple who celebrated yesterday. https://mrsdkrebs.edublogs.org/2021/11/12/poetry-friday-a-wedding-pantoum/


  2. Hi Matt,
    The Friends and Anemones anthology looks terrific. I love your haiku, especially how calm and chaos collide.
    Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday! In my TeachingAuthors post for today, I share one of the three poems I wrote that are included in Bridget Magee’s new 10.10 Poetry Anthology. Like you, I enjoy variety–I submitted an Etheree, a free verse poem, and a variation on a definito, which is the poem in my Poetry Friday post. To my surprise, Bridget accepted all three. My post isn’t live just yet, but will be less than two hours from now: https://www.teachingauthors.com/2021/11/two-new-books-to-celebrate.html


  3. Matt, what a worthy anniversary to celebrate. It is obvious why you have such a strong connection to this theme based collaboration. Collaborations are so rewarding. Enjoy this wonderful moment. Thank you for hosting.
    This week I am looking at short form poetry and the power of words squeezed into a few lines. A chance for wry humour and pithiness.


  4. Yay and hurray, I am here, Matt. And who knew that by the end of today (it’s now almost 6pm on Friday) it would be such a joyous day of celebration. But I type this looking out on a body of water in a dam. Not full – but my goodness, I can SEE the water! Such joy! That’s perhaps appropriate, given that you’re talking about a book of ocean poems. No anemones. Or stingrays! Though we do have turtles. And tadpoles. And a shring of insect chorus. And I cannot believe how beautiful today is, on account of hard and fast rain that then gushed down the gullies and into dry dams. (If people follow me on Twitter or Instagram, they’ll see some of the celebration there.)

    But you’ll find none of that on my blog post! That’s actually all about verse novels – and then newly released National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature’s (NCACL) new Australian Verse Novel Resource. This is definitely worth checking out and even though I was involved with collating it, I am blown away by the final product! Also on my blog there’s also a link to an article titled; ‘The Verse Novels of Kathryn Apel’. If you click across, you’ll perhaps learn more about me and my writing process than you ever thought to know.

    Australian Verse Novel Resource – NCACL

    Thanks for rounding us up, Matt.


  5. Happy first birthday to FRIENDS AND ANEMONES! I love watching the waves, and maybe it is just because of the way that “calm, chaos collide.” Delightful, and so many mysteries to ponder… Today I actually head to the ocean for the first time in years, and your post has me ready to just stare at the sea and wonder. Thank you for rounding us up, and many congratulations to you and to all of the authors and illustrators who are part of this book!

    Today at The Poem Farm, I am thinking about change, about how one thing changes into another over time. You can find the post here – http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2021/11/change-eyes-for-week.html


  6. Congratulations and Happy Birthday! The anthology looks beautiful and what a wonderful collection of authors! Your Breakers haiku, where calm and chaos collide, has me thinking about boundaries. So often we think of them as where something ends, but they’re much more dynamic than that, aren’t they? The poems I’m sharing today are at a different sort of boundary, and one I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating recently. Thanks for hosting. https://nixthecomfortzone.com/2021/11/11/pf-stepping-out-of-my-comfort-zone/


  7. Matt, here’s to a happy anniversary of this book and to all those to come! Thank you for sharing some of the book with us as well as a bit of the backstory. I was recently on the Gulf Coast, far from the northeast, enjoying the more-gentle waves of the ocean, so the thought of this book brings back some peaceful memories for me. Thank you, as well, for hosting — much appreciated. My post this morning is a small collection of poems I’ve been writing about things I’m thankful for (’tis the season, and all that). https://timgels.com/2021/11/11/november-poems-of-thanks/


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  9. maryleehahn

    Thanks for hosting, Matt, and congratulations (again) on what looks to be a fun book of ocean poems! (Excuse me for a second while I put it on reserve at the library!) I’m in with another look at the word “persevere,” informed by my reading of the book ALL THAT SHE CARRIED.

    A #PoemPair for Poetry Friday


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  12. Mary E. Cronin

    FRIENDS AND ANEMONES is a brilliant title, Matt! And the illustrations are fantastic. Thanks for highlighting a book that came out during a rather dark time; it deserves more attention!
    For Poetry Friday, I blogged today about a fascinating book– a picture book biography written in verse.
    Have a wonderful weekend!


  13. Leigh Anne Eck

    Congratulations on your one-year celebration. Reading these poems makes me yearn for the beach. I spied a new favorite word in Amanda’s poem you shared – “frippery”!!

    I know it’s late to add a link, and it’s also has been a while since I have lingered with Poetry Friday. I appreciate always being welcomed when I return.

    Today I share a tanka written for a November challenge. Thanks for hosting.


  14. Happy one year anniversary on this lovely anthology–your haiku is beautiful, and it captures what I love about the ocean but hadn’t really identified before: that mix of calm and chaos. Peaceful at times, but then unpredictable. Thanks for this new thought!


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