Poetry Friday: #PoetryCUBED returns, just in time for National Poetry Month!

Welcome to National Poetry Month!

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been busy working on some new picture book manuscripts and a couple of new poetry collection proposals, but I couldn’t let this month go by without celebrating – so I thought it was about time I brought back a popular little writing contest that hasn’t seen the light of day in FOUR years!

That’s right, the last PoetryCUBED contest was way back in April 2018, to celebrate the publication of what was my second picture book at the time, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (POW! Kids Books). I’m not sure how or why it never returned, but there’s no time like the present right?

If you’re unfamiliar with PoetryCUBED, it’s based on the premise of The Food Network’s popular show, “Chopped!

In this reality-TV game show, chefs battle each other by trying creating the best dishes they can using specific ingredients given to them in a special basket. For example, one round might have the chefs cooking with canned chicken, jelly beans, and arugula. The next round might include novalox, puff pastry, and durian. (Trust me, you don’t want to cook with durian). But really, the ingredients are very often that bizarre. 

The dishes are then critiqued by a panel of judges and the chef with the least appealing dish is “chopped.” The remaining chefs then move on to the followings rounds until all but one are eliminated and the final chef gets to claim victory.

So for this contest, I’ve applied this premise to poetry – but without the sliced index fingers and broken dreams. I call it “PoetryCUBED!” Here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images (“cubed,” get it??) below as inspiration to write a poem.
  • The poem can be any form, any number of lines, rhyming or not. 
  • The only hitch is that you need to include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract. 
  • Then email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month – and at the end of April, one name will be drawn at random to receive a free, personally-signed copy of any of my books, your choice!

A dog, tomatoes, and a stone. What the heck are you gonna do with these, eh???

Well, to get things rolling, here’s a haiku (actually, a senryu, to those of you keeping score) I wrote using these three images as inspiration – and I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on it. 15 minutes, max. PoetryCUBED is simply a creative way to have fun writing and find new, unusual connections (this is poetry, after all!), so please don’t fret if the poem isn’t as perfect as you’d like! (Big words coming from Perfectionist Me)

sweet acidity
washes over eager tongue
silent, love blushes

© 2022 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

You’ll notice references to all three photos in these three short lines: the taste of the tomatoes as well as their blushes, the heart-shaped stone, and a tongue. So it doesn’t have to be a long poem and the references don’t always have to be obvious – just have fun with it! And be sure to send them to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com so I can share them here and enter you in the contest!

And be watching for a special interview I have planned later this month with my friend Leslie Bulion, whose brand-new picture book Serengeti: Plains of Grass (Peachtree Publishing) came out March 1 – the same day as my I Am Today (POW! Kids Books)! She’ll be here to talk about the book and the craft of writing on April 15, when I host the Poetry Friday roundup!

Speaking of Poetry Friday…for all of today’s links and fun, be sure to visit Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe, where she is very busy celebrating a book birthday, a human birthday, some National Poetry Month traditions, and a brand-new poem of her own!

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!


Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my newest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
from my local independent bookstore!


I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!


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!

Available 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?)


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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

15 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: #PoetryCUBED returns, just in time for National Poetry Month!

  1. I am shocked–like truly shocked–to think that the last Poetry Cubed was FOUR years ago! Love to see it come back. I’ll be getting on those images soon (wouldn’t a set of dice with pictures instead of words, to work like Metaphor Dice, be a cool thing?). I’m glad you a have a Peek-a-Boo posse to spur on your new work!


  2. Pingback: Poetry Friday: #PoetryCUBED contest means poems are pouring in! – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  3. Pingback: Poetry Friday: The roundup is here, with an interview with children’s author/poet Leslie Bulion! (& GIVEAWAY!) – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  4. Pingback: Poetry Friday: #PoetryCUBED writing prompt enters its 3rd week! – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  5. Pingback: Poetry Friday: A #PoetryCUBED winner & a wonderful review of I AM TODAY! – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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