Last weekend I had the opportunity to head a couple of hours north and spend a few days with some fellow New Hampshire children’s authors and illustrators on a writing retreat in the White Mountains. Lita Judge, Deborah Bruss (my Don’t Ask a Dinsoaur co-author) and several other friends all hung out at author Emilie Burack’s family home in Jackson, NH and chatted, ate, wrote, ate, laughed, ate, and hiked!
Yes, we had all brought plenty of food that we all shared, and it really was an inspirational, rejuvenating, and relaxing time. In-between the writing and eating we found time to take a hike up an old abandoned ski mountain and enjoyed the view…
The first three photos are from our hike (that’s famous Mt. Washington in the distance in the first picture and only-slightly-less-famous Marty Kelley in the foreground of the second). The bottom photo is a view from our living room balcony.
You can see why it was so inspiring!
Anyway, it was a very creative time for me as I managed to completely rework from the ground up a manuscript I’d written earlier this year – and when I returned home, guess what was waiting for me:
That’s right – author copies of my new picture book had been delivered! And what a thrill to hold one’s new book in hand. This is my sixth book, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never lose the sense of excitement when I pick up a brand-new one and flip through it to see all those beautiful pages.
A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022) is my first creative nonfiction book, and it introduces the concepts and emotions like family, compassion, and forgiveness as the reader watches various children go about their lives. After explaining kindness in one spread, the next spread touches on empathy:
As I was looking over this spread, It occurred to me that writing a poem to go with it might be a nice way of tying in Poetry Friday. But what type of poem? I then remembered Tanita Davis making reference to the definito, a poetry form created by my friend Heidi Mordhorst, on her blog.
Heidi’s definition of the form: “the definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.“ I thought I’d give the definito a try – so here’s my first attempt!
They push and shove
to the front of the line,
to talk, to smile, be kind;
rewind the scene
a plea for help, for food.
Not rudeness, hunger!
…..Yes, I feel
their pain, it’s real –
this plastic tray,
…..their only meal.
No need, you see,
– © 2022 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
I hope you like it! And I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of Beginner’s Guide for your young human! Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by Rose Cappelli at her blog Imagine the Possibilities, where she is celebrating her granddaughter’s 3rd birthday with a special original poem.
Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN
(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!
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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 here to view all my books and to order!
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!
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
- Finalist, 2019 New Hampshire Literary Awards
- Positive reviews from Horn Book, School Library Connection, School Library Connection, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf-Awareness!
DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:
- “Rollicking rhyme!” – Booklist
- “A wild romp!” – Parenting NH Magazine
- “Cute…intriguing…4 out of 5 stars” – Tulsa Book Review
- “Rhythmic…funny and informative” – Unleashing Readers
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13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A ‘definito’ to celebrate BEGINNER’S GUIDE author copies!”
I’m looking forward to reading your new book, Matt! Congratulations! What a weekend of creativity and excitement you had – thanks for sharing. I never wrote a definito, but I love your example. It puts the meaning of “empathy” into perspective.
Thank you so much, Rose! I’d definitely try writing a ‘definito’ sometime – it was fun jumping into something new and different.
This book will encourage discussions about how we can see the point of view of others. Congratulations! I hope it’s in schools and libraries soon!
I hope so, too, Janice, thank you!
Matt, I am excited to review your new book. Your poem really made me think of the 100s of students I taught throughout my teaching and administrative career who were hungry and in need of understanding. Your poem sheds a wonderful light on the word empathy that is needed in this world. Being human is a great topic to bring attention to.
Thank you, Carol. I knew that these concepts are in short supply among too many adults these days, so I wanted to try to help young people understand the simplicity of things like kindness and empathy. Hopefully it works!
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What a great week! Your poem is heart-wrenching and so true! I can’t wait to read your new book!
Thank you so much, Marcie, that means a lot!
Really looking forward to this book – so timely. And kudos for the very creative way to link poetry to your creative non-fiction!
Thanks, Patricia. Poetry is what got me into this biz, and I’ll always find ways to sneak it into places! 😉
Hi. I am visiting here for the first time. I am a fellow Cybils Round 1 judge, for the Poetry division. And now I know I am among an expert. Love the little poem about empathy not enmity. I will request a friendship on Goodreads if you are there so I hope you will accept. Look forward to working with you. And congrats on your books. I’ll look for it at the library. Anne@HeadfullofBooks
Hi, Anne! Nice to meet you – and thank you so much for the kind words. I’m not sure how much of an expert I am, but I do have an affinity for poetry and am happy to be on the panel with you!. And yes, I’m on Goodreads, so I’ll see you there!
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