Poetry Friday: With a #BookBirthday behind me, it’s time for “Apple-Stealing”

All I can say is…you are in luck, my friend.

You see, I am finally taking a break from the inordinate amount of shameless self-promotion I’ve been fomenting this past week and going back in time.

All images©2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved

In case you haven’t heard, my newest book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), is officially in bookstores everywhere, and a few days ago I celebrated with a special blog post and GIVEAWAY that you can still enter! (Just leave a comment on that post and I’ll pick a name at random next week!)

I would also like to take a moment and thank the many folks who have posted reviews over the past couple of weeks:

As happy and thrilled as I am to have a new book out in the world, I thought readers might enjoy a break from the excitement with a trip back in time…to ten years ago…to my first published poem for a non-adult!

I say “non-adult” because it wasn’t really a children’s poem – it was definitely more YA. But considering it was published in 2012 – the same year I had left fulltime employment to work from home and be a stay-at-home dad – it definitely helped me feel like I was moving in the right direction with regards to young people’s literature.

The poem was titled “Apple-Stealing” and was about one night in college when a couple of friends and I snuck into the apple orchard right next to the college to steal apples late at night. Full disclosure: I would never advocate stealing anything and was extremely hesitant to go, but once I learned that the college actually paid the orchard several hundred dollars each year due to students stealing apples – well, I figured I had already paid for them and I was going to get my money’s worth.

Not sure that logic is completely sound, but it was good enough for me at the time)

So here’s my poem, which was published by the now-defunct Young Adult Review Network (YARN):


Apple Stealing

Moonglow; steadfast, unwitting
lights autumn evening
orchard shadows
while three devious figures skulk
quietly between Macs
and Cortlands.

Grey watercolor brushstrokes soften
the edges; forms flow
one into the next;
our eyes unreliable,
give way to guesswork
and guile.

Crickets, night birds
talk amongst themselves, voyeurs
in anticipation
watching us from their posts;
our fears, we dismiss
ready our bags,
…..plan our attack,
and move in, deftly
selecting our prizes.

Suddenly, a rustling –
massive darkness looms
before us, behind, in front, beside
the trees;
bags dropped, we stop
cold, eyes straining, hearts
racing faster, faster
than stone-heavy legs.
Our criminality
laid bare, devil creature
raises its head in frightful judgment…
and bites


.…..…..into fruit.

Horses steal apples, too.

– © 2012 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

This poem is special to me not just because it was my first young person’s poem published, but because poet/author Kip Wilson, who was one of the folks operating YARN at the time, nominated the poem for a prestigious Pushcart Prize! So this week I get to share both my newest piece of writing as well as my first piece of (young adult) writing. Hope you liked it.

Thrilled to be a Firstt Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

I also hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of Beginner’s Guide. You can order personally-signed copies of this or nearly any of my books from my local bookstore. And be sure to visit Wee Words for Wee Ones, where Bridget Magee is hosting today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

I’m also booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year!

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career!

I tailor my presentations to fit the needs of the classroom. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at my website!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!



(Beaming Books, 2022)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!


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


I’m very happy to be 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 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!




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!

10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: With a #BookBirthday behind me, it’s time for “Apple-Stealing”

  1. Bridget Magee

    Love how your poem went all in on the apple stealing suspenseful ‘peelings’, Matt. Glad you lived ‘appley ever after’ and were able to write about your frightful night.


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