Poetry Friday: Gearing up for #PoetryOutLoud with Nikki Grimes

I’m very excited to once again be a performance judge for the Poetry Out Loud New Hampshire State Finals!

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition where students are judged on a number of criteria including stage presence, vocal clarity, dramatic interpretation, etc. Students recite a wide array of poems, styles, and poets from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Alex Dimitrov, which means there is wide latitude for students to choose poems that speak to them and resonate with them.

The other day I was looking through the Poetry Out Loud website’s catalog of poems and was pleasantly surprised to see not one, but two poems by my esteemed friend, Nikki Grimes!

I knew right then that I was going to have to share one of them for Poetry Friday.

by Nikki Grimes

I come home,
feet about to bleed
from angry stomping.
“Boy!” says Mom.
“Quit making all that racket.”
But what does she expect
when, day after day,
haters sling words at me
like jagged stones… (continue reading the poem HERE)

The poem is about strength, resilience, and the power of words – and I thought it was a perfect poem to share. If you are unfamiliar with Nikki’s work, I hope you’ll check out her website.

~ Read Across America Day ~

In other news, I had so much fun with World Read Aloud Day a couple of weeks ago that I’m going to be offering MORE free, 20-minute virtual visits all day AGAIN next month, for Read Across America Day, sponsored by the NEA!

Read Across America Day spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Thur., March 2, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with a couple of visits every hour, all day long, and spots will be filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, or MS Teams, send me an email! I’ll read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.

Another friend of mine, Carol Varsalona, is hosting today’s Poetry Friay roundup at her blog Beyond Literacy Link with a cavalcade of poetry postcards celebrating the Year of the Rabbit!

I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester:

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! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. 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 MattForrest.com!

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!


(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

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


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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: Gearing up for #PoetryOutLoud with Nikki Grimes

  1. Matt, thanks for the information. Nikki’s poem is wonderful and may inspire some wonderful read alouds for Read Across America Day. I am so glad that you are a judge for Poetry Out Loud. I brought Poetry Out Loud to the HS when I was a districtwide director. One of our high school students made it to the state finals. Her performance techniques were so outstanding that we had her perform for the school board at an evening board meeting. I loved that program and hope you enjoy the experience of watching the students perform as much as I did.


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