Poetry Friday: CYBILS Awards, a favorite past winner, and ‘Beginner’s Guide’ is popping up in the world!

Even if I didn’t know I had a new book coming out next month, I’d still know – because only when a new book is due does life get this busy!

I’ve been coordinating interviews with bloggers, corresponding with bookstores, getting marketing posts out and scheduled, and already signing copies of A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022)!

My first creative nonfiction book (from the publishers of Once Upon Another Timeintroduces the very human concepts and emotions of love, creativity, and empathy, and I hope you’ll check it out. (You’ll certainly have plenty of opportunity to do so, as the number blog posts, reviews, interviews, and podcasts will start increasing as we get closer to publication date of Oct. 18!)

I’ve already seen the book on the shelf of one local bookstore, Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH (guess they couldn’t wait, ha!), and yesterday I spent part of my afternoon signing all the fresh copies that had just been delivered to another local bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, NH. I absolutely LOVE this!

As if I wasn’t busy enough, I’ve just learned that I will be a First Round Panelist for this year’s CYBILs Awards! I’m always eager to see what books get nominated for the various categories (I get to judge poetry!), and I’m especially excited because there are finally, finally TWO separate categories for poetry collections and verse novels.

Many of us have been requesting this for years, because it’s impossible to compare a collection of poems written for a 2nd-grade reading level with a YA verse novel. They might both be poetry, but they are as different as a board book and an early reader – they are two completely different genres, and it’s nice to see the CYBILs recognizing this.

Nominations for all the categories will open on Oct. 1, so be sure to check out the CYBILs website for all the info – and bookmark it so you can stay updated!

So to celebrate the CYBILs, I thought I’d reach back in time and share a poem from the book that won First Place in the Poetry Category the very first year I participated as a panelist or judge: 2013! (Wow, has it really been 9 years?)

The winning book was Forest Has a Song (Clarion Books, 2013) by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who at the time I’d only recently connected with on social media. Over the ensuing years, however, Amy and I would get to know each other better through our poetry, our books, and a mutual friendship with the late, great Lee Bennett Hopkins.

We’ve even had the privelege of contributing to each other’s books – me, by writing a soccer poem for her book Poems are Teachers (Heineman, 2017) and her, for contributing a poem to an upcoming poetry anthology of mine.

One of my favorite poems from her book has delightful wordplay and is beautiful in its simplicity and brevity – neither of which is an easy task, when it comes to poetry:

Image ©2013 Clarion Books and Robbin Gourley, all rights reserved

If you click the image, you’ll be whisked away to Jama Rattigan’s original blog post celebrating the publication of Forest Has a Song, so I hope you’ll check it out if you missed it 9 years ago!

Here in present day, however, Tabatha is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference, and sharing a cute pussy willow poem, “The Willow Cats,” by award-winning poet Margaret Widdemer.

=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: A ‘definito’ to celebrate BEGINNER’S GUIDE author copies!

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!

(And ate)

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:

Author copies!!

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:

Click to enlarge. Image ©2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved

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!
.

Empathy

They push and shove
to the front of the line,
…..no time
to talk, to smile, be kind;
rewind the scene
…..and see
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,
for enmity,
…..…..try empathy.
…..…..

– © 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.

COMING SOON…

Arriving everywhere books are sold on Oct. 18 from Beaming Books!

=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: Flying Jet Packs, Bacon Steak, and the Rule of Subtraction – What I learned at the State Fair, Part X

As you may know, I’m the PA announcer for our local state fair, which takes place every Labor Day Weekend from Thur. afternoon through Monday, Labor Day. It’s a roughly 55-hour weekend, and between oxen pulls, demo derbies, and giant pumpkins, it keeps me busy! With anywhere from 80,000 – 100,000 people attending, I’m letting folks know when the next musical performance is, how to get tickets for the monster truck show, or where the nearest ATM or bathroom can be found.

That’s a lot of talking – and, since I don’t use a booth, it’s also a lot of walking.

I recall using a FitBit or something like that one year and discovered I had walked 9 miles in just ONE DAY. And really, if one is going to consume a weekend’s worth of fair food, one needs to fit as much exercise in as possible, ha!

In amongst all my walking and talking, I always learn new things and make discoveries – and as is tradition here at the ol’ Triple-R, I share what I learn here. In the past I’ve told you about chainmail socks, the invincibility of teenagers, and the beautiful perfection of donut cones.

This year is no different, and I will be including a poem at the end of this post, for Poetry Friday!

Although this is my 10th year of sharing these little tidbits of knowledge (and my 12th year of announcing), it seems there’s never a dearth of things to learn about…

For the most part, food vendors tried to keep things affordable. It was nice to see that, in an age where inflation runs rampant and everything is 2-3 times more expensive than it used to be, fair food wasn’t dramatically overpriced. Most (not all, alas, but most) food vendors had only raised their prices by a buck or so, which was reasonable, considering the circumstances. There were some who didn’t post any of their prices – so you discovered the prices only once you got to the front of the line – but generally, vendors were pretty responsible.

Speaking of food, the giant stuffed baked potato remains the most perfect food on the planet. It’s got something from every food group, every food pyarmid level, every kind of vitamin and mineral you could possibly want – because just about every food item ever invented is on it. Heaven on a plate.

You may not be able to tell from the photo, but it was so big it probably weighed at least a pound. That’s how it felt sitting in my stomach, anyway. A good night.

Llamas can hum. As I’ve told you before, I always learn something new at the fair. I may not learn anything particularly useful, but I learn something new.

Giant pumpkin growers take their vocation seriously.

That large one on the left won 1st place at 1195 lbs. This year was a smaller year than normal.

I always make a point to chat with the farmers who specialzie in growing the giant pumpkins and they often share some of their tips with me: use good quality giant pumpkin seeds; till a good pile of compost into the ground in the fall, mulch it, and let it rest until spring; pull off any flower buds untill the vine is about 1-12 feet long, and then once you start seeing pumpkins growing, pull them all off except for the best-looking one.

Some have said they inject milk into the vines, others say to cover the fruit when in direct sun, as the skin hardens faster, preventing growth. And I could go on and on. I don’t know if any of this actually helps, but they sound like they know what they’re doing.

I want to do this when I grow up:

That’s right – water-powered jetpacks lifting stuntmen 50 feet in the air. It’s called the Jet Pack Flying Water Circus and it’s my next big career move. They are affiliated with the Nerveless Nocks, descendents of a famous Swiss acrobatic family and they have quite a reputation for putting on incredible shows!

Pay attention to the folks serving you and preparing your food. I ordered a sub from one of the vendors and after the guy took my money and gave me my change, he grabbed a roll and started making my sandwich. Bare hands, the entire time. One would think after what the country has gone through over the past two years, people wouldn’t be this stupid – but apparently they are. That was a big NOPE for me.

“Bacon steak” is a thing. Somehow, over an entire 5-day weekend, I never got around to trying this or even taking a picture, but there was a food vendor selling what they called bacon steak: a one-to-two inch slab of bacon that was cut into giant chunks, put on a skewer, and deep-fried. It was $15 per serving. Did I mention it was deep-fried? I think I remember now why I never tried it. (Hey, even I have my limits!)

Robots have invaded the state fair. Being an agricultural fair, there is a very large 4-H presence here – with horses, cattle, sheep, rabbits, and just about every other farm animal represented. We also have an entire building devoted to showing off the 4-H projects on display, from arts and crafts to vegetables.

But this year, we had robots!

The local 4-H Robotics was on hand to show fair attendees what they do, what they are learning, and how the robots they have created function. This particular team has won numerous awards, too, so it was wonderful to be able to chat with them and see their robots in action. Bonus: none of the robots tried to launch an uprising, which was a relief.

Glazed donut burgers aren’t as awesome as you might think. I keep hearing people saying how incredible glazed donut cheeseburgers are (whereby you use a sliced glazed donut in place of a normal bun). The one I tried – for the first time in my life – was mediocre. And I know it wasn’t the burger, cooked by a friend of mine who operates a food truck, and I know it wasn’t the donut, either, because I know the folks who make the giant donuts, too, which are phenomenal. Alas, the glazed donut burger was less than sum of its parts. Glad I tried it, but not worth trying again.

Chainsaw carving follows the Rule of Subtraction. This is according to master chainsaw carver Ben Risney, who is a regular fixture here at the fair. He takes huge logs like these…

…and turns them into works of art like these:

What Ben means by the “Rule of Subtraction” is that he always has to be aware of what he’s cutting, because the entire process is a process of removal – once it’s cut, it’s cut! There is no, “Oh wait, let me put this piece back.” Every sculpture is created using nothing but chainsaws – he has many different size saws, but no chisels, no picks, no knives.

And if you think these sculptures are incredible, also consider the fact that each one is completed in the time it takes for Ben to do a demonstration – 45 minutes to an hour! He’s amazing AND fast.

So in keeping with today’s “fair” theme, I thought I’d share a fair-themed poem with you for Poetry Friday. This one was actually written specifically for a fair by Leslie Ball, a writer and singer from Minnesota who wrote this poem for the Minnesota State Fair:

The Fair is a Living Thing
.

Just past six a.m.

Light starting to leak into the sky.

They predict rain.

We don’t care.

Today is day one of our beloved State Fair.

People already streaming onto the grounds.

Three teenage boys cross in front of us, each wearing a feed cap, Each leading a newly shorn lamb.

We hike past the old Machinery Hill…
.

– © 2006 Leslie Ball, all rights reserved (read the rest of the poem HERE)

.

I would also encourage you to check out “Country Fair” by Charles Simic, one of the preeminent poets from our state and the former U.S. Poet Laureate who succeeded the late, great Donald Hall, also from New Hampshire, in that role. It’s less about a country fair and more about the side shows, but it’s worth reading and contemplating.

Looking for more poetry? My friend Kat Apel is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup from Down Under – at her blog, Kat’s Whiskers! She shares some updates as to what she’s been doing recently, between book festivals and book releases, poetry swaps and picture book polishing!

Me? I’m just excited for what’s about to happen in just one month:

COMING SOON…

Arriving everywhere books are sold on Oct. 18 from Beaming Books!

=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: Thoughts on the “Tao Te Ching”

I feel bad I neglected to post for Poetry Friday last week; however, I had been spending the first half of the week preparing for my live announcing gig at our local state fair, which began Thur., Sept. 1, at which point I began my 55-hour weekend.

I’ll share my thoughts and insights on the fair, as I do every year, next week – but for now, I’m sharing a golden shovel poem based on the famous words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, who is credited (likely improperly) with writing the Tao Te Ching, a series of texts upon which the philosophy and religion of Taosim is based.

In a nutshell, Taoism is the belief that aligning oneself with the Tao – also known as The Way, the universal rhythmic force that binds everything and everyone – is the key to happiness. Rather than fighting in opposition to the flow of the Tao, a Taoist allows the flow to guide them, using a principle of wu wei, roughly translated as “action through inaction.” This is not to mean one should be lazy or exert no effort at all, but to work with the flow of life and not against it.

With this in mind, I took a walk along the brook that borders our property and was inspired to write a short golden shovel using a portion of Lao Tzu’s famous quote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”:

My friend (and wonderful supporter) Carol Varsalona is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today at her blog Beyond LiteracyLink with a couple of poems celebrating the season we are leaving behind, one of which is a cento – a poem created from lines of other poems. I see we are both openly inspired by others’ words today!

COMING SOON…

Arriving everywhere books are sold on Oct. 18 from Beaming Books!

=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: Rainbow Eucalyptus Part II, the poem you never saw

Sometimes, blog posts just sort of create themselves.

Case in point: last week, I shared my Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree poem that was included in J. Patrick Lewis’ The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Kids, 2015). But then just a few days later, I discovered that I’d never shared the poem that didn’t make it!

You see, when Pat asked me to write a poem about these trees, I had to do a lot of research – having never heard of them before, I needed to learn about what they looked like, why they looked like they did, and where on Earth one would even find them. This took me a solid day, at least. I then set about trying to come up with a poem worthy of a National Geographic book, and eventually wrote two of them.

The poem I shared last week, the one that made it into the book, was actually the second poem I wrote; the first one never saw the light of day. I sent Pat both poems so he could decide which he preferred, but I was glad to see he chose the second poem, as that was my favorite of the two, as well.

But that first poem was nice, nonetheless, and I always regretted that no one would ever read it. So why not publish it here??
.

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Near a clearing in the forest,
jungle pixies paint with glee
the canvas of a eucalyptus;
Nature’s artist-tree.

– © 2014 Matt Forrest Esenwine 

.

Rainbow Eucalyptus, Wikimedia Commons, by amelia

You can probably see why both Pat and I preferred the second poem; this is nice, but very simple and not exceptionally engaging. The second poem is much more vivid and contains fun, inventive wordplay.

Analyzing it now, this feels more like the “rough draft” of the second poem – although I didn’t realize it when I wrote it. Just goes to show you how important it is to keep working at your project, even when you think you’re done, ha!

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over to Tanita Davis’ blog fiction, instead of lies, where she shares a poetic exercise that was a lot more taxing than she ever imagined!

ALSO:

My next picture book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human  (Beaming Books, 2022) is only two months away from publication, and we could use your help!

My first-ever creative nonfiction book comes out October 18 and you’d like to help share the news with the world, I’d love for you to be part of our official Launch Team! Just send me an email at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and let me know. We’ll send you a link so you can read the digital ARC (Advance Review Copy) and will coordinate news and announcements with you to share.

It’s not a lot of work – sharing social media posts, leaving reviews, etc. – but it’s a significant way you can lend a hand in showing support for a book you like. And if you’re a blogger or influencer and would like to be part of our official blog tour/virtual launch, I can make sure you’ll receive a free copy of Beginner’s Guide to give away to one of your followers!

Image © 2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved; reprinted with permission

Again, just email me if you’d like to learn more and I’ll take it from there. I hope you’ll jump on board!

And thank you so much for all your support – I couldn’t have come this far without you!

=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: A look back at Spanish Moss and Rainbow Eucalyptus

Heat, humidity, beating sunshine. Summer is a wonderful time of year! I love this season more than any other, but when it comes to getting work done – well, summer sort of drops the ball.

Kids are home, gardens need to be tended, wood needs to be split for winter – there are myriad activities that get in the way of being able to write. As a stay-at-home dad, I try to find a balance but it’s darned near impossible this time of year.

This is why I’ve been enjoying pulling out some poems from older posts that you may not have seen originally.

I originally shared this poem – which you can find in J. Patrick Lewis’ The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Kids, 2015) – in October 2015, shortly before the book was published. It was an honor being asked by a former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate to contribute to such a high-profile book, so I jumped at the opportunity!

It was also an unexpected treat to see that my poem about Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees shared a page with my friend, Charles “Father Goose®” Ghigna. We were in the final stages of polishing our manuscript for Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021) when Pat’s book came out, and little did we know that we would end up waiting another 7 years to see our manuscript become a book.

But we were happy to our poems getting some publicity!
.

– © 2015 National Geographic Kids, all rights reserved

Looking for more poetry? Dave Roller is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup for the very first time at his blog, Leap of Dave, where he tries his hand at a new-to-him poetry form, the etheree!

=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: A 10th anniversary of blogging? Can it be true??

Apparently…yes!

It’s hard for me to believe, but my first blog post was ten years ago on August 1, 2012. It was an introduction to me and why I had even begun the blog (to showcase my poetry and market my writing and voiceover business). I had just left my job in radio the month before and was eager to begin my new journey!

A few days later, on Aug. 3, 2012, I published my very first Poetry Friday blog post – a poem I had written as part of my wedding vows a few years prior:
.

Constancy
For Jennifer

How many have, before me, tried in vain
To capture beauty, constancy, and love
Through fluent phrase, in happiness and pain,
And simile of summer, star, or dove?
Their words so eloquent, imagery lush –
In perfect imperfection testify…

(you can read the rest HERE)
.

I made a promise that I would re-post that poem every year here at the ol’ Triple-R in order to celebrate our 14th anniversary on Aug. 10, and I’m honoring that today. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the support (emotional as well as financial!) of my bride, and I’ll never be able to repay her for it.

Another ten-year milestone was my leaving fulltime employment on July 5, 2012, which our local bookstore celebrated last month with a special one-day only book bundle. Five books out so far, 30+ poems published, and several more books on the way; it’s amazing hard work, perseverance, and a smidgen of talent can do!

Over the years: a few blog stats, by the numbers…

82,000+: total number of views
49,114: total number of visitors
1,024: total followers
674: posts published
176: number of distinct countries that have viewed my blog

Honestly, it boggles my mind that there are that many people who care what I have to say every week. But I’m grateful, nonetheless! And although I don’t focus so much on radio/media or even parenting quite as much as I did when I first began, I continue to post poetry and share interviews with children’s lit authors and poets – and will continue to do so as long as the blog keeps rolling along.

~ GIVEAWAY! ~

To celebrate my 10-year “blogiversary,” I’m offering a signed copy of any one of my five books! Just leave a comment below letting me know you’d like to be entered in the drawing – and if you’d like an extra entry, simply share this post on Twitter and tag me! I’ll pick one name at random next Thur., Aug. 11 and announce the winner here on Fri., Aug. 12.

Looking for more poetry? Molly Hogan is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone with a couple of original baseball poems and all of today’s links!

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

=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my 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 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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: A 4th-grader celebrates a famous flycatcher with a poem

I always love seeing kids writing poetry. I don’t know if it’s because I see my younger self in them or if it’s because I want to encourage them to engage writing in a genre that is both highly esteemed yet gravely misunderstood.

Either way, I’m happy to show my support by publishing students’ work here whenever I have the opportunity. Today, it’s a poem from a young writer who is OK.

He’s actually a really cool kid, with lots of interests, kind heart, and an inquisitive mind. I say he’s OK because…those are his initials!

This young homeschooled poet has taken a great interest in writing poetry lately, and his folks shared one his poems with me a few days ago. I thought it was so well done for someone so young, that I offered to share it here with the world:
.

Phoebe flying, perching low,
On a windowsill below.
Milky belly, silver back,
Catching bugs with beak of black.
Partners switch, pumping wings
As it sings,
……….phoe-be,
………………..phoe-be.
Sitting on a mossy ledge,
Sipping on the river’s edge.
Back to nest, to feed their young,
A Phoebe’s work is never done,
Make it strong with grass and twig,
Web works best
to form the nest.

– written by O.K., July 2022

.

Pretty impressive for a 4th-grader, yes? I told him I’m quite partial to phoebe flycatchers, which are quite plentiful around here, so I was extra-excited to share it on my blog. Well done, OK! You and your folks should be proud.

For more poetry, be sure to check out today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup at Unexpected Intersections, where Elisabeth shares an original poem about breaking routine and changing direction. Also, if you happened to miss National Mac and Cheese Day yesterday (July 14), you can still celebrate with my ode to luscious fat and carbs HERE!

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

=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my 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 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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Book review: “S is for Sea Glass”

It’s my last week of vacation, so I thought I’d re-share this post from summer 2014. Since I’m living life oceanside at this moment – with a few pieces of sea glass I’ve found along the shore – I figured this particular post would be quite apropos! 

Jan at BookSeed Studio has today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, including a couple of original sijo poems and a poetic library just to my south, in Cambridge, MA!

=====================================================

I write poetry in a variety of styles and forms – some rhyming, some free verse. Some structured, some not quite so.

You can therefore imagine how refreshing it was for me to see a children’s poetry collection that offered this same sort of variety – not the cut-and-paste sing-song of simple rhyming verse, nor the page-after-page of non-rhyming, uneven line-length free verse (which can sometimes get heavy for children’s poetry). In the case of Richard Michelson’s S is for Sea Glass: A Beach Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2014), we’re talking about a smart, well-structured book that carries one theme – poems about the beach – but presents that theme in 26 different ways.

Sea Glass cover

Because a trip to the beach or ocean carries with it so many different moods, sights, and feelings for a child, this book makes good use of poetic forms to highlight those differences. One minute the reader is contemplating the ebb and flow of tides, and the next he or she is chuckling over the author’s query of what, precisely, a mosquito is good for.
…..

H is for Horizon

Where does the sea stop and the sky begin?
Where does the sun rise when the dawn slips in?
Where does the ship sail when its sails disappear?
Is it under the ocean? Is it up in the air?

If I travel the world or stay here on this beach,
The horizon will always be just beyond reach.
But its real as my dreams and it’s always nearby –
That magical line where the sea meets the sky.

– Richard Michelson, reprinted with permission, all rights reserved

.

Doris Ettlinger’s illustrations perfectly match the poems, as they are neither trite nor bold nor ornate…but are simultaneously happy and calm, fun and reflective, cool and warm. The fact that it’s an alphabet book is almost superfluous.

Which, I suppose, is a good thing, as I feel many of the poems – most, in fact, read above the level of a child who would need to learn the alphabet. As a collection of poetry, as a book about the beach, as a book that reflects the wonders, mysteries, and joy of being ocean side…S is for Sea Glass is beautiful. The fact that it’s an alphabet book seems unnecessary.

Here’s another one of my favourites:
…..

R is for Rain

Nobody’s  at the beach today. ‘Most everyone’s complaining.
…..The sky is dark. The clouds are thick. And I, the Rain, am raining.

…..…...Folks let waves splash them head to toe. Do you hear any whining?
……….……….No!
…..…..…..They think it’s fun to get wet when their friend, the sun, is shining.

…..…..…..…..I cool the breeze. And fill the seas. Who’s not a rainbow lover?
…..…..…..…..…..So why, when I come out to play, do they all run for cover?

– Richard Michelson, reprinted with permission, all rights reserved


Like I said, smart, beautiful, relatable  poetry. And it’s poetry that makes children think as much as smile. Hopefully, the next time they go to the beach, some of the images will be fresh in their heads. I know many of the images are fresh in my head – but then again, I’ve been spending all week here by the ocean.

And I think it’s time I did some more refreshing. I hear the surf calling my name…

York beach

 

And a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been part of this journey with me! I couldn’t have made it this far without your support, and I truly appreciate it.

Check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from m PB22Peekaboo partners!
=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN (Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my 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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

 

 

“Matt’s Book Bundle” is finally available! – TODAY ONLY!

Click here to order “Matt’s Book Bundle!”

Hard for me to believe, but today marks my 10-year anniversary of leaving full-time employment to be a stay at home dad and begin my journey towards publication in children’s literature. Ten years!

As I’ve mentioned before here, I had been working nearly 50 hours a week in radio – both on-air and in production – and realized I was barely breaking even. So I took a leap of faith and now have five books out with at least six more on the way.

So I’m thrilled that our local indie bookstore is offering a special “Book Bundle” of all my books – for ONE DAY ONLY! Just go to MainStreetBookEnds.com and you’ll find a specially-priced package of all five of my books – and shipping is only five dollars! Plus, they can all be individually, personally signed, so if you have five different kids you want them signed to, I can do that very easily.

This special package sale is only available TODAY, so don’t wait!

Learn more about my journey and the sale here:

And a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been part of this journey with me! I couldn’t have made it this far without your support, and I truly appreciate it.

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

=====================================================

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN (Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my 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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!