Tonight’s the night!
I will once again be a performance judge for the Poetry Out Loud New Hampshire State Finals at the NH Statehouse in Concord. Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition among high school students, and the winners of the state regional finals are meeting this evening to find out who is the best in the state!
So today I wanted to share another poem from the Poetry Out Loud catalog, this time by the incredibly gifted poet Gwendolyn Brooks who, at 33 yars of age, became the first black writer to receive the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.
In addition to her poetry for adults, she also published a collection of poems about (and for) children in 1956, titled Bronzeville Boys and Girls. It was titled as such because it was more or less a follow-up companion book (well, sort of) to her highly-acclaimed A Street in Bronzeville, which had been published in 1945.
Think about that for just a minute. A woman. Who was black. Writing for children. Being published in the ’50’s. When you consider how rare it was in that culture for someone like Brooks, with so much against her, to be published and receive that amount of recognition – well, it was something pretty special.
Fortunately, Poetry Out Loud offers several of Brooks’ poems for students to choose, including this gem:
a song in the front yard
I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.
I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play… (continue reading HERE)
– © 1963 Gwendolyn Brooks
In other news…I have a Korean translation of one of my books!
How cool is this?? Last year, the publisher of I Am Today, POW! Kids Books, hired a Korean company to pick some of their books to translate and market overseas, and mine was selected as one they felt would be successful. I have no idea how the rhymes would translate to another language, but I’m dying to track down a copy and find out!
For today’s Poetry Friday roundup head on over to my friend Laura Purie Salas’ little home on the web, Small Reads for Brighter Days, where she is celebrating her multiple pring book releases and gearing up for National Poetry Month by “digging” for poems!
I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester!
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 dinosaur breath 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”
- “A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human”
- The Making of a Picture Book
- 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
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)
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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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