Poetry Friday: “Imaginary Friend” video for #WorldReadAloudDay

It’s #WorldReadAloudDay, and I’m going to be busy all day long reading to students in schools all over the U.S. (including Alaska!) and Canada – and to say I’m excited is an understatement!

Reading to kids is important, not just to instill in them an appreciation for the written word, but to encourage them to use their imaginations in bringing the stories to life. I remember many years ago, when my father first suggested to me, as a child, that I listen to some of the old radio dramas he had on vinyl.

“Listen??” I said. “I’m just going to listen to people tell a story? With no pictures??”

“Trust me,” he replied…and I did.

And my life was changed.

It is in this spirit of imagination – and the spirit of #WRAD – that I produced this video. I hope you enjoy it…

Please feel free to share this video with anyone you know who might appreciate it. And for more poetry, Tabatha is hosting Poetry Friday today with a “Curtain of Bliss” at The Opposite of Indifference – and now that she mentioned it, I think I’m going to call my little studio/pillow fort “The Curtain of Bliss!

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  Coming July 2, 2019!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Ode to Peanut Butter” for #NationalPeanutButterDay

Not sure how this slipped past me…but a poem I wrote back in 2012 for someone else’s blog somehow never ended up on my own blog!

I was celebrating National Peanut Butter Day yesterday – yes, that is actually a thing – and a poem popped in my head. A poem I’d written years ago and hadn’t even given second thought to until that very moment.

It was first published on Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup blog as part of her celebration of National Peanut Butter Month. (I know what you’re thinking – why does PB get its own month AND its own day? Because it’s PEANUT BUTTER, folks! It’s not like it’s Brussels sprouts, which only has one day, Jan. 31, and no one cares.)

Ah, childhood comes calling when I enjoy my first taste from a freshly-opened jar.

Anyway, in advance of sharing my poem for today’s post, I searched Jama’s blog to re-read her original post. She had requested that her followers send her peanut butter poems, and I was one of the four people she featured that day.

As I read her post, I was surprised by two things: one, that Father Goose (aka Charles Ghigna) and I both have an affinity for Peter Pan peanut butter (which I had forgotten about), and two, that the three other folks Jama featured in this particular post are all extremely talented individuals I feel fortunate to have gotten to know much better in these years since: Charles, David Harrison, and Marilyn Singer.

So here it is! It’s not the fanciest, best poem I’ve ever written…but it was written with the love of peanut butter in my soul, and that counts for something:

Ode to Peanut Butter

I love how you’re creamy,
so smooth and so fine –
even when chunky,
I‘m glad you’re all mine.

I love how you’re salty,
a little bit sweet…
so richly delicious,
a wonderful treat!

I’ll smear you on crackers,
I’ll spread you on bread;
I’ll eat you with breakfast
and right before bed.

There’s only one small thing
I’m not keen about:
da way dat you thtick
to da woof of my mouf.

– © 2012, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.
Full disclosure: I’m actually a peanut butter snob. While creamy Peter Pan is definitely my favorite, there are other peanut butters with whom I have cheated, and will readily do so again. JIF has a unique taste because it contains molasses; I prefer crunchy peanut butter in most of my cooking, as it adds a nice texture, especially to cookies; and as a New Englander, I grew up with Teddie on the table more often than Peter Pan, and will never forget those huge plastic tubs of creamy, peanut buttery-goodness…

THREE pounds, people…three luscious, delectable pounds.

.
Have a taste for more poetry? Tara Smith at Going to Walden has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup, along with a very timely poem from Linda Pastan about something happening “Somewhere in the World…”

And by the way, I will be spending most of next Friday, February 1, reading to students via Skype as part of #WorldReadAloudDay! If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20 minute visit, I will 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.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  Coming July 2, 2019!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Francis and the Saint”

This post was originally published on Jan. 18, 2013…exactly six years ago today. As I was reading through some of my published poetry recently, I came upon of this very personal poem and felt it deserved to be seen again, possibly by eyes new to this blog. I hope you like it!

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

When I’m not writing children’s poetry, writing advertising copy, or writing my blog, I’m writing adult poetry.  Sorry, those two words together – “adult poetry” – just sound weird…but I just don’t know how else to differentiate it from all my children’s poetry.  In last Friday’s post, I made reference to poets being stereotypically sullen and depressed, and while this doesn’t really describe Yours Truly, I do like to put on my Serious Hat now and then and write poems for an older crowd.

This happens to be one of those poems.

It’s a very personal poem (of course, they all are, aren’t they?) because I wrote it about my wife’s paternal grandfather, Francis.  She and I were very close to him, and we asked if he would be the Best Man at our wedding in August 2008.  He accepted, but unfortunately passed away that spring, before he was able to fulfill his duties.  A deeply religious man and devout Catholic, he felt a strong connection to his patron saint, Francis of Assisi, and he always believed that my wife and I found each other because of his prayers.

Considering the crushing emotional difficulties she and I had gone through with our respective divorces, and the fact that we stumbled upon each other so quickly and strongly, we had every reason to believe it, as well.

Imagine the irony, then, that this poem – written two years after Francis’ death – would end up being published by St. Francis College’s Assisi: Online Journal of Arts & Letters.

Sometimes, things just have a way of working out.

Francis and the Saint

Grandfather loved his birds.
They weren’t really his, of course –
flying to him from trees and bushes,
out of the sky above, from behind
houses
lining the cobblestone
and in-between
awnings and light posts.

Alighting upon his shoulder
or a finger or two
never outstretched
nor enticing,
they must have sensed
safety, security,
calmness of mind.

He attributed that to his namesake
the deacon,
the patron saint,
the one who gave what he had
built what he could
and became rich in poverty.

And now, as grandfather’s birds
return to him
this final time
from behind clouds and rain
soaked pillars,
sparrow, robin, wren
descend,
perch upon his bed,
and grandfather
in quiet requiescence
smiles.

© 2010 Matt Forrest Esenwine

Tricia Stohr-Hunt is this week’s Poetry Friday hostess, and has today’s complete roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect, with a tribute to the late poet Mary Oliver, who passed away earlier this week.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  Coming July 2, 2019!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: The Legacy and Spirit of Donald Hall (and a bizarre chain of events)

It is truly amazing the way some things in our lives just all come together, as if they were meant to be.

On June 23, 2018, we lost one of the most important New Hampshire poets of the 20th century, Donald Hall. Among his many accolades, Hall was a former U.S. Poet Laureate and New Hampshire State Poet Laureate, and received the National Medal of Arts in 2010.

He had lived most recently in Wilmot, NH, about 35 minutes from where I live, but I never met him; he was rather reclusive in his final years, and while many knew where he lived, few ever saw him. But he continued writing very nearly up to the point he passed, a career stretching some 60 years or so.

Living in the Mt. Kearsarge area of the Granite State, Hall was often inspired by life on his farm, the wildlife around it, and the mountain that overlooked it:

“Mount Kearsarge”

Great blue mountain! Ghost.
I look at you 
from the porch of the farmhouse
where I watched you all summer…
(You can read the entire poem here)

Where am I going with this?

Well, you see, shortly after Hall’s death, Encircle Publications of Maine decided to publish a poetry anthology to celebrate his legacy, and put out a call to established New England poets to submit original works that were either inspired by Hall’s work or in some way reflected his spirit.

Being a New Hampshire boy who was not only very familiar with Hall but also lived in the same geographic area from which Hall drew much of his inspiration, I decided to submit a poem I had written about six years ago, titled “Stone-Kicking.”

I first began forming the lines of the poem just a mile away from my house, as I walked along a dirt road one autumn. The words, “I kick my dreams like stones in the road” coalesced in my head, and I knew right then I had a poem that needed to be written…which I began doing as soon as I got home.

Fast forward to today, I have learned that my poem was accepted – and will be published in the book, Except for Love: New England Poets inspired by Donald Hall (Encircle Pub, 2019), scheduled for release on June 23, 2019, exactly one year since his passing. To say I’m honored and thrilled to be part of such an important book is an understatement.

Oh, and how does all this relate to what I said at the beginning of this post?

The very road that inspired my poem…with Mt. Kearsarge in the distance.

That’s right. I was inspired to write a poem – a poem that will be included in a book celebrating Donald Hall – while walking along a dirt road that lay in the presence of the very mountain that is synonymous with Hall himself! Call it Fate, call it coincidence, call it Divine Intervention; I had no idea the significance of what was doing, those six years ago.

Yet, here we are.

I’ll be sure to share more news of the book as we get closer to the publication date. For now, if you’re looking for more poetry, head Down Under – where my Aussie friend, Kathryn Apel, is hosting today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  Coming July 2, 2019!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: CYBILS Shortlists announced!

Well, the new year is fully underway, and if you haven’t yet made your resolutions…don’t sweat it. Neither have I! And I don’t intend to. If you’re wondering why, I encourage you to check out this post from a couple of days ago – a re-post from five years ago – about the value of NOT resolving to do things at such an arbitrary time as a calendar date.

With the new year comes CYBILS Awards nominees! The official shortlists have been announced by the first-round judges, and these books are now heading to the second-round panelists, who will decide the winners. As a first-round judge in the Poetry Category, I helped narrow down 48 nominated titles to the following shortlist:

(click to enlarge)

You will notice there are only three verse novels listed; two are geared to Young Adults (YA) and one is Middle Grade (MG) or YA.  Two other books are poetry collections for younger readers; there is one collaborative collection with a narrative; and one is a MG-leaning anthology featuring multiple poets.

We were very deliberate in which books we chose to shortlist, evaluating each nominated title based on quality of poetic writing, substance, and the level of interest a potential reader might have in reading it. We tried our best not to allow other lists and reviews to influence our decisions.

The one disappointment we all felt was that verse novels continue to be included in the Poetry Category, when they are in actuality a genre unto themselves. Comparing Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X to David Elliott’s In the Past is like comparing Moby Dick to The Giving Tree. Yes, they are both prose – but their similarities begin and end there.

So we felt we had a responsibility to provide as well-rounded a sampling as possible, while maintaining the integrity of the list. One of the books we included, H is for Haiku (Penny Candy Books), was reviewed here at the ol’ Triple-R earlier this year, when it first came out, so I thought I’d share one of the poems from the book today:

©2018 Penny Candy Books, all rights reserved, reprinted with permission

Looking for more poetry? Head on over to Poetry For Children, where Sylvia Vardell is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup!

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  Coming July 2, 2019!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

The No-Resolution New Year

(This post was originally published in Jan. 2013 – a mere 5 months after I first began this blog. Since it has been 5 years since it had seen the light of day, I felt today might be an appropriate time to dust it off and share it again!)

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

(The original title for this post was, “The No-Resolution New Year, or How the Portable People Meter Can Help You Not to Stress Over Your Resolutions.”  But that was a bit wordy.  Read along and it’ll all start to make sense.  Perhaps.)

For two weeks now, I’ve been reading and hearing about everyone’s new year’s resolutions.  Most folks want to lose weight.  Exercise more.  Eat healthy.

Some have very ambitious, specific resolutions, such as resolving to publish a book or to make a specific more amount of money each month.  Others are a bit more ambiguous, like trying to be a better person – which is nice, but what does that mean?  Are you only moderately tolerable now? Specifics, people!

Anyway, I appreciate why folks make new year’s resolutions…but if you ask me for mine, I’ll tell you I have none.  And it’s not because I don’t think I can’t make improvements in my life, or don’t see the value in setting goals.

I simply don’t see the point in setting a date to start on those goals.

Why wait?

A few years ago, I was talking to some friends about wanting to leave my place of employment and strike out on my own to work for myself as a voiceover artist.  It was autumn, and I recall explaining to them that there were a number of things I would need to do in order to make that change possible.  I would need to build up contacts and clients.  I would need to make sure my finances would be able to handle the initial reduction in pay.  Most importantly, I would need to have the physical tools available to work from home, such as a new computer and editing software, a better quality microphone, and sound dampening equipment to prevent ambient noise and echo in my recordings.

One of my friends suggested it would be a good new year’s resolution to work toward that goal.  I agreed – although I saw no need to wait until the new year to begin setting the plan in motion.  So I began auditioning more, prospecting for clients, and connecting with more people through social media.  I also started buying some new equipment.

I knew my finances were not going to allow me to leave work that following year, but at least I had begun moving forward.

Eventually, I got more gigs, built up a clientele, and this past summer was finally financially able to leave my position as production director for a 5-station radio group and work for myself.  A month later, I began this blog – another item on my to-do list.

And you know what?  The 2010 new year, 2011 new  year, and 2012 new year had nothing to do with any of it.  It was done through sheer determination, and determination is available 365 days a year.

ppm
Image courtesy of Music Row

The Portable People Meter

The Portable People Meter (or PPM) is a small device developed by the company Arbitron to measure how often a person listens to different radio stations.  You may have heard of Nielsen ratings for TV?  Well, Arbitron is the radio equivalent of Nielsen, and ratings are very important because they show how many people are listening to different stations, how often they listen, what times they listen, and that sort of thing.  Radio and television stations then use this information to assist them in selling advertising and setting their rates. (UPDATE: 9 months after I published this post, Nielsen acquired Arbitron, so they are one company now.)

The way it works is, a random person is equipped with a PPM and it automatically keeps track of which stations he/she listens to throughout each day over several weeks.  (Back in the day, people were asked to keep written diaries, which can be fallible – so the PPM was a huge breakthrough in radio station monitoring)

Ratings are broken down into ‘Average Quarter-Hours,’ which simply means a minimum of 5 minutes for every 15-minute block, if you divide your clock at :00, :15, :30, and :45 minute increments.  For example, if a listener tuned in at 6:00am and tuned out at 6:07am, that would count as one quarter-hour, because he/she had listened for at least 5 minutes.  If that listener tuned in at 6:10am and tuned out at 6:20am, it would count for TWO quarter-hours (5 minutes in each quarter-hour block).  However, if he/she tuned in at 6:11am and tuned out at 6:19am, that radio station would receive NO quarter-hours, because the 5-minute minimum per quarter-hour had not been met.

“Your point, Matt??  Get to the point!”

Ok, ok.  You see, the PPM blew away a rock-solid radio programming axiom that nearly everyone in radio obeyed.

Before the PPM, radio stations believed that each hour’s first quarter-hour (from :00 – :15) was the most-listened to of all the quarter-hours.  This is because the hand-written radio diaries often had the first quarter-hour listed.  So if that’s what people are writing down, it must be the way it is, right?

Wrong.

With the advent of the PPM, the number-crunchers at Arbitron realized that each quarter-hour was more or less equally listened-to.  People were tuning in to radio stations not at the top of each hour…but whenever they darned well felt like it.

Shocker, I know.

Thing is, it was a shocker to a lot of radio stations, who for decades had deliberately played their hottest songs, or some other type of important, exciting, must-tune-in elements, at the top of each hour.  Turned out that that listeners were writing down the top of the hour on their hand-written diaries not because they were tuning in at the top of the hour, but because it was easier to write”11am” instead of 10:54am (which, you’ll notice, is an all-important quarter-hour!).

No time like the present

I’m explaining all of this to show that it’s irrelevant when to begin improving your life.  The important thing is that you have a vision for that improvement.  And if you don’t have the determination, that’s ok – take some time to find it!  It doesn’t matter if it’s the top of the hour or the beginning of the year – a radio station needs to have good programming every minute of the hour, and you make changes to your life every day of the year.

My wife and I met in September 2007, were engaged that following Christmas, and were married in August 2008, one month before we’d known each other for a year.  While some might say we rushed into things, I say we seized an opportunity.  We knew how we felt about each other, we knew our feelings would not change…so we figured, why wait?  One never knows what might happen tomorrow.  Carpe diem, and all of that!

Whether it’s the top of the hour or the beginning of the year…it’s just a spot on a clock or calendar.  You can make those resolutions whenever you feel like it:  losing weight, making more money, being more tolerable.

And if you do make a resolution that fails or for some reason doesn’t come to fruition…

Today is as good a day as any to start again.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “I Am Someone Else” first peek!

As we approach the end of 2018 – and as those of us who celebrated Christmas attempt to get our lives back into their normal rhythm – I thought I’d share a wonderful surprise gift I received just a few days before Christmas. The proof of the spread of my poem in Lee Bennett Hopkins’ new upcoming children’s poetry anthology, I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, arriving July 2, 2019 from Charlesbridge!

What would it be like to be a wizard, a dancer, a veterinarian, a pilot? The book contains 15 poems about not only “who” a child might like to pretend to be – but why. Here’s the proof of my poem’s page, so far…

(click to enlarge) ©2019 Charlesbridge, all rights reserved, reprinted with permission

Once again, I’m honored to be included in a collection that features so many talented, highly-esteemed writers as former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, Newbery winner Lois Lowry, and many others.

By the way, the annual CYBILS Awards‘ Poetry category shortlist has been officially nailed down, and we’ll be sharing the results soon (Shortlisted titles move on the 2nd Round judges, who will decide the winners in February). For more poetry, head on over to Mainely Write, where my friend Donna Smith has today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: National Flashlight Day, “A Better Christmas,” & the 2018 Winter Poetry Swap

Happy “National Flashlight Day!”

In honor of the holiday, I’m going to do a little light reading…

From “Flashlight Night” (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), all rights reserved, reprinted with permission. (click to enlarge)

Yes, National Flashlight Day is really a thing – celebrated annually on the day of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. (Hence, a good reason to celebrate flashlights) So why not join me, and pull out your favorite flashlight-related book and join the celebration??

The 2018 Winter Poetry Swap

Last Friday, I shared the poem I received from Margaret Simon as part of Tabatha Yeatts‘ annual Winter Poetry Swap. Tabatha randomly gave Margaret my name, so Margaret had to write a poem for me and sent it with a small gift. Today, I’m excited to share the poem I wrote for Donna Smith of Mainely Write fame! Tabatha gave me Donna’s name, so I needed to come up with a poem for her…but it didn’t take me long to decide what to do.

As I did for Margaret a couple of years ago, I spent a fair amount of time combing through past Christmas posts from Donna’s blog, culling some of the choice lines I thought I might be able to use – and once I had completed that, I wrote a found poem using those words and phrases. I then used a photo of our outdoor Christmas tree here at our house as a backdrop and created this:

(click to enlarge)

The 2018 CYBILS Awards

In addition to getting presents wrapped, Christmas cookies made, and visiting a local elementary school today, I am a first-round judge of the annual CYBILS Awards‘ Poetry category. I’ve therefore been trying to read as many of the 48 nominated books as possible in order to narrow the list down to a shortlist of SEVEN! After much deliberation, we’ve finally done it – with a nice mix of poetry styles and genres – and are sending off the list to the second-round panelists, who determine the winner early next year. As soon as the list becomes official and is posted on the CYBILS website, I’ll be sure to share the news here!

Looking for more poetry? You’re in luck! Buffy Silverman is hosting today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, so head on over to her blog for all the links and fun!

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Welcome to the 2018 Holiday Poetry Party!

Just got it made yesterday…whew! Now, to work on painting that trim…

Has a year already passed, since we celebrated last?

Indeed!

So thank you for stopping by! If you are unaware, the Holiday Poetry Party is a little shindig that David L. HarrisonJoy Acey, and I started up a number of years ago. It started off on David’s blog, but in the interest of spreading the love, we thought it might be fun to switch things up a bit and hold it over here at the ol’ Triple-R for awhile. Although it looks and feels a lot like Christmas here in New Hampshire – with snow, evergreens, and single-digit overnight temps – Joy lives in Hawaii, so I have to admit I am a bit jealous!

Our version of an Advent wreath!

I have plenty of food (although I haven’t yet begun my cookie-baking marathon of 600-800 cookies yet), so please make yourself comfortable and grab a drink or something to snack on! For starters, I have bleu cheese-and-grape canapes, herbed goat cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto, and classic French roasted pepper and black olive tartlettes.

On the side table, you’ll find a crudité platter, crackers & cheese, and my homemade hummus variety sampler featuring traditional lemon, black bean & lime, ginger-wasabi edamame hummus, and a spicy carrot-apricot hummus. There’s also a giant Crock-pot full of the heartiest vegan chili you’ve ever tasted, along with vegan banana-cranberry bread, vegan Parker House rolls, and a giant glazed ham  – which is probably not vegan.

Oh, and we have poetry! I received my Winter Poetry Swap poem and gift from the incredibly talented Margaret Simon – who teaches AND is a published poet – and had to share what she sent me: a hand-painted Moleskin notebook with her poem inside! (click either image to enlarge)

As I read her poem, I immediately noticed lines that sounded familiar…for good reason. She did for me what I did for her, a couple of years ago:  took a look at past blog posts and created a found poem with lines she pulled from them!

What a perfectly thoughtful gift. I especially love how she weaves in lines like The Poetry of US and “adventure lingers” (from Flashlight Night) so seamlessly. Thank you, Margaret!  (and thank you also for the magnet inside!) I’m eager to share the poem I wrote for my secret recipient, but I’m holding off until I know she has received the package – so hopefully I’ll be able to post it here next week.

I do hope you enjoy your visit here at my little home on the web. By the way, if you’re wondering where some of the decorations came from, you have my parents to thank. I mentioned earlier this week that I made more “discoveries” in the attic of my childhood home – but those weren’t the only holiday treasures discovered…no, not at all!

  

From left: hand-blown, hand-painted glass ornaments my father purchased while stationed in the Army in Germany in the early ’50’s; Christmas decorations I made when I was still in elementary school; paper snowflakes I made for them while – I think – I was in college.

And this only scratches the surface! There were at least 5 more boxes of assorted glass ornaments, two boxes of ’70’s-era plastic decorations and tinsel, a carton of lights and lighted decorations, and…

I told my wife we would never need to buy wrapping paper or ribbon ever again, for the rest of our lives. I wasn’t kidding. I didn’t take photos of the other box of bows or the other box of paper!

Enjoy your stay, and before you go, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what 2018 has meant for you, and what you’re looking forward to in 2019 – so please leave a comment! (If it rhymes, even better!) And for all of today’s poetry links and fun, be sure to stop by Laura Shovan’s blog, where she is hosting Poetry Friday!

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

The perfect gift for an author or illustrator: A kind review!

That’s right! If you can’t afford a book or already have one you enjoy, a positive review on places like Amazon or Goodreads is a huge benefit to authors and illustrators. So if you have a few spare minutes, won’t you consider sharing your thoughts with the rest of the world? We appreciate it!

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

More treasures from the attic

A couple of years ago, I discovered all sorts of ancient artifacts in my parents’ attic, dating back to my childhood years. These relics included things like my very first typewriter, my 1st-grade lunchbox, and journals I kept for my high school English classes.

Well, as it turned out, my folks did NOT sell the house as they were initially thinking they would – so I was back there today, sorting through the more than 40+ years of stuff they’ve accumulated. And what did I find this time?

Picture books from the ’50s and ’60s, which I don’t ever recall seeing before…which makes me wonder why they were in the attic in the first place! Many of these were published by Golden Press (home of Little Golden Books), Whitman Publishing (which is still around, although they no longer publish children’s books), and Platt & Munk, which is no longer in business. (If the name Platt & Munk sounds familiar, it’s probably because they published several of Tasha Tudor’s books)

I do remember loving The Drum Book and Little Red Riding Hood:

  

Little Red Riding Hood was particularly engaging, because it had moving character illustrations beneath cellophane pages; as you opened the spread, the characters would move, so the reader could make them move back-and-forth by opening and closing the spread. This was one of many of these types of books published by Child Guidance Books, and although there is no publication date on the book, my best guess is mid-’60s to early ’70s.

And then there were the classics…

I pray that Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever (Golden Books, 1963) never goes out of print…it was as fascinating for me as it has been for my kids, even though they never got to read one of the originals, like this one, which is unfortunately falling apart. Who doesn’t love watching Lowly Worm riding around in his apple car, or Gold Bug in his pencil car?

By the way, I hope you’ll join me this Friday here at the ol’ Triple-R for our annual Holiday Poetry Party! This is a virtual event that began at children’s poet David Harrison’s home on the web several years ago with me, David, and Joy Acey, and has since moved over here.

It’s an informal gathering, so feel free to show up in your sweats and jammies if you’re so inclined – and if you’d care to bring a bite to eat or beverage, please let us know!

I also plan to share the poem I received from Margaret Simon as part of Tabatha Yeatts‘ annual Winter Poetry Swap. Tabatha randomly gave Margaret my name, so Margaret had to write a poem for me and sent it with a small gift. There’s a cool story behind why Margaret wrote what she did, so I’ll share that here. And I hope to share the poem I wrote soon, once I know the person I sent it to has received it.

Oh, yes – and as a first-round judge of the annual CYBILS Awards‘ Poetry category, I’m racing against time to read as many of the 60 or so nominated books as possible, and narrow the list down to a shortlist of SEVEN! There are five I’m pretty sure are going to stay on my list…but that could change once I finish all my reading. The final list that all the judges decide upon will then be forwarded to the second-round panelists, who determine the winner early next year.

I hope you’ll stop by Friday for our party! I’ll be looking forward to learning your favorite children’s books from the past year, so start thinking about which ones caught your attention and stood out from the pack!

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!