Poetry Friday: “OMTB” Blog Tour AND a father-daughter collaboration!

omtb-blog-tour-graphicBy now, you’ve probably heard about Kenn Nesbitt’s new children’s poetry anthology, One Minute Till Bedtime (Little, Brown for Young Readers). It has received numerous positive reviews like THIS ONE and THIS ONE and THIS ONE and was also selected by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the best children’s books of 2016!

I’m very proud to be one of more than 130 poets included in the book, and today, many of the contributors are taking part in a blog tour! (That’s why, in case you’re wondering, I’m sharing my Poetry Friday post a day early!)

But this blog tour is a little different; rather than sharing the poem(s) we have included in the book, we are sharing poems that were submitted, but not selected! You see, when Kenn asked us to send him our poems, we had no idea which ones he’d chooses and which ones he’d pass on…so it seemed like a waste not to give those poems that didn’t make the cut their own opportunity to shine.

Back on Nov. 4, I shared one of my poems that didn’t make it – and today I have another. This one is a lullaby of sorts that I wrote back in the mid-’90’s, before I was even making an effort to become published, but which I have sung for each of my 4 kids, right before bed. The rhyming isn’t perfect, but they all love it – so to me, it’s perfect the way it is.

Little Lullaby

Time to go to sleep,
time to go to sleep.
No more time to play,
no more time to eat.

Time to let your dreams
carry you away,
so rest your weary eyes –
tomorrow’s another day.

– © 1994, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

If you’d like to check out all the other poems from all the other folks taking part in this blog tour, head on over to Jackie Hosking’s blog and you’ll find several poems and all the links to the other blog posts.

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As for Friday itself, that is the day I get to share a new poem with the readers of Penny Parker Klostermann’s blog, as part of her ongoing series, “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt” – an opportunity for two family members to collaborate on a picture and an accompanying poem.

I’ve already had the pleasure of writing poems based on drawings by my two youngest children, and now I get to share a poem I wrote based on something by one of their two older sisters!

poetryfridaybutton-fulllI hope you’ll take a trip over to Penny’s blog to see it…and be sure to also visit Bridget Magee’s Wee Words for Wee Ones for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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Poetry Friday: “The Best of Today’s Little Ditty!”

If you have spent any amount of time enjoying Poetry Friday, you have probably poetryfridaybutton-fulllcome across the blog of my friend and fellow writer, Michelle H. Barnes, Today’s Little Ditty. What started out as a forum to share her work soon turned into a showcase of interviews, repository of writing advice, and a community of folks sharing their own work.

And today, it becomes a book!

I’m very happy to announce the publication of Michelle’s The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2014-2015 – a collection of 75 poems by 55 different folks who have visited her site and contributed poetry over the past 2 years.

I encourage you to visit her website today and find out more about the book and how to get a copy! And in the meantime, I’ll share one of my poems you’ll find inside…this one from a challenge from the inimitable Lee Bennett Hopkins to write a poem about a formative moment in my younger life:

…I write her name in my notebook.

I’m not sure why.
What is it about her eyes,
her lips,
that makes me think
she’s smiling at me
even when she’s turned away?
I write her name in my notebook.
I’m not sure why.
What is it about violets and – is that vanilla? –
that make a girl smell so nice?
I don’t even like vanilla, but still…
I write her name in my notebook.
I’m not sure why.
Why do I crane my neck to watch
as she walks away, yet hide
my face
when she sees me
watching?
What would she say,
what would she do,
if only she knew…

– © 2015 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

(And by the way, HUGE congratulations to Lee for being the newest inductee into the Florida Artists’ Hall of Fame! This was just announced yesterday, and all of us in the children’s poetry community are thrilled!)

Congratulations again, Michelle…on the book, of course, as well as on your blog’s huge success! And speaking of poetry blogs, please stop by Brenda Davis Harsham’s little home on the web, Friendly Fairy Tales, for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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Poetry Friday: “One Minute Till Bedtime” countdown!

One Minute coverAs you may have read in previous posts, I’m thrilled to be a part of Kenn Nesbitt’s new children’s poetry anthology, One Minute Till Bedtime (Little, Brown for Young Readers), which hits bookshelves a mere THREE DAYS from now, this Monday, Nov. 1. (The following week, I’ll be holding a couple of signings at local bookstores in my home state of New Hampshire, so please check out my Facebook page for the Event details!)

The book is comprised of short, 60-second(ish) long poems for kids – and parents, too, of course! – to add some poetry to the end of their day, after the kids have been read to and are tucked in bed. Additionally, the illustrations by New York Times illustrator Christoph Niemann are simultaneously dreamlike yet grounded, whimsical yet introspective.

I’m stunned, honestly, to find myself sharing anthology pages with folks like Kenn, J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Nikki Grimes, Charles Ghigna, David Harrison, Jack Prelutsky, Lemony Snicket, Margarita Engle, Marilyn Singer, and over 100 others. So I hope you enjoy my little contribution:

matt-page
(click to enlarge)

For more poetry links and fun – and a few other samples from inside covers of One Minute Till Bedtime – please visit Linda Baie at Teacher Dance for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
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Poetry Friday: “Coming to Terms” (LGBT Pride Month)

trigger-warningThe following poem was first published in the anthology Trigger Warning: Poetry Saved My Life (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014), and following its publication I shared it here on this blog. Even though I rarely re-post poems, I felt this would be appropriate in this case, in recognition of President Obama’s recent proclamation of June being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

You see, about 25 years ago, a very close friend of mine went through an extremely difficult time in his life…and it nearly destroyed him. Fortunately, he found support from his friends and therapy from writing poetry:

Coming to Terms

He had to keep quiet.

No one could know of his love, no –
infatuation – for the tall, dark beauty
with whom he shared daily smiles. His thoughts
were his, yet quickly
he became their slave; not uncommon,
of course, as we all succumb
to that numbness, once, at least,
but for his own sake

he had to keep quiet.
None could know, not even
Dark Beauty, who
had no inkling of an unthinkable
courtship, but simply smiled back
as acquaintances do
until one day, in a burst of emotion and discovery,
every passionate detail of his desire
came pouring forth from every pore
in an unintended self-
immolation of love and pain.

The revelation
and cloud of rejection suffocated
and he wished it would
deaden the nerves that allowed him to feel
every word hurled
from Dark Beauty, friends,
parents, the world.
Endless days spent scared and crying
bled into pill-filled nights
that led not to quiet slumber but to weeks
and months
in the ward, safe and distressed. Alone

in his room, with pen
firm between heart and forefinger, line
by line he began to sort through love,
loss, dejection,
reflection
and the realization
he had been lying to himself, thinking

he had to keep quiet.

© 2014 Matt Forrest Esenwine, from Trigger Warning: Poetry Saved My Life (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014), all rights reserved

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Jone MacCulloch is hosting Poetry Friday today at Check it Out, so for all of today’s links and fun, be sure to…check it out!

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Poetry Friday: National Cereal Day!

PFAC-front-cover-Nov-30-WEB-jpeg-705x1030Almost exactly one year ago, the children’s poetry anthology The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books) was released. In it, one can find my poem about National Cereal Day, which is coming up on Monday, March 7…so of course, I had to share it with you again!

Picky Eater

I love my Fruit Loops,
love my Trix,
love Cheerios
and even Kix.
I also like
my Apple Jacks –
but please don’t give me
Sugar Smacks,
or stars or squares or flakes
you’ve found –
I only eat, you see,
what’s round.

– © 2015 Matt Forrest Esenwine and Pomelo Books, all rights reserved

I was quite humbled that Kirkus singled out this poem in their review of the book last year. And if you’d like to see what a 14-year-old student decided to do with the poem, check out Sylvia Vardell’s video HERE – it’s quite fun watching someone recite something that you wrote!

Antarctica coverI also need to congratulate the winner of a new book!

Earlier this month, I interviewed Irene Latham and reviewed her new children’s poetry collection, When the Sun Shines on Antarctica: And Other Poems from the Frozen Continent (Millbrook Press). Everyone who left a comment or re-tweeted the post was entered to win a signed copy of the book…and out of all those names, only one would be drawn at random and proclaimed the WINNER! And that person is…

Robyn Hood Black!

Congratulations, Robyn! I’m sure you’re going to love it. Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by my little corner of the blogosphere and entered the contest.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllBut wait, there’s more! (poetry, that is) For all of today’s Poetry Friday posts, please visit Linda Baie at Teacher Dance! And happy early spring, everyone…don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead next weekend, as Daylight Savings Time begins!

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Poetry Friday: We missed National Cereal Day!

Poetry_Friday logoIt’s been so crazy around here lately – between book releases, manuscript revisions, and the #MMPoetry March Madness competition – that I completely spaced on this most awesome of holidays!

The reason I’m celebrating is because I have a poem included in the newest Poetry Friday Anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, which is due out in just a few weeks, and the poem is about National Cereal Day – which was last Saturday, March 7.

PFAC-front-cover-Nov-30-WEB-jpeg-705x1030I have to admit…as much as I try to be healthy, I’m still a kid at heart, so my favourite cereals are the ones I’m not supposed to eat. Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, and any Monster cereal that I come across are destined for my pantry. And when someone decided to make Lucky Charms with CHOCOLATE and someone else put MARSHMALLOWS in Fruit Loops…well, let me just say I wanted to shake their hands.

But what ever happened to my old favourites? Those great, long-lost bits of corn meal and sugar that are woven into my memory and are a part of the fabric that IS Matt Forrest Esenwine?? (And I’m not using hyperbole – with all those preservatives, they really ARE part of the fabric of my body at this point)

DonutzI’m talking about KaBoom; Quisp; Moonstones; Grins and Smiles and Giggles and Laughs; Q-bert (yes, the video-game hero had his own cereal!); Oreo-O’s; and the venerable Donutz!! Can I get a holla?!?

OK, well, before I go too far with the reminiscing, I’d like to share the poem I wrote that DIDN’T make it into the PFA for Celebrations. After all, once the book comes out, you’ll see which one did make it…so this is like the free toy surprise inside the box! Hope you like it:

Cereal Legend

Little Horatio Magellan Crunch
never knew what was going to happen…
one day, he would sail the seas
and all the world would call him, “Cap’n.”

– © Matt Forrest Esenwine, 2014

And yes, that’s Cap’n Crunch’s real name! I don’t make stuff up, you know. I felt I should contribute something connected to my home state (the cereal was developed by a New Hampshire resident), but alas, it didn’t make the cut. And to be honest, I never even really liked Cap’n Crunch when I was young. Even as an 8- or 9-year-old, I knew there was something just plain wrong with the texture.

Hoots
I used to LOVE these…oh, Hoots, wither hast though gonest?

So what were YOUR favourite cereals as a kid? Pebbles? Super Sugar Smacks? Honeycomb? (remember Strawberry Honeycomb?) How about those lost classics like King Vitamin, with the creepy-looking dude on the box…or Baron Von RedBerry – a Monster-cereal knockoff that I still wish they’d bring back? I’d love to hear your comments, below.

For today’s complete Poetry Friday round-up, please visit Laura Shovan at Author Amok, and please be sure to check out the Madness that is the #MMPoetry competition over at Ed DeCaria’s place, Think Kid, Think! mmpoetry2015-logo-mainI lost in the first round, but it’s still a lot of fun and the competition continues throughout the month.

Be watching for the PFA for Celebrations, and I’ll be sharing more poems that didn’t make it in in the next couple weeks!

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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!
PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on 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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Dear Tomato” anthology is available now!

Dear Tomato coverI am thrilled to be able to finally say I am a published children’s author! Three poems of mine were selected for inclusion in Carol-Ann Hoyte‘s new children’s anthology, Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems – and it officially went on sale on Amazon this past Monday!

Dear Tomato… features over 50 poems by 34 poets from around the globe. The poems vary greatly in form and style – some are structured forms, some are free verse, some are humorous, others are a little more serious – but they all share an agricultural theme.

And while Carol-Ann worked at sorting through and editing all the poems, her collaborator, photographer Norie Wasserman, provided the black-and-white photographs that accompany the text.

Speaking of text…here’s one of the three poems I contributed:

Fair is Fair
(a lesson in Fair Trade)

Mother’s coffee,
Father’s tea,
Sister’s cocoa…
all might be
a farmer’s only
chance to give
his family
a chance to live.

© 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

I hope you’ll pick up a copy! Although it’s only available via Amazon right now, it should be more widely available within the next month or two.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllBy the way, I need to make you aware of two other brand-new books due out very soon:

Laura Purdie Salas’ third and final edition of her “…Can Be…” series, titled A Rock Can Be… (Millbrook Press) comes out this weekend! It hits bookshelves this Sunday, March 1, and you can read my complete review of it HERE.

Lullabye coverThe very first children’s book I was contacted to be part of comes out this Tuesday, March 3! Lullaby & Kisses Sweet is a board book anthology for young children, 0-5 years, and I couldn’t be happier about working with the wonderful and highly esteemed Lee Bennett Hopkins. For Tuesday’s blog post, I’ll be sharing more info about the book, my page from it, and a short interview with Lee – so be sure to stop back then!

But wait – there’s more!

mmpoetry2015-bracket-rd1-startI also want to let you know about this year’s March Madness Poetry 2015 Competition! Once again, Ed DeCaria at Think Kid, Think has put together this annual friendly event which not only stimulates the minds and creative juices of those of us taking part – but helps to bring a little poetic excitement to the classroom, as well!

What’s that? You’d like your classroom to join in the Madness? Then find out more and sign up today! The insanity begins soon, so be sure to follow Ed and his blog on Twitter or Facebook – or just stay close here, as I’ll be providing updates throughout the month!

Whew, I’m worn out! That’s it for now. Writer/poet/blogger Heidi Mordhorst is hosting Poetry Friday at her blog, My Juicy Little Universe, so head on over for all of today’s poetic links and info!

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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!
PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on 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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!