Poetry Friday: The Winter Poetry Swap, part II!

winter-poetry-swap

Before we get too far, let me first apologize to my Poetry Friday friends, whose blogs I have not been frequenting lately. I really want to check out everyone’s blogs – and try to get to as many as I can – but it’s been a difficult task these past couple of weeks.

You see, I’ve been busy…

Clockwise, from left: Pepparkakor (Scandinavian spice cookie), Sugar cookies, Peanut Blossoms (flourless dough!), Christmas Haystacks (A southern treat made with chow mein noodles, peanuts, and melted butterscotch chips), Chocolate-Peppermint Brownie Cookies (If a brownie was given the chance to be a cookie for one day, this is what it would taste like!), Serinakakor (Scandinavian butter cookie w/almonds), Strawberry-Oatmeal Jumbles,
And that’s not even all of them!
Made about 11 dozen of these, alone…if you don’t count all the ones I tasted in the interest of quality control.

Let’s break this down: 16 dozen pepparkakor, 4 dozen serinakakor, 11 dozen chocolate-peppermint brownie cookies, 8 dozen sugar cookies, 5 1/2 dozen strawberry oatmeal bars, 3 1/2 dozen peanut blossoms, and 3 dozen haystacks. That’s 51 and a half dozen cookies, in case you’re wondering.

And yes, I kept count!

That’s over 600 cookies, baked in less than a week, with a 3-year-old here at the house destroying everything she can get her mitts on. Add in Christmas shopping, decorating, trying to find time to write, and getting my voiceover work done, and…well, as I said, I’ve been busy.

But with the Big Day just days away, all that’s left is cleaning the house, wrapping the remaining presents, and getting food prepped for Sunday – so things are starting to slow down to the relaxed pace that we expect at Christmas.

My family & I will be attending a Christmas Eve-Eve service tonight, then settling in for a nice long weekend. I, for one, cannot wait!

So now, then…the poetry. In last week’s post, I told you about Tabatha Yeatt’s 2016 Winter Poetry Swap, where folks exchange poetry and a gift with others, and I shared the poem that Keri Collins Lewis had written for me.

Today, I’m sharing the poem I wrote for educator, blogger, and poet Margaret Simon! I decided that it might be interesting to read through several of her past blog posts about Christmas and create a found poem from some of the words and phrases I came across. Here’s how it turned out (click to enlarge):

Margaret shared this poem on her blog a couple days ago, so I wanted to share it here, as well. Hope you liked it! For more poetry, head on over to Buffy’s Blog, where Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday today!

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poetryfridaybutton-fulllDid 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!
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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: Tabatha Yeatts’ 2016 Winter Poetry Swap!

winter-poetry-swapI rarely, if ever, feature poetry by folks other than myself on Poetry Friday…it’s not a vanity thing, it’s just that I don’t usually share my work on any days other than Fridays, so I like to reserve this day for my own.

Today, though, I’m making an exception, thanks to Tabatha Yeatts and Keri Collins Lewis!

I was happy to once again take part in Tabatha’s annual Winter Poetry Swap, an opportunity to write a poem for someone and have someone else write one for you – and receive a little Christmas gift along with it. No one knows who has our names until a package shows up in the mail from that person!

This year, Keri was given my name; I learned this when a package came to my house with a jar of raw honey from Keri’s own bees, a very nice writer’s notebook, and this poem:

keris-poem
(click to enlarge)

Thank you so much, Keri! I really appreciate it. As for the woman whose name I was given…well, I’m not sure if she’s received her package yet, so I’m keeping mum for now. But I’ll be sure to share the poem once I know she has seen it first!

Speaking of the Winter Poetry Swap, Tabatha is hosting Poetry Friday today at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference – so be sure to stop by and check out all the poetry links – as well as some beautiful shadow box art!

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poetryfridaybutton-fulllDid 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 twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Cookies vs. Blog

Christmas time’s a-comin’…

This is going to be a short post because I have a number of pressing issues I need to attend to.

Like cookies.

You see, construction work on our house was finally completed this past Sunday ($20,000 worth of ice dam damage from last winter!), and only now can the family and I dive into all our Christmas traditions that we’ve put on hold.

Like cookies!

Yes, I need to get voiceover work done. I have a new picture book manuscript I need to start sending out. I have CYBILS-nominated books I need to read and judge. And the house – especially the upstairs – is in such a state of disruption that it’s hard to find the floor, much less anything else. But I’m determined not to let the important aspects of the holiday slip by.

Like cookies!

Oh, I have cards to send, stockings to hang, gifts to wrap…and a slew of other responsibilities like taking care of the kids while mom’s at work. A guy needs to have his priorities straight, though.

First, we set up the Nativity scene on top of the dining room bureau. This is, of course, what Christmas is all about. Then the outdoor lights went up. Then the 4-foot-tall fake tree was erected in the sun room, since we had no room for a real tree this year.

Pretty much all of that was done before construction began. Unfortunately, we had to put a hold on everything while walls were ripped open, siding was replaced, roofing was redone, and drywall was plastered.

But construction is complete, finally! (New paint and floors are still to come, but we’ll take care of that next year) So it’s time to rejoice in the spirit of the season! The advent wreath is on the table. The shopping is done. Our Christmas mass plans are nailed down.

There’s just one thing that absolutely, positively, needs to be taken care of at this point.

Cookies!

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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!
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 twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Candle at Midnight”

Candle at Midnight

ID-10020422 (candle)I light a candle at midnight.
Why?
Now, you can see
a radiant glow –
the smallest of blazes –
deep within
suffocating darkness.
Beyond the
shadows, beyond death,
what remains are
gifts of life:
extinguish the flame,
the scent lingers…
it becomes part of you
with one single breath.
Breathe.
Carry it with you,
your candle at midnight.
Carry it with you.
Breathe.
With one single breath,
it becomes part of you;
the scent lingers.
Extinguish the flame –
gifts of life –
what remains are
shadows. Beyond death,
beyond the
suffocating darkness,
deep within
the smallest of blazes…
a radiant glow.
Now you can see
why
I light a candle at midnight.

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday…and also has candles on her mind! Visit her blog for all of today’s poetry links.

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Cybils-Logo-2014-Rnd2Did 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!

“The Next Big Thing!”

Back at the beginning of the year, I talked about how excited I was to be wrapping up my first 5 months of this blog.  Then just a couple of weeks ago, I told you about the Liebster Award that had been passed along to me. Now, I’m excited to be part of something new:

Many thanks to my friend, children’s author and poet Joyce Ray, for inviting me to participate in the online literary blog called THE NEXT BIG THING!

the-next-big-thingIf you’ve not heard of THE NEXT BIG THING, it’s a sort of “chain blog” consisting of a series of questions about works-in-progress and not-yet-published titles. Many national and international writers have participated in it; Joyce did last week, and now it’s my turn!

The nice thing about THE NEXT BIG THING is that it not only provides some extra visibility for the bloggers taking part, but more importantly, it gives readers a glimpse into the working life of a writer. Part of the fun is tagging someone else, so stay tuned to learn who I’ll be tagging at the end of this post!  Some of these questions require some deep thought, so I’ll do my best to answer them…

What is the working title of your book?

“Anticipation: Poems for a Winter’s Night”

Where did the idea come from for the book?

As someone who writes a lot of children’s poetry, one day I noticed I had written 5 or 6 poems about winter…so it occurred to me they should probably be organized into their own collection.  This was in May 2012.  So I decided to try to get the manuscript completed (written, edited, revised, finalized) by September. As it turned out, I was done by Oct. – so I wasn’t too far off!

What genre does your book fall under?

Children’s poetry.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ha! Not sure this question fits, since the book is comprised of 23 poems…but since many are written in first-person, I’d say we could get Sofia Vergara to portray the school bus driver, Adriana Lima to portray the teacher, and Miranda Lambert to portray the person I ask to keep me warm outside.  Of course, this is all assuming my wife won’t mind…so I’m really going out on a limb here.

But hey, it’s Hollywood!

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“A funny, touching, and magical look at the coldest – yet warmest – season of all.”

Y’know, I just thought that up this minute. I kinda like it!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Hard to say, as I edit poems as I go along; I revisit them, revise them, place them in the manuscript, rearrange them in the manuscript, edit them again, rearrange them again, blah, blah.  The first draft was probably done by late September, then it was just a matter of tweaking a few things here and there.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s very difficult – if not extremely egotistical – for me to compare a manuscript by an unpublished author to books written by some of the best children’s poets in America. So I do this hesitantly and with a great amount humility…but as it’s a winter-themed poetry collection, I’d say it’s similar in tone to Jack Prelutsky’s It’s Snowing! It’s Snowing (2006, Greenwillow) and Douglas Florian’s Winter Eyes (1999, Greenwillow), although the number of silly or funny poems in mine outnumbers theirs.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I wish I knew! I always tell people how much I hate winter – the shovelling, the snow-blowing, the slickness of roads, the ice on your driveway, the cold temperatures, etc., etc. – and yet, it was not a difficult manuscript to put together. I’ve already come up with another two or three winter poems since I finished it, and I haven’t even been trying!  Perhaps I like winter more than I realized. I absolutely love Christmas, so that might have something to do with it.

What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

I think the diversity of poems. Not only is there a good balance of funny-to-quiet poems, but I used a number of various forms: there’s a villanelle, cinquain, triolet, haiku, tanka, and a couple others, in addition to more conventional forms. One minute you’re laughing about my Valentine’s Day dilemma with Beulah Buford, and the next, you’re sitting quietly by yourself in a school bus on a winter morning, scratching at the frosty window.  I really like the fact that each poem sort of has its own ‘feel.’

When and how will it be published?

Funny, I ask m yself that same question all…the…time.  Being an as-yet-unpublished author (other than having various adult poems published in independent journals over the years), it’s been an uphill climb trying to get my other manuscripts accepted. I’ve only sent this manuscript to one editor so far, who I want to give first-refusal. If she decides to pass, then I’ll let all the other publishing houses and literary agencies fight over the rights and I’ll eventually sign a six-book deal and movie rights with the highest bidder.  At least, that’s how I imagine things will happen.

WHO’S NEXT?

It is my honor to tag and introduce to you Catherine Johnson, who is also currently working on a manuscript…

Catherine is a British ex-pat living in Canada with her family. She writes picture books and poetry and has several poems published, and was a British champion twice in Tae Kwon-Do.  (How cool is that??)  She blogs at http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com…so be sure to stop by, and learn about herNEXT BIG THING!”