Poetry Friday: “A Lesson in Brevity”

As I mentioned on Tuesday, the world’s biggest children’s poetry competition is underway, and I hope you’ve been following it! (If not, you can learn more HERE)

Once again, I am out in the first round – not sure how that always happens – but I do know my competitor, Alison Dellenbaugh, wrote a cute little poem about Bigfoot that won the hearts of the voters, and I wish her well as she moves on to round 2!

Madness!Poetry, as the contest is called, is a bracketed competition similar to sports brackets, where we start off with 64 teams (or in this case, “authletes”), and after the first round that number is whittled down to 32…then 16…then 8…and 4…until we have two finalists vying for the championship.

So today I thought I’d share the poem I wrote – since I’m out of contention, I’m a spectator now, without the pressure of having to create a winning poem with some random word in 36 hours. I was given the word “behemoth,” and when I thought about how it’s a word meaning some giant ‘thing,’ I immediately thought of an old tale we all know…

A Lesson in Brevity

A young lad named Jack cultivated legumes,
which germinated thaumaturgically.
He met a behemoth hungry for bones
who tried to remove them non-surgically.
Jack quickly absconded down tall vegetation
and thought he might nearly prevail –
but poor dear old Jack was a sesquipedalian
and took too long telling his tale.

– © 2017, Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

I had a feeling that my abundant use of verbose language might be my undoing, but once I nailed down my plan – and punchline – I knew I was going to need to pull out the trusty ol’ thesaurus. And win or lose, I really liked how the poem turned out, and that was the important thing to me.

So be sure to check out all the action (and vote!) at the Madness!Poetry website, and if you’re looking for more poetry, visit Michelle H. Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty for the complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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National Poetry Month: “Young Adult Review Network” Poetry Contest Results!

national-poetry-month 2016

Me?

One of my poems?

One of the winners of a national poetry contest??? 

It began on World Poetry Day, March 21…the good folks at the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) began accepting submissions for a poetry contest they called “Enchanted Spaces and Places,” using the hashtag #EnchantedYARN.

Inspired by Margarita Engle’s award-winning memoir, Enchanted Air (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015), the editors at YARN invited writers to submit poems about their own enchanted places – where they have lived, visited, or even spaces they hold inside their hearts. (You can learn more about the contest HERE)

The poems were all judged by Margarita herself, who I have to imagine must have been worn out from entries pouring in from all over the world! Entries were judged blind (that is, names were not attached to the poems while judging), so Margarita had no idea who had written the poems while she was reading them.

She had no idea mine was one of them…

And the winners are:

Winner: London Shah, “Desi Donations” 
Runner-up:
Cynthia Grady, “Early Morning”
Runner-up: My poem, “Last Autumn!”

You can read YARN’s complete post HERE, along with all three winning poems. I hope you’ll check them out, because I’m very honored to be in such good company with these two other poets! Many thanks to Margarita for all her hard work, and to everyone who entered the contest – because ultimately, the important thing isn’t winning, so much as it is the writing. Remember what I always say, #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!

Although in cases like this, it’s nice when they DO read!

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2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemDon’t forget: Irene Latham’s 2016 Progressive Poem continues today as poet/blogger Renee M. LaTulippe adds her contribution, so be sure to stop by the No Water River and see how it’s coming along!

You can follow the 2016 Progressive Poem at the following blog spots:

April

1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots

6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

10 Pat at Writer on a Horse

11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry

20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write

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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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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!
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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)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Poetry Friday: “Poetry…Cubed!” wraps up!

Poetry Cubed logo

Today’s the day!

Earlier this month, I challenged readers to come up with a poem utilizing imagery from these three pictures:

 IMG_0637 

It’s a little contest I call “Poetry…Cubed!”and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, how good you are – or how good a job you do writing the poem – is less important than your willingness to tackle the challenge. (Remember what I’ve said before: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!)

So now that November is over, I can share all of the poems that have been submitted:
.

The Visit
I won’t be alone
Tonight in my small cabin.
I’ll have company.
I’ll light a warm fire
and decorate with branches
for my puppet guest.
People think I’m odd.
But folks are disappointing.
Toys are constant friends.
– Deborah Holt Williams
.
.
A Seasonal Game

Autumn offers sweet solace
as Summer fades away
lulling us into complacency
while Winter lurks on our doorstep
Like syrup coating a bitter pill
it distracts us in early days
with brilliant splashes of color,
maple leaves and bittersweet,
the pulsing heat of a wood stove,
and camaraderie in the stands
where frosty cries fog the frigid air
as fans cheer the flying pigskin
Autumnal beauty hovers,
a neutral zone before
the full blitz of Winter’s winds,
But inexorably Winter slips in
and picks off those vibrant leaves
one by one
In its unrelenting offensive march
it drives forward and blasts us
into our homes to await
the tender shoots of Spring.

– Molly Hogan

.

Thanksgiving Day

Applauds
fumbles
Hike
pass
Last second
Five o’clock dinner-plate
Cranberries in a boil
Turkeys blazing in
Grandmas’ oven
Yesterday grandpa
Chops firewood
Tonight we bless
Those we love
Happy Thanksgiving

– Jessica Bigi
.

cbhanek cubed poem

– cbhanek

.
Under Wraps
How bitter it feels to be sweet when you’re not
When you lose what you love
And pretend you don’t care
When all’s gone that you’ve sought
The voice in your head says
Keep cool! Soldier on!
Hold still that façade
Soon the pain will be gone
So while you burn at your core
You keep a stiff lip
You’ve learned well how to hide it
That heart that’s too tender
The one that is falling
The one that you’re holding
So fast in your grip
.
– Leslie Lotz-Skimmings

.

West Virginia

Misty ghosts of
Blue-gray uniforms
Crowing mountains
Berry-leaved branches
Razing towards glory
Somehow not
As gram remember
Though still in
Her mountain beauty
The cools that warmed our stove
Grew snapdragons’ feet
Distrustful it is
Victory – victory
Streets a blaze
Grams remembering
The heroes that battled here and
The beauty of her mountain home
Lights a candle and prays

– Jessica Bigi
.

November Haiku

Autumn dances
in gusts of red, gold stars;
bittersweet flames

– Anonymous


Sweet Revenge

The stove burns brightly.
I’ve tricked them again,
fed bittersweet berries
and now they have lain
aside all their worries,
asleep as I sought.
Dear Hansel and Gretel –
now time for the pot.
Oh no! He’s awakened.
My plan to be slick
is failing, I’m falling
into my own trick.

– © Linda Baie 2015, All Rights Reserved

.
November

Autumn, in a bittersweet mood, once more
makes a puppet of me, puts me right here
next to the wood stove, makes me say
“I don’t know if the fire will catch,”
makes me turn and watch as the fire catches,
makes me turn back and clap my hands,
makes me say “Time for tea,” makes me dance
a little let’s-have-tea-by-the-fire two-step
just like last year and the year before.
I’m nothing in November if not predictable,
but it’s out if my hands, firmly in his:
Autumn, the puppeteer who paints the scenery,
pulls all my strings, knows all my lines,
and me, his well-loved marionette, his little toy.

– Julie Larios

.
Writing a Cubed Poem

Word jock
Writer’s block
Inspiration glows
Ink flows
Rhyming shoots
Cubed fruits!

– Karen Eastlund
.

Barbeque
Intermission
Tackle
Touchdown
Entertainment
Rally
Shout
Wallow
Evaluate
Enounced
Teams

F
O
O
T
B
A
L
L

Hot Coals
Under Feet
Go Team Go

– Jessica Bigi
.

Her, in November

Love’s seeds burst open
on the vine
as autumn plays its games;
the fire, ’tis sweet,
but once lit, none
dare try contain the flames.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulll

I love how the same three pictures can stir different thoughts, feelings, and images within different people. Thanks so much to everyone who submitted their work!

Out of all the poems entered, ONE lucky writer was chosen at random to receive his/her choice of:

And the winner is…

Leslie Lotz-Skimmings!

Congratulations, Leslie! Just send me an email letting me know which of these three prizes you would like, and I’ll get it to you! Thanks again to everyone who participated, and for even more poetry, please visit Buffy Silverman’s blog for today’s Poetry Friday roundup!

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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!
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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)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: “Poetry…Cubed!” wraps up its 3rd week!

Poetry Cubed logoHard to believe, but we’re at the end of the 3rd week of November already – Thanksgiving will be here next week, and the “Poetry…Cubed!” entries keep coming in!

If you’re unfamiliar with this, let me explain…

This challenge is based on The Food Network show, “Chopped,” where chefs compete against each other to create dishes using specific, surprise ingredients given to them in a special basket.

And since my contest also uses three “ingredients,” I call it “Poetry…Cubed!” Here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem.
  • The poem can be any form, any number of lines, rhyming or not.
  • The only hitch is that you need to include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
  • Ornaments
    (click to enlarge)

    Then email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com before Nov. 30 and I’ll share them all here throughout the month! Out of all the poems entered, ONE lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive his/her choice of:

Your three images (click to enlarge any of them):

 IMG_0637 

Think you can make some poetic deliciousness out of these? I’ll post all the poems and announce the winner on Fri., Dec. 4. Here are some more poems that have come in since last week, including one from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. (and a special thanks to Jessica Bigi, who has now submitted TWO poems for the challenge!)

West Virginia

Misty ghosts of
Blue-gray uniforms
Crowing mountains
Berry-leaved branches
Razing towards glory
Somehow not
As gram remember
Though still in
Her mountain beauty
The cools that warmed our stove
Grew snapdragons’ feet
Distrustful it is
Victory – victory
Streets a blaze
Grams remembering
The heroes that battled here and
The beauty of her mountain home
Lights a candle and prays

– Jessica Bigi
.

Sweet Revenge

The stove burns brightly.
I’ve tricked them again,
fed bittersweet berries
and now they have lain
aside all their worries,
asleep as I sought.
Dear Hansel and Gretel –
now time for the pot.
Oh no! He’s awakened.
My plan to be slick
is failing, I’m falling
into my own trick.

– © Linda Baie 2015, All Rights Reserved

.
November Haiku

Autumn dances
in gusts of red and gold
bittersweet flames

– Anonymous

.
Poetry_Friday logoLooking for more poetry? You’re in luck! Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting Poetry Friday today, and has all the links ready and waiting for you!

And be sure to send your poems to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com before Nov. 30, to be eligible to win!

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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!
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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)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: “Poetry…Cubed!” Round 2 continues:

Poetry Cubed logo

Are you busy working on your “Poetry…Cubed!” poems? I hope so!

Last Friday, I challenged readers to come up with a poem utilizing imagery from these three pictures:

 IMG_0637 

I’ve already received a few, including the following…

Thanksgiving Day

Applauds
fumbles
Hike
pass
Last second
Five o’clock dinner-plate
Cranberries in a boil
Turkeys blazing in
Grandmas’ oven
Yesterday grandpa
Chops firewood
Tonight we bless
Those we love
Happy Thanksgiving

– Jessica Bigi

cbhanek cubed poem

– cbhanek

.
Under Wraps
How bitter it feels to be sweet when you’re not
When you lose what you love
And pretend you don’t care
When all’s gone that you’ve sought
The voice in your head says
Keep cool! Soldier on!
Hold still that façade
Soon the pain will be gone
So while you burn at your core
You keep a stiff lip
You’ve learned well how to hide it
That heart that’s too tender
The one that is falling
The one that you’re holding
So fast in your grip
– Leslie Lotz-Skimmings

poetryfridaybutton-fulllInteresting how the same pictures can stir different thoughts, feelings, and images within different people – which is why I’m eager to see what YOU come up with! Email me your poem at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com, and I’ll enter you in the contest. And remember, it’s not a matter of how good or bad it is; the important thing is that you write!

If you missed it, this past Monday’s post featured a found poem to help celebrate writer/blogger Irene Latham’s 10th blogiversary! To check out all the “WILD” poetry, log onto her blog, Live Your Poem. And for even more poetry, please visit Bridget Magee at Wee Words for Wee Ones for today’s Poetry Friday roundup!

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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: “Poetry…Cubed”, Round 2!

Poetry Cubed logoHard to believe, but National Poetry Month was half a year ago, when I introduced a little writing contest I called “Poetry…Cubed.”  So, 6 months later, I think it’s time to bring it back and have some more fun!

First, a recap, in case you don’t know how this works: On The Food Network show, “Chopped,” chefs compete against each other by trying to create the best dishes they can using specific ingredients given to them in a special basket. They have no idea what’s in those baskets until they open them on the spot.

For the first round, they might have to create appetizers using, for example, pig knuckles, lima beans, and cocoa. The dishes are critiqued by a panel of judges, the chef with the least appealing dish gets ‘chopped,’ and the three remaining chefs then move on to the entree round, which might consist of geoduck, durian, and Good ‘n Plenty.

The final two move on to desserts, and the last chef standing wins.

For the contest I’m presenting here, I’ve taken the basic premise of the TV show and removed the anxiety…I call it “Poetry…Cubed!” Here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images (“cubed!”) below as inspiration to write a poem.
  • The poem can be any form, any number of lines, rhyming or not.
  • The only hitch is that you need to include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
  • Ornaments
    (click to enlarge)

    Then email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com before Nov. 30 and I’ll share them all here throughout the month! Out of all the poems entered, ONE lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive his/her choice of:

I’ll post all the poems and announce the winner on Fri., Dec. 4!

Keep in mind, I can only format poems to a small degree – so if possible, try to refrain from lots of unusual breaks and text placement. I’ll do my best to format your poem per your wishes, but WordPress will only allow me to do so much; blogging platforms aren’t known for being particularly poetry-friendly!

Ready? Here are your three images:

 IMG_0637 

Think you can make something delicious out of these ingredients? Feel free to click any of the images to enlarge them, and remember: your poems can use concrete references or abstract references; they’re poems, after all, so be creative!

To get things started, here’s a simple stanza I came up with:

Her, in November

Love’s seeds burst open
on the vine
as autumn plays its games;
the fire, ’tis sweet,
but once lit, none
dare try contain the flames.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulllI only spent 15-20 minutes on that, so I’m sure you can come up with something better! I look forward to seeing it! Keep in mind, your poem doesn’t have to be the best, it just has to have a reference to each of the three photos – the winner will be chosen at random.

And for all of today’s Poetry Friday links and fun, please visit Katya at Write. Sketch, Repeat.!

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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
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!