Poetry Friday: #PoetryCUBED writing prompt enters its 3rd week!

We continue to celebrate National Poetry Month with #PoetryCUBED, a writing prompt that has been generating LOTS of great poems (you can read the post HERE to get a sense of what it is)!

As I’ve previously explained, #PoetryCUBED is based on The Food Network’s popular show, “Chopped!”, where chefs compete against one another by creating dishes with specific ingredients. The dishes are judged and after a series of elimination rounds where chefs are “chopped,” one chef one is crowned victorious.

So for #PoetryCUBED, I’ve applied the show’s premise to poetry:

  • Use the 3 images (“cubed,” get it??) below as inspiration to write a poem.
  • The poem can be any form, any number of lines, rhyming or not. 
  • A reference to all three images needs to be included in the poem – it can be vague, if you want, but it needs to be there!
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here – and at the end of April, one name will be drawn at random to receive your choice of a free, personally-signed copy of ANY ONE of my books!

I shared my poetic response in my first blog post this month, then shared several others I’d received from folks like you – and today, I get to share even more!

.

A Dog with Good Taste

When our dog ate
the tomatoes, just picked,
by the shed,

some said he had
rocks in his head!

But like me
he’s a gourmet—

would eat an heirloom tomato
any day.
.

– © 2022, Janice Scully

secrets

the secret to growing tomatoes
is to listen to them chatter

after a soak in the sun
swinging from stems
summer heat reddens the skin

the secret to a walk on the shore
is to listen to stones

stories from the sea
stamina while sand
smoothes away rough edges
like the wisdom of a grandma

the secret to a Sunday drive
is to listen to a dog

an open window
wind on whiskers
a wink, a pink tongue
a willing lap

the secret is to listen

take a drive
walk the shore
grow tomatoes


– ©2022 (draft), Patricia J. Franz

.

Carol Varsalona took the challenge one step further (or was it three?) and wrote a tricube for her response:

.
licking good
tasty treat
tomatoes

all-season
tongue-slurping
heart love

taste, wink, smile-
childhood thoughts
in a jar
.

– ©2022, Carol Varsalona

If you’re unfamiliar with tricubes, they are a new form of poetry where each poem contains three stanzas, each stanza contains three lines, and each line contains three syllables. So hers is a poem that was cubed and cubed again, ha!

How will YOU approach this challenge? You have ONE WEEK LEFT to send in your poem and be entered in the drawing for a personally-signed copy of any one of my books, so be sure to email me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com as soon as you can!

Last week, I hosted the Poetry Friday roundup and shared an interview with my friend Leslie Bulion, whose new picture book Serengeti: Plains of Grass (Peachtree Publishing) came out March 1 – the same day as my I Am Today (POW! Kids Books). Her publisher was kind enough to offer a free copy of the book to one of my readers, and the person whose name was drawn at random is…

MICHELLE KOGAN!

Congratulations, Michelle! Out of all the folks who entered, hers was the name that was chosen from the ol’ random number generator, and she gets a copy of Leslie’s new book!

Margaret Simon is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup AND the annual Progressive Poem at Reflections on the Teche, so head on over for all the poetry links and fun!

They don’t mean no, they mean “no.” and they don’t mean parking – they mean “parking.”
Such an egregious waste of quotation marks.
Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my newest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
from my local independent bookstore!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: A couple of favorite poems from Poetry Out Loud

Last Friday night, the NH State Poetry Out Loud state championship took place, and I was very honored to be one of the judges!

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition where students are judged on a number of criteria including stage presence, vocal clarity, dramatic interpretation, etc. I’ve been a judge for the state regionals for several years, but last week was the first time I had been asked to judge the state finals, which take place at the New Hampshire state house.

Students recited a wide array of poems, from Gary Soto’s “Self-Inquiry before the Job Interview” and Padma Venkatraman’s “Whenever You See a Tree” to classics like “The Charge of Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson and my all-time favorite poem: “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. (Be sure to check out the link for the text of the poem as well as background information on its subject and poet)

Inside the state house, past the Hall of Flags, into Representatives Hall…we were treated to amazing recitations of some incredible poetry. Representatives Hall, I should mention, is a significant and important part of history – and not simply because it is where the state’s laws are created.

You see, the NH state house is the oldest state house in the country where legislators continue to conduct business in their original chambers. Construction was completed in 1819, and state legislators still meet there to this day.

But that’s not all. Our House of Representatives, at 400 members, is also the FOURTH-LARGEST lower house in the English-speaking world, outranked only by the United States House of Representatives, Lok Sabha in India, and the UK’s House of Commons. Yep, we take governance seriously up here.

So now that social studies is done, let’s move on to English. Today’s poem is one of the poems recited at last week’s Poetry Out Loud competition, and I wanted to share it because it was written by someone with whom you may not be familiar: former National Youth Poet Laureate Kara Jackson, a 20-year-old with the wisdom and talent of someone twice her age, at least. Check out a portion of her Poetry Out Loud poem:

the world is about to end and my grandparents are in love

……….still, living like they orbit one another,
my grandfather, the planet, & grandma, his moon assigned
by some gravitational pull. they have loved long enough
for a working man to retire. grandma says she’s not tired,

she wears her husband like a coat that survives every season,
talks about him the way my parents talk about vinyl—
the subject salvaged by the tent of their tongues.
grandma returns to her love like a hymn, marks it with a color…

– continue reading HERE

– originally published in ‘Poetry’ (March 2021), all rights reserved

Thanks for stopping by – and thank you so much to everyone who has been sharing their kind words of support for my new picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books)! For all of today’s Poetry Friday links and fun, head over to There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town where Ruth is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup – and attempting to settle into her new Paraguayan surroundings!

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my newest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
from my local independent bookstore!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: A trip back to my alma mater…AND Poetry Out Loud!

.

Me standing outside Woodruff Hall

Yesterday was a great day.

I was asked to speak to the creative writing class at Castleton University, the school I graduated from way back in 1989, when it was still called Castleton State College.

And the really cool, coincidental thing is…the class was run by the very same professor whom I’d had as a freshman!

More specifically…a professor who began working for the college the same semester I began attending the college! You see, Dr. Florence Keyes was an adjunct who was still working on her PhD at the time, and her class was the first class I ever took at the college.

Little did we know we’d reconnect last fall and it would lead to this day. Funny how life works, isn’t it?

Anyhoo…Dr. Keyes had asked me to talk about poetry, which had been the recent focus of the class, as well as publishing. So I shared some poems as well as insights into the craft, talking about everything from free verse and villanelles to ulteriority and the benefits of specificity.

Oh, yes, we covered an awful lot in an hour and 15 minutes!

One of the poems I shared was this one, published in the TallGrass Writer’s Guild’s Seasons of Change (Outrider Press, 2010):

With this poem in particular, I showed importance of enjambment and internal rhyme as well as what happens to a poem if a few words are edited out; it can change the entire poem. If you don’t believe me, check out the original version HERE and note the words in the last couple of stanzas that were inadvertently removed.

The poem needed those extra words because the entire scene is about The Giving Tree – what happened to the stump 50, 75, 100 years later? Without those words, this poem is about a simple scene in the woods featuring a stump; with those few words, however, the scene becomes something else entirely.

It was also nice to stop into the university’s library and find two of my books! Dr. Keyes teaches a children’s lit course in the fall and has invited me back to chat to that class, so there’s something else I can look forward to!

Speaking of things I’m looking forward to…tonight is the night of the NH State Poetry Out Loud finals, and I’m very honored to be one of the judges.

I’ve been a judge for the state regional finals for a umber of years, but this will be the first time I’ve ever judges the state finals at the statehouse, so I’m really looking forward to it!

If you’re not familiar with Poetry Out Loud, it’s a national recitation competition – and the winning students are truly incredible! I wish there had been something like this when I was in high school.

Students will be reciting poems as varied as “The Charge of Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Whenever You See a Tree” by Padma Venkatraman, “Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam” by Dan Vera, and my all-time favorite poem, ever: “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

It’s a wonderful event and a great cause, so I’m happy and proud to be able to be a part of it every year. (Especially this year, as everything needed to be prerecorded last year due to the pandemic and much of the excitement and energy that comes from a live performance was lost)

Thanks for visiting today! For the entire Poetry Friday roundup, be sure to head on over to Poetry for Children, where Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong are hosting the festivities with a brand-new food anthology!

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my newest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
from my local independent bookstore!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: The ROUNDUP is here – and we’re celebrating one whole year of Friends & Anemones!

One year ago, in the middle of a pandemic, a very unique and fun book arrived on the scene…and today we’re celebrating its 1-year birthday!

Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, created by members of The Writer’s Loft in Sherborn, Massachusetts, was officially published November 8, 2020!

With poems and illustrations by more than 60 New England authors and illustrators like Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Peter H. Reynolds, Jodie Apeseche, Josh Funk, Bob Thibeault, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, and many others (including Yours Truly), the book clocks in at a solid 70 pages!

The book is especially dear to my heart, because I didn’t just contribute 3 poems; editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly asked author Kip Wilson and I to judge all the submissions, to determine which were the best and which needed some revision. It was quite the time-intensive task (a little consonance there, for you poetry fans), but we had a lot of fun doing it – and were glad we were able to help others in polishing their poems for publication (a little aliteration, as well, just to keep you on your toes).

You can read my interview with Wixted & Kelly HERE and learn about how they came up with the idea, how they navigated the process, and how they managed to pull it all off during a nationwide shutdown!

One of the most impressive spreads in the book features a beautiful illustration by Leanne Leutkemeyer with a poem by Amanda Smith:

All images © 2020 The Writers Loft Press, reprinted with permission, all rights reserved

And since I’ve shared my “Goblin Shark” pantoum and “Unmoored” cherita in past blog posts, I thought I’d share my third poem, a haiku:

I love variety (I’m the kind of guy who orders the appetizer sampler at a restaurant because I don’t want to miss out on anything!), so I wanted to make sure each poem I submitted was very different in style and form. I figured pantoum/cherita/haiku was a pretty good mix.

If you are new to Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy – at 70 pages, it’s hefty, so you’re defintely getting your money’s worth. Of course you can order it from Amazon and B&N, but if you purchase it from my hometown indie bookstore, I’d be happy to sign it!

And by the way…if you’ve not heard about this company, you need to check them out! Products are made from recycled ocean plastic, and funds go to help continue ocean cleanup and the preservation of ocean life.

Since it is Poetry Friday, I’m very proud to be hosting the festivities – so you need go no further for today’s offical round up! Just leave your links in the comments below and I’ll round them up throughout the day, old school-style!

Denise Krebs shares a beautiful wedding gift: a pantoum!

The autumn season inspired Michelle Kogan to write two haiku.

Also in a fall mood, Carol Varsalona reviews Ashley Wolff’s new picture book, How to Help a Pumpkin Grow.

Carmela Martino features a creative NF book about the American Revolution along with one of her 3 contributions to Bridget Magee’s new release, 10.10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways.

Poetry is all about finding new, interesting connections, and Linda Baie connects Daylight Savings Time with poet Ted Kooser.

One of the reasons I love poetry is because it can cram a lot of imagery and emotion into a tight space…and Alan J. Wright is doing just that today with some short, witty light verse!

Molly Hogan is stepping outside of her “comfort zone” by sharing two very personal, emotional poems.

Our Aussie friend Kathryn Apel, along with our other Aussie friend, Sally Murphy, recently helped the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature develop the Australian Verse Novel Resource, a fantastic idea that I hope catches on stateside!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is contemplating change – trees, leaves, bees – and offers a thoughtful poem, “Circles.”

The great artist Vincent Van Gogh once said that he would “never stand for anything of importance”…but Tabatha Yeatts is in with an original poem to prove otherwise.

Linda Mitchell has news of a poetry contest and an original award-winning poem about sisters and sibling love.

Tim Gels has much to be thankful for, and since this is the perfect month to show thankfulness he shares 3 tankas about thanks.

Have you ever considered making poetry out of trash? Susan Thomsen does just that, with blackout poetry from an old book!

Heidi Mordhorst shares a n/ode to autumn today – and no, that’s not a misprint!

Gratiku: I love that word! Ruth shares a haiku about gratitude, this time about the importance of tea and the comfort it provides.

There’s something about this time of year that gets folks in a haiku/tanka mood, and Christie Wyman joins in with a beautiful autumnal poem.

Irene Latham‘s latest latest ArtSpeak: Four Seasons poem is inspired by fog and friendship.

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love pizza, in one way, shape, or form – and Jama Rattigan reviews a brand-new children’s book, We Love Pizza, by Elenia Beretta.

Mary Lee Hahn takes a look at what it means to “persevere” and shares an incredibly powerful original poem.

Yesterday was spent raking and leaf-blowing with my kids…and Karen Eastlund was apparently doing the same thing, as she offers a short fall poem she is still working on, but which is coming along nicely.

Margaret Simon is prepping for a poetry reading with some esteeemed company, and shares a few student poems from the Poet-Tree!

Janice Scully is offering a positive, inspirational poem she wrote about the climate crisis.

In honor of Veterans Day, Linda Kulp Trout (an Air Force veteran herself) shares a poem she wrote to thank veterans for their work and sacrifice, which originally appeared in the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Poemlo Books, 2015)..

Carol Labuzzetta has been dealing with seasonal, personal, and literary challenges this past week, and shares an update – along with an original autumn poem.

What do you do when a home you love…is no longer recognizable? Catherine Flynn explores that difficult situation with an original poem.

Laura Purdie Salas has rounded up several short poems for fall, that originally appeared in her e-newsletter for educators.

Mary Cronin spotlights a new biographical verse novel, The Traveling Camera: Lewis Hine and the Fight to End Child Labor, by Alexandra Hinrichs.

Almost-last but definitely not least, we have TWO different post about the incredibly talented Janet Wong, who is receiving the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children at NCTE’s annual (virtual) convention next week! Her friend and Pomelo Books co-hort, Dr. Sylvia Vardell, shares a fun video interview with Janet you have to see…while Jone MacCulloch shares part II of her online interview with Janet.

And finally, a perfect way to put a big red bow on our Poetry Friday celebration: Leigh Anne Eck says “tanka you” with a beautiful original tanka!

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

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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I’d love to visit with you or your child!
Learn more by clicking the graphic!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Arriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Untitled.” (and yes, that’s actually the title)

As I always say, one never knows from where or when a poem will materialize.

In the case of today’s poem, it didn’t even wait for me to have my morning coffee.

And no, the poem is not untitled. The title is “Untitled.”

I had barely woken up – I hadn’t even taken the dogs outside yet – when I noticed the dense fog lifting off the pond across the street. So I dropped what I was doing and ran over to catch some shots.

As I took a few pictures (you can see the short video from my original Instagram post HERE), words started swirling around in my head, so I went back to the house and jotted them down on my phone. Twenty minutes later, I had a short poem I was rather proud of.
.

Untitled.

I rise
like early-morning fog;
slow and thin, lifted
by the cool breath
of a boundless new day.

– © 2021 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

Now, folks who don’t write poetry won’t realize how much work actually went into writing these five short lines. But for those of you who do write, or are learning how to write, poetry…there was quite a bit of thought required, at a time of day when coherent thinking doesn’t always come easily.

First, I needed to figure out what to say and how to say it – in way that wasn’t tired or cliched. I also deliberately made use internal rhyme, playing with the “L” sound throughout, as it felt fluid on the tongue. I included two “F” sounds and a “TH”, which is similar, because those very felt airy and wispy. And I even spent time considering how to alliterate “breath” and came up with “boundless.”

As for the title? I spent a good additional 5 minutes thinking about that, when it occurred to me that the poem was about limitless possibilities! So since the day was new and ‘untitled”…wouldn’t “Untitled.” be the perfect title?

Hopefully you can see why I was so proud of those 20 “pre-coffee” minutes I spent writing. For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, be sure to visit Catherine at Reading to the Core where she is sharing a poem – about poetry!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Arriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: York Beach shoreline

.In just a few days, I’ll have a brand-new office:

It’s only a temporary office, alas…but it’s still the best type of office out there.

So, since I won’t be around for next week’s Poetry Friday, today I wanted to share a little something I wrote for my daughter. We visit York Beach, Maine every year; it’s just a little over an hour and a half to our east, but it feels like a world away. You can get a better idea of the area’s beauty by checking out THIS PHOTO, THIS PHOTO, and THIS PHOTO.

A few years ago, we were sitting on the steps leading from the boardwalk down to the shoreline; it was high tide, so we couldn’t even sit on the bottom steps. My daughter loved watching the waves come up and pound the ground in front of her, and I taped this:

.

Bathed in salt,
sun-glistening smooth,
shoreline jewels
welcome persistent surf
and giggles.

© 2021 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to check out the official cover reveal for my next picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books), which comes out this Oct., check it out at agent/author Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez’ popular kidlit blog, Math Is Everywhere! We have TWO GIVEAWAYS!! Also, many thanks to all the folks around the country who have added my books to their reading lists – you can see the list at my recent blog post from this past Tuesday.

It’s a “rainbow-colored springtime” at my friend Buffy Silverman’s blog today – she’s hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup so check out her poem and all the links!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Night Roses”

(click to enlarge)

It’s Poetry Friday, so if you’re looking for more poems and links, head on over to Margaret Simon’s little home on the web, Reflections on the Teche, for today’s complete roundup – and not one but TWO responses to poetic challenges she undertook!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Winners, we have winners…!”

Happy Earth Day!

I’m sharing my Poetry Friday post a day early because Thursday has been Earth Day and Once Upon Another Time‘s publisher, Beaming Books, is giving away FREE COPIES of the book along with a digital ARC to various libraries, trail groups, and other organizations around the country that maintains StoryWalks™!

(What IS a StoryWalk™, you ask? It’s usually a series of kiosks set up along a trail that each feature a different spread of a book…which allows visitors to read as they walk. Here are a few photos from the inaugural installation of the Warner, NH StoryWalk™ which featured my Flashlight Night.)

.

We had several folks send in entries to win copies of Once Upon Another Time! The winners are:

  • The local reading council of Chadbourn, NC (Tonnye Fletcher)
  • New Franklin School of Portsmouth, NH (Tammi Truax)
  • Carson City Library, Carson City, NV (J Hodnett)
  • Dr. Leroy E. Mayo School & their PTA, Holden, MA (Andrew Hacket)
  • Pillsbury Free Library of Warner, NH (Sue Matott)
  • Friends of South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee (Sarah Marhevsky)

Congratulations to all! I hope you and everyone who visits your StoryWalk™ enjoys our book!

Photos of New Hampshire’s White Mountains in Franconia, NH taken by Yours Truly, August 2019

.

NOW, FOR TODAY’S “GUEST” POET…

As you may have heard from previous posts, my wife and I found ourselves homeschooling our two children in the wake of the pandemic. While it can be a trying situation sometimes with arguments, obstinence, and an utter disregard for personal space, overall they have both been doing excellent and I have no worries they won’t be prepared to return to their classrooms in the fall.

That said, my 7-year-old daughter surprised me a couple of weeks ago while finishing her English textbook (yes, we completed an entire year-long program in just 6 1/2 months!) with a poem that caught me off guard. She had learned some simple poems like “Twinkle, Twinkle” and was asked to write her own poem about a star. This is what she came up with:

From Master Books’ “Language Lessons for a Living Education

I will see the stars so bright.
So they can be my flashlight.
And as I watch I’ll see my God to light up the night as well.
.

Now granted, everyone thinks their child is a genius these days, but this are pretty thought-provoking lines for a 7-year-old who claims she doesn’t like poetry. We’ve been utilizing “Language Lessons for a Living Education” from Master Books for both kids, which teaches English while including some Christian lessons, and supplementing this with various grammar worksheets I print out as well as my own lessons. I don’t know if it was any of this, or simply my poetry genes showing up in her capable hands, but I couldn’t be more proud of her.

For the complete Poetry Friday roundup, visit Catherine at Reading to the Core where she has Padma Venkatraman in the spotlight along with a poem inspired by one of Padma’s recent poetry prompts. Also, be sure to check out all the new books this month from my 2021 Book Blast partners:

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: New Hampshire celebrates another new book release with David Elliott’s “The Seventh Raven”

Once Upon Another Time.

The Wisdom of Trees.

The Seventh Raven.

For a little state, we’ve really been cranking out the children’s books this month!

First, Lita Judge and I shared a publication date on March 2 with our two new releases. And just a little over a week ago, my neighbor David Elliott’s new YA verse novel, The Seventh Raven (HMH Books for Young Readers), hit bookshelves nationwide.

David’s been receiving great praise for his new book, which is his unique take on the classic Brothers Grimm tale, “The Seven Ravens,” about seven brothers whose lives are saved by their youngest sibling, their sister. (There are actually multiple variants of this tale across Europe, from Poland to Greece)

In David’s re-telling, six of the brothers are all named Jack while the seventh, youngest brother is Robyn. David has said that he named them all Jack because he didn’t want to shift the focus of his tale away from Robyn and the brothers’ sister, April, who attempts to rescue them.

David felt that naming all 6 brothers Jack also helped show how similar they were in their attitudes about who they were and how they were content living their lives as they were. They were all like-minded; hence, they were like-named.

It is Robyn, on the other hand, who feels a different calling, and it is his story that David tells, beginning his novel with a poem title “Change” that features a cadence and language befitting a classic fairy tale:

“Change” goes on to detail the myriad lives of the forest – from the bears and wolves to the trees and river – concluding with the image of a cottage whose “timbers are aching” and whose “joists beg for mercy” from the many pairs of boots stomping through it each day, and the family living within its walls:


If you’d like to learn more about David’s book, including why he enjoys verse novels, how he decides to approach the craft, and why he chose this particular tale to tell, I encourage you to check out the following video from one of our local indie bookstores, Gibson’s Bookstore of Concord, NH which hosted his official book launch on March 16:

.

For more poetry, be sure to visit Soul Blossom Living, where Susan is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup AND getting ready for National Poetry Month with a list of Poetry Friday contributors’ celebratory plans!

~ ~ GIVEAWAY!! ~ ~

Would you like a personally-signed copy of ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME? I gave away one copy last week,and I’ll giev away ANOTHER one at the end of this month! If you’d like to win , just share this graphic on Twitter and use the hashtags #giveaway and #2021BookBlast…I’ll announce the winner on April 1 – no fooling!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

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, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “The Measure of a Love”

I hope you’ll pardon my absence for the past couple of Fridays; 2020, the year that will go down in infamy, officially ended with the death of my mother, Virginia, on New Year’s Eve.

She had been in a nursing home for the past 5 years or so, but began seriously declining over the summer, when she was placed on hospice; at the time, none of us thought she would make it to the end of the year.

But in true Mom form, she wasn’t going to go until she was ready – and that meant hanging on until literally the beginning of the new year, just minutes after New Zealand and the folks on the other side of the world were greeting 2021 for the first time.

“I’ll show them,” she must have been thinking, as she peacefully and quietly slipped from her sleep, my father by her side.

Mom & Dad at their 50th anniversary celebration, 2009.

It has been difficult saying goodbye these past few weeks, as I could only visit her in person twice, with full PPE gear on – but it’s been especially difficult for Dad, whose quarantined nursing home room now has an empty bed to remind him of what happened. But if there’s any good news in this – aside from the fact that she’s no longer in pain – it’s that she and Dad were able to spend an incredible amount of time together, holding hands, reminiscing, and reminding each other of their love.

Dad told me how hard it was to be there watching her slowly die each day, and I can’t imagine how hard that must have been, but I reminded him that it was a blessing in that so many of us regret we never had a chance to tell our loved ones what we should have told them; Mom and Dad had months to do that. I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done for me.

.

The Measure of a Love
……….for Forrest and Virginia

Love. How does one measure such a thing?
An inch is always exactly so long; likewise,
a liter always a liter. No more, no less. Circumference
of a circle, area of a rhombus – these things
we determine precisely with absolute specificity. No guessing,
no quandaries. Quadratic equations, memorized formulas
reassure us of certainty, definiteness. Everything
as it should be, ordered and cyclical. Yet, love…

How does one measure such a thing?

Hard enough to plot a point. How long the line radiates,
unfixed; mass, velocity, speed are subject to fluctuation. Never
straight, it twists and curls like a series of French curves
laid end-to-end, upside down and backwards, so that none
can claim an obvious theorem or divine proportion. Let this,
then, be the formulary: 2 hearts plus 61 years multiplied
by the grace of God, times infinite kind words and kisses, never
divided nor subtracted – always multiplied, multiplied,
multiplied. There is no taking away. This, after all, is love.

And how does one measure such a thing?

© 2021 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Today, Sylvia Vardell is our Poetry Friday hostess, so head over to her blog, Poetry for Children, for the complete link roundup AND a long list of all the cool new poetry books coming out this year for young people!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Coming January 26, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Children will love to follow along on a Goldilocks-like journey as Elliot searches for the perfect place to rest in this new board book! 

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

Contrasting the past with the present, this picture book takes you through a lyrical exploration of the world as it was before humans made their mark.

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

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!

Click any of the following covers to order!

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, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’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!

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!