Poetry Friday: “Francis and the Saint”

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

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

This happens to be one of those poems.

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

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

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

Sometimes, things just have a way of working out.

Francis and the Saint

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

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

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

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

© 2010 Matt Forrest Esenwine

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

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


  Coming July 2, 2019!

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

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

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

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

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

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

“Mount Kearsarge”

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

Where am I going with this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet, here we are.

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

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


  Coming July 2, 2019!

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

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

Happy “National Flashlight Day!”

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

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

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

The 2018 Winter Poetry Swap

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

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

(click to enlarge)

The 2018 CYBILS Awards

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

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

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

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


  

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Welcome to the 2018 Holiday Poetry Party!

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

Has a year already passed, since we celebrated last?

Indeed!

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

Our version of an Advent wreath!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Popsicle Poetry returns!

Last month, I shared an example of a poetry prompt I was given at the recent Highlights Foundation poetry workshop I had attended. A few words were written on a Popsicle stick, and I had to come up with a poem using those words. After posting the poem both here and on Instagram, I decided to keep doing it as a way to practice thinking creatively.

So today, I thought I’d share a couple of the short poems I’ve written in response to this prompt – to give you an idea of what one can do with just a couple of words and a few minutes. (all poems © 2018 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved)

(click to enlarge)

Keep in mind, these are not highly-polished, award-winning pieces of literary genius; I rarely spend more than 15-20 minutes on any of them, because they are simply a means to fire up the brain cells and get those synapses closing. Perhaps, if I discover something useful within these poems, I might decide to buff and polish – but I’m worrying about any of that at this point.

(click to enlarge)

Many folks ask me why I share poems that aren’t perfect here, and I always explain that I feel that it’s worth showing that we all have to start somewhere, with some sort of germ of an idea, with mistakes and errors, before we can begin striving for perfection…which rarely comes. (By the way, I do not write the words – that defeats the purpose of being spontaneous – so I ask my wife, son, or whoever might be around to jot down a short phrase on the stick, and then I jump to it!)

(click to enlarge)

I must admit, I did spend a little more time on that last one than I usually do – perhaps 25-30 minutes – because the reverso form, popularized by the incredible Marilyn Singer, is so difficult and I was having too much fun. By the way, if you’re wondering how much my wife is loving winter, just look at the first and third prompts she gave me, as a hint to turn up the thermostat! Thanks also to my 8-year-old, who gave me prompt #2. What would I do without my family?

For more poetry – far more polished and publishable! – head on over to Live Your Poem, where Irene Latham is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with a review AND GIVEAWAY of Laura Purdie Salas’ beautiful new book, Lion of the Sky (Millbrook, April 2019).

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

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


  

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Last Autumn”

This poem was first shared on Oct. 25, 2013 – about a week or so after I returned home from my very first Highlights Foundation workshop. If you have never attended one, I highly encourage you to do so; they are as inspiring as they are educational.

I’m re-posting this poem today not only because we are approaching fall (the first day of autumn is one week from today!), but because I just learned this week that I will be attending my SECOND workshop next month – with Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard. I’m so excited to see them, my Flashlight Night editor Rebecca Davis, and so many others who will be attending!

This poem was one of many inspired by my time there in Honesdale, PA. I hope you like it….

IMG_9185
photo courtesy of Pat Cooley

“Last Autumn”

Do you remember
when we almost got lost
down by the creek
near that old stone wall?
It all started with an apple.

One of us (I don’t recall)
had twisted the season’s last McIntosh
from a withered branch.  Sharing
small bites, we ate
all the way around
save for a dark blemish where something wild
and hungry
had gnawed its flesh.

Tossing the core deep into woods
we ran across the field
for no reason
other than to run
and laughed
for no reason
other than to laugh.

When we finally reached the creek
(were you first, or me?)
remember how we spent our time
dodging briars
walking the rocks
and making sure neither fell onto the slick
smooth stones beneath
the glassy current?
Table Rock, we called it, flat and mossy
under a beech tree rose
up to meet yellowing leaves
wind chimes
dancing
to a silent song.

I helped you onto the stone
or perhaps you helped me
and we sat there
talking of fish
and books
and apples
while the call of a lone wood thrush
made melody with the water.
For a time, we simply listened
because our ears wanted to
watched
because our eyes needed to
and before we knew, color had disappeared
from leaves,
the warm October breeze had cooled,
and Venus was peeking out
from behind pale sunglow.

Not sure how we had gotten there
but knowing enough to follow the creek
I helped you
or you helped me
down from the rock
and we wandered back
retracing steps
under trees, over stones
only this time
as friends
confidantes

conspirators.

And it all started with an apple.

Do you remember?

– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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For all of today’s Poetry Friday happenings, please visit The Poem Farm, where my friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is hosting the roundup. I also hope you’ll check out my review of the local state fair, where I work each Labor Day Weekend…between death-defying motorcycles and poop-emoji plush hats, it’s always a learning experience!

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

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


  (coming Sept. 25, 2018!)

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “York Beach, August 2018”

I want to thank all the folks who visited my blog last weekend; I wasn’t around much, as my wife and I were celebrating our 10th anniversary in York Beach, Maine!

“Finds a vessel, tightly moored…”

Earlier this year we had discussed where to go – perhaps Cape Cod or New York City – but I suggested going to the same place we stay for a week with the kids every June. When my wife looked at me quizzically and asked, “are you SURE??” I replied, yes – because it would be a treat being able to enjoy York Beach as adults!

Believe me, I love my kids dearly…but I also longed for the opportunity to lay on the beach without keeping one eye open and visit shops that contain potentially breakable items. So we left Friday morning Aug. 10 and returned Sunday afternoon – a short little excursion – but enjoyed having the time to ourselves, even though the weather was less than cooperative.

And by “less than cooperative,” I mean it rained the entire time. Disappointing, yes, especially for someone like me who loves sunshine and hot weather…but we didn’t let it get us down. Heck, no, as Pete the Cat would say. Because it’s alllll good.

York Beach, August 2018

The day had finally arrived.
Kids at your sisters,
dogs with the sitter,
we set off through rain-slick streets
cramped with traffic, first-shifters and weekenders
looking to get an early start.

Fridays never used to be this busy.

So we sped and slowed
according to the flow
until we reached the highway, where we could park
and watch
the entire lot; rows of toy cars on an asphalt floor, waiting
to be gathered up by an 8-year-old.

For some reason, the radio
never occurred to us,
busy engaging in adult, parent-pleasures
rarely enjoyed:
complete sentences, uninterrupted thoughts,
unshared beverages.
Inch by inch, exit by exit, the herd
ambled along; plotting our departure, we crept
to the off-ramp, scarcely any others following our lead.

At the inn, we unloaded and unpacked, sea-mist breezes
salting our backs
and cheeks, dampening
clothes, hair, luggage under darkening skies. Peering
through plantation shades, clouds
shot pellets at glass
and unfortunate sunbathers, scurrying
like squirrels beneath a hawk.

We ate in. Nearly every day
it rained and all we could do
aside from a short jaunt downtown and inside a shop
or two, was spend our time talking, looking,
gazing, most often
from a horizontal view. Surrounded
by no one but ourselves, nothing but arms and legs to hold us together,
communication turned silent,
and our weekend washed away
more quickly
than we had ever imagined.

– © 2018 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

For more poetry, please visit Christie at Wondering and Wandering for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup along with some ornithophilous poetry! (and yes, that’s a real word!)

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

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


  (coming Sept. 25, 2018!)

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday, from the archives: My first Pinterest poem

I admit, it seems like an odd subject for a blog post…but hear me out.

While I was contemplating what poem to share today, I realized I hadn’t updated my Pinterest page in a couple of months – and I had shared a lot of news & poetry! So I began combing through my blog posts, making sure everything since late April (did I mention I was a bit behind?) had been pinned to my Writing/Poetry Board.

Out of curiosity, I thought I’d scan through my board to see if I could find the first poem I had pinned…and when I found it, I realized I had picked the poem I should share.

Originally posted on my blog May 17, 2013, the poem just felt right for today:
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Summer Frost
.

It was unexpected.

Deep, deep in July, all humid, torrid,

when blushing Brandywines, full and ripe

hang heavy, tearing from their vines

and dragonflies dart between empty rows…
.

(you can read the poem in its entirety HERE)

.
If you’d like to connect on Pinterest, I promise to try to keep myself updated! And for more poetry, be sure to head on over to My Juicy Little Universe, where Heidi Mordhorst is hosting Poetry Friday today with a review of Chicago’s Summer Poetry Teachers’ Institute and a poem she wrote following one of the sessions!

And by the way, if you’re in the New Hampshire area tomorrow (Sat., July 21), I’ll be at Toadstool Bookshop in Keene, NH for a special Author’s Open House with Vermont author Jessie Haas! Starting at 2pm, we’ll be discussing publishing and marketing children’s books, read a couple of our own, and then hopefully sign a few. For more details, check out their web page HERE.

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


  (coming Sept. 25, 2018!)

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

National Poetry Month: Only FOUR DAYS left to enter “Poetry Cubed #5” and “Dinosaur” Giveaway!

Before we get to today’s poems, I want to encourage you to check out this past Tuesday’s post, in which I shared some 5th grade student poetry from a middle school in Redditch, England! For kids who have been struggling with literacy learning, I was so happy to learn how much they dove into this writing project, following a Skype visit I had with them earlier this year.

They should be very proud of themselves – not only for the writing itself, but for being willing to share their work with all my readers!

I also need to remind you that you only have FOUR DAYS left to enter my Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books) giveaway!

To celebrate the release of my newest picture book, I wanted to offer several opportunities to win copies. One way to win a copy of DAAD, signed by both me and my co-author, Deborah Bruss, is to simply share the news!

  1. Comment on THIS POST
  2. Share THIS POST via Facebook or Twitter
  3. Share my interview with illustrator Louie Chin
  4. Share the book trailer and activity sheets featured at Kate Narita’s blog
  5. Do all four!

.
Each one of these counts as an entry, which means you could have as many as four entries…and if you add in the other 2 contests, that’s SIX different opportunities to win THREE copies! Just be sure to tag me when you share these links, so I can count you. I’ll draw ONE NAME at the end of the month. Good luck, and thank you!

Today, I have more “Poetry Cubed!” poems to share – and each one of them is also an opportunity to win!

If you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network, you know that chefs try to outdo each other by creating dishes using specific and sometimes rather strange ingredients. So for this contest, I’ve taken the premise of the TV show and applied it to poetry! Here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
    .
  • The poem can be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. Most importantly, remember: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading! This is about having fun and being creative!
    .
  • Include a reference to all three images in the one poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract. (And since this is poetry we’re talking about, we play fast and loose with this rule!)
    .
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month. Out of all poems submitted, one writer will be chosen at random to receive a personally-signed copy of Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!

Here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

Today we have two more poems to share:
.

untitled cherita

after the celebration

birthday gifts sorted
thank-you cards await

in a shadowy corner
he shines his new lampe de poche
Merci, Mémé!” he whispers

– © 2018 Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

.
haiku

dark birthday surprise
clawed hand steers my shoulder-
saved by a light beam

– © 2018 Joyce Ray, all rights reserve

.

This time, instead of very different imagery, we have two poems both playing with the contract of light and dark – and both make specific references to birthdays. (By the way, a ‘cherita’ is a poem consisting of 1 line, then 2 lines, then 3 lines, and is usually narrative. Find out more about the form HERE)

One final poem – not at all like these! – from another reader who preferred to remain anonymous:

untitled

Hold the light; hands
scaly
and ancient search
dry earth
one more day

– anonymous

I’ll continue taking entries until the end of the month – which is THIS MONDAY – so send in your poems to Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com! Good luck!

The incredibly talented (and very busy!) Irene Latham is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Live Your Poem – where she also shares poetry and answers questions about her contributions to this year’s ARTSPEAK! project.

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The Dinosaur Tour blog tour continues all month and into May! My thanks to all these bloggers for their support:

April 6:       Michelle H. Barnes (Interview w/month-long writing prompt & GIVEAWAY!)
April 8:       Kate Narita (Book trailer & activity sheet spotlight)
April 11:     Deborah Kalb (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
April 13:     Yours Truly! (Interview w/illustrator Louie Chin)
April 16:     KidLit Exchange (Blog post re: process of illustration)
April 17:     Momma’s Bacon (DAAD review)
April 17:     Yours Truly(DAAD book birthday news AND GIVEAWAY!)
April 18:     Bonnie Ferrante (DAAD review)
April 19:     KidLit Exchange (DAAD review)

April 19:     Brenda Davis Harsham (DAAD micro review)
April 25:     Bonnie Ferrante (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
May 2:        Unleashing Readers (DAAD review)
May 30:      Bookseedstudio (DAAD review/interview) 

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR”
is now available everywhere!

This is going to be a busy weekend, with THREE APPEARANCES over two days – including a wild DOUBLE DINO DAY tomorrow, with author Sara Levine:

  • Sat., April 28, 10:30am: Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing (with Sara Levine, Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones reading/signing)
  • Sat., April 28, 2pm: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing (with Sara Levine, Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones reading/signing)
  • Sun., April 29, 2pm:  MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur, School People, and Flashlight Night reading/signing and discussion
  • Sat., May 5, 10am: Barnes & Noble, Burlington, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., May 5, 1pm:  Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and Flashlight Night reading/signing
  • Sat., May 12, 11am:  Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Wed., May 15, 12pm: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People signing
  • Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing

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

The 2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem!

A little seed is on an adventure…the 2018 Progressive Poem is underway! Here’s the list of all the writers/bloggers participating, so you can follow along:

April 1 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
2 Jane at Raincity Librarian
3 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
9 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
10 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
14 Heidi at my juicy little universe
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
21 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
22 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
25 Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

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

Poetry Friday/National Poetry Month: A Dinosaur-sized interview/poetry prompt and “Poetry…Cubed!” First Entries

National Poetry Month is underway and there’s a lot going on here at the Triple-R Ranch: poetry, interviews, student writing, and a national book launch for my second picture book, among other things. First up, though: an interview with Michelle H. Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty!

At her blog today, Michelle is sharing the news about Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids), the picture book I’ve written with author Deborah Bruss. Deb and I had a lot of fun with her interview, and I encourage you to check it out HERE! (We also have a fun Ditty of the Month Challenge for you!)

Michelle’s blog post is also special in another way:  she is officially kicking off the “DINOSAUR TOUR” – a blog tour running throughout April and early May to celebrate this brand-new book! The complete list of blogs taking part in the DINOSAUR TOUR:

April 6:       Michelle H. Barnes (Interview w/month-long writing prompt)
April 8:       Kate Narita (Book trailer & activity sheet spotlight)
April 11:     Deborah Kalb (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
April 13:     Yours Truly! (Interview w/illustrator Louie Chin)
April 16:     KidLit Exchange (Blog post re: process of illustration)
April 17:     Momma’s Bacon (DAAD review)
April 17:     Yours Truly!  (I’ll be sharing a couple of spreads of the book right here – and gearing up for our National Book Launch that night in Cambridge, MA!)
April 18:     Bonnie Ferrante (DAAD review)
April 19:     Brenda Davis Harsham (DAAD micro review)
April 25:     Bonnie Ferrante (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
May 2:        Unleashing Readers (DAAD review)
TBD:           KidLit Exchange (DAAD review)
May 30:     Bookseedstudio (DAAD review/interview) 

I hope you’ll stop by these various blogs, as you’ll learn something new at each one, plus you’ll have multiple opportunities to win copies of Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!

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

“Poetry…Cubed! #5” entries are already pouring in!

Because a book launch does not make a person crazy-busy enough, I also thought National Poetry Month would be a good time to host another round of “Poetry…Cubed!” This time…with a little thematic element.

If you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network, you know that chefs try to outdo each other by creating dishes using specific and sometimes rather strange ingredients. So for this contest, I’ve taken the premise of the TV show and applied it to poetry – only without the bloody fingers and broken dreams. In case you’re new to this, here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
    .
  • The poem can be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. (Heck, I’ll accept a monoku, if you think you can do it!) But please remember: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading! This is about having fun and being creative – unlike the “real” Chopped, which is all about skill, artistry, and a potential career-ending slip of the knife.
    .
  • Be sure to include a reference to all three images in the one poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract. (And since this is poetry we’re talking about, we play fast and loose with this rule!)
    .
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month. Out of all poems submitted, one writer will be chosen at random to receive a personally-signed copy of Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!

Keep in mind, I can only format poems to a small degree – so please 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.

Here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

And yes…I’m indulging in a little shameless self-promotion with these – and the more you learn about Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), the more you’ll understand!

I’ve already had numerous entries come in since the contest began last Friday! Here are some of them:
.

Poetry

An entry to the world of numbers and words
Praises that describe, adorn, paint the brain so faint with vivid imagination.
Songs and praises that take my mind to the edge of ecstacy
Like a drug

It is so easy to play with words like dies,
Cubic shapes with dots or numbers that determine a win or lose
In words of breath I relate
I sing
I recite
I rotate

In my right mind I write
My mind is poetry
The power of poetry is to free the mind to think as you like
The power of poetry is “Power- to the third Power”

Poetry is imagination
Poetry…

– © 2018 Sandile Dlamiini, all rights reserved
.

Best Cake Ever

It’s party day! So much to do.
Shopping, baking, cleaning, too.

Make “Best Cake Ever!”
(Take a nap?)
No! Don’t you have some gifts to wrap?

Almost ready.
Yikes! They’re here!
Socks away! Hallways clear!

Presents? Thank you!
Games and laughter.
Best Cake Ever?
Only after…

Candles… Wish…
A song for you.
Blow them out! Let’s feed this crew.

CRASH! STOMP! ROAR!
Flail about!
SCREAM! HIDE!
“Wait… and don’t come out.”

Grope in darkness. Find a light.
Friends afraid, “but we’re all right.”

Look for clues. The wall… the floor…
the hall… a TAIL beneath a door?!?!

Trembling fingers, breathless pause:

Caught!
In the act!
With frosting claws!!

Faint.

No, RUN AWAY!
No more party here today!!

Peace and quiet.
Kitchen free.

Must be time for cake and tea.

– © 2018 Savannah Rogers, all rights reserved

(NOTE: Savannah tells me her Mom was the culprit, wearing a realistic dino suit!)

.
haiku

Frigid days clutch, claw
Snow clouds persist, block sun’s beams
Happy Midwest Spring!

– © 2018 Kimberly Hutmacher, all rights reserved

.

Amazing how three simple images can conjure such different reactions, isn’t it?? That’s why I love this little contest I devised. Send me your response to this challenge, and I’ll enter you in the drawing, too!

For today’s complete poetry roundup, please visit my friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm, where she is hosting Poetry Friday with another sample of her Poetry Month Project: 1 Subject, 30 Ways!

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

And in case you missed it…

I shared some 2nd-grader poetry earlier this week, written by students I visited at a local elementary school, and I also shared an interview an Australian ezine did with me, which they just published this week!

If you missed these posts, please check them out!

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

The 2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem!

A little seed is about to go on an adventure! The 2018 Progressive Poem is underway, and here’s a list of all the writers/bloggers participating – so you can follow along:

April 1 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
2 Jane at Raincity Librarian
3 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
9 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
10 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
14 Heidi at my juicy little universe
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
21 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
22 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
25 Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads

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

SCHOOL PEOPLE are here…and the DINOSAURS are on their way!

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR hits bookshelves April 17!

New dates continue to be added to the Dinosaur Tour! Here’s the most up-to-date schedule:

  • Sat., April 14, 11am:  Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH, (Children’s Author Day with illustrator Ryan O’Rourke AND Local Book Launch for Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!)
  • Sat., April 14, 2pm:  Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH, (Children’s Author Day with illustrator Ryan O’Rourke AND Local Book Launch for Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!)
  • Tue., April 17, 7pm:  Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur Dual National Launch Party!! (with Holly Thompson, One Wave at a Time reading/signing/discussion)
  • Thur., April 26, 10:30am:  Pillsbury Free Library, Warner, NH, Dinosaur Storytime with Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People!
  • Sat., April 28, 10:30am: Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., April 28, 2pm: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing (with Sara Levine, Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones reading/signing)
  • Sun., April 29, 2pm:  MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing and discussion
  • Sat., May 5, 10am: Barnes & Noble, Burlington, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., May 5, 1pm:  Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., May 12, 11am:  Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Wed., May 16, 12pm: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People signing
  • Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

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