Poetry Friday: “The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2016” AND a new way to purchase my children’s books!

You know how sometimes you get caught up doing one thing, and your focus prevents you from paying attention to everything else going on around you? Well, that happened to me a few weeks ago.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, friend and fellow children’s writer/blogger Michelle H. Barnes officially released her new poetry anthology, The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2016! And even though I helped select some of the poems (and even had two poems of my own included), I completely neglected to tell anyone! How much of a  schmuck does that make me, huh?

You see, I was in the middle of our #PoetryCubed challenge which we wrapped up last week, and it was only after I had announced our winner, Patty Richardson, that I realized my oversight. So let’s make amends right now, shall we?

Congratulations, Michelle!

Michelle’s latest collection features 75 “Ditty of the Month Challenge” poems – that is, poems which were written in response to various prompts by such highly regarded children’s poets as Jane Yolen, David Harrison, Kenn Nesbitt, and many others, all of whom had been guests on her blog.

Her first anthology of blog-inspired poems, The Best of Today’s Little Ditty 2014-2015, came out last year, so the fact that she had enough quality poems in just one year for another full-length book shows the level (as well as volume!) of writing one can find on her blog.

So the two poems I’m going to share today are one of mine that you can find in the book, and the other is one of my favorites from the book, written by Michelle herself. First, my response to the challenge of writing about something “small.” While some folks opted to write about insects, sand, and that sort of thing, I went…smaller:
.

Little(r) Things

Atoms, photons, bosons, quarks
have baffled many a scholar;
the more we see, the more we learn
there’s always something smaller.

– © 2017, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.
The other poem I wanted to spotlight today is this, which was Michelle’s response to a challenge to write about unlikely heroes – and a pigeon named Cher Ami definitely fit that description:

Cher Ami

If you were exchanged
for an ordinary pigeon
who fattens on white bread
and small bits of French fry,
if your iridescence was hidden
in the shade of an easy life,
then no one would know
your name, Cher Ami.

And somewhere in the world,
soldiers’ lives would be lost
because you were not there
to carry their hopes—
the weight dangling
on a bullet-shattered leg.

No one would know
your name, Cher Ami,
the burden you carried,
the pain that you bore,
as you rose like a Phoenix
though this wasn’t your war,
because you, like them,
just wanted to go home.

– © 2017, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, all rights reserved

.
Congratulations to Michelle and everyone who had poems included! If you’re a fan of poetry – and not just children’s poetry, but poetry in general – I encourage you to pick up a copy. It’s truly amazing to see the vastly different reactions and responses writers had to each of these challenges.

I also encourage you to visit Steps & Staircases, where you’ll find today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, which includes a touching, powerful poem about grief which was inspired, in part, by…a Monopoly game piece. And of course, you’ll also find all of today’s poetry links, so please stop in!

 (ALSO: Please make a note to remind yourself to stop by here on Friday, Dec. 15, as I’ll be hosting a little online holiday party for everyone who loves children’s poetry!

This is a little shindig that David L. Harrison, Joy Acey, and I started at David’s blog a few years ago, and we decided that perhaps it might be fun to move the party around from venue to venue…so this year, it’s moving from David’s place to my little home on the web right here. We’ll have lots of food and conversation, possibly a game or two, and hopefully plenty of poetry! I look forward to welcoming you. That’s Dec. 15 – all day long! – right here at the ol’ Triple-R.)

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

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

In other news:  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!

My good friends at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH, a local, well-loved independent book store, have teamed up to present a very cool option for folks who don’t live anywhere near me, but still would like to have a signed copy of one of my books. They have ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personally signed!

Just log onto my website HERE 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?)

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

WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING ABOUT “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”?

Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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

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: More #PoetryCubed entries AND we have a winner!

I’m so excited I have more #PoetryCubed! entries to share today! We have a winner to announce, book signing news, and a special Flashlight Night review from Jan at Bookseed Studio!

First up: #PoetryCubed! On The Food Network show “Chopped!“, chefs battle each other by creating dishes using specific, and sometimes odd, ingredients. For example, contestants might have to create appetizers using radicchio, bologna, and kumquats, and then turn around and come up with entrees using prawns, pork belly, and Cheez Wiz.

For #PoetryCubed!, I’ve taken the premise of the TV show and applied it to poetry – but without the 20-minute time limit and broken dreams:

  • Using the 3 images below as inspiratio, readers were asked to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
    .
  • The poem could be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. And most importantly…it didn’t have to be very good! This was about having fun and stimulating a few brain cells; remember, #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
    .
  • The only hitch is that a reference to all three images in the poem needed to be included – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
    .
  • Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer would be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

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

    

.

Today we have two poems to round out the challenge. First up is Kay McGriff, whose title alone begs a person to read…

The Ghosts of Art

Headlights slash
flickering shadows
through the trees
to glitter against
the metal skeletons
whirling in the wind.
Whimsical sculptures
sprinkle light
with twirling blades
to shine a beacon
for unwary drivers
rounding the fateful curve
where no one really died.
But still the screams
echo from the backseat
as we chase a ghost
who only lived in legend.

– © 2017, Kay Jernigan McGriff, all rights reserved

.

And finally, we have something from my former Highlights Foundation workshop attendee, Lind Baie, who used the lighthouse image as a springboard to draw in the other images:

Lighthouse Home

Headlights show the final stop–
Miss Matilda’s Pastry Shop
where powdered sugar in the air
leaves tastes of home before we’re there.
Load gifts and sweets on a skiff that waits
for Mom and Pop, our Christmas date.

– © 2017, Linda Baie, all rights reserved

.

I have to say, these three images have been quite inspiring for a lot of people! I started things off with a senryu, but we’ve also had haikus & rhyming poems, poems about vegetables, chocolate, and submarines, and even poems about hangovers, Christmas cookies, and the souls of the dead. I encourage you to click these links and read all the different perspectives and angles that our blog followers have embraced – all based on these three simple photos.

But out of all these poems, only one name could be chosen at random, and that name is…

PATTY RICHARDSON!!

Congratulations, Patty! (Patty told me she’s never entered this sort of challenge before, so I’m glad her leap of faith paid off!) A signed copy of Flashlight Night will be in the mail and headed her way very soon…and thank you to everyone who took part!

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

Speaking of Flashlight Night, Jan Godown Annino is sharing a review of my book at her Bookseed Studio blog today – and it appears she enjoyed it! She asked illustrator Fred Koehler and me to share a little childhood background; where we grew up, what we did, how our young experiences helped create this little adventure we call Flashlight Night. I do hope you check out her post!

I also encourage you to visit Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup.

Will there be cookies? Oh, yes!!

(ALSO: Please make a note to remind yourself to stop by here on Friday, Dec. 15, as I’ll be hosting a little online holiday party for everyone who loves children’s poetry!

This is a little shindig that David L. Harrison, Joy Acey, and I started at David’s blog a few years ago, and we decided that perhaps it might be fun to move the party around from venue to venue…so this year, it’s moving from David’s place to my little home on the web right here. We’ll have lots of food and conversation, possibly a game or two, and hopefully plenty of poetry! I look forward to welcoming you. That’s Dec. 15 – all day long! – right here at the ol’ Triple-R.)

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

The “Flashlight Night” road tour continues!

Here’s my latest schedule – and yes, this weekend is going to be a BUSY one:

  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA (Children’s Author Book Panel)
  • Dec. 3, 1pm: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH (Signing & Book Fair)
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed): Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (early 2018): Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH

I’ll continue revising this as dates are added or times are changed…so please check my FB page for any last-minute updates!

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

WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING ABOUT “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”?

Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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

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: New York Public Library news AND #PoetryCubed challenge continues with FIVE new poems!

Jane Yolen. Margarita Engle. Laura Purdie Salas. Nikki Grimes.

Me.

What do all these folks have in common? They all have books selected by the NY Public Library as one of the Best Books of 2017!

No one is more shocked than Yours Truly that my name is on a list that includes the names of those first four amazing folks. But I’m so happy that the NY Public Library loved Flashlight Night enough to include it – it’s quite an honor! If you want to see the complete list, click HERE.

I’m also pretty excited that Flashlight Night is now #3 on Amazon’s list of Best Selling children’s books about Libraries & Reading:

Thomas the Train, Llama Llama, and a little ol’ book called Flashlight Night…pretty cool, I have to say! So thank you, if you have purchased a copy!

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

In other news, #PoetryCubed has returned! This is an opportunity to have some fun writing – and possibly win a signed copy of Flashlight Night! And if you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network, then you already know how this works…

#PoetryCubed is based on the TV show, where chefs compete by creating dishes using specific – and sometimes outlandish – ingredients. (Feel free to check out this post for a more detailed explanation)

For #PoetryCubed!, I’ve applied the premise of the TV show 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. And most importantly…it also doesn’t have to be very good! This is about having fun, so no pressure allowed! Remember my mantra: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
    .
  • Make sure you include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
    .
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month of November. Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

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

    

This week we’ll start off with something from Heidi Mordhorst, who somehow managed to fit all three images into a 4-line list poem – while attending the NCTE CONFERENCE this weekend in Missouri:
.

beacons in the darkness:
mariner’s lighthouse
traveler’s headlights
hangover’s cure

– © 2017 Heidi Mordhorst, all rights reserved

.
Thank you, Heidi! Now get back to those workshops!

Our second entry comes from Brenda Davis Harsham, who gets extra credit (but, alas, no extra contest entries) for including Flashlight Night in her poem:

.

Flashlight Finds

Some use their lights to find truth,
reading under blankets, riding word kites,
or they escape pain along dark shores,
down dark roads, disappearing in the night,
but I search for something else, magic and mighty.
Peanut blossoms, snickerdoodles, tea cakes,
sugar cookies, gingerbread girls, lemon curls:
the Christmas baking was finished tonight.
I know they are hidden, but I follow my nose.
Round, frosted, powdery, they are my
truth, my escape, my forbidden treat.
Who wants to stray far from home
when Christmas smells so sweet?

– © 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham, all rights reserved

.

Next up is Kathy Mazurowski…with another haiku! It’s so great to see folks getting so much imagery into just 3 lines:
.
.
Quaint island cottage
sparkles in clear sunshine, but
spotlight on pastries.
.
– © 2017 Kathleen Mazurowski, all rights reserved

.

Longtime blog follower and fellow Highlights workshop alum Karen Eastlund shared the following thoughtful scene…

.
Afternoon on Rainy Lake

The haze brought a sense of the surreal
The world in shades of gray
Yet infused by light
The sun glazed
The surface of the water
Warping and distorting with each new wave

Far away
On a small rocky outcrop
A social gathering
Gulls, pelicans, geese
I could hear their raucous calls
Inviting me

I floated out
Entranced by the birds
Their colorless bodies
Just above water’s surface
Winging to and fro
Like souls of the dead

Such a sense of calm
Wonderful and eerie
The great flapping birds
The sun
The rocky shore
The lake itself, huge and lapping
All mysteriously bathed
In silvery light
A confection of nature
Delicious
Tranquil
Beauty

– © 2017 Karen Eastlund, all rights reserved
.

And last but not least, our friend from Down Under, children’s author Sally Murphy, shares her response to the challenge:
.

Late night quest
To slay sugar cravings.
Headlights search for an open store
Stop!
Bakery sign
Like a beacon
On a stormy sea.

– © 2017 Sally Murphy, all rights reserved

.
A bakery is like a beacon on a stormy sea…truer words never spoken, Sally!

The Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Carol’s Corner today, so try to shake off that Thanksgiving turkey coma and enjoy all the poetry links and fun!

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

The “Flashlight Night” road tour continues!

If you’re wondering where I’ll be and when I’ll be there, here’s my updated schedule – and yes, next weekend is going to be BUSY:

  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • Dec. 3, 11am: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed): Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (early 2018): Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH

I’ll continue revising this as dates are added or times are changed…so please check my FB page for any last-minute updates!

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

WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING ABOUT “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”?

Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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

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: Rhyme Revolution interview & more #PoetryCubed responses!

Ah, yes…#PoetryCubed has returned, and lots of folks are getting into the action! If you’d like to try win a signed copy of Flashlight Night, I hope you’ll consider joining us on this little writing challenge.

#PoetryCubed is based on the TV show “Chopped!” on The Food Network, where chefs compete by creating dishes using specific – and sometimes outlandish – ingredients. (Feel free to check out this previous post for details) For #PoetryCubed, I’ve applied the premise of the TV show…to writing:

  • 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. And most importantly…it also doesn’t have to be very good! This is about having fun, so no pressure allowed! Remember my mantra: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
    .
  • Make sure you include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
    .
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month of November. Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

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

    

The first week, I started the ball rolling with a senryu; last week, author Deb Bruss responded with a haiku. This week, we kick things off with another haiku – this time, from author/illustrator Michelle Kogan:
.

artificial light
illuminates empty isles
powdery palate.

– © 2017 Michelle Kogan, all rights reserved

.

Next up is a poem by Patty Richardson, who has never entered #PoetryCubed  before, but responded to the challenge mightily with 8 – count ’em, 8! – stanzas! Way to go, Patty!

.
My secret….

.
As I approached the lighthouse
To avoid being heard or seen,
I dimmed my headlights, turned off the engine
Then reached for a Krispy Kreme.
.
My wife was waiting patiently,
Dinner had been prepared
The last thing she would appreciate
Would be my interest in this eclair.
.
I savored every morsel ,
Licked my fingers to the bone
There’s nothing like powdered sugar
Atop a fresh baked,  chocolate scone.
.
Brocolli awaits me,
Along with brussel sprouts and kale
I won’t let on that I’ve faltered
I’ll avoid getting up on the scale.
.
Chocolate is my weakness,
Forget the collard greens,
Give me a brownie a l mode
And a scoop of ….that fresh whipped cream.
.
What she doesn’t know,  won’t hurt her
I’ll keep this secret to myself
I’ll finish my veggies and smoothie
Then ask for a  serving of kelp.
.
She certainly does mean well
And I know I need to control
This sugar habit I’ve developed
And the lies that I have blatantly told.
.
Gotta kick the habit,
Go cold turkey,  just like that….
Give up my sugary addiction
Give up those sugary snacks!

– © 2017 Patty Richardson, all rights reserved

.

Last but not least, we have a poem from the Haiku Queen herself, Diane Mayr, who shares this engaging little scene from her youth:

.

Submarine Race Watching
Parked at the marina
headlights out
we barely noted
the revolving lighthouse
beam in the bay.
The race’s end
signaled by a light
wielded by an officer
sporting a kiss
of powdered sugar.
.
– © 2017 Diane Mayr, all rights reserved
.
.
I love how so many different poems have come from so many different aspects of these images! I hope you’ll consider entering #PoetryCubed – and please remember, it’s not about how awesome or polished it is, the important thing is that it gets written, period. So send me your poem and I’ll share it here throughout the month!

By the way, Jane Whittingham (better known as The Rain City Librarian) is hosting Poetry Friday today for the very first time – so head on over to her blog for all of the day’s poetry links and hi-jinks!

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

“FLASHLIGHT NIGHT” makes a Top 10 list!

I was so happy to learn that Flashlight Night is now one of only 10 books now in consideration for the 2017 Best in Rhyme Award, handed out by Angie Karcher and the folks involved with Rhyme Revolution!

One of the judges, Deborah Williams, recently interviewed me about the book, my career path so far, and what’s on the horizon…and if you are so inclined, you can read the complete interview HERE!

Although it’s not possible to be everywhere at once, I certainly can’t be accused of not making the effort! If you’re wondering where to find me on this crazy journey, here’s my latest schedule:

  • Nov. 18, 3pm: Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH (“Local Authors Open House”)
  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • Dec. 3, 11am: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH

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

WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING ABOUT “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”?

Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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

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: Birthday poem “Her Green World”

(click to enlarge)

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago when my wife and I took our two kids to Quechee Gorge, Vermont – our local “Little Grand Canyon,” as they call it.

It’s a nice place to hike, explore, get wet, have a picnic, or just relax. At one end of the gorge rock ledges jut out of the earth as the Ottauquechee River smooths; folks can meander around carefully and take a dip in the water. At the other end is the dam that keeps all the river water under control, where you can see the waterfall (some days more exuberant than others) and take a stroll along the upper river – which is where this photo was taken.

I should mention that I wrote this poem with my youngest daughter in mind, not only because she’s in the photo, but because her birthday is coming up in just a couple weeks, so I thought it might be a nice early birthday gift for her.

I also need to wish the great Percy Bysshe Shelley a posthumous Happy Birthday, as he was born on this very date, Aug. 4, 1792; his poem, “Ozymandias,” is one of my favorites, and is one of the reasons why I started learning to write poetry – and specifically sonnets – in high school.

Donna Smith at Mainely Write is hosting Poetry Friday today, so head on over to check out all of the day’s links and fun!

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

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Balladic verse” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you for your support – and stay tuned for details about the big September Blog Tour and book signings that are coming up!

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

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)
 .

Poetry Friday: “Poetry…Cubed!” wraps up today!

Before I get to today’s post, I just wanted to mention that – in case you missed it – I shared a few new peeks of my debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press, 2017) this past Tuesday! The advance copy arrived in the mail while I was at the New England SCBWI conference, and what a welcome home gift it was.

So now I’m back from my conference, and have a few more poems to share as we wrap up this month-long writing challenge I call “Poetry…Cubed!” – based on the premise of the The Food Network show, “Chopped!

Writers were asked to use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem – any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. The only hitch was that a reference to all three images needed to be included in the poem.

Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky person would be chosen at random to receive a copy of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015). Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared a number of entries, and today, we have FIVE more poems!

But first…here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

                 

(All images courtesy of Katherine Esenwine

The first poem is by Brenda Davis Harsham, who saw all sorts of emotion within those pictures:

Van Gogh the Trickster

With his swirling strokes,
flowers unfold, stars twinkle,
Japanese screen images flirt,
couples lean in, sowers seed,
and your eye is tricked
into thinking
paint is real,
happiness lasts,
and youth is forever.

– © 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham, all rights reserved

.

Today’s second entry is a haiku from The Poetry Princess herself, Joy Acey:

Eye of the Tiger
on the silver movie screen
a white hibiscus

© 2017 Joy Acey,  all rights reserved

.
Third, we have a poem from Karen Eastlund, who was inspired to write this poem after she saw a billboard on the way to her aunt & uncle’s house:

Best Billboard

The billboard caught my eye immediately
Not for its bright colors
Or flowery words
But for the humor

PETRIFIED WATERMELONS
Take one home to your mother-in-law

We laughed our way to
My uncle’s house
And then we laughed some more

– © 2017 Karen Eastlund,  all rights reserved

.

Our fourth poem comes from Donna Smith, who took a break from packing (in advance of a big move), to write a poem for this challenge:

Vision

My vision clouded
Confounded
By these walls,
Surrounded;
But on the other side
The blossoms
Of sweeter times
Rebound;
Days of freedom
Behind and ahead
Resound;
In glory
Astound.

.
– © 2017 Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved
.

Last but certainly not least, is a poem by Kay Jernigan McGriff, who weaves all 3 images into a spring scene:

Focus

A clenched bud
unfurls its petals
one by one
as spring unspools
before my eyes.

Bees dance
across the petals
step by step
as spring writes a new
saga across earth’s screen.

– © 2017 Kay Jernigan McGriff, all rights reserved

.
And out of all the entries…who is our randomly-picked winner??

Brenda Davis Harsham!

Congratulations, Brenda! I’ll get your copy of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations to you as soon as possible!

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

REMEMBER: Irene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem continues! Each day throughout April a different person adds a line – until we have a complete, 30-poet poem on April 30.

added my line yesterday which means there are only a few days left, but if you’d like to follow along and see how it’s been progressing, here’s the schedule:

1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at a penny and her jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

.

If you still can’t get enough poetry, head over to Teaching Authors, where JoAnn Early Macken and crew are celebrating today’s Poetry Friday roundup with April showers!

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

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 5, 2017!

Pre-orders are available now by clicking the image of the cover to the right, or if you prefer, you can wait til Sept. 5 and purchase it at your favorite local bookstore.

(Good grief, this is all really happening…)

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

poetryfridaybutton-fulllDid you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: more “Poetry…Cubed!” entries!

I am not actually here right now…it’s alllll an illusion….

So where am I? I’m attending the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators’ annual conference in Springfield, MA! But I wanted to make sure I shared the two latest entries in this little month-long writing challenge I call “Poetry…Cubed!” – based on the premise of the The Food Network show, “Chopped!

If you’d like to join in – which I hope you do – here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem – any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. Remember, it doesn’t have to be very good- the mantra around here is to #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading! This is all about having fun and spurring creativity.
  • The only hitch is that you need to include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
  • PFAC-front-cover-Nov-30-WEB-jpeg-705x1030Then email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here on Fri., April 28. Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive a copy of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015).

Ready? Here are your three images (click on any to enlarge):

                 

(All images courtesy of Katherine Esenwine

The first poem I’m sharing today is a digital composition created by Carol Varsalona:

 

(click to enlarge)

I love how Carol not only used the photos as inspiration to write, but incorporated them into the entire poem. And like so many of the poems submitted, this connects all three images succinctly in just a few words.

The second poem comes from Janet Clare Fagal, who perceived the movie screen as, in her words, a “blank canvas or sheet of paper…something large and white and imposing…” How cool is that?? A giant canvas awaiting inspiration – and that’s what she gives us, in this conversation between an artist and a gardener:

A Gardener’s Advice to the Artistically Forlorn, in Two Voices, sotto voce

(Artist to self)
Empty page,
empty sky.
Look white and blurry
before my eye.

…………………………………..(Gardener to Artist)
…………………………………..
Grab your brush,
…………………………………..Grasp your pen.
…………………………………..Splash on colors!
…………………………………..And begin again.

Poems are waiting.
Frame’s undone.
Must get started!
Creating’s fun.
( Well, some of the time!)

…………………………………..(Don’t whine)
…………………………………..Artists, writers,
…………………………………..it’s not a race.
…………………………………..Paint the flowers,
…………………………………..and set your pace.

…………………………………..(Remember….)
…………………………………..The eye can see,
…………………………………..but the heart will know.
…………………………………..Put pen to paper,
…………………………………..get in the flow,
…………………………………..…….. and grow!

– © 2017, Janet Clare Fagal, all rights reserved

A third poem I thought I’d share is a rough draft of mine, as I was thinking about how much the eye resembles a globe. It’s definitely not a polished piece, but I thought I’d share it anyway, just to provide another example of how many directions ones inspiration can go with this sort of challenge:

Glory of morning awakens
senses; world-eye view
captures truth in otherwise
cinematic lives.

– © 2017, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Remember, you have just one week left to enter the contest, so send your poem to Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com before Thur., April 27! And remember, it doesn’t have to be good – it just has to be written!

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

ALSO: Irene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem continues! Each day throughout April a different person adds a line – until we have a complete, 30-poet poem on April 30.

I’ll be adding my line next week on April 27, but if you’d like to follow along and see how it’s been progressing, here’s the schedule:

1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at a penny and her jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

poetryfridaybutton-fulllTabatha Yeatts-Lonske is hosting Poetry Friday today at The Opposite of Indifference, so be sure to visit her little home on the web for all of today’s links and fun!

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

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!