Poetry Friday: Welcome to the 2017 Holiday Poetry Party!

Like Frosty says, “Welcome!” Take off your coat, have a seat, and relax – we have plenty to drink, including egg nog, spiced apple cider, and a giant batch of our special Holiday Punch! (Oh, and plenty of Moxie, as well – it is the elixir of the gods, after all)

Pepparkakor, loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

If you’re feeling a bit peckish, you’ll find numerous tables scattered throughout the rooms, featuring my award-winning homemade chili, maple-glazed scallops wrapped in bacon, homemade spanakopita, Swedish meatballs, roasted pepper-and-olive petite quiches, and freshly-made, authentic French Canadian Tourtière and gorton.


Chocolate-mint brownie cookies. If a cookie could be a brownie, this is what it would look like!

Oh, I’m sorry – you prefer sweet over savory? We have numerous treats as well, including chocolate-mint brownie cookies, Scandinavian pepparkakor, vegan cranberry-banana bread, double-dipped pretzels, German springerle, tri-chocolate roasted walnut bark, tons of sugar cookies in every shape you can imagine (including flashlights!), my famous pumpkin-rum swirl cheesecake with gingersnap crust, and a vegan chocolate cake with mocha icing you’ll absolutely love.

Once you’ve satisfied your cravings, I do hope you’ll stick around for the poetry we’ll be sharing; you see, David L. Harrison, Joy Acey, and I started up this little shindig a few years ago, and up til now it’s been held at David’s place. But as wonderful as he and Sandy have been as our hosts, we thought it might be nice to move the party around a bit – so this year, it’s here at the ol’ Triple-R.

In advance of our party, I’ve “spruced” up the place a bit (har har, gotta love holiday puns)…

…so please leave a comment to let us know you stopped by – and if you’re so inclined, please include either a couplet about your favorite holiday food or the title of a new picture book you feel needs to be under every child’s tree this year!

Although there is one particular book that is near and dear to my heart (I’m sure you can guess which one that is!), I would like to suggest a few others that are special in different ways, all written by friends of mine from here in the Northeast:  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Read! Read! Read! (Boyds Mills Press) which was illustrated by my friend Ryan O’Rourke and came out the same day as Flashlight Night, with the same publisher and editor; Elaine Magliaro’s Things to Do (Chronicle), a collection of poetic scenes from nature written with the wonder of a child; Josh Funk’s fun The Case of the Stinky Stench (Sterling), the sequel to Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast; and Carol Gordon Ekster’s You Know What? (Clavis), which celebrated its national book launch alongside Flashlight Night when Carol & I visited Cambridge, MA in September for a kidlit author/illustrator gathering, followed by a presentation/reading/signing at Porter Square Books.

Two other books I would add – and there are some GREAT ones out this year – are Lee Bennett Hopkins’ Traveling the Blue Road (Seagrass Press), a collection of children’s poems about bravery, courage, and how the sea is a metaphor for life’s journey; and my son’s favorite, Drew Daywalt’s The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors (Balzer & Bray) which is extremely creative in its storytelling and hilarious, to boot.

Last – but certainly, definitely never least – is an upcoming book by the gentleman who started this virtual holiday party, David L. Harrison. A Place to Start a Family: Poems About Creatures That Build (Charlesbridge, 2018), David’s latest children’s poetry collection, comes out next month, features 12 poems about animals that build things – nests, tunnels, etc. – and includes back matter that provides more info on each animal and its poem. Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly already love it, so be sure to watch for it when it hits stores in January!

(And speaking of purchasing picture books, there is now an easy way for you to pick up a personalized signed copy of Flashlight Night, online! Details below…)

Home, Sweet Home…

I look forward to reading your couplets and picture book suggestions! Just leave them in the comments for everyone to read and enjoy. I’ll be popping in throughout the day to make sure introductions are made, plates are full, and glasses are filled!

Here’s my couplet, which I came up with while baking with my daughter the other day:

I’ll bake some cookies, make a mess, and then I’ll bake some more!
It takes me twice as long these days; my sous chef’s only four.

Diane Mayr is hosting Poetry Friday today, so I encourage you to swing by her place for a little while, as well, and enjoy all the poetry links and fun at Random Noodling!


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?)


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


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

Poetry Friday: dusting off a poem for Halloween

My kids have been talking about Halloween since they started school, so I thought it might be nice to delve deep down into the ol’ Triple-R-chives (see what I did there?) and share something I wrote 5 years ago, back when this blog was still in its fledgling state.

It’s a fun poem which I enjoyed writing – and even now, having read it and re-read it a hundred times, it hasn’t lost its luster for me. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it! Just click the graphic (which inspired the poem) and you’ll be whisked away to the original post.

Click image to visit the Vampire’s Kitchen! (image courtesy Jennifer L. Meyer, used with permission, all rights reserved)

Violet Nesdoly is not only hosting Poetry Friday today – she’s celebrating Thanksgiving! This weekend, our Canadian neighbors are celebrating Thanksgiving, so this is a special “Pumpkin Edition” of Poetry Friday!


How can I get a copy of Flashlight Night, you ask? When can I get it signed, you ask? Where will I be next, you ask?

Funny you should ask…

  • Oct. 11, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
  • Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center / Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Toadstool Bookshop, Keene/Peterborough/Milford, NH

I’ll continue updating this as dates are added!


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

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“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

“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: “No-Moon Day”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllI’m continuing to celebrate the release of the newest Poetry Friday Anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, which just became available a week ago, with another one of my poems that didn’t make it!


While I’m very proud that my poem for National Cereal Day, “Picky Eater,” DID make the cut, I figured my poems that weren’t so fortunate might never see the light of day – so what better reason to share them, right?

Diwali (also called Deepavali) is the 5-day-long Indian festival of lights, one of the biggest and most important festivals for Hindus. Spiritually, it recognizes the victory of light over darkness – which is why it coincides with the day of the new moon (known as the “darkest night”) during the Hindu month of Kartika, between late October and early November (this year, it falls on Nov. 11).

In The Poetry Friday Anthology for CelebrationsUma Krishnaswami shares a touching, autobiographical poem titled, “Deepavali Sounds,” and it’s one of the many reasons I hope you’ll enjoy this book! Here is my take on the festival:

No-Moon Day

Set the candles,
light the lamps!
May Peace and Joy come soon,
and drive away the darkness
of the day without a moon.

– © Matt Forrest Esenwine, 2014

mmpoetry2015-logo-mainInteresting that Hinduism, Christianity, and Judaism all have major celebrations revolving around the same light/darkness theme, all around the same time of year, isn’t it? You can learn more about Diwali HERE, and for today’s complete Poetry Friday round-up, head on over to Reading to the Core, where Catherine Flynn is holding down the fort.

Also, be sure to check out the Madness that is the #MMPoetry competition over at Ed DeCaria’s place, Think Kid, Think! Log on and vote for your favorite poems!

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

Poetry Friday: “American Discontent”

Happy Independence Day!

celebrations,fireworks,pyrotechnics,special occasions,festivals

My fellow citizens here in the U.S. are celebrating our country’s birthday today. Some might be going on trips to visit relatives, others might be having cookouts at their homes. Still others may be headed to the beach.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllMe? I’m heading out with the family to go pick some strawberries before it gets too late in the morning and they’re all gone! (By the way, if you missed my repost this past Tue. about what you can learn from berries, please check it out!)

Today I’m sharing the type of poem I rarely, if ever, share:  an unpolished one, and a hastily-written one, at that – I only spent about 30 minutes on it, at best.

The reason I’m sharing it is because, even though it can be tightened up, I thought it would be appropriate for today, the Fourth of July. It was originally written from a prompt by poet and blogger David L/ Harrison, who asked visitors to write couplets about the sun – or lack thereof. What’s funny about writing poetry is, you never quite know how a poem is going to turn out until it’s done – even if you know the ending, the punch line, the hook, the twist, or anything else. It’s always a bit of a surprise.

So I hope you like it! There’s more to Poetry Friday, of course, so head on over to Heidi Mordhorst’s Juicy Little Universe for all the links and fun!

American Discontent

In winter, we complain it’s cold –
then summer’s heat starts getting old.

As soon as there’s a drop of rain,
we wish to see the sun again.

When life’s too fast, we want a lull.
When life slows down, we say it’s dull.

I wonder if we’ll ever be
content with simply being…free?

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine


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!

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


Independence Day, 2013

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration:

Georgia:    Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

North Carolina:    William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:    Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr.,Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Massachusetts:   John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Maryland:   Samuel Chase,William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:   George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

Pennsylvania:    Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:    Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

New York:    William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:    Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

New Hampshire:    Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Rhode Island:    Stephen Hopkins    William Ellery

Connecticut:    Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott


Happy Independence Day to the United States of America!