This post was originally published 7 years ago, in May 2013. I’m re-sharing it today because the past few weeks have been extremely busy for me, trying to write while helping two young kids with their remote-learning…and attempting to put in 6 new raised beds for our vegetable garden that is woefully behind planting.
And now today, I’ve learned that the release of my picture book with Charles Ghigna, ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME (Beaming Books), has been pushed out until Spring 2021. Originally scheduled for this August 18, the publisher has decided that the Covid-19 issues our world is dealing with would prevent us from doing a proper, successful launch – and honestly, I have to agree.
So as disappointing as it is, we’ll have to wait another 9 or 10 months before our baby can be introduced to the world. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not really bad news…it’s good news, because by holding off, we’ll be able to launch the book properly. Moreover, pre-orders can give a book a serious advantage when it debuts – so the more pre-orders, the better, as far as I’m concerned. That said, I hope you enjoy today’s offering.
Today is the first day of the annual New England SCBWI Conference in Springfield, Mass., and that’s where I’ll be most of this weekend – so if I don’t reply to your comments or chat on Facebook or Twitter much, it’ll be because I’m busy stuffin’ my brain. The other reason I mention the conference is because today’s poem would not have turned out the way it did, had I not gone to the 2012 conference.
You see, last year I had the pleasure of meeting the one and only Jane Yolen. We chatted about poetry, the conference workshops, and books, and I came away from our two separate conversations with some unexpected inspiration!
For months, I had been struggling with an idea for a poem that just would not gel. I wanted to write something about wildflowers – lady slippers, in particular – but nothing worked. Then a few days after I had gotten home from the conference, I came upon a poem of Jane’s that had just been published, titled “Tenth Avenue Highline.” Even though it had nothing to do with wildflowers, it triggered something and I came up with the closing stanza. Then the opening stanza. And after a few days of working at it, I had finished the first draft!
It’s gone through several revisions since then, of course – but I’m pretty happy with it. Some folks have noted it has an old-fashioned sort of feel to it, which was my intention. I liked the idea of a pretty outdoor scene in the old countryside, almost like something out of American folklore, if that makes sense.
By the way, I was going to title it simply, “Wildflowers,” but I thought I should add ‘for Jane’ to the title, to give credit where credit was due…and fortunately, Jane liked it! I hope you do, too.
“Wildflowers, for Jane”
Lilies of the Valley hang
Like silent little bells
That neither sang nor ever rang
Of welcomes and farewells.
Red clover, small and softly sweet,
Stands proud despite its size;
White daisies, with their nectar-treat,
Court bees and butterflies.
The Queen Anne’s Lace is in its place,
The buttercups are set,
A pitcher plant provides a vase –
And woeful fly’s regret.
While milkweed, with its many mates,
Sways nobly to and fro,
One tender Lady Slipper waits
For one fair, dainty toe.
– © 2012, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over to A Year of Reading, where Mary Lee is spotlighting former National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang’s “Reading Without Walls Challenge” along with poetry from Marilyn Chin!
I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.
Looking for a complete list of all the poetry coming out this year for young people? Then visit Sylvia Vardell’s blog! Also, I’ve teamed up with several other children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them!
Coming Spring 2021! Pre-orders are available:
Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!
Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
- Finalist, 2019 New Hampshire Literary Awards
- Positive reviews from Horn Book, School Library Connection, School Library Connection, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf-Awareness!
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!