Poetry Friday: Remembering U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic

Sometimes, you’re just so busy you miss important news. Like the passing of former U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic, about 20 days ago.

Photo credit: Scott Cook.

Simic was one of New Hampshire’s great celebrities, having lived here in the Granite State since 1971 and garnering not only the title of U.S. Poet Laureate but receiving multiple awards including a Pulitzer for his book, The World Doesn’t End.

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard anything about his death until I stumbled upon an article in one of our state’s newspapers.

So I felt I should probably set aside a blog post recognizing his passing and sharing one of his poems, to introduce him to anyone who may not be familiar with his work.

Simic was adept at saying a lot with a little – which might seem a pretty standard thing for poets – but his poetry had insight, wit, and a unique lyrical quality, written with a singular sense of word economy. Consider, for example, his poem “Evening Walk”:
.

Evening Walk

You give the appearance of listening
To my thoughts, o trees,
Bent over the road I am walking
On a late summer evening
When every one of you is a steep staircase
The night is descending.

The leaves like my mother’s lips
Forever trembling, unable to decide…

(read the rest of the poem here)

.
Think about that. Each tree is a staircase that the night is descending. Leaves are like trembing, indecisive lips. And there is so much more to the poem than just the connections and imagery. Poems like this force the reader to stop, re-read, re-read again, and come away with some new insight every time.

For those keeping score, Simic was New Hampshire’s 5th U.S. Poet Laureate from 2007-2008, and served in the position previously held from 2006-2007 by another Granite Stater, the esteemed Donald Hall. One of the reasons I love living where I do is because of the intense creativity this particular area holds; Hall lived just half an hour up the road, and another U.S. Poet Laureate, Maxine Kumin, hailed from my own town.

NH’s two other Poets Laureate were Richard Eberhart and the great Robert Frost, the latter of whom graduated from my wife’s high school. So like I said, I have a certain fondness for this state and the literature we put out. Our state might not be the biggest geographically, but we’re definitely big on literary talent.

For more poetry, visit Marcie Flinchum Atkins, who is hosting today’s Poetry Friay roundup with a look at some STEM poetry collections and a winter haiku!


~ World Read Aloud Day 2023 ~

It’s that time of year again, and I will once again be reading to schools and libraries all across the coutry one month from now!

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by Lit World, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Wednesday, February 1, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with 2-3 visits every hour, all day long, and spots are already filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, MS Teams, Skype, tin cans and string, whatever – let me know! I will read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.


I’m booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

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

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

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

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view all my books and to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “when bricks fall”

Hey there, loyal blog follower! I’ve got a massively depressing poem coming up in just a few short paragraphs, so get ready for an emotionally draining blog post. Before we get there, though, I want to remind you that you have just one more week to enter my giveaway for Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 2023), my new picture book that is officially available EVERYWHERE!

all images © 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved

Earlier this week, I celebrated the book’s #BookBirthday right here, so if you want to enter the drawing, check out the post and leave a comment.

The book features 12 animals of varying ethnicities teaching the reader how to count to ten in each of their languages, along with an ethnic name and food item.

Languages included in the book:

  • Swedish
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • French
  • Swahili
  • Portugese
  • Arabic
  • Greek
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Navajo
    .

Readers will soon have the opportunity to learn more at the The Little Fig website with links to pronunciation videos and more. You can order directly from the publisher, but you can also pre-order through Amazon, B&N, Indie Bound, and Target. Plus, my local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, offers personally-signed copies – just let them know you’d like one when you place your order!

And by the way, I hope you’ll take a minute and check out this WONDERFUL REVIEW of Everybody Counts! from Maria Marshal!

Ok, enough happiness.

when bricks fall

when bricks fall
what happens next
when all you had
and all you knew
…..love
…..dreams
…..broken beams
collapses right in front of you

when bricks fall
debased remains
lie shattered
…..scattered
……….sad debris

when bricks fall

what happens next

this is not the way
it’s supposed to be

– © 2023 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

…..

Hey, I warned you.

Funny thing is, I’m actually pretty happy – you know, with the new book and the previous book and projects on the way and school visits coming up, and –

Well, you know poets. We see a pile of bricks on the ground and our imaginations and emotions just take over. I’m actually kind of proud of this poem because you don’t often see dismal, sorrowful poems written in rhyme these days – it often takes away from the emotional impact. But I really wanted to incorporate the rhyme to create a sort of musical backdrop without being too heavy-handed. Hopefully it worked.

And as long as everyone’s feeling glum and melancholy now, why not head over to the Poetry Friday roundup at Reading to the Core, where Catherine and her friends have created an exquisite corpse? Think I’m joking? I kid you not. Check it out!
.

~ World Read Aloud Day 2023 ~

It’s that time of year again, and I will once again be reading to schools and libraries all across the coutry one month from now!

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by Lit World, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Wednesday, February 1, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with 2-3 visits every hour, all day long, and spots are already filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, MS Teams, Skype, tin cans and string, whatever – let me know! I will read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.


Proud to be a First Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

I’m booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

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

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE (soon!):
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2022)

or order now, directly from the publisher!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

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

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

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

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view all my books and to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: Year-end musings of a 10-year career, and I AM TODAY gets TikTok love!

I first began looking into children’s lit back around 2009 or so and joined my first writer’s group in 2010 – but it was only when I left fulltime employment at the radio station in July 2012 that I fully immersed myself in the industry, learning everything I could about it, honing my craft, networking with other folks.

And here I am, ten years later…

Wow! 7 picture books of my own, 4 more under contract, and 30+ poems published in various anthologies and magazines!

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for following along here, watching my career begin, evolve, and grow. I get to do what I love because of the support of folks like you, so thank you!

I’m also grateful for the support of fellow creators, like my friends in my recent marketing groups…

I had been wondering what to share today and was leisurely scrolling through some of my past Christmas posts when I came upon a poem I’d written 6 years ago for Tabatha Yeatts‘ annual Winter Poetry Swap. This is a fun event she hosts every year and something in which I’ve unfortunately not been able to participate lately due to how busy I’ve become.

The premise is simple: everyone who signs up is randomly given someone else’s name, and you write a poem for that person and send them a small gift. I decided to combine these and used my poem AS the gift! The name I had been given was the wonderful Margaret Simon, poet, blogger, and educator extraordinaire, and decided to utilize her years of blogging as my inspiration.


.

Assessment

The power of meter,
of rhythm, of rhyme;
the guidance of mentors,
the blessing of time.
The support of strangers,
faith of friends –
only time will tell
where the journey ends.

© 2022 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

One of the many ways I’ve received support is from people like TikTokker Nica at Nica’s Collection Selection, who absolutely LOVES my picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books, 2022):
.

It’s reactions like this that make an author’s day! And not just because she’s talking about how much she likes it – the fact is, she likes it for the very reason I wrote it. To empower young people to realize they can make a difference now!

My friend Irene Latham is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today at her blog, Live Your Poem, where she shares a couple of poems from a homeschool student who loves writing and poetry.

Have a wonderful holiday season, enjoy your weekend, and since I’ll be taking next Friday off to spend time with the family, I’ll see you in 2023!

= = = = = = = = = =

“EVERYBODY COUNTS!”

Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 1/2023) was scheduled for a Jan. 1 publishing date, but it’s already showing up at indie bookstores around the country! The book features 12 animals of varying ethnicities teaching the reader how to count to ten in each of their languages, along with an ethnic name and food item. Languages included in the book:

© 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved
  • Swedish
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • French
  • Swahili
  • Portugese
  • Arabic
  • Greek
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Navajo
    .

Readers who want to learn more will soon have the opportunity to go the The Little Fig website to find links to pronunciation videos and more. You can order directly from the publisher, but you can also pre-order through Amazon, B&N, Indie Bound, and Target.

My local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, offers personally-signed copies – just let them know you’d like one when you place your order. They’ll send me an email, I’ll run downtown and sign it, and they’ll get it in the mail – usually within 24 hours!


Proud to be a First Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

I’m booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

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

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE (soon!):
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2022)

or order now, directly from the publisher!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

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

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

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

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view all my books and to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: A look back at a Highlights workshop poem, “The Apple Tree”

As you probably know, the publication of my new picture book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), has been taking up all my time and attention the past few weeks – and now that it is officially available everywhere and my next book doesn’t come out for two more months (YES!! See below!), I thought I’d catch my breath and share a poem I originally posted way back when it was first written, in Oct. 2013.

True, I’ve written many poems while attending the Highlights Foundation workshops; you can read a poem about a stone wall HERE, some light verse HERE, or even a love poem HERE.

Such beauty and youth…

In this particular case, I was enjoying my very first Highlights Foundation workshop hosted by David L. Harrison and was relishing the opportunity to live, eat, breathe, and sleep poetry!

I was inspired to write many things during that week; one of them was this poem, written about an old tree I saw, situated alone in a field on the Highlights’ grounds in Boyds Mills, PA.


.

“The Apple Tree”

One autumn day while walking
alone in an unfamilar area I spied –
crouched like an old man
with a strong crutch
and weak heart –
an apple tree
standing in solitude amidst the sawgrass,
goldenrod,
and a few errant wildflowers,
so full of precious fruit
I surmised it must be
in wont of a visitor
with whom to share
its treasures.

Desirous of the beauty
I beheld, I journeyed
through green-amber weeds
high to my waist, urgent
soft steps growing
quicker, quicker
and more deliberate. How could ancient limbs
such as these carry the reward
that awaited me?

The tree beckoned, each coy leaf lifted
to expose
sweet bounty beneath.
Soon, I saw boughs heavy
as the Milky Way, bearing
stars upon stars
that outnumbered
and outshone the very leaves
that held them
in the sky.

Faster and faster I trod, consumed
by a fervent lust
for sustenance;
such succulence I’d never seen!
Closer, closer, I came,
heart and eyes wide and longing
until
breaths away…

I stopped.

Under shade of canopy,
only now could I see clearly
blessed fruit blushed
with blight.

Mold-speckled faces frowned
through borers’ brown holes
while wind-wrinkled skin hung
criss-crossed with blemishes
of age and neglect.
I stared for only a moment
then sat close to its trunk,
where low-hanging corpses
mocked my desire.

Yet
I would not leave this spot,
for I knew my hunger
was insatiable, and my thirst
unquenched. Here my craving
had begun, here it remained;
here I would remain
yearning, never satisfied,
but content
with what could have been.

– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine

…yet, upon closer inspection…

.

My friend Heidi Mordhorst is hosting Poetry Friday this week at My Juicy Little Universe, where she is celebrating Folktale Week with a video of the prologue to the musical Into the Woods – which is poetic and musical and just plain fun!

= = = = = = = = = =

(And OH, YES, dear readers, I have another picture book coming out the first week of January – and will be hosting the official COVER REVEAL here next week! I can’t wait for you to see it and learn more about it! If you love animals, numbers, and multicultural food, BE HERE NEXT FRIDAY!)

= = = = = = = = = =

Thrilled to be a First Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

I’m also booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year!

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career!

I tailor my presentations to fit the needs of the classroom. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at my website!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

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

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, 2022)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

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

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

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

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view all my books and to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: Halloween, campfires, and a BEGINNER’S GUIDE winner!

All images©2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved

Well, these past two weeks have been quite the whirlwind!

Since my newest book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), was officially published back on Oct. 18, I’ve been doing my best trying to keep up with all the well-wishers, reviewers, and influencers who have been sharing the news. Thank you so much, everyone!

In my last few posts I’ve shared links to many of the reviews that bloggers and others have published, but today I wanted to share a couple of new ones that just came out this past week – including an amazing review from The KidLit Mama herself, Elizabeth, who says she loves the real-world examples we include as well as my “Pro-Tips” for being a better human!

(and by the way, many thanks to Elizabeth for also giving my previous picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books, 2022) some love by including it in an Instagram reel she just posted yesterday!)

I’d also like to thank Mrs. BookDragon for her kind words about Beginner’s Guide this past week, as well as the Reading Eagle, who called it an “exceptional book…worthy of repeated readings,” and JustaBXMom who want the book to be normalized as a go-to baby shower gift!

One of the ways I celebrated the book’s birthday was with a special blog post and GIVEAWAY – and I want to congratulate our winner,

FEDERICO EREBIA!

Thank you so much for sharing the news about Beginner’s Guide, my friend, and I hope you enjoy the copy that’s headed your way!

Now, then – the poetry! I was thinking about what I should share today, and I realized Halloween is only a few days from now. What happened to summer?? But indeed, it is almost upon us…
.

Imminent

When clouds hang heavy in the sky
like serpent tails lit by the moon…
when bats and brooms begin to fly,
Halloween will be here soon.

When shadows cloak a curious trail
and night wind croons a mournful tune…
when specters prowl and spirits wail,
Halloween will be here soon!

– © 2022 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
.

Happy Halloween from Bob Ross and his Happy Tree!

Speaking of the holiday, while I never thought of my book Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) as a “Halloween” book, per se, apparently a lot of other folks do!

Over the last few years numerous bloggers and reviewers have been sharing their Halloween picks and I’m simultaneously surprised and humbled to see my book showing up on lists that include titles by folks like Neil Gaiman, Dr. Seuss, Aaron Reynolds, Charles Ghigna, and Patricia Toht, among others.

So, if you’re looking for some Halloween/outdoors/camping/autumn-themed books for your little ones, here are a few suggestions:

Thrilled to be a First Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

Thank you to everyone who has been reading my books, reading about my books, and sharing the news about my books – I couldn’t do what I do without you! For more poetry, plese head over to my friend Jone Rush MacCulloch’s little home on the web for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup and a celebration of a new book she contributed a poem to, The Poeming Pigeon!


I’m also booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year!

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career!

I tailor my presentations to fit the needs of the classroom. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at my website!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

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

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, 2022)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

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

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

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

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view all my books and to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

#BookBirthday for “A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human” – and a GIVEAWAY!

Well, I’ve been talking about it and talking about it and talking about it – and the day has finally arrived! That’s right…

My newest book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), is officially out in the world, and I’m giving away a signed copy!

All images©2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved

Beginner’s Guide is a very special book, too. Although it is my sixth book, it’s my very first creative nonfiction book and the first book I’ve ever written specifically for an editor who asked me to write it! (Even then, it wasn’t guaranteed that she’d accept it, so I breathed a sigh of relief when she said she’d take it – whew!)

“A delicate touch of humor weaves through the text…”

If you’d like to learn more about my approach to writing, the inspiration behind the book, and the process of creating this book (including the story of a manuscript the editor rejected, before asking me to write this one!), please check out the interview I had with Maria Marshall at The Picture Book Buzz!

Maria Marshall

We discuss the revision process, illustrator André Ceolin’s perfect illustrations, and a couple of new projects on the way. Maria calls it “a wonderful book for new ‘elder’ siblings, classrooms, parents, teachers, and caregivers working through emotions or just a really fun read.” I appreciate Maria’s kind words and support!

Huge thanks also to my friend/educator/poet Carol Varsalona for her wonderfully supportive review published yesterday at her blog Beyond Literacy Link.

Here’s a snippet:

“Friendly conversation, smiling faces, and a sense of community are felt. From the cover alone, a pre-book discussion could evolve on topics, such as inclusivity, diversity, and humanity. I believe that many children, parents, teachers, and librarians will be interested in reading this book with its hopeful message.”

Fellow author/blogger Deb Kalb published an interview we had recently at her little home on the web, Q&As with Deborah Kalb. We talk inspiration, how the book was created, and why you should NEVER give up on a manuscript (hint: the editor who bought Beginner’s Guide passed on the original manuscript I’d sent, but I held onto that one and ended up selling it elsewhere!).

By the way, this isn’t the first time I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Deb; a few years ago, Deborah Bruss and I got to share our thoughts with Deb on our newly-published picture book, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur – you can read that interview HERE.

I’d also like to thank the following folks who have already posted reviews over the past couple of weeks:

One more thing: my friend Michele at Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook will be sharing her professional opinion about Beginner’s Guide tomorrow (Wed., 10/19) at her blog, so we’ll all get to read her review together!

I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of Beginner’s Guide – and remember, you can order personally-signed copies of this or nearly any of my books from my local bookstore. (and if you don’t see the book your looking for at the link, do a quick search and it’ll probably pop up)


I’m also booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year!

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! I tailor my presentations to fit the needs of the classroom; one day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created and the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library,
or other organization, please email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

One final thought: THANK YOU so much for sharing this journey with me! I first began considering getting into the field of children’s lit about 12 years ago, joined my first critique group in 2010, had my first children’s poem published in 2012, my first paid published poem in 2015, and now I have 6 books out – with 5 more on the way – and more than 30 poems published in various anthologies like those listed below.

It’s not easy, but with patience, perseverance, and a willingness to do the work of learning the craft, you, too, could see your name on a nationally-recognized book! I certainly never thought my career would be moving along at the pace it is, but I couldn’t have done it without your support all these years. THANKS AGAIN!


~ ~ Giveaway! ~ ~

Would you like a free copy of A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human? Just let me know in the comments – or share this post on Twitter and tag me – and I’ll select one winner at random! The winner will be announced on Friday, Oct. 28. Good luck!


Click the link for more info!

I’m very proud to be a First Round Panelist for the Poetry Category this year!

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

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, 2022)

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

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

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

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

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view all my books and to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday Roundup: Gearing up for “Beginner’s Guide” with news, reviews, and a poem about FAMILY

No matter how many books I may publish, I’m pretty sure I’ll never not be excited when a new one comes out. My sixth book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), is due in stores everywhere this coming Tue., Oct. 18 – and I can barely stay seated!

(And by the way…YES, I’m hosting the Poetry Friday shenanigans today, so please leave your links in the comments below and I’ll round them up old-school style throughout the day!)

First up: Reviews!

If you have not heard, my sixth book is actually my first creative nonfiction picture book and introduces emotions and concepts like empathy, forgiveness, and love. It was written during the height of the pandemic back in 2020 and I had no idea at the time how important these things would be two years later.

A number of children’s lit bloggers and reviewers will be sharing their thoughts on the book over the next few weeks, but I did want to thank the ones who have already posted reviews:

I’d also like to thank Dr. Diane Jackson Schnoor for inviting me on her Adventures in Learning podcast to celebrate the upcoming publication of the book as well as creative writing in general.

We discuss the story behind the book, my love of poetry, and how fun creative writing can be both in and out of the classroom. I hope you’ll check it out!

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about how Beginner’s Guide came about (it wasn’t even my own idea!), the process of creating it, and why getting the first rough draft down on paper is so important, please be sure to read Hollie Wolverton’s interview with me as part of her #FirstDraftFriday post last week.

What is “Family?”

Click to enlarge. Image ©2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved

Over the past few weeks I’ve been sharing poems I’ve written relating to some of the concepts included in my book. Last week, it was a nonet poem about forgiveness and a couple of weeks prior to that it was a definito about empathy.

This week, I thought I’d focus on family. Since family can mean many things to many people, I thought I’d do a list poem with no punctuation – to give the sense that there are no boundaries or borders to a family. There are no limits as to who or what can be considered family, other than those who love us and care about us.

.

Family

mother father sister brother
aunt uncle one another
grammy grampy nonny nan
poppy pépère vovó gran
in-law papaw second cousin
best friend cat dog half a dozen
biologic step or foster
all can show up on the roster
black or brown or beige or white
forward backward left or right
born adopted taken in
anyone can be your kin
half or whole or not at all
accent lisp or southern drawl
doesn’t matter who you are
close to home or way too far
down below or up above
the only thing you need is love

.

– ©2022 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

I do want to give a quick shout-out to Sara Grochowski, a youth librarian from Michigan who just shared a glowing review of Beginner’s Guide on her Instagram account yesterday! She told me that she’s working with twelve K-3 classrooms to overhaul their libraries this year and will be recommending they all add Beginner’s Guide. Wow!

The Poetry Friday Roundup:

As I mentioned earlier, the Poetry Friday roundup is here – so leave your links in the comments below and I’ll be sure to share them all. Thanks for visiting!

  • Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference shares two poems, one about a two-headed calf and another about snow – and they are both brilliant.
  • Patricia Franz is celebrating the release of WHAT IS A FRIEND?, Pomelo Books’ latest anthology which inclues one of her poems!
  • Marci Atkins also contributed a poem to WHAT IS A FRIEND? and you can read hers, as well, along with an original haiku.
  • Do you know what an ATC is? How about happy mail? Well, Linda Mitchell will shed some light on these terms with a new triolet at A Word Edgewise!
  • At an Alabama state park, a new Japanese garden that has been installed features haiku from several conemporary poets, including our own Robyn Hood Black, who shares hers at Life on the Deckle Edge.
  • Sally Murphy has written two “Wordy 30’s”. What is it with all these new vocab words today??
  • Not to be outdone, Jone MacCulloch shares three Wordy 30’s at her little home on the web!
  • You know what this world needs? A good tomato poem. Fortunately for us, JoAnn Early Macken has one!
  • Do you remember doing leaf rubs as a child? I’d forgotten about them until two years ago when we had to homeschool our two kids and that was a combo science/art project I devised for them. At Imagine the Possibilities, Rose recounts the fun and discovery with an original poem.
  • Over at Alphabet Soup, Jama Kim Rattigan “opens a book” – a poem by Julia Donaldson – and shares her love of books with some beautiful illustrative artwork and lovely memories.
  • Karen Edmisten celebrates October with a poem by Barbara Crooker.
  • Autumn also takes the spotlight at Teacher Dance where Linda Baie shares an original poem based on the prompt, “forgotten.”
  • Have you heard of “Birdtober?” It’s an artistic/writing challenge to create something each day of the month based on a different bird. Today, Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town responds to the challenge (for the 14th time this month!) with a beautiful original poem about the Phillipine Eagle.
  • At More Art 4 All, Michelle Kogan shares two haiku – one inspired by a recent walk and another inspired by her dad.
  • What’s better than crisp autumn days, apple cider, and pumpkins? Ice cream, of course! At The Poem Farm, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is in with a whimsical yet profound poem that includes all these wonderful things.
  • Since October is the 10th month, Bridget Magee at Wee Words for Wee Ones is celebrating the first anniversary of her poetry anthology 10.10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways with a poem by Irene Latham about – you guessed it – the 10th month!
  • Margaret Simon’s class has been participating in the National Writing Project and National Parks Service’s Write Out, and shares a couple of her students poems at Reflections on the Teche.
  • Heidi Mordhorst is “keeping it all together” (or trying!) by celebrating her 14th blogiversary with an original acrostic at My Juicy Little Universe.
  • Irene Latham at Live Your Poem continues her series of haiku paired with Picasso drawings with an ostrich poem she readily identifies with!
  • Dusty, musty, spiced up smells permeate Mary Lee Hahn’s new poem about fall, which you can read at A(nother) Year of Reading.
  • Head on over to Reading to the Core and Catherine will show you what a mock strawberry looks like, along with a draft of her a poem about it.
  • Karen Eastlund is enjoying the spookiness of Halloween by sharing some very non-spooky – and quite beautiful – spiderweb photos along with an original poem.
  • Janice Scully at Salt City Verse also has October 31 on her mind and shares a pre-Halloween poem from an unlikely persepctive!
  • Sarah Grace Tuttle offers brief reviews about two new books of poetry she’s been reading – and has a giveaway winner to announce, too!
  • Molly Hogan has been writing poems in response to various Inktober prompts and today she shares several at her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone.
  • Joanne at WordDancer reflects on the fall foliage she enjoyed while on a revent trip to Vermont.
  • Last but certainly not least, Carol Varsalona recently gave a keynote address, “Teacher Writers, Awakeners of Learning,” for the Reading Specialists Council of Suffolk professional development program and shares a short poem inspired by teachers who are also writers at her blog, Beyond Literacy Link!
“Flashlight Night” in Encyclopedia Brittanica!
Click the link to nominate your favorite book(s)!

I’m very proud to be a First Round Panelist for the Poetry Category this year!

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

PRE-ORDER NOW:
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)

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

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

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

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

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view all my books and to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: Thoughts on the “Tao Te Ching”

I feel bad I neglected to post for Poetry Friday last week; however, I had been spending the first half of the week preparing for my live announcing gig at our local state fair, which began Thur., Sept. 1, at which point I began my 55-hour weekend.

I’ll share my thoughts and insights on the fair, as I do every year, next week – but for now, I’m sharing a golden shovel poem based on the famous words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, who is credited (likely improperly) with writing the Tao Te Ching, a series of texts upon which the philosophy and religion of Taosim is based.

In a nutshell, Taoism is the belief that aligning oneself with the Tao – also known as The Way, the universal rhythmic force that binds everything and everyone – is the key to happiness. Rather than fighting in opposition to the flow of the Tao, a Taoist allows the flow to guide them, using a principle of wu wei, roughly translated as “action through inaction.” This is not to mean one should be lazy or exert no effort at all, but to work with the flow of life and not against it.

With this in mind, I took a walk along the brook that borders our property and was inspired to write a short golden shovel using a portion of Lao Tzu’s famous quote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”:

My friend (and wonderful supporter) Carol Varsalona is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today at her blog Beyond LiteracyLink with a couple of poems celebrating the season we are leaving behind, one of which is a cento – a poem created from lines of other poems. I see we are both openly inspired by others’ words today!

COMING SOON…

Arriving everywhere books are sold on Oct. 18 from Beaming Books!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

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

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

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

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

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view all my books and to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: A 9th grader’s ADHD poem and Matt’s ‘Book Bundle’!”

I’ve shared my son’s poetry here before, but today I want to share with you a poem written by a friend of his, who happens to be a few years older and suffers from ADHD.

He wrote a poem about ADHD and submitted it to his school’s literary magazine – and was thrilled to discover they decided to publish it! And for good reason, too. It’s an incredible insight into the life and thoughts of a young person dealing with this troublesome condition. I asked him if he’d mind if I shared it here, and he was more than agreeable!

So I present it to you, directly from the school’s journal:

(click to enlarge)

One can sense the anxiety, confusion, and frustration that comes with ADHD, and it’s my hope that more people can get a better sense of what it’s like to deal with ADHD on a daily basis by reading this young man’s words.

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head over to my friend Catherine’s blog, Reading to the Core, for a special end-of-school-year poem for all the teachers out there!

The First Five! (click to enlarge)

By the way, this upcoming July 5 will mark the 10-year anniversary of me leaving full-time employment to be a stay at home dad and begin my journey towards publication in children’s literature. Ten years!

I had been working nearly 50 hours a week in radio – both on-air and in production – and eventually realized I was netting $150 a month. It just didn’t make sense to be employed! So I took a huge leap of faith (and honestly, my wife took that leap along with me) and now here I am with five books out and at least six more on the way, and more than 30 poems published in various anthologies and magazines.

You can understand, then, why I’m so thrilled that our local indie bookstore is offering a special “Book Bundle” of all my books – for ONE DAY ONLY! Just go to MainStreetBookEnds.com and you’ll find a specially-priced package of all five of my books – and shipping is only five dollars! Plus, they can all be individually, personally signed, so if you have five different kids you want them signed to, I can do that very easily.

Ten years. I think that’s even more surprising to me than the fact I turn 55 today. Ten years! I still can’t get over that.

This special package sale is only available July 5, but you can pre-order right now!

Learn more about my journey and the sale here:

And a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been part of this journey with me! I couldn’t have made it this far without your support, and I truly appreciate it.

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

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN (Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

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

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

Click any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

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

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Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– continue reading HERE

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

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

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

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

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I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

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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.

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

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

Click any of the covers below to order!

Available now!