Poetry Friday: “Friends & Anemones” #BookBirthday!

It’s finally here, in all its 70-page glory!!

All images © 2020 The Writers Loft Press, all rights reserved; cover design by Jodie Apeseche

Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, created by members of The Writer’s Loft in Sherborn, Massachusetts, is officially available for sale!

Filled with poems and illustrations by more than 60 New England-based authors and illustrators, including Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Peter H. Reynolds, Josh Funk, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Kip Wilson, Suwin Chan, and Yours Truly, the book has been a true labor of love to create, and I’m very happy to not only share another one of my poems here, but to welcome editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly here to the ol’ Triple-R to celebrate.

Matt:  First of all, thanks for joining me today! It’s so exciting to be celebrating a book birthday together. This is the third anthology published by The Writers Loft but the first one I’ve been involved with, so I was wondering…once you decided on oceans as a theme, what were your next steps? Was the process any different for this book than the others?

Heather:  Thanks Matt, for having us!

Kristen: The big difference this time was that we suspected we would have many more submissions than we did for An Assortment of Animals, so we decided to find judges to help us make the calls on which poems were the strongest. And that’s how we were lucky enough to find you and Kip Wilson to help us out! Also, we had a lot more people this time. So the communication was more complicated. More moving parts. Also we had an intern last fall, Penelope McDonald, and she was a great help in keeping us organized!

Matt: You both have stated elsewhere that you’ve learned from previous anthologies the necessity of soft deadlines – especially with regards to the coronavirus upending everyone’s schedules! (Kristen even mentions this in her Editor’s Note in the book) So now that you’re old pros at this (ha!), was there anything that surprised you?

Kristen: I was surprised at the artists’ reaction to the lockdown and the pandemic in general, in that some of them used the time to draw and paint and be creative, and all the quiet time at home made them ultra-productive. And others found it paralyzing and couldn’t work at all.

Heather: I learn something new each time I work in collaboration. I think it’s why I love it so much. My role is different from Kristen’s in that she has the dream for these anthologies and their outcomes in her mind. I just shut my eyes, say yes, and have faith that Kristen’s dream will turn out amazing. And you know what? IT ALWAYS DOES.

I focus on helping everyone on the project learn at each step–learn about drafting, revising, working with editors and art directors, meeting deadlines, building online presences, marketing, doing author/illustrator events, and creating multiple revenue paths. I believe in Kristen and her dreams without question. Even though I can’t see exactly where we’re going, I know it will be somewhere much better than I’ve ever been before. I’m always deliciously surprised and amazed at the outcome. So THANK YOU KRISTEN, for bringing me on this journey! 

My “Goblin Shark” pantoum, side-by-side with Jane Yolen’s “The Slime Eel,” © 2020 The Writers Loft Press. (click to enlarge)

Matt: I have to say, I really enjoyed judging all the poems with Kip! Writers submitted the poems to you folks, and then Kip and I judged them as to whether they were ready for inclusion or needed some revision. But how did you determine which illustrators were paired with which poems, and what problems did you encounter, if any?

Kristen: I find this part really fun. We were lucky enough to set up a meeting with the artists just before the pandemic took over the United States–I think it was late February. We printed out all the poems (without poets’ names) and put them on a big board, organized loosely by subject. And we let the artists just read the poems and choose what moved them.

Most of them found a few poems they liked, and some even started sketching that day how they would combine multiple poems on a page. Many of them seemed interested in sort of scary or fierce ocean creatures so we recruited more poets (Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, in fact!) to write more of those.

Matt:  What was the most rewarding aspect of creating this book? Any surprises along the way?

Heather: I always find the most rewarding part of creating books like this to be the ability to say YES to illustrators and authors who are hearing NO most of the time. And to see how when we work in collaboration, the end product is far and beyond more spectacular than it would ever have been if we were working alone.

My favorite part by far is when the artwork starts coming in. Even the rough sketches. There is MAGIC that happens when words are illustrated. I am forever indebted to the illustrators for this! And, boy, did Jodie Apeseche blow me away with this cover!

Matt: I do want to make sure readers are aware that there is a charitable aspect of this book. What is the Rozalia Project, and how did they come to be the beneficiaries of this project?

Kristen: To do my own part in decreasing ocean trash and single-use plastic in general, I started researching companies that use sustainable packaging. I bought shampoo that is a bar of soap and laundry detergent that comes in little dried-up soap sheets, and beeswax wraps.

One of the beeswax wrap companies is a part of 1% for the Planet, and had links to environmental non-profits on their website. And Rozalia Project was one of them! So I clicked it, saw that it is a New England ocean clean up and education group, and that they do free events for kids all over the New England coast, and I thought…perfect.

Heather: At this point, we decided to gift the first month’s profits to the Rozalia Project. And then when we met Ashley Sullivan, the Executive Director at the Rozalia Project, and were thrilled. Hearing first-hand about all the education and clean-up they do along the coast of New England, we knew it was a perfect match. And the thought of being able to meet up and help out when they sail down to Boston on the American Promise clinched our happiness over the partnership!

Please check them out at https://rozaliaproject.org/about and email us a picture of your own promise to the ocean using the coloring page at the end of Friends & Anemones!

Matt:  The Writers Loft really is an incredible group, in part because of its diversity of talent, from best-selling authors & illustrators to pre-published folks working up the ranks. Can you tell readers a little bit about how it was first created, and any upcoming events/plans?

Kristen: I’m going to let Heather answer most of this, but I’ll just say, for me it was serendipity. Back in late 2012 I decided I needed some kind of writing community because I was so lonely as a writer. So I started blogging, and I met a few people but they were mostly thousands of miles away. Then one day, one blogger got us all together in person in Cambridge. That night I met Heather and Anna Stanizewski–and a few weeks later Heather started the Writers’ Loft. Which was exactly what I needed!      

The Writers Loft, Sherborn, MA

Heather: When I first started the Writers’ Loft in 2013, I didn’t know what it would be, I just knew it needed to BE. The road to publication can be a lonely one, fraught with rejection and disappointment. But I thought, maybe it doesn’t have to be! Maybe we write better, illustrate better, learn better, and understand better when we do it together. And that tenant holds true–in much bigger ways than I ever imagined. We all find the shortest path between where we are now and where we want to go when we share knowledge, resources, and support.

At the Writers’ Loft, we help all kinds of writers and author/illustrators achieve success through critique groups, classes, workshops, meetings with agents/editors, self-publishing support, and publications like this anthology. When the pandemic hit, we moved all our supports and programs online and built on the 500+ local Lofters to embrace serious authors and illustrators from around the world! Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary pursuit. We create better books when we do it together! Join us: www.thewritersloft.org

Matt: Well, congratulations again, and thanks so much for asking me to be a part of this incredible book!

Heather: Matt, thank you so much for hosting us, and thank you for being a judge and for your support along the way for this project – we are richer because of your involvement!

Purchase “Friends & Anemones” at Peter H. Reynolds’ The Blue Bunny!

Check out the BOOK TRAILER for FRIENDS & ANEMONES!

Want to see a little bit more of Friends & Anemones? Need more poetry, in general? Then head over to Teacher Dance, where Linda Baie is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with her review of our book!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can 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!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

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

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)

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

Poetry Friday: “Friends & Anemones” sneak peek!

We are just one week away from a Book Birthday, folks!

All images © 2020 The Writers Loft Press, all rights reserved; cover design by Jodie Apeseche

Created by the members of The Writer’s Loft in Massachusetts and spearheaded by editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly, Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children arrives Friday, Nov. 20 – in all its 70-page glory!

Yes, SEVENTY PAGES, filled with poems and illustrations by more than 60 New England-based authors and illustrators, including Jane Yolen (with whom I share a spread), Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Peter H. Reynolds, Josh Funk, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Kip Wilson, Priscilla Alpaugh, and Yours Truly along with many others.

If you follow the folks at KidLit411, you will likely see the book’s trailer premiere today, if you haven’t already. We also have a virtual book launch planned for Peter Reynold’s book store (see below) – but I thought I’d give you an inside look at a spread featuring one of my three poems:

(click to enlarge)

And no, you’re not seeing things…if you’re trying to orient yourself, this is one of a few spreads that was designed to be held sideways, so the top of the spread is actually the left side of the book, and the bottom is the right side.

There are a number of different poetic forms in this book; my poem, “Unmoored,” is a cherita, “The Lowest Peak” and “Stormy” (the latter of which was written by the spread’s illustrator, Suwin Chan) are both haiku, and “Giant Squid” is rhyming verse made up of double couplets. And as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m also very proud to have been asked by Heather and Kristen if I would join Kip Wilson in judging all the submitted poems – so it’s gratifying to see the poems we selected in print!

VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH THIS SUNDAY!

Peter H. Reynolds, author of such popular books as The Dot, The Word Collector, and I Am Human, is a member of The Writer’s Loft and operates The Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, Mass, just outside of Boston. That’s where we’ll be hosting the official virtual book launch for Friends & Anemomes this Sunday, Nov. 15…so I hope you’ll join us for the celebration and a sneak peek inside the book with several of the contributors!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT “FRIENDS & ANEMONES!”

ENTER TO WIN A FREE COPY HERE!

For more poetry, head on over to Robyn Hood Black’s blog, Life on the Deckle Edge, for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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Very excited to be part of this annual event, online this weekend, SAT. & SUN.!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can 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!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

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

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)

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

Poetry Friday: “Friends & Anemones” coming soon!

There’s a new children’s poetry anthology coming your way Nov. 20…

© 2020 The Writers Loft Press, all rights reserved; cover design by Jodie Apeseche

Created by the members of The Writer’s Loft in Massachusetts and spearheaded by editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly, Friends & Anemones is not your typical children’s poetry anthology.

For one thing, it’s 70 pages long! Yes, you read that correctly – SEVENTY PAGES, and well-worth every penny you spend on it. Moreover, it includes work by nearly 70 New England-based authors and illustrators, including Yours Truly, Jane Yolen (with whom I share a spread), Peter Reynolds, Brian Lies, Josh Funk, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Kip Wilson, and many others.

I’m very proud to add that Kip and I are more than just contributors, too; we were asked by Heather and Kristen if we would judge all the submitted poems (and there were a bunch!) to determine which ones were best, which needed some revision, and which might need to be turned away. It was certainly a time-consuming task, but a wholly enjoyable one, as well – and what an incredible result!

I can’t share too much more about the book yet, as we’re planning a book trailer premiere with the folks at KidLit411 next week, a virtual book launch at Peter Reynold’s book store (see below), and a forthcoming blog tour…but here’s a small taste, the opening of one of my poems, “Goblin Shark,” a pantoum:

Who knows what deep-sea tales you hold
of dark and solitary trails
within that dreadful, briny cold    
where no sun shines, nor seaman sails.

In dark and solitary trails
one hundred meters down or more
(where no sun shines, nor seaman sails)…

As I mentioned, Jane Yolen and I share a spread which features this poem and a poem she wrote about a slime eel – and if you don’t know anything about either of these creatures, suffice it to say it’s likely the most disgustingly cool spread in the book! I can’t wait for you to see it!

Peter Reynolds, author of such wonderful books as The Dot, The Word Collector, and I Am Human, is a member of The Writer’s Loft and operates an indie bookstore known as The Blue Bunny in Dedham, Mass, just outside of Boston. That’s where we’ll be hosting the official virtual book launch for Friends & Anemomes on Sunday, Nov. 15…so I hope you’ll join us for the celebration and a sneak peek inside the book!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT “FRIENDS & ANEMONES!”

Susan Bruck is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with kangaroos and dactyls at her blog, Soul Blossom Living, so please be sure to stop by and check out all the poetry links!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can 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!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I’ve teamed up with several children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them! Here’s what you can look forward to seeing this month.

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

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

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

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)

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

Poetry Friday: “September Song”

This post was originally published 5 years ago on October 22, 2015, and although I’m about a month behind, I wanted to share it again because the poem, a triolet, is one of my favorites. The photo is a favorite, too – it was taken by my friend Aubrey, just up the road from our house. Yes, New Hampshire really IS as beautiful as you’ve heard!

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photo courtesy Aubrey Mueller, 2019

 

September Song

The autumn wind is growing colder.
As the hills are set ablaze,
a shiver stirs my neck and shoulder –
the autumn wind is growing colder.
These woods and I, just one month older,
yearn for summer’s sun-drenched days.
The autumn wind is growing colder
as the hills are set ablaze.

– © 2015 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulllIf you’re looking for some Halloween-themed reading material, might I offer up a list of reading lists that have surfaced across the interwebs? (I admit, they all include Flashlight Night!)

And of course, if you’re looking for more poetry, head on over to the Poetry Friday roundup, which you’ll find at Linda Baie’s blog, Teacher Dance. Linda is celebrating with a pre-Halloween poetry party featuring a poem for the kids and a poem for the grown-ups!

Happy Halloween!

A middle-aged guy reliving his ’80’s glory days, complete with mullet and wraparound shades. Scary, no?

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can 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!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I’ve teamed up with several children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them! Here’s what you can look forward to seeing this month.

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

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

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

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the link 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). Also feel free to visit my website HERE. You can also follow me via Twitter Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Woodland haiku

(click to enlarge)

Between home-schooling two young kids, trying to keep up with household chores, and trying to take care of my folks’ health and financial needs (they are both in a nursing home)…I’ve barely had any time to write or send out submissions. In fact, I question how much longer I can keep saying I’m “working from home” when I feel like I’m hardly working at all!

Be that as it may, I actually have some cool news to share, which I’ll likely do next week. (The irony is that this good news took surprisingly little time to materialize – which, considering my aforementioned schedule, is quite a

fortuitous development) Thanks for popping by today, and for more poetry offerings, be sure to visit Bridget Magee at Wee Words for Wee Ones, where she is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can 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!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

Did you know that Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme is one of the TOP 20 children’s poetry blogs, according to FEEDSPOT? That’s right – I’m scratching my head, too! FEEDSPOT is an app that allows you to combine all your favorite news feeds, podcasts, YouTube channels, etc. into ONE newsletter. Be sure to check it out!

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

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.

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

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

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

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

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

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)

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

Poetry Friday: “Tory Brook Cherita”

Yes, I realize we’re in the middle of summer. Temps here are between 80-90 everyday, and I’m loving it! So how about we cool off a little, with a poem I wrote way back in April and then promptly forgot about…

(click to enlarge)

Quite a different poem from my prose poem about flowers (that wasn’t really about flowers) that I shared last week! Cheritas aren’t typically titled, so if you’d like to learn more about the form which, simply put, tells a story in 1, 2, and 3 lines, feel free to view past posts like THIS or THIS.

A few more shots of Tory Brook, which runs behind our house:

And now, a quick note about process:  if you are not a writer or poet, you may not be aware of the extraordinary lengths through which we go to make sure the right words are in the right places. To that point, while the poem didn’t take me more than an hour and a half to write, nearly one-third of that time was spent struggling with whether to place the word “gravity” after “crafted by” – and conclude the poem with “time” – or to swap those words and have it end as it is here.

Why this mental debate? Because although I really liked the alliteration of “mossy/maps” and wanted to include some internal rhyme with the assonance of “crafted/gravity,” the fact is that “gravity” was arguably a much stronger word on which to end the poem. So I wrestled with this for quite some time…and ultimately decided that the stronger word needed to the concluding word – but is close enough to “crafted by” to still gain the benefit of a little internal rhyme.

You had no idea how important words are, did you? The struggle is real, folks.

Margaret Simon is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Reflections on the Teche, where she is asking the wide-open question, “What is poetry?” So head on over and check out all the links and fun!

Did you know that Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme is one of the TOP 20 children’s poetry blogs, according to FEEDSPOT? That’s right – I’m scratching my head, too! FEEDSPOT is an app that allows you to combine all your favorite news feeds, podcasts, YouTube channels, etc. into ONE newsletter. Be sure to check it out!

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

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.

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

What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!

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

I’ve teamed up with several other children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them! Here’s what you can look forward to seeing this month:

Coming Spring 2021! Pre-orders are available:
.
=========================================================

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


     

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, 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!

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “Summer Flowers”, my first prose poem, ever

It’s been an incredible year for the flowers at our home. A warm, dry early summer, followed by thick rains nearly every other day for the past couple of weeks, has helped all the green life around here explode with color.

I knew I wanted to write a poem about them, but a poem about pretty, colorful flowers seemed like a – yaaaaaawwwnnn – oh I’m sorry…where was I?

Oh yes: writing a poem about flowers. Well, you see, one of the things I teach about poetry when visiting classrooms or through video chats is that a poet needs to find a new angle, or find a unique way of something that perhaps has been said before. Flower poems have been done, done, and done…so if I was going to have to step up my game and write something that was different.

So that’s exactly what I did. Or, at least tried to do. I wasn’t sure if it should be a haiku or free verse or what…but as the ideas started formulating in my brain, I decided to try something I’ve never attempted before: prose poetry, aka poetic prose. We won’t get into the debate over whether prose poetry is real poetry or not (which is just slightly less volatile than the masks vs. no masks arguments we witness daily)…we’ll just accept it as a legitimate poetic form and move on.

Hope you like it.

.

Summer Flowers

I took a walk through our summer flowers yesterday, each magnificent bloom calling out to me in silent brilliance. All around the yard, they vied for attention:  bushy, pink peonies; blood-crimson geraniums; stately Adam’s Wort. Turning past the white climbing roses, I stopped for a moment. A small weed had captured my gaze. Crown vetch – delicate and dainty-colored of lilac and linen – struggled to find its place among its more renowned cousins, vine shoots of green reaching out to the others like a child grasping for its mother’s hand. Here, amongst the flowers deliberately chosen and uniquely attended to, was life, seeking support, acceptance, approval. I marveled at its beauty, this weed – miniscule, uncelebrated – and decided that were this not as legitimate a life as the zinnias and cosmos, the impatiens and coneflowers, worthy and deserving of water and sun and space, then they should be considered weeds, all. It was in that instant I realized this garden, this yard of mine, was, indeed, much bigger than I’d ever realized.

– © 2020 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

Crown vetch

Is it poetry? Who knows…again, I’m not going to wade into that morass. But I will say that if you are just starting out writing poetry – particularly free verse poetry – prose poetry is a good way to get your feet wet without having to worry about line breaks and enjambment and that sort of thing.

For more poetry, please visit today’s Poetry Friday roundup at at Jan  Godown Annino’s blog, Bookseedstudio, where she is honoring her mom with a touching poetic tribute!

Did you know that Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme is one of the TOP 20 children’s poetry blogs, according to FEEDSPOT? That’s right – I’m scratching my head, too! FEEDSPOT is an app that allows you to combine all your favorite news feeds, podcasts, YouTube channels, etc. into ONE newsletter. Be sure to check it out!

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

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.

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

What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!

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

I’ve teamed up with several other children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them! Here’s what you can look forward to seeing this month:

Coming Spring 2021! Pre-orders are available:
.
=========================================================

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


     

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, 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!

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: Re-sharing an award winning poem for Father’s Day

(click to enlarge)

It’s Father’s Day weekend, and I hope to visit my dad…through a window.

You see, he and mom are quarantined in the local nursing home, so I’ve not been able to visit them since early March. Both tested positive, but have been asymptomatic – which is good news, of course – but that means they were just moved to a new area of the facility that’s ground-level.

My folks aren’t fans of technology, which means a video chat is out of the question. So instead of using Windows…we’re going to use windows! The family and I plan to park ourselves in back of the building, right outside mom and dad’s room, where we can spend some time together, in-person, while socially distancing.

Taken at my wedding. If you wonder where I get my sense of humor, look no further than the pugilist on the left.

I wrote the above poem (based on a childhood experience) four years ago, and in 2019 it won the MacGregor Poetry Prize coordinated by the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH and the Derry Public Library. I shared the poem here last year, but today I thought I’d post the original version I made for my father for Father’s Day 2016 – formatted against the backdrop of the pond where the scene takes place. It’s wordier here than the more polished version I submitted for the contest, but it still says what I wanted it to say, so that makes me happy.

Tricia is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect, so be sure to stop by for all of today’s poetry links and fun. And Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

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

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.

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

What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!

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

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!


     

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, 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!

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “Star Stuff,” a Georgia Heard poetry video just when we need it most

When I first came upon this video – based on a poem by my friend Georgia Heard and produced by another friend, Moe Phillips – I knew I had to share it here. Considering everything going on the world these days, and our country in particular, it felt like sharing something heartfelt and universal such as this was the most appropriate thing to do.

Hope you enjoy it.

I’m still trying to unpack, organize, and distill the events of this week, and hope to be able to share a few thoughts on Monday or Tuesday. Until then, for more poetry, head on over to Reflections on the Teche, where Margaret Simon is hosting today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup with a poetic letter to her students.

poetryfridaybutton-fulll

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

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.

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

What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!

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

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!


     

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, 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!

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “Wildflowers, for Jane”

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!

poetryfridaybutton-fulll

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

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.

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

What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!

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

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!


     

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

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, 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!

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

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

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