Poetry Friday: Birthday poem “Her Green World”

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

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

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

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

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

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“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Balladic verse” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

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

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

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

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Poetry Friday: Phoebe babies and another great review for “Flashlight Night!”

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This photo was taken about a month ago, but I’m just now getting around to sharing a poem with it because I’ve been so busy with kids and work and everything else that fills up a summer. But I wanted to post this, because the phoebe family keeps coming back year after year, building and rebuilding their little home above the front door to our home…and they have become as much a part of our family as the creatures living inside.

ALA Booklist loves “Flashlight Night!”

I’ve mentioned before how happy I was to receive a positive review for my debut picture book from Publisher’s Weekly…and a starred review from Kirkus was just outstanding! Now, I’ve learned that the American Library Association’s Booklist will be publishing their review of Flashlight Night next Wed., August 2 – and it appears they, too, seemed to enjoy it:

“A flashlight becomes a gateway to a whole new world in this imaginative picture book…Despite the excitement, the gentle rhyming text will wind young listeners down and help prepare them for dreamland adventures of their own.”

Those are just the first and last sentences of the review…wait’ll you see what the reviewer has to say, in-between! (I’ll be sure to share the link here and on Facebook and Twitter once it comes out – but I’m sure you could’ve guessed that, right??)

By the way, Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise is hosting Poetry Friday today with a fun, unusual poetry prompt and lots of links to more poetry…so be sure to head over and say hi!

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“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Balladic verse” – Publisher’s Weekly

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

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

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: Ocean musings and a GIVEAWAY!

Allow me to show you around the office…

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This is a photo I took on our first day of vacation at York Beach, Maine, last week. We were there for our annual summer kick-off excursion (fortunately, we have friends who own a cottage so we get to rent it on the cheap!), and we got to celebrate both Father’s Day and my birthday (June 24) while we were there.

As always, the kids had a blast playing in the waves, playing on the sand, playing at the park, playing at the house, playing while we were trying to get the to go to sleep…ok, well, that last part wasn’t so great. But we all enjoyed it, and I especially enjoyed the surprise that was waiting for me when  we got back home:

That’s right…an entire box of advance copies of Flashlight Night!

So after I set aside 5 to give to my kids – to whom I dedicated the book – I decided I should give some of these things away.

So here’s what we’re going to do:

  • If you’d like to win a signed copy, just leave a comment, “like” this post, or share this post via Twitter and/or Facebook! (and if you do all four, that’s four chances to win!) If you share via Twitter, please tag me @MattForrestVW so I can give you credit; if you share via Facebook, just leave the link in the comments section below.
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  • I’d also LOVE to announce my 500th follower…so if you are not already following this blog, I hope you’ll consider doing so. Right now, I have 487 followers, so the number 13 could turn out to be very lucky:  my 500th follower will receive another signed copy!

Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017, and pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Oh, and if you happen to be in the Boston area Thur. night, Sept. 7, I hope you’ll join us for the national book launch party at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA! (More details will be forthcoming as we get closer!)

For more poetry, links, and fun, be sure to visit my friend Diane Mayr, the Haiku Queen, at Random Noodling for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup. (And be sure to stop back here next Friday, when I announce the winners!)

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

Poetry Friday: Ocean haiku

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I’ve been on a haiku kick lately, probably due to a big project I’ve been working on these past few months…so for those of you who don’t ‘get’ haiku, I promise I’ll have something different next week!

Margaret is hosting Poetry Friday today at Reflections on the Teche, so head on over for the complete roundup! And by the way…this post is my 399th! I cannot believe I’ll be publishing my 400th post next Friday. The years have been flying by – both personally and professionally – since I started this blog in 2012, so thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

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

Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 5 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

And thank you for all your support!

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

Poetry Friday: misty haiku

(Photo by Katherine Esenwine; click to enlarge)

Once again, my thanks to my daughter, Katherine, for providing another inspirational photograph! Today, Kiesha is hosting Poetry Friday at Whispers From the Ridge, so be sure to head over for all of today’s links and fun!

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

Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 5 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

And thank you for all your support!

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

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

Poetry Friday: Green Anaconda haiku

poetryfridaybutton-fulllI’ve been doing some research on wild animals lately, and it’s amazing the things I discover when I’m not trying. Like learning that anacondas can weigh over 200 pounds – or, as much as two toilets.

Yes, toilets. One standard toilet weighs about 100 pounds. As I said, it’s amazing what one can learn simply by accident!

Anyway, I got thinking about the green anaconda, specifically. The largest snake in the world, it may not grow quite as long as its cousin, the reticulated python, but when it comes to weight, no other snake compares. The largest ever found was 30 feet in length – half as long as a bowling lane – and weighed more than 500 pounds!

And because anacondas are members of the boa family, they rely on constriction to subdue their prey (fish, wild pigs, deer, even jaguars!) before swallowing it whole. They can then go weeks or months before eating again. Want to see an apex predator in action?

Any creature that can attack – and subdue – a crocodile has my utmost respect! But why am I am sharing this with you? Because, like so many things, all this information turned itself into a poem. I present to you…a haiku:

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Green Anaconda

Sssilence, ssstrength; one-month
hunger endsss in ssseconds here,
rainforessst café

– © 2017 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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The Poetry Friday roundup can be found at A Teaching Life, so be sure to stop by and visit Tara for all of today’s poetry links along with a beautiful poem by Gary Soto!

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

Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 5 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

And thank you for all 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 twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Honesty” – and Billy Collins’ early birthday

poetryfridaybutton-fulllMy friend and fellow writer/blogger Heidi Mordhorst reminded me last week that former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, will turn 76 on March 22, and told me she was planning on a big shindig today to celebrate a little early. She invited a number of us to share a Billy Collins poem – or Billy Collins-inspired poem – which is precisely what I’m doing.

Collins wrote a poem titled “The Golden Years,” which begins:

All I do these drawn-out days
is sit in my kitchen at Pheasant Ridge
where there are no pheasants to be seen
and last time I looked, no ridge.

The poem, which you can read in its entirety HERE, struck a chord with me, so I decided to write my own poem which expands upon some of what he writes about, but in a much different voice and context…

Honesty

Someone once said
the definition of suburbia
is where they cut down all the trees
and then name streets after them.
Truth is, it’s worse than that.
Everything that was once
is dismissed, removed,
or chased away; trees are only
the beginning.

I knew a family
who lived on Deerhaven Road,
an oxymoron
for there were neither deer
nor was it a haven;
habitat destroyed, the animals
moved on. I’m guessing
they didn’t use the freshly-paved route
connecting a half-mile of houses
bearing their name.

Then there was Rattlesnake Hill which,
once it was suitably transformed
into every urbanite’s impression
of what rural life should be,
contained neither rattlesnake
nor hill.

This is why I much prefer the city
or the country to the soft,
doughy middle. Out in the boondocks
where the bears, deer, fox, and pheasants
have yet to be honored with pavement,
one can watch them wander across streets,
worn and dusty, into the neighbor’s
front yard. Likewise, in the city,
there are no turkeys, moose, or coyotes, and everyone
is fine with that; no one
has taken it upon themselves
to recognize the lack of wildlife
by naming a parkway after them.
City or country, there is no pretending
to be one thing or another; it is an honesty
with oneself, with nature, with the streets
that connect us.

– © 2017, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Heidi is hosting Poetry Friday today, so you can visit the “All-Billy Birthday Extravanganza” – along with all of today’s Poetry Friday links and fun – on her blog, My Juicy Little Universe!

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