Poetry Friday: “Spring at Pond Meadow”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllAbout a week and a half ago, I shared a short video on my Facebook page, taken behind our house, along our property line. It was simply 10 seconds of a babbling brook, but it’s a quiet little place I like to go and bring the kids to relax and listen.

Today, I’m sharing something from the front of the house!

Actually, it’s right across the street from the front of our house. On the other side of the road, you see, a hay field and pond are home to a variety of frogs, ducks, snapping turtles, deer, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a Great Blue Heron – as well as a family of Canada Geese that has been growing the last few years:

Geese 2

Geese
(click either image to enlarge)

Five or six years ago, it was one pair of geese. This spring, I counted 5 pairs, most with their own gaggle of goslings, and one lone adult straggler. (Hey, there’s always that one confirmed bachelor in every family, right?)

So today, I thought I’d share a short poem I wrote about them. Hope you like it! And for all of today’s Poetry Friday links, head over to Julie Larios’ The Drift Record.

Spring at Pond Meadow

Goslings follow Mama’s lead,
through tall grass and jewel-weed;
Father watches wily fox
hiding kits from hungry hawks.

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Oh, by the way…if you haven’t had a chance to read my post from this past Tuesday about using open submissions for inspiration, I hope you’ll check it out!

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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!
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Using submission requests to spur inspiration

I’ve written previously about the value of writing prompts as well as the importance of creating your own inspiration. Today, I want to take just a few short minutes to share a little tip about submission requests, and how they tie into these two topics.

No matter what you write – poetry, novels, short stories, essays – there is a literary journal, website, or writing contest somewhere waiting for you to send in your best. And while many folks might not feel their work is up to the “publishable” level, or are concerned that they don’t have an appropriate piece of work to submit, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t matter.

Publishable or not?

I’m my own worst critic, so I know how it feels when you’ve written something and don’t feel it’s worthy of a wider audience than your cat. You want to tweak it again, fix this line, change that word. I get it.

But, if you’re like me, there’s a point at which you finally think to yourself, “I’ve been working on this so long, I have no idea if this is good or not.”

So send it in! If you come across a submission for which you think your piece is appropriate, send it in! Maybe the editors will like it, maybe not. If they don’t like it, they won’t publish it and no one will see it.

If they do like it, however…you can rest assured that particular piece can be now considered “DONE.”

Nothing appropriate?

The flip side to having a piece that’s appropriate for the submission rules but not actually ready for submission, is not having anything appropriate at all, with regards to subject matter or genre. Here’s where it gets really fun.

Say you’re checking out some writing blogs and one of the bloggers has a writing prompt. Maybe he/she has posted a photo or some words and is asking for readers to share a piece of writing based on the prompt. You might not think twice about whipping up something based on that prompt…so treat the submission as a prompt!

What, there’s a journal looking for stories about windows and doors? That’s a writing prompt! A contest requesting poems about dreams? That’s another prompt! Every submission request is a prompt, so seize every opportunity you can! If you aren’t already doing this, you need to.

No inspiration is no excuse

A professional writer does not wait for inspiration to strike; you simply can’t afford to! Rather, a professional writer creates his or her own inspiration.

Many years ago, I wrote when I felt inspired. Now that I have been writing more and more – and have been published more and more – I have learned to create my own inspiration by working on ideas and words and lines until the poem or story starts coming together.

In the case of submission requests, though, the inspiration is handed to you!

You are told, “We need stories or essays about this” or “We’re looking for poets from this background writing about this subject.” So when you see the request, think about what you might be able to write about that fits the requirements.

Then WRITE!

Proof is in the poetry

Last week, I was thinking about some of the adult-oriented poems I’ve had published, and it occurred to me that most of them had not been written until after I had seen the submission request. In other words, I didn’t have completed poems lying around that just so happened to perfectly fit the rules and requirements of the submission.

Rather, I saw the submission request and decided to write a poem that fit the requirements. And honestly, this has been the case with almost every poem I’ve had published! A few examples:

  • I saw a submission request for poetry about nature, society, and change. So I thought about it and came up “In the Glen,” a poem about The Giving Tree, one hundred years later. It was published by the Tall Grass Writer’s Guild in their anthology, Seasons of Change (Outrider Press, 2010).
    .
  • I came across another request seeking poems and essays about how poetry trigger-warningsaved a life. My best friend from college, who struggled to accept himself as gay, immediately cam to mind. So I wrote “Coming to Terms,” which was eventually accepted and published in the anthology Trigger Warning: Poetry Saved My Life (Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC, 2014). (I’m still waiting for my contributor copy to arrive, but that’s a whole other story.)
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  • In 2013, I interviewed Gerald So, editor of The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly for a National Poetry Month post here on my blog. When Gerald asked if I wanted to contribute to his blog journal, I said I’d love to – so I needed to come up with a poem! The result was “Flight;” another poem, “To the Accused,” was published the following year.

These are just three examples of many, so I hope you’ll take the opportunity to use submission requests as writing prompts. Many folks besides Yours Truly do this, with great success.

In fact, I just completed a new poem that was supposed to be for a writing prompt by a fellow blogger (sorry, Michelle, I’ll have to come up with something else!) – but then I stumbled upon an anthology submission request that was so similar, I had to use the poem for that, instead!

I have no idea if the poem will be accepted for publishing, but I’m not worried. I can: a) resubmit the poem elsewhere, if an opportunity presents itself; b) set it aside to be included in my own chapbook-in-progress; c) share it here! or d) let it languish in darkness, never to see the light of day.

I do know which option I won’t be taking. I’m happy to share just about anything I write, providing I’m pleased with it!

There are plenty of things I’ve written that probably won’t see the light of day, though…and that’s fine, too. Not everything is meant for publication, and not everything meant for publication is publishable. The important thing, though, is that we are writing – so #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!

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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!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
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Poetry Friday: “Skyfire”

Once again, I find myself sharing a poem so new it has only gone through one revision; for all intents and purposes, this is a first draft, but I liked it! Hope you do, too:

(click to enlarge)

I took the photo just a couple of weeks ago while walking with my 2-year-old through town, and I could’ve stood there forever, finding images in the clouds: a face, a wolf, a hand, a centipede…what can you find?

By the way, for more poetry, head over to Reflections on the Teche, where Margaret (who is literally in two places at once) is hosting Poetry Friday today!

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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!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
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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: “Stumpfield Pond, 1975”

Last 5th Grade coverI mentioned last week that poet and blogger Laura Shovan is celebrating the release of her debut middle grade novel-in-verse, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary (Wendy Lamb Books), which was just released a couple of weeks ago. I did NOT mention how excited I am to be a part of her celebration!

I just received my ARC (Advance Review Copy) of the book yesterday and am looking forward to reading it and providing a review here in the next couple weeks…but that’s not all Laura had in store for those of us taking part in her “ARC Blog Tour.”

Laura also included vintage postcards to each blogger who received the book, to provide some writing inspiration – and inspiration is exactly what hit me last night, as I was looking through the postcards. I came across one in particular that immediately reminded me of my early-morning fishing excursions with my father when I was a child:

(click to enlarge)

Growing up here in New Hampshire, a great fishing spot was never more than 10 or 15 minutes away, so dad & I would get up early, early on a Saturday morning and make our way to a number of different places; this is one of them.

Stumpfield Pond, 1975

His son at his side, Dad slips
the old pea-green fiberglass boat into mirror water,
skillfully slicing the sleeping surface;
ripples race from either side of the bow,
curling and folding upon themselves.
Sand-worn hull grinds on gravel
like thunder in sunshine, unexpected
and startling,
before it finds its buoyancy
10 feet out from shore.
Titmouse, thrush, persistent phoebe sing
from treetops;
the air smells of lilies and dew,
wild iris and fog.
I clamber into the boat first, staking
claim to my usual post
near the bow, small hands
holding gently-rocking sides.
Dad climbs in once I am seated, and grabbing
one wooden oar, pushes hard
against the sand and silt beneath,
heaving the weight of the boat
and himself
and me
into the cool, wet, morning.

– © 2016 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulllBe sure to watch for my review of Laura’s book in the next few weeks, and for all of today’s Poetry Friday fun, please visit Violet Nesdoly’s blog for the complete roundup!

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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!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
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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: The 2016 Progressive Poem (Audio!)

Irene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem wrapped up last weekend – but I couldn’t let pass the opportunity to share it in full!

2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemIf you are unaware of what I’m talking about, allow me to explain: during the month of April, different writers took turns adding a line to the poem each day – and Donna from Mainely Write put the bow on it last Saturday in pure, unexpected poetic style!

As I have done the last few years, I recorded the poem and am sharing it here; the text follows. Forgive me for my allergies…it’s not quite as good as I’d like it to be, but spring in New England is rough on me. (and please also forgive the giant head – I have no control over how big WordPress makes the link graphics!)

West Wind Dreams of Taking Shape (or, Thoughts Take Flight)

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky.
A hummingbird holds and then hies.
“If I could fly, I’d choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.”
A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child’s outstretched hand.
“If I could breathe under the sea,
I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee.”
A clump of crocuses craves the sun.
Kites soar while joyful dogs run.
“I sing to spring, to budding green,
to all of life – seen and unseen.”
Wee whispers drift from cloud to ear
and finally reach one divining seer
who looks up from her perch and beams —
“West Wind is dreaming May, it seems.”
Golden wings open and gleam
as I greet the prancing team.
“Gliding aside with lyrical speed,
I’d ride Pegasus to Ganymede.”
To a pied pocket, the zephyr returns.
Blowing soft words the seer discerns
“from earthbound voyage to dreamy night,
The time is now.  I give you flight!”
Yet I fear I am no kite or bird –
I lift!  The world below me blurred
by tears of joy.  I spiral high,
“I hum, I dive, I dip, I hive!”
“Behold, Spring is but a dance away!”
I grasp my pen, then capture this day.

If you’re interested, you can find all the folks who participated in the 2016 Progressive Poem at the following blog spots:

April

1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots

6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

10 Pat at Writer on a Horse

11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry

20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write

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poetryfridaybutton-fulllIf you’re looking for more poetry, you’re in luck! Sylvia Vardell is hosting Poetry Friday today, so head on over to her place for the complete list of links along with a special Mother’s Day celebration!

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

The Poetry of Mylee!

Who in the world is Mylee, you ask?

She’s a budding young poet who just sent me a poetry postcard!

You see, Mylee is a student at Silver Star Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington, where Jone MacCulloch (aka, Ms. Mac!) is a library media specialist,  in addition to being a great cheerleader of literacy and children’s poetry.

Each year, Jone’s students write poems that they illustrate and then place on postcards, to be mailed out to any and all in the kidlitosphere who wish to receive one. I’m very honored to have received Mylee’s this year:

(Click to enlarge)

Thank you, Jone and Mylee! I keep coming back to that line, “I am at all as a book”…very thought-provoking.

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I’m still trying to get caught up on emails, work, and sleep, following my long, 3-day weekend in Springfield, Mass. at the New England SCBWI’s huge spring conference, where I co-hosted the Open Mic nights Fri. & Sat. with Sharon Abra Hanen and also presented a workshop on free verse poetry Sun. afternoon.

2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemBecause of this, I missed seeing how Irene Latham‘s 2016 Progressive Poem ended on Sat.! A different writer added a line each day throughout the month of April, and it all concluded with Donna at Mainely Write…I finally had a chance to see how she wrapped it up and I thought she did so very nicely!

You can hear (and read) the Progressive Poem in its entirety right here this Friday, as I’ll be recording it and sharing it everyone for Poetry Friday. Meanwhile, you can see how the Progressive Poem progressed at the following blog spots:

April

1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots

6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

10 Pat at Writer on a Horse

11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry

20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write

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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: #My5thGradeAsHaiku

national-poetry-month 2016

Hi! I’m not really here right now. I know, it seems like I’m talking to you…but I’ve pre-recorded this message because I’m actually on my way to Springfield, MA this morning for the local NESCBWI conference! (That’s why I’m posting this Thursday night instead of Friday – ssh, don’t tell anyone.)

I’m very excited about this year’s conference – not only because the conference is a wealth of information and networking possibilities, but because I’ll be presenting my first conference workshop this Sunday: “Free Yourself with Free-Verse Poetry.” And the timing couldn’t be better, as I just learned a few days ago that a free verse poem of mine was a runner-up in a national contest sponsored by the Young Adult Review Network!

Now, on to today’s post…

Last 5th Grade coverPoet, educator, and blogger Laura Shovan is celebrating a monumental accomplishment this month:  the release of her debut middle grade novel-in-verse, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary (Wendy Lamb Books), which was just released a couple of weeks ago. Congratulations, Laura!

Part of Laura’s celebration has included a fun little poetry challenge she created for Twitter, called  #My5thGradeAsHaiku. Anyone who wanted to share their memories of 5th grade was invited to write a haiku (well, technically, a senryu, but we won’t split hairs) and post it on Twitter with the #My5thGradeAsHaiku hashtag. And she got a BUNCH of responses!

I wrote one within the first few days of her announcing the challenge – a list poem, of sorts – but I kept thinking about my elementary days and ended up writing a couple more. So here are all three…hope you like them:
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#My5thGradeAsHaiku

Star Wars, soccer games,
Mrs. Day, Mr. Lemire, and…
Tracy in English.
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new thick-rimmed glasses
one more reason to hate me
like they needed one
.

another morning
I dread the bus; forced to lie,
I’m too sick to go
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– all poems © 2016 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Poetry_Friday logoAs I look back on it, 5th grade really wasn’t much of a hoot for me – but neither was 4th or 6th, for that matter. Ah, well. For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over to Buffy’s Blog, where Buffy Silverman is hosting the festivities!

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2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemIrene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem is almost ready to wrap up! A different writer adds a line each day – and we’ll see how it all turns out tomorrow, with Donna from Mainely Write! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; today, Sheila Renfro is adding her line…be sure to visit and see how the Progressive poem has…progressed!

You can follow the 2015 Progressive Poem at the following blog spots:

April

1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots

6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

10 Pat at Writer on a Horse

11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry

20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write

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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!