Poetry Friday: “The Child Who”

Today’s poem came about while I was putting together my newest picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books), which officially arrives Nov. 30.

While it doesn’t show up anywhere in the book, the poem’s words helped me focus on what the book was about – namely, showing kids they have the ability to affect change now, rather than waiting to be “The Future,” as we grown-ups often tell them.

As it turns out, the poem is very fitting, as POW! Kids Books and I have put together a special opportunity for schools, libraries, and home school groups to get to learn more about the book on the day before World Children’s Day (Nov. 20):

Feel free to copy & share this graphic!

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The Child Who

…seeks the truth.
The child who lends a hand.
The child who shares concern.
The child who takes a stand.

The child who knows their strength.
The child who knows their worth.
These are the ones to forge
their paths upon the Earth.


© 2021 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

I hope you like the poem, and if you or someone you know wants to take advantage of this opportunity, please contact me as soon as possible! For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head over to wee words for wee ones, where Bridget Magee is getting a lot of atTENtion with her very first poetry anthology, 10•10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways!

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I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

Click any of the covers below to order!

rriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “Sonnet 10”

I’m in Ohio right now at Lit Youngstown’s Annual Fall Literary Festival, but wanted to share a poem that hasn’t been seen for a while. This post was originally pubished exactly 9 years ago, the first week of Oct. 2012 – barely two months after I’d first created this blog! The poem, however, is older than that. With the leaves turning and the air becoming cooler, I thought today might be the perfect opportunity to bring this back for all to see. Hope you like it!

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Y’know…now that I think about it…

I should’ve come up with a title for this poem.

For some reason, I just never got around to it.  I wish I could find the original, which had the date of completion on it (I’m sure it’s packed away somewhere around here) but I’d guess that I wrote this around 2000. 

We were living in Highgate, Vermont, at the time and I was home on the front porch, looking at the field across the road and the line of multi-colored trees that stretched behind it.  I think it was late September, but it must have been a cool, early fall because I recall the trees had already lost a significant amount of leaves, which spurred me to write this.

It’s never been published but is still one of my favourites; I’ve always loved Elizabethan sonnets, so there are elements of an older, more traditional style, but I hope you like it. For more poetry, please visit Irene Latham at Live Your Poem for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

Sonnet 10

The dark green trees, so tender yestermonth,
Have now begun a turn of gruesome hue
And sanguine shades make manifest a life
With which the leaves the sun cannot imbue.
Where once youth’s shine had bourgeoned through these hills
And sweetness of the air perfumed the land,
Now sullen limbs hang low, with fingers crack’d
As if by Hodur’s cold and mighty hand.
The souls come creeping, seeping through worn skin –
An erubescent glow becomes a cry
To Heaven; stately corpses standing tall
Are beckoning us all to watch them die.
While hushful tears drop silently to ground,
To tread upon them, ‘tis a deaf’ning sound.

© 2000 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

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I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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I’d love to visit with you or your child!
Learn more by clicking the graphic!

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

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

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

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

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

Click any of the covers below to order!

rriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “Untitled.” (and yes, that’s actually the title)

As I always say, one never knows from where or when a poem will materialize.

In the case of today’s poem, it didn’t even wait for me to have my morning coffee.

And no, the poem is not untitled. The title is “Untitled.”

I had barely woken up – I hadn’t even taken the dogs outside yet – when I noticed the dense fog lifting off the pond across the street. So I dropped what I was doing and ran over to catch some shots.

As I took a few pictures (you can see the short video from my original Instagram post HERE), words started swirling around in my head, so I went back to the house and jotted them down on my phone. Twenty minutes later, I had a short poem I was rather proud of.
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Untitled.

I rise
like early-morning fog;
slow and thin, lifted
by the cool breath
of a boundless new day.

– © 2021 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

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Now, folks who don’t write poetry won’t realize how much work actually went into writing these five short lines. But for those of you who do write, or are learning how to write, poetry…there was quite a bit of thought required, at a time of day when coherent thinking doesn’t always come easily.

First, I needed to figure out what to say and how to say it – in way that wasn’t tired or cliched. I also deliberately made use internal rhyme, playing with the “L” sound throughout, as it felt fluid on the tongue. I included two “F” sounds and a “TH”, which is similar, because those very felt airy and wispy. And I even spent time considering how to alliterate “breath” and came up with “boundless.”

As for the title? I spent a good additional 5 minutes thinking about that, when it occurred to me that the poem was about limitless possibilities! So since the day was new and ‘untitled”…wouldn’t “Untitled.” be the perfect title?

Hopefully you can see why I was so proud of those 20 “pre-coffee” minutes I spent writing. For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, be sure to visit Catherine at Reading to the Core where she is sharing a poem – about poetry!

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I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

Arriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “with gratitude to the forest”

My wife and I took a brief journey through a local bog yesterday.

That probably sounds less than fascinating to you, but it’s a nice, short little nature walk that takes less than an hour to complete; the bog used to be a pasture, but Mother Nature had other plans and so it is now a huge land mass of wet, spongy mud and moss.

A couple of things caught my attention more than others; one were the white baby Truffula trees growing throughout the bog (bottom center). (See a short video of them here) The other was a small, barely-noticeable maple tree sapling that looked like a direction sign pointing everywhere:

So of course, I had to write a poem! And since I hadn’t written any haiku lately, I decided to do just that.

And even though you’re not supposed to title haiku, I titled mine because – well, just because.
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with gratitude to the forest

signpost points all ways
to lose one’s direction; kind
magenta gesture

– © 2021 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved
.

For more poetry, head on over to Laura Purdie Salas’ little home on the web, Small Reads for Brighter Days, where she is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

Arriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: Book trailer debut for “I Am Today!”

You may be wondering why I’m featuring a trailer for a picture book for Poetry Friday…but if you know anything at all about my style of writing, you can probably take a good guess!

My upcoming new picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books), started off as both a book AND a poem. How’s that? Well, back in 2020 I wanted to write something to empower kids during the pandemic; so many, including my own, felt they had no control over anything that was happening. School was at home, playdates were via computer, and vacations were halted. I wanted to be able to help them without writing something didactic and preachy.

I’ll share more details about the genesis for this story a later time (my first unusual step was creating a non-grammatical title), but suffice it to say that even though I was writing a book manuscript, I wanted it to be a poem, too.

There is no “One day Sally did this, then Billy said this, and together they…” sort of thing here. Much like my other books, it’s a loose narrative that sets up a framework for illustrator Patricia Pessoa, who creates a wonderful sub-narrative that shows the story of our young main character.

Here is how my poem – the book – begins:
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I AM TODAY

Grown-ups say I am the Future.

But I’d rather be the Now.

Why wait to make a change for good?
I’m strong.
And I know how!

I’ve learned from those before me
what’s truthful,
……….decent,
………………..fair.

They’ve taught me how to be polite.

They’ve shown me how to share…

© 2022 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Hope you like it! And if you’re asking yourself, “Hmmm…I could’ve sworn that was supposed to come out earlier,” you are correct. The original publication date was Oct. 5, but due to pandemic-related delays, the publisher decided to push it out just a bit later. (But still in time for the holidays!) You can always pre-order a copy now, and it will arrive as soon as it’s officially published.

And by the way, POW! Kids Books is the same publisher who published my collaboration with Deborah Bruss, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur, in 2018 – so I have to thank them for all their support!

Oh, and if you missed my recap this past Tuesday of the local state fair, I hope you’ll check it out – I witness a lot working a 5-day weekend as the official PA announcer, and it’s always fun to see what I’ll discover each year! This year, we had a Recycled Percussion band member buried alive, ice cream cones made of donuts and filled with Nutella, a lobster-themed monster truck, and ‘transforming’ cars that turn into robots.

SHAMELESS PLUG: If you are interested in learning more about how to write picture books with loose narratives – i.e., books that don’t follow a standard structure/format – I hope you’ll consider attending Lit Youngstown’s Fall Literary Festival, Oct. 7-9. There will be workshops and presentations covering a wide array of genres, including my own presentation, “Loose Narratives, Tight Language: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book.”
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Using “Flashlight Night,” “Once Upon Another Time,” “I Am Today,” and the manuscript for a new, upcoming book due out next year – along with examples by other authors – I will offer advice for creating narratives without the typical, “First Sally did this, then Billy did this, then this other thing happened…”

We will look at how using seasonal narratives, chronologies, ‘story skeletons,’ and other devices along with poetic language can create a manuscript an illustrator will crave, and – more importantly – an editor will want to buy!

For more poetry, head to Denise Krebs’ little home on the web, Dare to Care – where you will find today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup along with Denise’s “In One Word” poem based on the word TESTUDINATE!

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I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

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

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

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “…then again, maybe I should go back for some pizza”

I’m currently busy working at the 104th annual Hopkinton (NH) State Fair, where I have been the announcer for 10 years now! I let folks know what events are taking place, where facilities are, and assist with announcing the demolition derbies Sat. and Sun nights. It’s a long, 60+ hour weekend of talking, walking, and smiling…but I love it. So I thought I’d pull this little gem out of storage, originally published Sept. 7, 2012!

For all the Poetry Friday links, be sure to head on over to Kathryn Apel’s blog, Kat’s Whiskers, where she’s hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with some exciting picture book news (congrats, Kat!) and a review of two Aussie-published verse novels written by friends of hers.

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poetryfridaybutton-fulllYes, the title of the poem is a bit odd, but so is the person who wrote it.  Actually, there’s a reason why I titled it this way…you’ll understand once you get to the end of the poem. (the title is actually the REAL last line of the poem!)

This was written as I was preparing for my duties as the official live announcer for the annual Hopkinton State Fair here in New Hampshire.  It’s one of the largest fairs in the state and takes place during Labor Day Weekend.

I was the announcer for this year’s fair as well, and I’m still recuperating.  It’s not the 60-hours-on-my-feet-for-4-days schedule that gets me; it’s the food!  Between deep-fried pickles/Pop-Tarts,/Oreos/etc., barbecued bison burgers, and roast turkey legs that would give Fred Flintstone a hernia, it’s a fair-foodie’s dream-come-true.  My annual favourite?  A loaded baked potato with chili, bacon, cheese, broccoli, sour cream, chives, salsa, and jalapenos.

I tell them to hold the butter because I really don’t need the fat.

“…then again, maybe I should go back for some pizza”

I love the fair, but most of all, the food is hard to beat –
it’s barely 2pm, and yet I’ve had so much to eat!
I started with a burger, had a corn dog and some fries,
and then hot buttered popcorn in a box of massive size.

I feasted on the fried dough, ate a funnel cake or three,
and downed as many deep-fried foods as there could ever be.
Of course I needed ice cream, so I stopped to have a scoop;
I even scarfed a giant, cheesy bread bowl full of soup!

Ate cotton candy, caramel apples, schnitzel on a stick.
I polished off a pulled pork sub entirely too quick.
I’ve eaten all the sausage my poor stomach will allow;
so really…all I want…
is just a garden salad now…

© 2011, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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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 for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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: Heading back to school with “School People”

Hard to believe it’s time for our kids to head back to school again – although admittedly under different circumstances than past years.

But through all the changes we’ve dealt with this past year and a half, one thing that doesn’t change are our school people – the folks who teach, support, and care for our children while they are away from home.

So I thought I’d share a couple of selections from Lee Bennett Hopkins’ School People (Wordsong, 2018), a collection of 15 poems by various writers including Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Irene Latham, J. Patrick Lewis, and Yours Truly.

I’ve shared my contribution, the poem ‘Bus Driver,’ a couple of times here before, so today I wanted to re-share Lee’s poem, ‘Librarian.’ (You can view my original post and interview with him HERE)

©2018 Wordsong, all rights reserved, reprinted with permission (Click to enlarge)

It’s sad to think, Lee passed away almost exactly 2 years ago, and although he won’t be able to see his final few anthologies that were in various states of progress when he passed, his legacy of poetry and love of language will live on in the poems and books he wrote as well as in the words of those of us he befriended, supported, and guided.

No matter how many poets come along, there will never be another Lee.

For all of today’s poetry links and fun, please visit Unexpected Intersections where Elisabeth is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup with a spotlight on her response to a poetic challenge to write in a style similar to a Jane Yolen poem – Yikes, no pressure!

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I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

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

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

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “Work”-ing with a 2-year-old artist

Last week I shared a poem I wrote for my wife as part of our wedding vows 13 years ago – a post I traditionally re-share annually. So this week, I thought I’d let my daughter have the spotlight.

As a born artist, she has always been a creative soul, drawing, painting, sculpting and creating art in every possible manner everywhere she goes. Lunch crumbs, recyclables, anything she finds all have potential to become art in her hands.

Several years ago when she was barely 2 years old, she drew this picture:

I asked my daughter what it was and she replied, “A hand picking up stones.”

Given her age and cognitive abilities at the time (she was barely 2, remember), I assumed that was simply a random answer. But when her mom saw it and asked her what it was, she said the same thing: I asked my daughter what it was and she replied, “It’s a hand picking up stones.”

I thought it interesting that she said the same thing, so I decided to wait a week or so and ask again. This time, she actually sighed and said, “I told you, it’s a hand picking up stones!”

I guess she knew exactly what she was drawing.

So I thought it might be fun to write a poem to go along with her picture. (This is a form of “ekphrastic poetry”; that is, poetry written to accompany a picture. You can learn more about how much fun ekphrastic poetry is to write – and learn a little more about this poem – HERE.)

.

Work

One by one
I set the stones
neatly in a pile.
Though labor’s long
and aches my bones,
its beauty makes me smile.

© (2015) Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

This poem and picture were first featured together on Penny Parker Klostermann’s blog, as part of a series of posts she shared featuring collaborations between writers and child family members. For more poetry, head over to The Apples in My Orchard, where Carol is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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

“Constancy”

This post was originally published August 3, 2012. It was my first poetry post on this blog, and only my second post ever, following my introduction. But I repost it every year at this time, as my wedding anniversary is August 10 and the poem was part of my wedding vows. Would I write this poem quite this way today? Probably not; the sentiment certainly hasn’t changed, but the word choice could be improved, as the poem feels too formal and overwrought. But I can’t really revise a poem titled “Constancy” now, can I?

My friend Christie Wyman is hosting Poetry Friday today at her blog, Wondering and Wandering, so be sure to head over there for all of today’s poetry links and fun!

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poetryfridaybutton-fulllThis is only my second posting on this blog, and although I knew I wanted to do something for Poetry Friday, it took quite a bit of deliberation to decide which poem of mine I should spotlight.  Children’s poetry or adult poetry?  Published or unpublished?  Happy or sad?  Funny or serious???

After careful consideration, I decided I would post an unpublished poem I wrote a few years ago for the one person in the world who has done the most for me in my quest to become a published children’s author:   my wife, Jenny. Through her unwavering support (emotional, physical, AND financial), I’m able to pursue this dream along with all the other people who have been so helpful to me, like my kids, friends, and fellow writers.

This is a traditional Elizabethan sonnet (three quatrains with an a/b/a/b, c/d/c/d, e/f/e/f rhyme scheme followed by a rhyming g/g couplet) which I wrote as part of my wedding vows.  No, it doesn’t read as a contemporary poem; it was deliberately written in a sort of old-fashioned, classic sort of style. I wanted to express the thought that even though poets throughout history have written words of undying love and immutable steadfastness, my love for her surpassed all their metaphors, all their similes, all that they could ever have imagined.

Yes, I’m a romantic; I make no apologies.

I conclude my poem with a suggestion for them as to what they should compare their love to…but it’s not a rose or a star.

Looking back on it (indeed, even shortly after I’d written it), there are several things I would have changed, edited, or revised – but I was under a deadline, of course, and this was what I came up with.  Unlike my other poems, “Constancy” will never be put through revisions, however. These were the words I spoke to my wife on August 10, 2008 (in a voice loud enough that the entire state of Massachusetts could hear) and so they shall remain.  These words were part of my vows and are as unalterable as my love and gratitude for her.

I wouldn’t be able to do what I do were it not for Jenny.

Thanks again for saying “Yes,” Honey.

Constancy
For Jennifer

How many have, before me, tried in vain
To capture beauty, constancy, and love
Through fluent phrase, in happiness and pain,
And simile of summer, star, or dove?
Their words so eloquent, imagery lush –
In perfect imperfection testify,
For seasons change, the steadfast heavens rush
To swirl about themselves, and doves will die.
How best to show the one whom I adore
The fullness of my amorosity?
I fail to find a finer metaphor
Than that true love which you have shown to me.
The poets fail! Their thoughts do not dismiss;
‘Tis better they compare their love to this.

© 2008, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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

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


  (coming Sept. 25, 2018!)

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 for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “I Am Smoke” interview & review with author Henry L. Herz

It’s not out until Sept. 7, but I had to share news about the latest picture book from my fellow 2021 Book Blast partner Henry L. Herz, I Am Smoke (Tilbury House, 2021). The book has already received some wonderful accolades, including a Kirkus star (“Spreads of smoke rising fluidly into a pinprick-starry sky, a ‘dark dance from every campfire,’ are veritable gems.” –Kirkus Reviews) and even showed up on the School Library Journal’s list of The Most Astonishingly Unconventional Books of 2021, which includes titles by such folks as Deborah Freedman, Jon Klassen, and Brian Selznick.

This is not Henry’s first picture book by any means, but it is unusual in its lyricism and gentleness – as well as its point of view, which is first-person, from the voice of the smoke itself. I don’t normally feature picture books here, but the text is so poetic and beautifully-worded I knew I had to share it. Who says a book like this isn’t poetry??

Henry L. Herz

Henry is the author of 11 traditionally-published children’s books, eight children’s short stories, and over 20 adult short stories. He is co-editor of two children’s anthologies: THE HITHERTO SECRET EXPERIMENTS OF MARIE CURIE (Blackstone Publishing, YA) and COMING OF AGE: 13 B’NAI MITZVAH STORIES (Albert Whitman & Co., MG).

Thanks for taking the time to join me here, Henry! Congratulations on the book – I’m very happy for you that it’s doing so well, and it’s not even out yet! One of the questions I ask everyone who visits here is the question that all authors need to ask ourselves: “Why did this book need to be written?” Can you tell me where you got the inspiration for the book, and how you began the process of writing it?

Thanks! I’m inspired by many things in the natural world. I love how much personality dogs possess. I’m amazed that you can cut a piece off of a succulent, stick it in the ground, and grow a brand new succulent. That’s like making a whole new person from just a finger! The range of defense mechanisms employed by animals is amazing— from camouflage to squirting ink to being poisonous to mimicking predators.

I find the use of fictional elements to convey facts a great way to engage with young readers and teach them without them realizing it. Fiction can be the melted cheese we pour on top of the broccoli of nonfiction. There are some picture books with anthropomorphic characters, but I’d never seen smoke treated as a character. And who better to explain the various ways in which people have employed smoke over the ages and across the world than smoke itself?

I researched wood smoke and discovered it’s primarily carbon dioxide, ash, and water vapor. That got me thinking about the water cycle. Then it hit me that trees sequester carbon they extract from breathing in carbon dioxide. Eureka! Smoke has a “cycle” too. Fire releases wood’s molecules. Water eventually rains down and trees extract the carbon from the air to grow more wood. The “smoke cycle” became the framework within which I shared some of the many ways smoke has been used to fumigate homes, communicate over distances, cover unpleasant smells, aid beekeepers, flavor and preserve foods, participate in religious ceremonies, and heal.

Fiction as the cheese on top of the nonfiction broccoli…great way to describe it, Henry! And I’m glad you show that smoke, while potentialy dangerous, can be a good thing. So what were some of the pitfalls you encountered while writing it? Anything surprising or unexpected?

It wasn’t a surprise, per se, but this was the first book I’ve written that I felt needed to be reviewed by sensitivity readers because it mentions Native Americans. Happily, both sensitivity readers found everything to be fine.

All images © 2021 Tilbury House Publishers, all rights reserved, used with permission

You have a number of picture books and short stories under your belt, but I Am Smoke is different in that it is a more lyrical, thought-provoking picture book than, say, your recent 2 Pirates + 1 Robot (Kane Miller, 2019) or the pun-filled Good Egg and Bad Apple (Schiffer Kids, 2018). Was this done intentionally, or did the subject matter lead you to this style of writing?

That’s true. I Am Smoke is also the first creative nonfiction picture book I’ve sold. I did write a creative nonfiction picture book narrated by a flea. But that was done for the sake of humor. In the case of I Am Smoke, since smoke has been harnessed by people for millennia, I thought letting it tell its own tale in riddles, like an ancient supernatural being, would grant gravitas to the narrator’s voice. Like smoke itself, the narrator is dark, spare, and mysterious.

I usually focus on poetry here at the ol’ Triple-R but wanted to share your book because it is, in fact, very poetic. Although it is a loose narrative it can be read as one long poem; again, was this deliberate, or did it come about organically? 

The lyrical prose developed organically. I threw in a little alliteration: Flickering flames work their mysterious magic on burning branches. Then I mixed in some metaphor: I am borne aloft in the heat’s embrace, soaring and spreading my wings.

Smoke, like fire, is destructive, but can also be put to useful purposes. This duality inspired the riddle-like phrasing: I lack a mouth, but I can speak. I irritate eyes, but I can soothe bees.

Just like the chemical cycle of smoke, the story returns to where it began, with smoke twirling in dark dance from a campfire, and the words, I am smoke.

And that’s what I love most, that you show all these nuances of smoke, from the smoke’s first-person point of view. So what do you hope readers will take away from this book, and what would you say to folks who are considering picking up a copy?

Aside from the STEM, cultural, and historical facts, I hope readers will see that common practices bind humanity across time and space.

To folks who are considering picking up a copy, I’d say “Do it.” These terrific authors can’t be wrong:

“Herz presents a provocative and unique look at the lifecycle and benefits of smoke throughout the millennia. Lopez’s multimedia artwork further illuminates the ethereal nature of smoke as it drifts and dances across the page.” – John Rocco, author/illustrator of the Caldecott Honor book BLACKOUT

“A fascinating, refreshing, and beautifully atmospheric take on something often taken for granted. I’ll never look at smoke the same way again!” – Matthew Cordell, author/illustrator of the Caldecott Medal-winning book WOLF IN SNOW

“I Am Smoke is an absolutely beautiful book, where smoke is both poetry and science. Readers will rest, float, and dance along with smoke’s quiet power across time and traditions. I have lingered over its pages more than once, and I’m sure young readers will, too.” – Doreen Cronin, author of the Caldecott Honor and NY Times bestselling book CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE

“Wowwwwww” – Raina Telgemeier, #1 NY Times, #1 USA Today, #1 Publishers Weekly bestselling author/illustrator

What’s next??

I have a sci-fi/humor middle grade novel on submission and am revising a fantasy middle grade novel. I just joined as an editor the staff of small publisher Running Wild Press, so that should yield some interesting projects. I AM SMOKE launches September 7, 2021. My forthcoming books and stories include:

  • Denver Horror Collective’s adult horror anthology, THE JEWISH BOOK OF HORROR, will include my short story, Demon Hunter Vashti.
  • Launching in 2022 my contemporary magical realism early chapter book, THE MAGIC SPATULA from Month9 Books with co-author Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien.
  • Launching in 2022 the middle-grade #ownvoices anthology from Albert Whitman & Co., COMING OF AGE, including my sci-fi/humor short story, Bar Mitzvah on Planet Latke.
  • Launching in 2022, the young adult horror anthology from Blackstone Publishing, THE HITHERTO SECRET EXPERIMENTS OF MARIE CURIE, including my short story, Cheating Death.
  • Highlights for Children” has purchased two more of my stories, but I don’t know when those will come out.

Thanks for having me!

Glad you could join me, Henry, thank you! And again, best luck with the book – it’s gaining some great traction with positive reviews all around, and as an author myself I know how good that must make you feel.

And by the way, to anyone who is in the trenches, submitting your first or second manuscript and trying to deal with all those rejection letters (or worse, NO letters at all), I hope you’ll take a peek at last week’s post about rejections – why they aren’t as bad as you think and why it’s important to keep going!

Since it’s Poetry Friday, I hope everyone will check out all the poetry links and fun with Mary Lee Hahn, who is hosting today’s complete poetry roundup at her newly-revised blog, A(nother) Year of Reading, with an original villanelle about flames and torches (or is that all just a metaphor??).

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

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

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click any of the following covers to order!

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

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

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