Poetry Friday: “Willow Warbler”

As many of you may know, my wife and I celebrated our 9th anniversary last weekend. Since this is the “willow” year, we both observed tradition and had dinner at the only place we could possibly go:

We also gave each other a proper gift. She presented me with a beautiful handmade pen fashioned from willow (followed by a weekend getaway to our Honeymoon spot!) and I gave her a framed picture of a willow warbler…

  

(And yes, I had to include a handful of dried willow behind the picture, as well!)

Now, a picture of a bird might not seem like that big of a deal for an anniversary gift, but I had a feeling my wife would really like it because of what it actually was:  a reclaimed page from an old book that could not be salvaged. I bought it from an Etsy shop in the U.K. that specializes in this sort of thing, so the fact that it was a bird (which my wife loves) on a willow branch, on a page from a book from England, made it rather special – and fortunately, my wife loved it. (Whew!)

So in-between all the things I’m working on this week, I sat down and spent a few minutes penning a little light verse to go along with the picture. It’s no award-winning piece of poetry, but I thought I’d share it nonetheless because I rather like it:

Willow Warbler

Willow warbler whistles a tune
to lure the ladies and make them swoon.
When willows pale, it’s warbler’s time
to take wing for a warmer clime.

– © 2017 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Summer is winding down for all of us, including the warbler, who winters in sub-Saharan Africa (well, at least the European warblers do.) I hope you have a great weekend, and please be sure to visit Kay McGriff at A Journey Through the Pages for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“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!

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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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“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 around this time, as my wedding anniversary is August 10 and the poem was part of my wedding vows. I wouldn’t be where I am without my wife, after all – she’s the one who allows me to be a stay-at-home dad who writes for a (modest) living! 

And by the way, Margaret is hosting Poetry Friday today at Reflections on the Teche, so I hope you’ll stop by and say hi!

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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???

Well, 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 – it is a bit over-wrought, I admit – 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 if 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

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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!

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

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

(Click to enlarge)

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)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Love is in the air…

The FRIGIDaire, actually…

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Ecstasy, July 2017

In summer’s deep heat,
no joy is greater
than the sweet icy kiss
of my refrigerator.

– © 2017 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Katie at The Logonauts is hosting Poetry Friday today, so please stop by & say hi, and check out all the poetry links and fun!

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

“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)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Mac ‘n Cheese, Please”

(click to enlarge)

If you have not heard the gastronomically fantastic news, today is National Mac ‘n Cheese Day! I have no idea who decided this, but I appreciate the sentiment.

Around here, my 3-year-old daughter prefers the boxed, store-bought variety; my 7-year-old son, on the other hand, doesn’t care if it’s store-bought, restaurant-prepared, or my own homemade…if it’s pasta and cheese, he’s on it.

Someone else who is celebrating the holy union of pasta and dairy is Tabatha Yeatts, who is hosting Poetry Friday today at The Opposite of Indifference – where you’ll find plenty of cheesy (and not-so-cheesy) poetry!

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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 & 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.

And thank you for your support!

Poetry Friday: Ocean musings and a GIVEAWAY!

Allow me to show you around the office…

(click to enlarge)

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)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Downtown at Taylor Park”

This post was originally published Aug. 9, 2012 and was the first children’s poem I ever shared here. I was going to do this last week, in honor of my 401st post, but I decided to share some major news instead! So this week, I’m reaching into the time capsule and re-sharing this; not just because it was one of my first blog posts, but because it was also one of my very first children’s poems I ever wrote. Hope you like it!

(By the way, Mary Lee is hosting Poetry Friday today – so be sure to visit her at A Year of Reading, as well!

Last Friday, I kicked off my participation in Poetry Friday with an Elizabethan sonnet I wrote for my wife as part of my wedding vows.  She has been so helpful and supportive to me in my quest for publication in the world of children’s literature, I felt it was the perfect poem to get things rolling.

Today (our anniversary, ironically), I’m spotlighting a poem I wrote for two other people to whom I owe the deepest gratitude for not only supporting me, but constantly inspiring me:  my two daughters.  Interestingly, it was actually written long before I even knew I wanted to be published in the world of children’s literature.

Now, it may be comprised of only two stanzas, but this poem was a long time coming.  I originally wrote it in the spring of 1999 while watching the girls (ages 7 and 4 at the time) playing at Taylor Park in St. Albans, Vermont.  Taylor Park is the quintessential New England town square, full of lush green grass, tall maple trees, and a big water fountain.  It so happened that, on this day, as I watched my daughters running around being kids, the first stanza just came to me.

I had already had a few adult poems published independently at this point, so writing poetry was nothing foreign to me; writing children’s poetry, though, was unfamiliar.  Not knowing what to do with these two little couplets, I wrote them down when I got home and read it to the girls and their mom.  They liked it, but I felt like I was giving Lauren, my eldest, the spotlight and leaving poor Katie out of it.  I wasn’t sure how to include her, but I kept thinking about it, figuring something would eventually hit me.

It did.

A little over a year later, we were at the park again and I was mulling lines and phrases over in my head…when it dawned on me that even though Katie was playing with her older sister nicely, she was playing differently and seemed to have a different frame of mind.  That was all it took to figure out the angle I needed and bang out the second stanza.

But because no poem is ever good enough, I went back to it a couple years ago and tweaked a couple words here and there.  That’s what writers are supposed to do, right?  Revise, revise, revise??

Well, I think it’s pretty well set now.  I hope you like it!  And if you ever find yourself in northwestern Vermont, take a drive through downtown St. Albans…and maybe you’ll find inspiration, too!


Downtown at Taylor Park

Lovely Lauren, little daughter,
fishing in the fountain water,
looking for a leafy fin –
leaned too far and tumbled in.

Katie-Bea was fishing, too,
doing what her sister do.
Closed her eyes and made a wish…
don’t know how, but caught a fish!

– © 1999 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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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 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!