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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#WriteLikeNoOneIsReading

ID-10052692 (books)If you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking, allow me to answer you now:

No, I can’t believe I’m promoting a hashtag, either. More on that in a few…

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with elementary and middle school school classes about writing: what poetry is, how to write it, how to use one’s imagination to create, etc.

Depending on the grade and competency level of the classes, I tailor my presentations to fit the needs of the teachers and students. Sometimes the sessions tend to focus on questions/answers, while some are more hands-on, where we actually create poetry and get into the nuts and bolts of what poetry is all about.

But whether I’m sharing details of how I became a writer and voice artist in an informational setting or helping teachers (and students) with Common Core Anchor Standards for Writing 3, 4 & 5 – the three most apropos, in my estimation, for poetry – there is one common theme that always seems to be present.

The Fear of Creation

Some people relish the idea of making something out of nothing, and are eager to share their handiwork with the world. Others stop dead in their tracks when confronted with the task.

Most folks, I think, fall in-between; that is, the idea of creating is appealing, entertaining, or intriguing, but the act of actually sharing what they create gives them pause.

I’m here to tell you…it doesn’t matter.

Children, for example, tend to have tremendous imaginations, and when they are allowed to indulge those imaginations, all sorts of fun, crazy, wild things can happen. But even at a young age, not all kids want others to know what they are up to.

This puts a clamp on their burgeoning imagination.

What to do?

Create like no one cares

IMG_9242
At the Highlights Foundation in Boyd’s Mills, Pennsylvania, even the stones want you to create.

While I admit it’s nice to think that someone out there cares about what you have created, my point is that if you can create for the sake of creativity itself, you open yourself up to all kinds of possibilities.

No one thinks twice about the wisdom of “dancing like no one is watching” and feeling free and confident enough in yourself to let the music and rhythm of a song carry you away for a few minutes, with complete disregard for anyone who may see you. But what about the confidence needed to create a poem, story, or painting?

The fact is, you don’t need any confidence to create! True, you might need a whole lot of confidence to share what you’ve created with someone else – but that’s getting ahead of yourself. First and foremost, you need to create…then worry about whether or not it will see the light of day.

#WriteLikeNoOneIsReading

That is why I started this hashtag. I’ve used this phrase many times in helping people, especially kids, to realize they don’t need to share anything they create! And now that I find myself sharing more and more of what I create – via books, blogs, critique groups, and other venues – I think it’s important for aspiring writers (and all creators) to understand what’s really important in their development.

To create!

Write for yourself first – don’t write with an anticipation or expectation of trying to impress others. I know I’m not the first person in the world to make known this truth, but I would like to try to spread the message.

So over the next few days, weeks, months…if you happen to share some writing news either of yourself or someone you know via Facebook or Twitter, and you feel this hashtag is appropriate, please use it. I would love to see it begin trending, even for just a few hours, because that would encourage even more folks to investigate what the hashtag means and hopefully encourage more people to write – to create something out of nothing.

As I said before, one does not need confidence to create. One does not even need talent! However, one does need to start somewhere, and writing something no one will ever see – a journal entry, a poem, a story – is a good first step.

Sometimes, writing something no one will ever read can be cathartic, therapeutic, or even simply amusing.

And sometimes, just knowing that no one needs to see what you have written is all it takes to write something wonderful.

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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)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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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: Accepting a challenge to go back in time

Poetry_Friday logoEarlier this month, friend and fellow poet/blogger Michelle H. Barnes spotlighted the illustrious Lee Bennett Hopkins and his latest children’s anthology, Jumping Off Library Shelves (WordSong, 2015).

As she does each month, Michelle asked her celebrity guest to issue a “Ditty of the Month Club Challenge” – that is, a poetry prompt to encourage readers to submit their own original poems. In this case, Lee asked readers to take a look back at their own life’s history and write a “ME” poem, a poem about one specific moment in their life that changed them in some way.

Always up for a challenge, I submitted mine and it is now posted on her blog! The poem is titled “…I write her name in my notebook.” and it captures a scene that is apparently reminiscent to many other folks besides myself – I had no idea there were others feeling and doing the same things I was! So please check it out HERE and let me know if you, too, were one of those hopeless romantics.

And for all of today’s Poetry Friday links, head over to the one and only Sylvia Vardell’s Poetry for Children!

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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)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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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: “It’s the Thought That Counts”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllNormally, I wrestle with which poems to share here each week. While I want to share everything, I have to hold myself back sometimes and not share a certain poem if I think it might be published at some point.

Today, I have no fear of that.

I wrote this quite a few years ago, when I was just beginning to get serious about my children’s writing…and had no idea how similar it was to another poem written by someone far more talented and far more famous than I will ever be. You might known who that person is and to which of his poems I’m referring; if so, you’ll understand why no editor will ever want to touch this. If you don’t know, I’ll keep quiet and let you enjoy the poem.

And for all of today’s Poetry Friday links – and a draft of a beautiful poem she’s writing – be sure to visit Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche!

It’s the Thought That Counts

I loaded up my backpack first,
So full of books, it’s set to burst;
Brushed my teeth and combed my hair,
Then put on something nice to wear.
While mom and dad were still in bed
I made some breakfast – jam and bread –
Then 7:30 on the clock,
Went out the door and down the block
To get to school on time, but wait –
I’m neither early nor too late;
I’m kind of sad, I have to say…
Apparently, it’s Saturday.

– © Matt Forrest Esenwine

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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!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo 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: “Problem Solved”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllA few years ago, my daughter Katie was walking home from school when something unusual and shocking happened.

She met a moose.

Keep in mind, that here in rural New Hampshire, moose are not uncommon; however, coming upon one only 15 or 20 feet away from you is not only startling, it can be dangerous. If one decides to charge at you, you’d better hope your health insurance is current. If not, it’ll be your life insurance that will be getting tapped.

Image courtesy of puttsk / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As she tells the story, she was only about a half-mile from the house, minding her own business, looking at her iPod, when she looked up and saw a giant moose about 15-20 feet away, standing by the side of the road. She stopped cold, and had no idea what to do. As she watched the moose, it looked at her and then sauntered past, into the woods.

Needless to say, she made it home as fast as she could and told us the story.

It got me thinking about what kind of story I could create, poetically…and this is what I eventually came up with! Want more to read? Check out Diane Mayr’s blog, Random Noodling, for the complete Poetry Friday roundup!

Problem Solved

On a bike ride to school one day who should I meet
but a moose on the opposite side,
and he seemed rather tired when he stopped and inquired
if I’d possibly give him a ride.

Well, I tried to oblige, but because of his size
there was not enough room on the seat.
So we then both agreed and decided that he’d
take the pedals and I’d use my feet.

© 201o, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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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!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo 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: “First Last Dance”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllThis is something I wrote almost exactly two years ago for a proposed children’s poetry anthology that was to spotlight the changes (emotional and physical) that middle-graders go through on their way towards puberty and beyond. Unfortunately, the editors were not able to pull the book together, so this poem never got to see the light of day. I’m not sure why I never shared it here, but I liked it and thought I’d give it an opportunity to have an audience.

This is semi-autobiographical, and my hope was that I was not alone in my experiences and that other adults would be able to relate to it, as well – and of course, that it would be something of a learning experience or teaching opportunity for parents and kids alike. I hope it brings back a memory or two.

And if you’d like to read more, feel free to search the blog under “Poetry” and also be sure to visit Violet Nesdoly’s blog for all of today’s Poetry Friday links and info!

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First Last Dance

I’m not sure why I came tonight.
I’m not sure why I’m here.
A new kid at a new school
at the first dance of the year.
I have no friends to speak of yet
or fancy clothes to wear;
I’m kind, polite,
don’t like to fight,
but no one seems to care.

The last song starts to play; a swarm
of students fills the floor.
I breathe a >sigh< and turn to leave –
when heading toward the door,
I’m halted by a stunning beauty
rising from her chair.
I don’t know why
but she says ‘hi’…
and soon we’re dancing there.

She lets me hold her in my arms
(I hope I do this right)
my heart is racing madly; music
slowly fills the night.
Her soft hair brushes past my cheek,
her head is on my chest;
the singer sings,
I’m feeling things
I never would have guessed.

Before too long, the lights are up,
we feel the moment pass,
she smiles and says she’ll see me
Monday morning, back in class.
I’m glad I came here after all.
I’m glad I took a chance –
‘cause now I’m looking forward to…

the next last dance.

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© 2012, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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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!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo 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!