Poetry Friday: “The Art of Autumn”

(click to enlarge)

After sharing my poem from several years ago last week, I wasn’t planning on digging into the archives again today – but I stumbled upon this little ditty and felt it was appropriate, considering the time of year. Last night we finally had our first frost of the season – only about a month later than normal! – so I suppose it’s time to start thinking apples, pumpkin, and leaf-raking, after all.

Interestingly, even though I wrote this almost exactly 3 years ago in Oct. 2014, I never shared this poem here at Triple-R. It had been written and formatted (and subsequently published) on Carol Varsalona’s blog, Beyond Literacy, as part of her “Finding Fall” gallery. So I thought it was about time it made its debut here!

You may think that today is unlucky, but you’d be quite wrong; Irene Latham is celebrating Friday the 13th by hosting Poetry Friday at her blog, Live Your Poem. And I’m celebrating because a book I wrote is presently on display in a museum…and I’m not even dead yet!

How cool is that??

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I would be remiss if I did not make mention of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s new book, Poems are Teachers (Heinemann), which just arrived in the world last Friday!

The book is geared to educators, to help them not only teach poetry, but to understand all the things that poetry can teach those who read it: language, perspective, rhythm, etc. For example, my contribution, “Soccer Sides,” uses two halves of a poem to show how a writer can compare and contrast.

I was honored that Amy asked me to include something for the book and am proud to be part of a collection that includes writers like Kwame Alexander, Jane Yolen, David L. Harrison, Jack Prelutsky, Charles Ghigna, and many, MANY others – including lots of folks from the Poetry Friday community.

“Flashlight Night” NEWS:

Imagine you’ve just published your first full-length picture book, and it has received all kinds of national attention and praise. Imagine seeing the original artwork along with your words hanging on a museum wall (see above!). Imagine how exciting and humbling and thrilling that would be.

Now…imagine that book being a potential award-winner!

The annual CYBILS Awards are now accepting nominations for a variety of children’s lit genres like YA, graphic novels, poetry, and picture books – and what do you know – Flashlight Night is one of the many, many books nominated in the Picture Book Category! Thank you so much to Linda Baie for nominating our little book, and many thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where and when the Flashlight Night road tour stops next, here’s my schedule so far. If you’re in the NH area tomorrow, I hope you’ll consider stopping by BAM! in Concord:

  • Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
  • Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center / Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Toadstool Bookshop, Keene/Peterborough/Milford, NH

I’ll continue updating this as dates are added…and thank you again for your support!

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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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: Autumn inspiration (haiku)

Once again, I need to thank children’s author/poet Laura Purdie Salas for proving the inspiration I needed for a Poetry Friday post!

At Laura’s blog, she regularly shares a poetry prompt feature she calls “15 Words or Less,” in which she posts a picture and solicits short poems from readers, using 15 words or less. With all the hub-bub surrounding Flashlight Night lately, I hadn’t had the time to think about what I was going to post today…but then I came upon Laura’s latest post, and BOOM:  I had two haiku written for her blog and for mine!

One of the haiku I really liked, and tweaked a bit after posting it on her blog. Here’s the photo she shared yesterday, followed by my haiku:

(photo courtesy Laura Purdie Salas, used with permission)

non-consuming fire,
autumn phenomenon stuns;
Nature’s burning bush

– © 2017, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Inspiration is not the only thing you’ll find at Laura’s blog; today, you’ll also find the Poetry Friday roundup, along with her review of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s new poetry collection, Read! Read! Read! (Boyds Mills Press), which I featured here last week!

(Oh, and get ready:  “Poetry…Cubed!” returns next Friday, with an opportunity for you to win a signed copy of “Flashlight Night!”)

Book signings/readings/appearances:

Wow, is it really almost Saturday? I’m looking forward being part of the local Barnes & Noble Author Event tomorrow, to benefit the Manchester (NH) Library! In fact, I’m visiting a number of bookstores in the New Hampshire area, and while I have the list nailed down, some times and venues are still being worked on.

Here’s what I know, so far:

Sept. 30, 4pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 11, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH

As dates are added, I’ll be sure to let you know when and where I’ll be!

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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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!

Amusement rides and chainmail socks: What I learned at the state fair, Vol. VI

(click to enlarge)

Ah, yes…fair season is upon us!

Last weekend, I spent four days at the Hopkinton State Fair – the largest fair in New Hampshire –  wandering the grounds reminding people when the cattle pulls start, what stage the hypnotist was on, and where the bathrooms were.

I’m the announcer for the fair, so when you hear a voice on the PA system echoing through the trees, that’s me. It’s a very unique sort of job, and one that’s a heck of a lot of fun, but it does require a lot work; 55 hours in 4 days can wear one down, and I put in less hours than many of the other employees!

But I’m there every year, and every year I learn something new. Which is why I’ve been putting this annual post together for 7 years now…to shed some light on my lessons learned and observations made.  In the past, I’ve become educated on the problems with skimpy clothing, I’ve discovered the most despised candies in the universe, and, like you, have enjoyed more than my fair share of Australian Battered Savs.

What golden nuggets of wisdom did I discern this year? Read on, faithful reader:

  1. When you smell cotton candy at 8:30 in the morning, you know it’s going to be a great day. #Truth
  2. Some people just do not know how to park. Invariably, every year we get fair goers who don’t want to follow the parking pattern or the fair employees who are showing people where to park. These folks inevitably have to move their vehicles one they’re in the gate and as far away from their vehicle as possible. Once such fellow parked his big SUV in a spot that wasn’t a parking space, and ended up blocking the fire department entrance. I spent at least 2 hours paging him over the PA system to move it, and when he finally did, he parked it right beside an agricultural trailer…which he ended up blocking.
    .
  3. Justin and Ryan from Recycled Percussion should not quit their day jobs.
    30 seconds after it started…it was all over for these two. (click to enlarge)

    The band, which formed in a small town 30 minutes from here and is now a top-selling Las Vegas act, played at our fair for the very first time on Labor Day. They’re good guys, and had cancelled many of their shows in order to spend time in Texas helping with relief efforts, but they made the trek up here to put on this one show, and it was terrific. The night before the show, however, Justin and Ryan were given the opportunity to drive in the annual demolition derby…and were both knocked out within 30 seconds!
    .

  4. Timbersports will probably never show up in the Olympics. Everyone was excited that the Axe Women Loggers of Maine were returning for another year. Individuals in the group hold multiple National & International Lumber Jill and Timbersports titles and their shows include demonstrations of axe throwing, cross-cut sawing, standing block chopping, and log rolling…none of which will probably ever end up as an Olympic event. Their spokesperson explained that, in the Olympics, equipment is standardized so that every athlete has a fair opportunity to showcase his/her abilities. In timbersports, one doesn’t have that luxury; if one person’s log happens to have an internal knot, it could not only dull the blade – or even break it – it completely shuts down that athlete. So “luck,” like it or not, can play a huge role in a competitor’s performance, which is a no-go when it comes to the Olympics.
    .

    The throw…


    …nailed it!

    .

  5. Speaking of the Axe Women…they wear chainmail socks. You know chainmail – those tiny links of metal King Arthur’s knights wore to protect themselves under their suits of armor? Well, professional timbersports athletes wear chainmail socks to protect their feet during competitive chopping events, like the one pictured. These ax blades are made of a special metal that is so sharp, one really can shave one’s arms with it – so if it happens to slip and smash into your boot, you’ll still be able to walk away with your toes intact. You might be screaming in agony, but your toes will thank you.  

    (click to enlarge any photo)
  6. Under-the-counter cheese beats over-the-counter cheese. I didn’t know “under-the-counter” cheese was even a thing, and I’ve been going to fairs my entire life! Sold by a family-run establishment known as the Yankee Cheeseman, this particular cheese is an extra-sharp cheddar that’s even sharper than their sharpest, XXXXX sharp cheddar. Aged TEN YEARS, this cheddar is so sharp, when you bite into it, it bites you back. SO. GOOD. The reason it’s called “under-the-counter cheese” is because it’s so sharp, and the texture is often a bit uneven, that many folks who are unfamiliar with it think there’s something wrong with it – so the vendors don’t even put it out on display or offer free samples. You can only buy it if you ask for it…and at $17/pound, it’s worth every penny.
    .
  7. I love playing the national anthem from the grandstand tower.
    (click to enlarge)

    It’s a tradition here the fair that we play the Star-Spangled Banner everyday at noon. It was only until this year that I realized that when I stand to pay respect, remove my hat, and put my hand over my heart…I’m also saluting fries. And that just makes me happy.
    .
    .

  8. False advertising can show up anywhere.
    I spent a good 3 hours inside this place and couldn’t give away my beads to anyone.
    .
    Ripoff.
    .
    By the way, I also learned that a merry-go-round may feature various types of animals in addition to horses. but a carousel can only have horses. Bet you didn’t know that, didja??
    .

So those are this year’s words of wisdom! I’m already looking forward to 2018 – and also looking forward to enjoying at least one or two fairs with the family. But I’ll make sure I park where I’m supposed to.

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By the way, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who showed up for Flashlight Night‘s national book launch at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA last Thursday and the local release party at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH this past Sunday!

In Cambridge with Carol Gordon Ekster, who also released her new book, “You Know What?”
In Warner, NH! Good crowds both days.

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Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! 

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

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

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!

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

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: “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!

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

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…

.
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!

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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: “Sledding”

sledding-graphic
(click to enlarge)


I took this photo of my son sledding at our next-door neighbors’ backyard almost exactly 2 years ago, and as I looked at it, certain thoughts kept coming to me: a long way down, a long climb up, his being undaunted in trudging uphill over and over, to enjoy the thrill of the ride.

030This poem came out of that. He was 5 at the time, and had never been tubing before – and had never worn a helmet and goggles before, either – so for someone who had been sledding almost as long as he had been walking, he was enjoying these new experiences.

If you’re looking for more poetry, head on over to Jone MacCulloch’s place, Check It Out, for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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

Poetry Friday: “Courtship”

courtship-graphic
(click to enlarge)

That’s a little something I wrote a couple of years ago for Tabatha Yeatts‘ Winter Poetry Swap. I recently tweaked and reformatted it, so I hope you like it! For more poetry, be sure to visit Teacher Dance, where Linda Baie is hosting the first Poetry Friday of 2017!

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