The following post was originally published waaaay back in Spring 2013 – eight years ago! I was recently sorting through some of my earlier children’s poetry and came across this, and thought it might be fun to share again. Please remember, the blog tour for my new picture book that I co-authored with Charles Ghigna (aka, Father Goose®), ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME (Beaming Books) continues to roll on at the following blogs:
“ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME” BLOG TOUR:
2/25: Ellen Leventhal: https://www.ellenleventhal.com/#blog
3/1: Maria Marshall: https://www.mariacmarshall.com/blog
3/2: Matt Forrest Esenwine: https://mattforrest.wordpress.com
3/3: Bookseed Studio: https://bookseedstudio.wordpress.com/
3/4: Celebrate Picture Books: https://celebratepicturebooks.com/
3/5: Maria Marshall #PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday): https://www.mariacmarshall.com/blog
3/5: KidLit411 – Charles Ghigna interview: http://www.kidlit411.com/
3/5: Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook: http://mrsknottsbooknook.blogspot.com/
3/9: Erin Dealey https://www.erindealey.com/blog/
3/10: Melissa Stoller: https://www.melissastoller.com/blog
3/16: Kellee Moye at Unleashing Readers: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/
5/5: Andrew Hackett: https://www.andrewhacket.com/blog
~ ~ GIVEAWAY!! ~ ~
Would you like a personally-signed copy of ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME? I have TWO copies I’ll give away, with two ways to enter: check out my #BookBirthday post for all the details!
Have you ever had one of those times where you think you’re being totally original, only to discover your ‘uniqueness’ has all been done before?
Yeah…this is one of those times.
During a critique group meeting in 2010, a fellow member had written a short rhyming PB manuscript about a fly and a gnat. It was a cute story, and the word ‘gnat’ got stuck in my head. After a week or so of mulling ideas over, I wrote the first draft of this poem. I revised it, revised it, and revised it some more. And the day before I planned to bring it to the critique group, I discovered…
Shel Silverstein had written a poem with a nearly identical title.
Now, I don’t think I’d ever seen his poem before (of course, anything’s possible, with my memory being what it is) so my heart sank, knowing a title like this would be a tough sell. I read Shel’s poem, which you can find HERE, and was relieved that is really wasn’t similar to mine at all – but still, titles are important things, and I’d be mortified to think that someone might read my poem and get the impression I was trying to rip him off.
I never want someone to read my material and think I’m trying to ‘be’ someone else. Not only do I want to be my own person as a writer and poet, but I take pains to try not to write similarly to anyone else, for that very reason. So, having said this…I present to you:
The Gnat & The Gnu
Gnat said, “Hey there, what’s up, Gnu?”
Gnu said, “not much— how ‘bout you?”
Gnat sighed, “Nothing, kinda blue.”
Gnu asked, “Something I can do?”
Gnat said, “No, just wish I knew
why I’m small – not big, like you.
I have no horns, and no fur, too;
no one wants me at the zoo.
Nothing special, nothing new,
just a gnat without a clue
how to feel and what to do.
Oh, I wish I was a Gnu.”
Gnu thought hard, then said, “It’s true
I’m large, but all I do is chew;
never sprouted wings and flew,
never bathed in morning dew,
just grazed on grass and grew and grew.
Things I do are pretty few,
but I’m glad that I’m a Gnu –
so I’ll be me, and you be you.”
Satisfied, Gnat bid ‘adieu,’
happy he was not a Gnu;
And as he flew away, the Gnu
and Gnu…felt blue.
– © 2010, Matt Forrest Esenwine
For more poetry, head over to My Juicy Little Universe, where Heidi Mordhorst is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup with a birthday celebration featuring poetry, lights, and a surprise birthday dinner!
I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!
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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.
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Click any of the following covers to order!
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, 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!
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
- Finalist, 2019 New Hampshire Literary Awards
- Positive reviews from Horn Book, School Library Connection, School Library Connection, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf-Awareness!
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