Poetry Friday: “Don’t Ask a Dinosaur” gets a publication date, and New Hampshire KidLit gets a boost!

It’s official! My next picture book, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books), co-authored with Deb Bruss (Book! Book! Book!, Big Box for Ben), will arrive in stores on April 17! Woo-HOO!

The newly-revised cover! Click to order! Do it! Now!

Illustrator Louie Chin has been working for months on these illustrations, tweaking them here and there til they were juuuust right – and Deb & I couldn’t be more happy with them. Things are getting busy on the calendar, too! We have book launches and readings already lined up, with lots more to come…

  • Sun., Jan. 14, 4pm:  Hopkinton (NH) Town Library, Flashlight Night reading/signing and discussion (Matt)
  • Sat., April 14, 11am:  Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH (Children’s Author Day with illustrator Ryan O’Rourke AND local book launch for Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!) (Matt & Deb)
  • Sat., April 14, 2pm:  Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH (Children’s Author Day with illustrator Ryan O’Rourke AND local book launch for Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!) (Matt & Deb)
  • Tue., April 17, 7pm:  Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur National Launch Party!! (Matt & Deb)
  • Thur., April 26, 10:30am:  Pillsbury Free Library, Warner, NH Dinosaur Storytime with Don’t Ask a Dinosaur(Matt & Deb)
  • Sun., April 29, 2pm:  MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, NH Don’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing and discussion (Matt & Deb) 

You read that right – the book doesn’t come out for 4 months, and we’ve already got FIVE Dinosaur events planned with many others in the works. No one can say I’m not motivated.

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KidLit603 has launched!

In other news, a new website has emerged on the kidlit scene! If you’re looking for info about New Hampshire-based children’s authors and illustrators, look no further than KidLit603 – the brainchild of a group of NH writers who thought it was about time our state had a more visible way of showcasing those of us who write for children.

At the website you’ll find news, event info, and author links – and if you know of something happening in the area related to children’s literature, send an email!

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“School People” arrives soon!

And since it is Poetry Friday, I just had to share a little bit of news about School People (Wordsong), the new Lee Bennett Hopkins anthology due out in just a few weeks. There are 15 poems about the people children meet at school…and I’m so honored to have a poem of mine included!

In fact, I’m doubly honored that my poem, “Bus Driver,” is the second poem in the book and immediately follows the opening poem, “School’s Story,” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Written from from the point of view of the school building, Rebecca’s poem exhorts the reader to “Come on in!” and “Enter whispers, whistles, signs, / footsteps, fossils, notebook lines.”

Other poets whose work is included in the book include Charles Ghigna, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Renee LaTulippe, Irene Latham, Robyn Hood Black, J. Patrick Lewis, and many others. It’s a beautiful book, edited by my Flashlight Night editor Rebecca Davis, and I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy.

Care to read a glowing review from Publisher’s Weekly? Of course you do! 

Care to read another positive review from Kirkus? I knew you would!

Care to check out all of today’s Poetry Friday links? Then head over to Jan Godown Annino’s Bookseedstudio for the complete roundup, where she is celebrating poetry and the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. 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?)

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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: More #PoetryCubed entries AND we have a winner!

I’m so excited I have more #PoetryCubed! entries to share today! We have a winner to announce, book signing news, and a special Flashlight Night review from Jan at Bookseed Studio!

First up: #PoetryCubed! On The Food Network show “Chopped!“, chefs battle each other by creating dishes using specific, and sometimes odd, ingredients. For example, contestants might have to create appetizers using radicchio, bologna, and kumquats, and then turn around and come up with entrees using prawns, pork belly, and Cheez Wiz.

For #PoetryCubed!, I’ve taken the premise of the TV show and applied it to poetry – but without the 20-minute time limit and broken dreams:

  • Using the 3 images below as inspiratio, readers were asked to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
    .
  • The poem could be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. And most importantly…it didn’t have to be very good! This was about having fun and stimulating a few brain cells; remember, #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
    .
  • The only hitch is that a reference to all three images in the poem needed to be included – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
    .
  • Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer would be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

Here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

    

.

Today we have two poems to round out the challenge. First up is Kay McGriff, whose title alone begs a person to read…

The Ghosts of Art

Headlights slash
flickering shadows
through the trees
to glitter against
the metal skeletons
whirling in the wind.
Whimsical sculptures
sprinkle light
with twirling blades
to shine a beacon
for unwary drivers
rounding the fateful curve
where no one really died.
But still the screams
echo from the backseat
as we chase a ghost
who only lived in legend.

– © 2017, Kay Jernigan McGriff, all rights reserved

.

And finally, we have something from my former Highlights Foundation workshop attendee, Lind Baie, who used the lighthouse image as a springboard to draw in the other images:

Lighthouse Home

Headlights show the final stop–
Miss Matilda’s Pastry Shop
where powdered sugar in the air
leaves tastes of home before we’re there.
Load gifts and sweets on a skiff that waits
for Mom and Pop, our Christmas date.

– © 2017, Linda Baie, all rights reserved

.

I have to say, these three images have been quite inspiring for a lot of people! I started things off with a senryu, but we’ve also had haikus & rhyming poems, poems about vegetables, chocolate, and submarines, and even poems about hangovers, Christmas cookies, and the souls of the dead. I encourage you to click these links and read all the different perspectives and angles that our blog followers have embraced – all based on these three simple photos.

But out of all these poems, only one name could be chosen at random, and that name is…

PATTY RICHARDSON!!

Congratulations, Patty! (Patty told me she’s never entered this sort of challenge before, so I’m glad her leap of faith paid off!) A signed copy of Flashlight Night will be in the mail and headed her way very soon…and thank you to everyone who took part!

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Speaking of Flashlight Night, Jan Godown Annino is sharing a review of my book at her Bookseed Studio blog today – and it appears she enjoyed it! She asked illustrator Fred Koehler and me to share a little childhood background; where we grew up, what we did, how our young experiences helped create this little adventure we call Flashlight Night. I do hope you check out her post!

I also encourage you to visit Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup.

Will there be cookies? Oh, yes!!

(ALSO: Please make a note to remind yourself to stop by here on Friday, Dec. 15, as I’ll be hosting a little online holiday party for everyone who loves children’s poetry!

This is a little shindig that David L. Harrison, Joy Acey, and I started at David’s blog a few years ago, and we decided that perhaps it might be fun to move the party around from venue to venue…so this year, it’s moving from David’s place to my little home on the web right here. We’ll have lots of food and conversation, possibly a game or two, and hopefully plenty of poetry! I look forward to welcoming you. That’s Dec. 15 – all day long! – right here at the ol’ Triple-R.)

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The “Flashlight Night” road tour continues!

Here’s my latest schedule – and yes, this weekend is going to be a BUSY one:

  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA (Children’s Author Book Panel)
  • Dec. 3, 1pm: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH (Signing & Book Fair)
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed): Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (early 2018): Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH

I’ll continue revising this as dates are added or times are changed…so please check my FB page for any last-minute updates!

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WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING ABOUT “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”?

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

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“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!
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: New York Public Library news AND #PoetryCubed challenge continues with FIVE new poems!

Jane Yolen. Margarita Engle. Laura Purdie Salas. Nikki Grimes.

Me.

What do all these folks have in common? They all have books selected by the NY Public Library as one of the Best Books of 2017!

No one is more shocked than Yours Truly that my name is on a list that includes the names of those first four amazing folks. But I’m so happy that the NY Public Library loved Flashlight Night enough to include it – it’s quite an honor! If you want to see the complete list, click HERE.

I’m also pretty excited that Flashlight Night is now #3 on Amazon’s list of Best Selling children’s books about Libraries & Reading:

Thomas the Train, Llama Llama, and a little ol’ book called Flashlight Night…pretty cool, I have to say! So thank you, if you have purchased a copy!

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In other news, #PoetryCubed has returned! This is an opportunity to have some fun writing – and possibly win a signed copy of Flashlight Night! And if you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network, then you already know how this works…

#PoetryCubed is based on the TV show, where chefs compete by creating dishes using specific – and sometimes outlandish – ingredients. (Feel free to check out this post for a more detailed explanation)

For #PoetryCubed!, I’ve applied the premise of the TV show to poetry! Here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
    .
  • The poem can be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. And most importantly…it also doesn’t have to be very good! This is about having fun, so no pressure allowed! Remember my mantra: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
    .
  • Make sure you include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
    .
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month of November. Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

Here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

    

This week we’ll start off with something from Heidi Mordhorst, who somehow managed to fit all three images into a 4-line list poem – while attending the NCTE CONFERENCE this weekend in Missouri:
.

beacons in the darkness:
mariner’s lighthouse
traveler’s headlights
hangover’s cure

– © 2017 Heidi Mordhorst, all rights reserved

.
Thank you, Heidi! Now get back to those workshops!

Our second entry comes from Brenda Davis Harsham, who gets extra credit (but, alas, no extra contest entries) for including Flashlight Night in her poem:

.

Flashlight Finds

Some use their lights to find truth,
reading under blankets, riding word kites,
or they escape pain along dark shores,
down dark roads, disappearing in the night,
but I search for something else, magic and mighty.
Peanut blossoms, snickerdoodles, tea cakes,
sugar cookies, gingerbread girls, lemon curls:
the Christmas baking was finished tonight.
I know they are hidden, but I follow my nose.
Round, frosted, powdery, they are my
truth, my escape, my forbidden treat.
Who wants to stray far from home
when Christmas smells so sweet?

– © 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham, all rights reserved

.

Next up is Kathy Mazurowski…with another haiku! It’s so great to see folks getting so much imagery into just 3 lines:
.
.
Quaint island cottage
sparkles in clear sunshine, but
spotlight on pastries.
.
– © 2017 Kathleen Mazurowski, all rights reserved

.

Longtime blog follower and fellow Highlights workshop alum Karen Eastlund shared the following thoughtful scene…

.
Afternoon on Rainy Lake

The haze brought a sense of the surreal
The world in shades of gray
Yet infused by light
The sun glazed
The surface of the water
Warping and distorting with each new wave

Far away
On a small rocky outcrop
A social gathering
Gulls, pelicans, geese
I could hear their raucous calls
Inviting me

I floated out
Entranced by the birds
Their colorless bodies
Just above water’s surface
Winging to and fro
Like souls of the dead

Such a sense of calm
Wonderful and eerie
The great flapping birds
The sun
The rocky shore
The lake itself, huge and lapping
All mysteriously bathed
In silvery light
A confection of nature
Delicious
Tranquil
Beauty

– © 2017 Karen Eastlund, all rights reserved
.

And last but not least, our friend from Down Under, children’s author Sally Murphy, shares her response to the challenge:
.

Late night quest
To slay sugar cravings.
Headlights search for an open store
Stop!
Bakery sign
Like a beacon
On a stormy sea.

– © 2017 Sally Murphy, all rights reserved

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A bakery is like a beacon on a stormy sea…truer words never spoken, Sally!

The Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Carol’s Corner today, so try to shake off that Thanksgiving turkey coma and enjoy all the poetry links and fun!

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The “Flashlight Night” road tour continues!

If you’re wondering where I’ll be and when I’ll be there, here’s my updated schedule – and yes, next weekend is going to be BUSY:

  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • Dec. 3, 11am: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed): Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (early 2018): Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH

I’ll continue revising this as dates are added or times are changed…so please check my FB page for any last-minute updates!

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WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING ABOUT “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”?

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

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“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

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

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: Rhyme Revolution interview & more #PoetryCubed responses!

Ah, yes…#PoetryCubed has returned, and lots of folks are getting into the action! If you’d like to try win a signed copy of Flashlight Night, I hope you’ll consider joining us on this little writing challenge.

#PoetryCubed is based on the TV show “Chopped!” on The Food Network, where chefs compete by creating dishes using specific – and sometimes outlandish – ingredients. (Feel free to check out this previous post for details) For #PoetryCubed, I’ve applied the premise of the TV show…to writing:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
    .
  • The poem can be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. And most importantly…it also doesn’t have to be very good! This is about having fun, so no pressure allowed! Remember my mantra: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
    .
  • Make sure you include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
    .
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month of November. Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

Here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

    

The first week, I started the ball rolling with a senryu; last week, author Deb Bruss responded with a haiku. This week, we kick things off with another haiku – this time, from author/illustrator Michelle Kogan:
.

artificial light
illuminates empty isles
powdery palate.

– © 2017 Michelle Kogan, all rights reserved

.

Next up is a poem by Patty Richardson, who has never entered #PoetryCubed  before, but responded to the challenge mightily with 8 – count ’em, 8! – stanzas! Way to go, Patty!

.
My secret….

.
As I approached the lighthouse
To avoid being heard or seen,
I dimmed my headlights, turned off the engine
Then reached for a Krispy Kreme.
.
My wife was waiting patiently,
Dinner had been prepared
The last thing she would appreciate
Would be my interest in this eclair.
.
I savored every morsel ,
Licked my fingers to the bone
There’s nothing like powdered sugar
Atop a fresh baked,  chocolate scone.
.
Brocolli awaits me,
Along with brussel sprouts and kale
I won’t let on that I’ve faltered
I’ll avoid getting up on the scale.
.
Chocolate is my weakness,
Forget the collard greens,
Give me a brownie a l mode
And a scoop of ….that fresh whipped cream.
.
What she doesn’t know,  won’t hurt her
I’ll keep this secret to myself
I’ll finish my veggies and smoothie
Then ask for a  serving of kelp.
.
She certainly does mean well
And I know I need to control
This sugar habit I’ve developed
And the lies that I have blatantly told.
.
Gotta kick the habit,
Go cold turkey,  just like that….
Give up my sugary addiction
Give up those sugary snacks!

– © 2017 Patty Richardson, all rights reserved

.

Last but not least, we have a poem from the Haiku Queen herself, Diane Mayr, who shares this engaging little scene from her youth:

.

Submarine Race Watching
Parked at the marina
headlights out
we barely noted
the revolving lighthouse
beam in the bay.
The race’s end
signaled by a light
wielded by an officer
sporting a kiss
of powdered sugar.
.
– © 2017 Diane Mayr, all rights reserved
.
.
I love how so many different poems have come from so many different aspects of these images! I hope you’ll consider entering #PoetryCubed – and please remember, it’s not about how awesome or polished it is, the important thing is that it gets written, period. So send me your poem and I’ll share it here throughout the month!

By the way, Jane Whittingham (better known as The Rain City Librarian) is hosting Poetry Friday today for the very first time – so head on over to her blog for all of the day’s poetry links and hi-jinks!

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“FLASHLIGHT NIGHT” makes a Top 10 list!

I was so happy to learn that Flashlight Night is now one of only 10 books now in consideration for the 2017 Best in Rhyme Award, handed out by Angie Karcher and the folks involved with Rhyme Revolution!

One of the judges, Deborah Williams, recently interviewed me about the book, my career path so far, and what’s on the horizon…and if you are so inclined, you can read the complete interview HERE!

Although it’s not possible to be everywhere at once, I certainly can’t be accused of not making the effort! If you’re wondering where to find me on this crazy journey, here’s my latest schedule:

  • Nov. 18, 3pm: Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH (“Local Authors Open House”)
  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • Dec. 3, 11am: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH

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WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING ABOUT “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”?

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

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“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

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

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: #PoetryCubed! Part IV

It’s back again! An opportunity to kick some brain cells into gear and write some poetry – and maybe win a free book, as well!

If you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network (or have participated in #PoetryCubed! before), then you already know how this works…

On the TV show, chefs battle each other by creating dishes using specific, and sometimes odd, ingredients. For example, contestants might have to create appetizers using pork belly, pickles, and Oreos, and then come up with entrees using tripe, fennel, and boxed mac ‘n cheese.

For #PoetryCubed!, I’ve taken the premise of the TV show and applied it to poetry – but without the 20-minute time limit, lacerated appendages, and broken dreams. Here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
    .
  • The poem can be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. And most importantly…it also doesn’t have to be very good! This is about having fun, so no pressure allowed! Remember my mantra: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
    .
  • The only hitch is that you need to include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
    .
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month of November. Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of a little book you may have heard about called Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

Now…without any further ado…here are your three images (click on any to enlarge):

    

Is your mind tickling yet? I’ll start things off with my own response to this prompt, a senryu:
.

carnival ride love
spins the head, lights up eyes, tastes
sickeningly sweet

– © 2017 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.
There are two things you should know about this poem:

  • I wrote it in about 15 minutes, so I don’t want you thinking you need to spend hours perfecting something. #PoetryCubed is about kick-starting your creative juices, not polishing a terza rima for The Atlantic.
  • It’s a 3-line poem that uses imagery from all 3 photos (sweet carnival food, a lighthouse candle spinning, and the “ride” and “head, lights” references) so your poem doesn’t need to be that long – although it can be a hundred lines long if that’s where the muse leads you.

Good luck! I’ll look forward to seeing what you come up with and will announce the winner on Fri., Dec. 1! In the meantime, I hope you’ll stop by Teacher Dance, where Linda Baie is hosting Poetry Friday today with a couple of November cinquains.

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The “Flashlight Night” road tour continues!

If you’re wondering where I’ll be and when I’ll be there, here’s my updated schedule:

  • Nov. 11: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA (“The Making of a Book” Children’s Author Day)
  • Nov. 18, 3pm: Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH
  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • Dec. 3, 11am: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH

I’ll continue revising this as dates are added or times are changed…so please check my FB page for any last-minute updates!

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

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

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

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: “Poems are Teachers” winner & a nighttime tanka

Before we get to poetry or book signing schedules or anything like that, I need to take care of some business…by announcing a WINNER!

Last Friday, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and her Poems Are Teachers publishing company, Heinemann, were kind enough to offer a free copy of the book to one of my blog readers.

Well, there were a LOT of entries…but only one name could be drawn. So thanks to the official Random Number Generator, the winner of a free copy of Poems Are Teachers is…

KRISTEN PICONE!!

Congratulations, Kristen! Thank you so, so much for following my blog and connecting on Twitter – your book is on its way, direct from Heinemann!

As for today’s poem, I thought a little Halloween-themed ditty might be apropos. But as any writer knows, what you plan to write and what you end up writing are often two different things. As I sat down to write – late at night, as per usual – my mind was tired, my eyes were heavy, and…well, I’ll let you read:

(click to enlarge)

Yep, a tanka about falling asleep while trying to write. No idea where that came from, huh??

By the way, my friend Brenda Davis Harsham is hosting Poetry Friday today at her blog, Friendly Fairy Tales – and I know she definitely has some Halloween-inspired poetry to share, even if Yours Truly failed on that account! I’m also excited to be spending Poetry Friday at Barnes & Noble in Manchester, NH tonight at 6, as I take part in a benefit to raise money for Ste. Marie Child Care in the Queen City. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll stop by and get a book signed!

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Speaking of book signings…

The Flashlight Night road tour continues! If you’re trying to find me, here’s my updated schedule:

  • Oct. 27, 6pm (TONIGHT!):  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center / Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • Nov. 11: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA (“The Making of a Book” Children’s Author Day)
  • Nov. 18, 3pm: Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH
  • Dec. 2: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • Dec. 3, 11am: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH

I’ll continue revising this as dates are added or times are changed…so please check my FB page for any last-minute updates!

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

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

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

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: Poems are Teachers (plus a giveaway!)

Some people just can’t sit still. It was almost exactly one month ago that I featured my friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater on the ol’ Triple-R blog here, as she celebrated the release of her newest children’s poetry collection, Read! Read! Read! (Boyds Mills Press). Well, guess what…she’s back!

Yesterday marked the book birthday of Amy’s newest baby, Poems are Teachers: How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres (Heinemann) – a tremendously useful and easy-to-understand resource designed to help educators not only teach poetry, but to teach them how poetic tools, forms, and devices strengthen (as the title suggests) writing in general.

The book is a wealth of information and includes poems from folks as diverse as Kwame Alexander, J. Patrick Lewis, Jack Prelutsy, Jane Yolen, Naomi Shihab Nye, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Margarita Engle, and – whoa! Wait a sec…how did I end up in this book?? Indeed, it’s true; many, many of our Poetry Friday family members are contributors, as well!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

The book also includes numerous poems written by children – students who are learning the particular lessons Amy writes about. But how, exactly, did this book come to be? Amy was kind enough to join us today to talk about it…

Thank you for taking the time to visit, Amy! There are plenty of books out there about poetry and how to teach it, so what made you first decide that this particular book needed to be written?

I have been rolling this book around in my head for a long time.  Reading wise poems has deepened my heart, and writing hundreds of poems has honed my prose. Watching poetry disappear from many classrooms in the name of “Standards” was making me cry, and this idea felt like a secret door in again.  

As Mary Lee Hahn wrote, so many of us are trying to “bring poetry back to writing workshop” and into children’s lives.  My hope is that Poems are Teachers will introduce children and teachers to many poets and that it will open doors between poetry, and narrative, poetry and information, poetry and opinion writing.  Poetry is friends with all!

How does one go about finding a publisher for a book like this before it’s written? Did you approach Heinemann with a proposal first?

Heinemann has a whole process for proposing  professional book which you can check out HERE.  I’ve had a long-standing relationship with Heinemann as an occasional consultant for the past 15+ years, and I am also co-author with Lucy Calkins and Stephanie Parsons of Poetry: Big Thoughts in Small Packages, part of the Grade Two Writing Units of Study.  

I couldn’t feel more grateful to be publishing this book at this time with this thoughtful company and with Katie Wood Ray, an author I’ve admired for years, and an incredible editor.

How did you approach the task of putting it together? That is, how did you determine the best format, the aspects of writing that you wanted to include, etc.?

I am a terribly disorganized person, but I have been teaching writing and about strong qualities of writing for twenty years, so organizing this book through the various layers of writing – from idea-finding through language play – made complete sense to me.  

The challenge was knowing when to stop and trying to juggle the over 150 poems by both adult and child poets.  Imagine piles of poems and permission forms and me….looking bewildered.  I struggled with confidence and with my own writing demons, but that’s where Katie saved the day.

There is plenty for people to learn inside this book…but what did YOU learn from writing it?

I learned that I can do something scary.  And I learned that poets, teachers, children, and families are very generous.  I learned, too, that I still have tons to learn.  This book is just a wee bit about poetry.  There are so many beautiful books, so much to explore.  My hope is that however long my life is…I’ll use each day to become a little bit better of a person and writer.  I know that poems will keep teaching and feeding me.

You also have a brand-new poetry collection that just came out a month ago, Read! Read! Read! (Boyds Mills Press), plus you have more books coming out next year! Considering you started The Poem Farm several years before you were published, how does it feel now, with so much going on??

It feels humbling.  I started The Poem Farm so as not to write alone.  I never imagined all of this goodness.  I hope to be of service and to keep writing in my notebooks, to make a little difference.

Thank you tons, Matt, for sharing your superfun poem, “Soccer Sides” in Poems Are Teachers, and thank you for inviting me here today!  

Well, thank YOU, Amy – for everything you’ve been doing to spread poetry to our kids. Congrats on both of your new books!

I am still smiling like crazy about your Flashlight Night and my Read! Read! Read! releasing together with Boyds Mills Press last month.

That was a great week, I have to agree! Thanks again, Amy.

By the way, folks – if you’d like to WIN A FREE COPY OF POEMS ARE TEACHERS courtesy of our good friends at Heinemann, just leave a comment below, or share this post on Twitter or Facebook (and be sure to tag me, so I’ll know!). I’ll pick a name at random next Thursday at noon and announce the winner in next Friday’s post.

As for my contribution to Poems are Teachers, Amy asked me to write a poem with two distinct halves. Not necessarily two stanzas, but two separate thoughts that combine to make a whole, such as a before-and-after scene, two people talking, or two perspectives of the same subject.

So I thought about it for awhile, and one night driving home from one of my indoor soccer league games, an idea hit me. This is what I came up with:

Soccer Sides

Offense means head down the field –
………..dribble,
………………….pass,
…………………………….try to score!

Goalie blocked your shot?
No sweat!
Follow up and shoot some more!

……………………………………………………………….Defense means hang out in back.
……………………………………………………………….Better keep a watchful eye!
……………………………………………………………….Their offense wants the winning goal –

……………………………………………………………………………….Ha! –
                                                                                                …..I’d like to see them try…
.

– © 2017, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

(click to enlarge)

From the book, here’s a little background on how the poem came to be along with a few words from Amy about the structure:

Whether you teach poetry or write it, this book is an invaluable resource – so I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy. And speaking of poetry, Leigh Anne Eck is hosting Poetry Friday today at A Day in the Life, so be sure to head on over and check out all of this week’s poetry links and fun!

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More “Flashlight Night” news:

I just learned a couple of days ago that Flashlight Night has been selected as one of the Top 20 “Best in Rhyme” rhyming picture books by Angie Karcher’s Rhyme Revolution website!

I’m very happy to be in company with folks like Corey Rosen Schwartz, Lisa Wheeler, the late Anna Dewdney, and fellow former Poets’ Garage alum, Diana Murray, among others.

The final 2017 Best in Rhyme Award announcement will be Feb. 3, 2018 in New York City on KidLit TV – and I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Oh, and the Flashlight Night road tour continues rolling along! Where will I be? When will I be there? Here’s my updated schedule:

  • Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center / Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • Nov. 11: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA (“The Making of a Book” Children’s Author Day)
  • Dec. 2: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Newington, 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!

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

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

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

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!