National Poetry Month: “Young Adult Review Network” Poetry Contest Results!

national-poetry-month 2016

Me?

One of my poems?

One of the winners of a national poetry contest??? 

It began on World Poetry Day, March 21…the good folks at the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) began accepting submissions for a poetry contest they called “Enchanted Spaces and Places,” using the hashtag #EnchantedYARN.

Inspired by Margarita Engle’s award-winning memoir, Enchanted Air (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015), the editors at YARN invited writers to submit poems about their own enchanted places – where they have lived, visited, or even spaces they hold inside their hearts. (You can learn more about the contest HERE)

The poems were all judged by Margarita herself, who I have to imagine must have been worn out from entries pouring in from all over the world! Entries were judged blind (that is, names were not attached to the poems while judging), so Margarita had no idea who had written the poems while she was reading them.

She had no idea mine was one of them…

And the winners are:

Winner: London Shah, “Desi Donations” 
Runner-up:
Cynthia Grady, “Early Morning”
Runner-up: My poem, “Last Autumn!”

You can read YARN’s complete post HERE, along with all three winning poems. I hope you’ll check them out, because I’m very honored to be in such good company with these two other poets! Many thanks to Margarita for all her hard work, and to everyone who entered the contest – because ultimately, the important thing isn’t winning, so much as it is the writing. Remember what I always say, #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!

Although in cases like this, it’s nice when they DO read!

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

2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemDon’t forget: Irene Latham’s 2016 Progressive Poem continues today as poet/blogger Renee M. LaTulippe adds her contribution, so be sure to stop by the No Water River and see how it’s coming along!

You can follow the 2016 Progressive Poem 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

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

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

Poetry Friday: “The Echo of Hearts”

national-poetry-month 2016

Never one to shy away from a good challenge, I had to respond to my friend Michelle H. Barnes’ “Ditty of the Month Challenge’ for April…a reverso!

What is a reverso, you ask? It’s a poem that is written in two sections, with each section comprised of the exact same lines but in the opposite order. In other words, the first line of the first section is the last line of the second section; conversely, the last line of the first section is the first line of the second section.

Ideally, each section should say something different, rather than simply repeating the feelings or images of the other. In the case of my reverso, I wanted to show that the different feelings and memories of each speaker are actually quite similar – two heads of one coin, so to speak. I hope I accomplished that.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllYou can read more about reversos and the amazing books that poet Marilyn Singer has created using them – like her newest, ECHO ECHO: Reverso Poems about Greek Myths (Dial Books, 2016) – by visiting Michelle’s interview with Singer. At the end of the interview, Singer challenges blog readers to come up with their own poems about echoes – and because I love going out of my way to make things harder on myself, I decided to write my poem as a reverso.

I hope you’ll check out the poem and let me know what you think! You can find it posted HERE at Michelle’s blog, Today’s Little Ditty. Hope you like it! And for all of today’s Poetry Friday links and hi-jinks, Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup is the place to be!

 

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

2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemIrene Latham‘s annual progressive poem is progressing quite nicely! Each day of the month, a different writer has added a line to this poem, and it will conclude on April 30. To see where it stands presently, please visit Robyn Hood Black’s little corner o’ the web, Life on the Deckle Edge, today!

You can follow the 2016 Progressive Poem 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

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

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: The 2016 Progressive Poem is here!

national-poetry-month 2016

Poet/blogger Irene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem has been rolling through
the kidlitosphere all month, and it has finally arrived at my little corner o’ the web! Each day, a different writer adds a line, and on April 30 we’ll see how it ends when Donna at Mainely Writes adds the final line!

2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemA structure began to take shape early on, and by and large the folks who have added to the poem have been keeping that form in place. When Jone MacCulloch added her line yesterday, she referenced a “divining seer” – which was the second mention of a person who is not the speaker.

So now we have the speaker, a child, and now a seer…for a wistful, dreamy sort of nature poem, there’s suddenly a lot of people around! So what is this seer doing? Who is he or she? Let’s find out…

Here is the poem, including my line:

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky.
A hummingbird holds and then hies.
If I could fly, I’d choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.

A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child’s outstretched hand.
If I could breathe under the sea,
I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee

A clump of crocuses crave the sun.
Kites soar while joyful dogs run.
I sing to spring, to budding green,
to all of life— seen and unseen.

Wee whispers drift from cloud to ear
and finally reach one divining seer
who looks up from her perch and beams;

So the seer is…?? Could be the child, could be someone else, could be an animal – who knows? I’m betting Violet Nesdoly can fill us in when she adds her line tomorrow! 

(Side note: I originally ended my line with the word ‘smiles,’ but then realized that Violet’s word choices would be very limited for a rhyme. So I changed it to ‘beams’ not only because it allows for more rhyming words, but the noun version can be used as a ‘perch’! Get it?? I love poetry!)

Want to follow along? Care to see the thought process of the lines that have come before? The 2016 Progressive Poem is making a stop at the following blogs:

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

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

Poetry_Friday logoBy the way, if you have not had a chance to check out my post from this Tuesday, it’s a poem written by a teenage girl who falls under the autism spectrum, and it’s quite moving and insightful…I do hope you’ll take a look at it!

And for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup – along with a surprising poem about water and echoes – please visit Michelle H. Barnes’ blog, Today’s Little Ditty!

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

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!

Finally! Marketing postcards!

national-poetry-month 2016

I’m in the process of resubmitting a couple of manuscripts to new publishing houses, but I wanted to at least take a moment to celebrate National Poetry Month by sharing a project I’ve been working on this PAST month…
.
It’s been a long time coming, but they’re finally here – with only a few weeks to spare, before I host a workshop at the New England SCBWI’s annual conference at the end of the month!

(click to enlarge)

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

2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemDon’t forget: the 2016 Progressive Poem continues today at Penny Parker Klosterman’s little home on the web, so be sure to stop by for a few minutes and see how this year’s poem is…well, progressing!

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

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

Poetry Friday: National Poetry Month begins!

national-poetry-month 2016

Yes, it’s National Poetry Month once again, and there’s so much going on, it’s hard to keep track of everything! There are poems and contests and interviews and all sorts of things…but first things first!

First, I’d like to share a new form I’ve been working on – which is actually an old form. A really old form…

You’ve very possibly heard of haiku, yes? If so, you probably know it consists of 3 lines with a 5-7-5 syllable count (although English-language syllables don’t exactly translate to the Japanese language, so many folks who write haiku in English eschew this rule).

Well, haiku is a relatively new Japanese form; what I’ve been practicing is a form that has been around since the 5th or 6th century AD: the sedoka.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllThe word sedoka means, roughly, “head-repeating,” and is made up of two tercets, or parts, known as katauta. Katauta – with a 5-7-7 syllable count – are rarely ever written by themselves; they are usually grouped in pairs, creating one sedoka.

The idea of “repeating” is not so much the words themselves, but the subject or feeling of the poem. In simple terms, each katauta describes the same subject, but from a different perspective; therefore, one sedoka presents two perspectives.

Here’s my example:
.

West wind whips fiercely
thin strands of branches atop
lonesome beechnut’s balding dome.

In younger days, green
leaves embraced each limb – now sweet
Zephyrus betrays my age.

– © 2016 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
.

A couple of weeks ago, I was getting my feet wet writing the Naani poetry form, and now I’m practicing ancient Japanese…you never know where, or how, inspiration will strike!

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

2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemToday is also the first day of Irene Latham‘s annual progressive poem! A different writer adds a line each day, and on April 30 we’ll see how it culminates…and it all starts HERE, with Laura Purdie Salas!

You can follow the 2015 Progressive Poem 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

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

I tend to share a lot of special posts during National Poetry Month, but this year I’m so busy, I’m keeping things lean. I’ll still have my Poetry Friday posts – and am planning to share some very special poetry by some very special young people – but other than that, I need to focus on three new picture book manuscripts I’m working on, a new poetry collection I’ve barely started, and a New England SCBWI Conference workshop I’m leading at the end of the month!

(Oh, yeah – and I have two kids I need to take care of, as well!)

If you’re wondering what other kidlit bloggers and writers are doing for this month, please check out Jama Rattigan’s list HERE, and for all of today’s Poetry Friday posts, be sure to visit Amy at The Poem Farm!

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

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

Learning to be happy with disappointment

Well, now…that’s a cheery title for a blog post, isn’t it?

True, it’s not as exciting and peppy and others I’ve shared, but the good news for you is, this will be shorter than usual!

My little crazy-haired girl loves her brother’s Legos, trucks, and dinosaurs!

I have been trying and trying for months now to come to terms with a new lack of time available to work – either for my voiceover business or my writing – and having finally come to the conclusion of what I need to do, I’m finding it extremely difficult to put that conclusion into practice.

You see, my 2-year-old daughter has decided naps are no longer her ‘thing’…and it’s killing me that I have now lost 2 hours each afternoon in which I used to devote time to recording, writing or marketing myself. The only time I now have for my work is at night, once my daughter and 6-year-old son are asleep. And that doesn’t leave a lot of time for much of anything else.

The stress has been getting the better of me, I hate to say. I work late now, but still wake up at 5:30am when my wife gets up for work, at which time our son usually wakes up, as well. Consequently, I’m exhausted more and have less patience with the kids – and then add in the fact I have to drive nearly an hour away once or twice every week to help my parents who are in their 80’s and having a hard time getting around – and my time is no longer my own.

I’m racing here, racing there, forcing my son to hurry up and eat his breakfast and get dressed for school, then hurry my daughter so we can leave to run errands, then try to get her to be quiet for a little while in the afternoon so I can at least check emails, then hurry up and make dinner and hurry up and get them to bed so I can hurry up and try to write…it’s absolutely exhausting.

And not just for me; I’m sure it’s exhausting for the kids, as well.

Selfishness is hard to fight

I have to admit, I have selfish reasons for wanting to work: two-and-a-half years ago, I left full-time employment to develop my voiceover business, and had a hard time building it up because, as a stay-at-home dad, so much of my time was spent raising my son.

Fortunately, I was able to write quite a bit at night, and my children’s writing career took off even stronger than my voiceover business; I started selling poems as a Lullabye covercontributor to a number of different books, and even signed my very first contract for a full-length picture book just last year.

NG Book of Nature Poetry coverSo things were really growing for me, and I wanted to maintain that momentum. I wanted to be writing more, submitting more manuscripts to publishers, and hopefully sign another contract. But now, with almost no time left to myself, I feel I’ve hit a wall.

I squeeze my recording sessions in where I can and squeeze in my writing where I can, but feeling that heavy sense of urgency when trying to write poetry (or anything, really) is counter-productive. How does one “hurry up” and write anything that’s worth reading??

My conclusion

So, as I mentioned earlier in this post, I’ve come to a conclusion that I’m having a difficult time putting into practice. And that is…

To put it in God’s hands.

You see, what we expect of ourselves is not always what God expects of us. What we expect of others is not always what God expects, either. In fact, as my wife and I were reminded this past Sunday at church, even Jesus was not the king that people were expecting at the time.

So I’m trying to remind myself that my daughter’s and son’s well-being are the most important things I should be concentrating on right now. I’ll continue to work on my voice career as time allows, and will write as time allows, but if I can’t capitalize on my publishing “momentum,” so be it. Perhaps I can capitalize on it next year.

Or perhaps I’ll manage to sell one of the 5 or 6 manuscripts I’m currently submitting.

Regardless, I need to change my way of thinking, and it’s not easy. Not easy, at all. I’d like to be a successful voice actor, a successful children’s writer, and a successful father/husband. But if it’s not possible to be all three, I know which one I need to pick.

I need to make an effort to be the person my kids, my wife, and God need me to be…not the person I want to be.

But come to think of it, that’s not entirely correct.

The person I should want to be…is the person my kids, my wife, and God need me to be. And if I can strive for that goal, all other goals can be secondary.

With that frame of mind, there’s no disappointment.

And I’m happy with that.

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

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

Poetry Friday: practicing the Naani form

I’ve been doing some practicing lately.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllA couple of weeks ago, I came upon a relatively new form of poetry called Naani, which was created by one of India’s foremost poets, Dr. N Gopi, who hails from the Teluga region in southern India.

It’s a short form, and shares some similarities with haiku/senryu. Like the Japanese forms, Naani poetry has a set line- and syllable-count. It is a 4-line poem that usually contains a total 20-25 syllables, although I’ve come across many that are a few syllables short.

Unlike haiku, subject matter is not confined to nature, but is fairly wide open. From what I’ve read, the term ‘naani’ refers to an expression of one and all; most Naani poems touch upon emotions, relationships, and the human condition.

Like haiku/senryu, it is deceptively difficult!

As I often say, writing haiku is easy; writing good haiku is anything but. The same is true for Naani poems. The following three are my first attempts at this form, so when you read them, please keep in mind I’m a newbie! I don’t often post poems that I lack confidence in – but this is a learning exercise, so I want you to be able to see what’s happening and perhaps join in, yourself.

Naani #1

Temper, undisciplined,
sparks the forest-consuming fire;
from self-control,
green springs

.

Naani #2

Laugh when you can,
dance when you want to,
smile when you should, and everyday
swallow your heart

.

Naani #3

Crimson-tinged sun drops,
life floods rimy ground; the grave
shines, as we
grieve the spectacle

.

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Taking a critical eye toward these, I feel the first one reads too much like a fortune cookie; the second is a bit too trite; the third I’m fairly happy with, especially because I felt I was able to use enjambment to my advantage. (By the way, if you’re wondering what “swallow your heart” means, I share that HERE) Oh, and one other characteristic about the Naani form is that the first line usually – but not always – states the subject of the poem…you’l notice I strayed from this on the second one.

I would love to see what you come up with, if you’d care to take a “Naani challenge! As I always say, #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!

Just leave your poems in the comments, or feel free to email them to my address in the upper right, and I’ll share them here over the next few weeks. (I’d also love to find out if you can discern what that 3rd poem is about…I deliberately kept it ambiguous to hopefully allow for more than one interpretation, so I hope it worked!)

Want  more poetry? Be sure to drop by Robyn Hood Black’s blog, Life on the Deckle Edge, for all of today’s Poetry Friday links!

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

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