Poetry Friday: “Poetry…Cubed!” wraps up today!

Before I get to today’s post, I just wanted to mention that – in case you missed it – I shared a few new peeks of my debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press, 2017) this past Tuesday! The advance copy arrived in the mail while I was at the New England SCBWI conference, and what a welcome home gift it was.

So now I’m back from my conference, and have a few more poems to share as we wrap up this month-long writing challenge I call “Poetry…Cubed!” – based on the premise of the The Food Network show, “Chopped!

Writers were asked to use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem – any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. The only hitch was that a reference to all three images needed to be included in the poem.

Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky person would be chosen at random to receive a copy of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015). Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared a number of entries, and today, we have FIVE more poems!

But first…here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

                 

(All images courtesy of Katherine Esenwine

The first poem is by Brenda Davis Harsham, who saw all sorts of emotion within those pictures:

Van Gogh the Trickster

With his swirling strokes,
flowers unfold, stars twinkle,
Japanese screen images flirt,
couples lean in, sowers seed,
and your eye is tricked
into thinking
paint is real,
happiness lasts,
and youth is forever.

– © 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham, all rights reserved

.

Today’s second entry is a haiku from The Poetry Princess herself, Joy Acey:

Eye of the Tiger
on the silver movie screen
a white hibiscus

© 2017 Joy Acey,  all rights reserved

.
Third, we have a poem from Karen Eastlund, who was inspired to write this poem after she saw a billboard on the way to her aunt & uncle’s house:

Best Billboard

The billboard caught my eye immediately
Not for its bright colors
Or flowery words
But for the humor

PETRIFIED WATERMELONS
Take one home to your mother-in-law

We laughed our way to
My uncle’s house
And then we laughed some more

– © 2017 Karen Eastlund,  all rights reserved

.

Our fourth poem comes from Donna Smith, who took a break from packing (in advance of a big move), to write a poem for this challenge:

Vision

My vision clouded
Confounded
By these walls,
Surrounded;
But on the other side
The blossoms
Of sweeter times
Rebound;
Days of freedom
Behind and ahead
Resound;
In glory
Astound.

.
– © 2017 Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved
.

Last but certainly not least, is a poem by Kay Jernigan McGriff, who weaves all 3 images into a spring scene:

Focus

A clenched bud
unfurls its petals
one by one
as spring unspools
before my eyes.

Bees dance
across the petals
step by step
as spring writes a new
saga across earth’s screen.

– © 2017 Kay Jernigan McGriff, all rights reserved

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And out of all the entries…who is our randomly-picked winner??

Brenda Davis Harsham!

Congratulations, Brenda! I’ll get your copy of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations to you as soon as possible!

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REMEMBER: Irene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem continues! Each day throughout April a different person adds a line – until we have a complete, 30-poet poem on April 30.

added my line yesterday which means there are only a few days left, but if you’d like to follow along and see how it’s been progressing, here’s the schedule:

1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at a penny and her jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

.

If you still can’t get enough poetry, head over to Teaching Authors, where JoAnn Early Macken and crew are celebrating today’s Poetry Friday roundup with April showers!

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Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 5, 2017!

Pre-orders are available now by clicking the image of the cover to the right, or if you prefer, you can wait til Sept. 5 and purchase it at your favorite local bookstore.

(Good grief, this is all really happening…)

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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!
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The 2017 Progressive Poem has arrived!

The day is finally here!

Irene Latham’s annual Progressive Poem has made its way to my little home on the web here, and it’s time for me to add my line to a poem that has been growing and developing for the past 26 days. And what better day to do this than today, Poem in Your Pocket Day. So find a poem you like, write it down or print it out, and hang onto it…and share it with someone who may enjoy it, as well!

If you don’t know, here’s how the Progressive Poem works: each day throughout April a different person adds a line until we have a complete, 30-poet poem on April 30!

Our heroine (or hero?) has been on adventure that we learned was actually a stage production – or at least, that’s how many of us perceived it – so my illustrious fellow blogger/writer, Renee LaTulippe assisted with our denouement with yesterday’s line.

Today, it’s up to me to continue the saga! As the poem has bounced between rhyming and non-rhyming lines, metered and unmetered, I tried not to worry too much about form, but did try to maintain the integrity of the previous lines and the movement of the poem itself:

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges–
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

But edges sometimes need sandpaper,
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour
facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.

I thread the crowd, wear freedom in my smile,
and warm to the coals of conversation.
Enticed to the stage by strands of story,
I skip up the stairs in anticipation.

Flip around, face the crowd, and freeze!
Shiver me. Look who’s here. Must I disappear?
By hook or by crook, I deserve a second look!
I cheer. Please, have no fear. Find the book.

But wait! I’ll share the lines I know by heart.
Mythical howls, fiery tones slip from my lip
Blue scales flash, claws rip, the prophecy begins
Dragonworld weaves webs that grip. I take a trip…

“Anchors aweigh!” Steadfast at helm on clipper ship,
a topsail schooner, with sails unfurled, speeds away
As, true-hearted dragon pirate, I sashay
with my wise parrot, Robyn, through the spray.

“Land Ho!” (“Land Ho!”) We’ve hooked the whole crowd.
So it’s true what they say: the play IS the thing.
Stepping back from my blocking, theatre grows loud…

.

Take it away, Michelle!

If you’d like, you can follow along and watch the progress – and catch up on how the poem has “progressed” up to this point! Here’s the schedule:

1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at a penny and her jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

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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: more “Poetry…Cubed!” entries!

I am not actually here right now…it’s alllll an illusion….

So where am I? I’m attending the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators’ annual conference in Springfield, MA! But I wanted to make sure I shared the two latest entries in this little month-long writing challenge I call “Poetry…Cubed!” – based on the premise of the The Food Network show, “Chopped!

If you’d like to join in – which I hope you do – here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem – any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. Remember, it doesn’t have to be very good- the mantra around here is to #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading! This is all about having fun and spurring creativity.
  • 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.
  • PFAC-front-cover-Nov-30-WEB-jpeg-705x1030Then email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here on Fri., April 28. Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer will be chosen at random to receive a copy of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015).

Ready? Here are your three images (click on any to enlarge):

                 

(All images courtesy of Katherine Esenwine

The first poem I’m sharing today is a digital composition created by Carol Varsalona:

 

(click to enlarge)

I love how Carol not only used the photos as inspiration to write, but incorporated them into the entire poem. And like so many of the poems submitted, this connects all three images succinctly in just a few words.

The second poem comes from Janet Clare Fagal, who perceived the movie screen as, in her words, a “blank canvas or sheet of paper…something large and white and imposing…” How cool is that?? A giant canvas awaiting inspiration – and that’s what she gives us, in this conversation between an artist and a gardener:

A Gardener’s Advice to the Artistically Forlorn, in Two Voices, sotto voce

(Artist to self)
Empty page,
empty sky.
Look white and blurry
before my eye.

…………………………………..(Gardener to Artist)
…………………………………..
Grab your brush,
…………………………………..Grasp your pen.
…………………………………..Splash on colors!
…………………………………..And begin again.

Poems are waiting.
Frame’s undone.
Must get started!
Creating’s fun.
( Well, some of the time!)

…………………………………..(Don’t whine)
…………………………………..Artists, writers,
…………………………………..it’s not a race.
…………………………………..Paint the flowers,
…………………………………..and set your pace.

…………………………………..(Remember….)
…………………………………..The eye can see,
…………………………………..but the heart will know.
…………………………………..Put pen to paper,
…………………………………..get in the flow,
…………………………………..…….. and grow!

– © 2017, Janet Clare Fagal, all rights reserved

A third poem I thought I’d share is a rough draft of mine, as I was thinking about how much the eye resembles a globe. It’s definitely not a polished piece, but I thought I’d share it anyway, just to provide another example of how many directions ones inspiration can go with this sort of challenge:

Glory of morning awakens
senses; world-eye view
captures truth in otherwise
cinematic lives.

– © 2017, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Remember, you have just one week left to enter the contest, so send your poem to Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com before Thur., April 27! And remember, it doesn’t have to be good – it just has to be written!

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ALSO: Irene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem continues! Each day throughout April a different person adds a line – until we have a complete, 30-poet poem on April 30.

I’ll be adding my line next week on April 27, but if you’d like to follow along and see how it’s been progressing, here’s the schedule:

1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at a penny and her jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

poetryfridaybutton-fulllTabatha Yeatts-Lonske is hosting Poetry Friday today at The Opposite of Indifference, so be sure to visit her little home on the web for all of today’s links and fun!

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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: “A Lesson in Brevity”

As I mentioned on Tuesday, the world’s biggest children’s poetry competition is underway, and I hope you’ve been following it! (If not, you can learn more HERE)

Once again, I am out in the first round – not sure how that always happens – but I do know my competitor, Alison Dellenbaugh, wrote a cute little poem about Bigfoot that won the hearts of the voters, and I wish her well as she moves on to round 2!

Madness!Poetry, as the contest is called, is a bracketed competition similar to sports brackets, where we start off with 64 teams (or in this case, “authletes”), and after the first round that number is whittled down to 32…then 16…then 8…and 4…until we have two finalists vying for the championship.

So today I thought I’d share the poem I wrote – since I’m out of contention, I’m a spectator now, without the pressure of having to create a winning poem with some random word in 36 hours. I was given the word “behemoth,” and when I thought about how it’s a word meaning some giant ‘thing,’ I immediately thought of an old tale we all know…

A Lesson in Brevity

A young lad named Jack cultivated legumes,
which germinated thaumaturgically.
He met a behemoth hungry for bones
who tried to remove them non-surgically.
Jack quickly absconded down tall vegetation
and thought he might nearly prevail –
but poor dear old Jack was a sesquipedalian
and took too long telling his tale.

– © 2017, Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

I had a feeling that my abundant use of verbose language might be my undoing, but once I nailed down my plan – and punchline – I knew I was going to need to pull out the trusty ol’ thesaurus. And win or lose, I really liked how the poem turned out, and that was the important thing to me.

So be sure to check out all the action (and vote!) at the Madness!Poetry website, and if you’re looking for more poetry, visit Michelle H. Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty for the complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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

The Madness of Poetry in March

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on Tuesday – increased parenting duties and less available time to write can put a crimp in one’s blogging schedule – but I had to share a quick little update about a fun competition that is underway. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, a fun, familiar poetry challenge is back for another year!

What used to be known as MMPoetry (short for March Madness Poetry), has now been reborn with a new website and new name: Madness!Poetry. As in past years, Ed DeCaria at Think Kid, Think! hosts a bracketed poetry competition similar to that famous March college basketball tournament which is full of “madness,” but which we can’t speak of by name due to potential infringement of a registered trademark.

The premise is simple: each of 64 “authletes,” as Ed calls us, competes against another by writing a poem using a specific word we’ve been given. (In my case this year, that word is “behemoth” – which may sound challenging, but it’s better than past words I’ve been saddled with, like “appendage” and “verjuice!”) Fellow writers, teachers, students, and the general public are encouraged to vote for their favorites, and whoever wins each match-up moves on to the next round, then the next round, then the next round…until two authletes go at it head-to-head, mano a mano, to determine the champion.

Ed has been quite a busy fellow; for the past year, he’s been tweaking the structure and voting process, creating a new website, and basically re-branding the entire thing, now that we all have seen just how huge this little idea of his became. You can learn more about Madness!Poetry and see who is battling who by checking out the website HERE.

I submitted my First Round poem on Monday afternoon, and all the poems will be posted Tuesday morning at the Madness!Poetry website – so please check out all the poems as they are posted, vote for your favorites, and keep following along! It’s a lot of fun even if you’ve never written children’s poetry, because some of the solutions the writers come up with in order to use their words are pretty creative. After 4 years of competing, I’ve never made it out of Round 1…so I’m hoping this is the year…we’ll see!

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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!

Poetry Friday: Poetry Madness Returns!

poetryfridaybutton-fulll(Only, this time…it’s “Madness! Poetry”!)

What am I talking about? Well, back in 2012, Ed DeCaria at Think, Kid, Think! created a children’s poetry competition styled after the NCAA March Madness tournament, where 64 poets (or, “authletes,” as he calls them) would battle each other by writing poems using random words they were given for each round.

It was a lot of fun for 3 years – but then Ed decided to take 2016 off. Those of us who participated each year wondered what he was up to, but we knew he had some plans he was working on. Sure enough, it’s back this year, redesigned, reorganized, and renamed!

I encourage you to learn more at the Madness! Poetry website, where you can learn mroe about the competition, see who’s competing, and – once it gets underway – follow along with all the authletes and poems, and vote for your favorites.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share one of my past poems from the competition. In the competition’s second year, I had been given the word “verjuice” – which is an acidic juice made from unripe grapes or crab apples, or an alcoholic liquor made from that juice. Not exactly a word one would expect to find in a children’s poem, but neither were words like “catatonic,” “ignominious,” or “antediluvian,” all of which found their way into the competition. So I couldn’t complain…all I could do was write the best poem possible, within 35 hours:

Senescence

Drink from the cup of your youth, my child,
sup and be merry while young;
for the feast quickly cools
and verjuice of old fools
is sour and sad on the tongue.

– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine

Yes, a bit heavy for a children’s poem…but that was what I came up with. (And I just had to use a $64,000 word as the title!) Fellow writer and Poetry Friday family member Robyn Hood Black and I battled it out, head to head, poem to poem, and she eventually went on to the next round. But I’ve always been proud of this little poem, so I hope you liked it.

Karen Edmisten is hosting Poetry Friday today, so for the complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over and say hi and enjoy her “Snow Day” with Billy Collins!

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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!

Poetry Friday: The Winter Poetry Swap, part II!

winter-poetry-swap

Before we get too far, let me first apologize to my Poetry Friday friends, whose blogs I have not been frequenting lately. I really want to check out everyone’s blogs – and try to get to as many as I can – but it’s been a difficult task these past couple of weeks.

You see, I’ve been busy…

Clockwise, from left: Pepparkakor (Scandinavian spice cookie), Sugar cookies, Peanut Blossoms (flourless dough!), Christmas Haystacks (A southern treat made with chow mein noodles, peanuts, and melted butterscotch chips), Chocolate-Peppermint Brownie Cookies (If a brownie was given the chance to be a cookie for one day, this is what it would taste like!), Serinakakor (Scandinavian butter cookie w/almonds), Strawberry-Oatmeal Jumbles,
And that’s not even all of them!
Made about 11 dozen of these, alone…if you don’t count all the ones I tasted in the interest of quality control.

Let’s break this down: 16 dozen pepparkakor, 4 dozen serinakakor, 11 dozen chocolate-peppermint brownie cookies, 8 dozen sugar cookies, 5 1/2 dozen strawberry oatmeal bars, 3 1/2 dozen peanut blossoms, and 3 dozen haystacks. That’s 51 and a half dozen cookies, in case you’re wondering.

And yes, I kept count!

That’s over 600 cookies, baked in less than a week, with a 3-year-old here at the house destroying everything she can get her mitts on. Add in Christmas shopping, decorating, trying to find time to write, and getting my voiceover work done, and…well, as I said, I’ve been busy.

But with the Big Day just days away, all that’s left is cleaning the house, wrapping the remaining presents, and getting food prepped for Sunday – so things are starting to slow down to the relaxed pace that we expect at Christmas.

My family & I will be attending a Christmas Eve-Eve service tonight, then settling in for a nice long weekend. I, for one, cannot wait!

So now, then…the poetry. In last week’s post, I told you about Tabatha Yeatt’s 2016 Winter Poetry Swap, where folks exchange poetry and a gift with others, and I shared the poem that Keri Collins Lewis had written for me.

Today, I’m sharing the poem I wrote for educator, blogger, and poet Margaret Simon! I decided that it might be interesting to read through several of her past blog posts about Christmas and create a found poem from some of the words and phrases I came across. Here’s how it turned out (click to enlarge):

Margaret shared this poem on her blog a couple days ago, so I wanted to share it here, as well. Hope you liked it! For more poetry, head on over to Buffy’s Blog, where Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday today!

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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!