ROUND TWO: 1-spicy vs. 9-fossilized

[click image to view matchup in full screen in a new window.]

The Poets’ Challenge: Each poet is assigned a single word based on their bracket seed, ranging from 1 (intuitive) to 16 (seemingly impossible). Poets must write a kid-appropriate poem using the prompted word in under 36 hours. Once both final poems have been received, they will be pasted into the body of this post, and then the reader poll will be open for voting.

Voter Instructions: Read each poem as many times as you’d like. Then use the poll to express your preference. Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered. As a guideline for voting, consider the criteria on which the contestants on the cooking show “Chopped” are evaluated: presentation, taste, and creativity. Translated roughly into poetry terms, presentation might include technical aspects such as meter, rhyme, form/shape, etc.; taste might be the net effect — did the poem move you to laugh, cry, think, kill, etc.; and creativity might include the poet’s approach toward a certain subject, image evocation, clever wordplay, etc.

“This is awesome, where can I find more?”: All results and scheduled matchups, including a glance at the round-by-round writing windows and voting windows, are visible from the Live Scoreboard page. In addition, results will be tweeted from @edecaria as they become final.

Here are the poems:

pink lemonade or…?
by Julie Krantz

cinnamon, curry, lemons and ice,
mix them together, jiggle them twice,
once for good karma, once for good luck,
once for the man in the bloodmobile truck.
he’s sticky, he’s thirsty, he makes people bleed—
can you think of a creature in much greater need…
of a swizzle, a fizzle, a guzzle or glug
of spicy red juice in a measuring cup?


Roadside Attraction
by Suz Blackaby

The possum drops mid-scurry,
Petrified by the flurry of swerving traffic,
Scared stiff.
Curled as still as stone,
He lies fossilized on the verge,
Hoping to pass for carrion.
Later, awake, he’ll carry on,
Hunkering off at a possum-y pace,
Shaken but stirring.



1-spicy vs. 9-fossilized: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 1-spicy (Julie Krantz) (36%, 46 Votes)
  • 9-fossilized (Suz Blackaby) (64%, 81 Votes)

Total Voters: 127

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GET OUT THE VOTE. For Round 2, our goal is to double the average vote total for the average matchup compared to Round 1. Use the share buttons below and mention the madness wherever you go so that these poems reach more kids!

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  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Ooh, I think both of these words are great fodder for poems. Have fun with them.

  • Donna Smith

    Wow! Nice words!

  • juliekrantz

    Thank you, Ladies! Julie

  • Mary Lee

    Too bad Sue didn’t get SPICY, since she’ll “write for food”!!

  • Suz Blackaby

    Hey Jul!
    I love how we both alluded to cocktails into our poems… Not nearly enough hard liquor in children’s literature….
    See you on the rocks…er…I mean ropes!

  • Amy LV

    Oh, I will never see the bloodmobile guy the same way again! And I always have a soft spot for animals by roadsides, so that made me smile for the guy. Both of these have such wonderful sounds…great pairing of poems for two such provocative words!

  • Greg Pincus

    Wow. I need a drink (of coffee!) and a bunch of re-reads to figure how I’ll pick just one of these. Well done!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    It continues to freak me out a little how many match-ups end up alluding to similar themes. These both have so much good stuff going on. Need to go shake or stir something before voting…

  • Mary Lee

    Julie, love the spicy lemonade! Suz, I admire the AMAZING word work in your poem!

  • Kristy Dempsey

    Nice job, both of you! The voting is getting difficult!

  • Stephanie Farrow

    How to choose? How to choose? Suz, your photo could have been taken at my house–if you multiply the dogs by three. And those same dogs would love to drink your pink lemonade, Julie. Maybe I’ll let them have my vote.

  • Jone

    Wow. These are great. What wordsmithing on both parts. Strong images.

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Great rhythm Julie! Suz, your avatar is too funny. And your possum poem is brilliant, lovely imagery. Tough call …

  • April Halprin Wayland

    Golly…I am so intimidated! Your two dances with words are terrific. And I did note the drinks in both…

  • juliekrantz

    hee, hee–you’re right, Suz–love your double entendre last line! Wonderful poem–Julie

  • Patricia Nozell

    Terrific poems, with themes that didn’t come to my feeble mind at least when I saw the words. Very creative!

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    Nice job, both! “Roadside Attraction” nudges the bloodmobile man for me because I keep looking for which is the better *kids’* poem…but I’d sure like to try your bloody mary I mean pink lemonade recipe, Julie! Love Suz’s ending also.