ROUND TWO: 1-useless vs. 8-coordination


Click here for authlete instructions.

Voter Instructions:

  • The countdown at the bottom of each pairing indicates how much time is left to vote.
    • When voting closes, timer will disappear.
  • Read both poems as many times as you’d like.
  • Mark the poem you like best by clicking the circle next to its name.
  • Press the “Vote” button to record your vote.
  • Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered.
  • In the Public Vote, anyone may vote, but only one vote is allowed per IP address.
  • In the Classroom Vote, you must be registered and logged in to vote.
    • Official voting classrooms should read and discuss each poem and then submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.
  • In the Authlete Vote, you must be a 2015 authlete and logged in to vote.

Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word, given its level of difficulty.
  • Whether or not the poem adheres to the poem requirements for the contest.
  • Precision: structure, meter, rhyme, syntax, etc.
  • Personality: creative imagery, language, metaphor, etc.
  • Power: makes you laugh, cry, want, sigh, think, dream, wince, scream, etc.
  • Plus One: it is a poem you feel drawn to share with another person for whatever reason.

Apply your own criteria as well! For more on the above concepts, check out POEMETRICS™.

Here are the poems:


1-useless what does it mean?
Sounds Useless
By Kathryn D. Harrison

Poetry is alchemy; we conjure words from scratch.
Let’s write a poem you and I; I’ll throw the line, you’ll catch.

A grapefruit dry and hardened like a shiny tennis ball?
A dusty rack of antlers mounted on a trophy wall?
A temple on Olympus lies abandoned by its king?
A bookshelf with no Horton, Whoville, Sam-I-Am or Thing?

Our useless things made ‘use-less’ rhymes! What a useful power of two.
Most poets concede this simple truth: there’s no poem unless there’s a you.



8-coordination what does it mean?
By Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

Harold the chameleon lacked coordination-
his color changing efforts always ended in frustration.
His front turned pink like bubblegum, his back like pea puree.
The other lizards called him names, so Harold ran away.

One day he spied an open jar inside a candy shop…
when Harold saw the gummy worms, he thought his heart would stop!
“Hello my rainbow-colored friends! I’m overjoyed to meet you!”
“Stick with us,” the worms replied, “and maybe they won’t eat you.”


Public Vote (1-useless vs. 8-coordination)
Final Results:
1-useless vs. 8-coordination

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
1-useless vs. 8-coordination
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
1-useless vs. 8-coordination

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  • lillpluta

    I love both of these. There are so many close matches in this round.

  • Buffy Silverman

    Another terrific pair–love the creative magic in those middle lines of Sounds Useless. And oh my–what could be more clever than a bubble gum/pea puree chameleon who blends in with rainbow-colored gummy worms?

  • Debra Shumaker

    Love both of these. Tough choice!

  • Diana Murray

    Kathryn, I love the “throw the line” metaphor. And Michele, I love that you created a character! Very kid-friendly.

  • Jackie

    Kathryn did you contemplate the idea that Seussless rhymes with useless :-) And Harold, what a cute creature. Tricky times ahead!

    • Kathryn Harrison

      Yay! Full marks. You should have seen my “discard”pile! = The Moulin Rouge without Lautrec/ Van Gogh has no yellow-green :)

      • Jackie

        There is definitely nothing more useless than a Seussless bookcase :-)

        • RJ Clarken


  • Randi

    Wow! Tough match, you two! I love Kathryn’s metaphor of poetry being alchemy and the conjuring aspect of creating poetry; that definitely captures my process. And Michelle, yours is laugh-out-loud funny! I can just picture some poor kid reaching into that jar of gummy worms and pulling out a chameleon! Kudos to both of you and good luck!

  • Barb

    Both are fantastic. Sorry, I can’t choose!

  • Kathryn Harrison

    Congratulations Michelle – great job! I hope to see Harold in the future:)

  • Kathryn Harrison

    I almost forgot – :) Juiceless grapefruits, Mooseless antlers, Zuesless temples & Suessless bookshelves are all a bit useless to me.

  • Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    You had Harold shakin’ in his pea puree booties for a while there, Kathryn! You have no shortage of imagination or cleverness, that’s for sure.