ROUND ONE: 1-whine vs. 16-psychoanalysis

[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:

Screeching Keesha
by Natalie F.

Screeching Keesha Klein
had a window-splitting whine
that sent shivers through the bones
of the entire chorus line.

Her director said, “Miss Klein,
if I really must opine,
something quieter might suit you
like interior design.”


“Welcome,” said the Freud-ish man
by Peter Patrick Langella
I looked at the couch
I wanted to scream
Why were my parents so savage and mean?

More like paralysis!
I’d rather be with Gramma at her weekly dialysis



1-whine vs. 16-psychoanalysis: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 1-whine (Natalie F.) (45%, 66 Votes)
  • 16-psychoanalysis (Peter Patrick Langella) (55%, 82 Votes)

Total Voters: 148

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  • Julie Larios

    Oh, nicely done – two great contributions!

  • Natalie

    Thanks Julie! I think Peter did a great job with “psychoanalysis!” :)

  • Greg Pincus

    Excellent! and Excellent!

  • Natalie

    Thanks Greg! Huge compliment coming from you! :)

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Well played, round, one and all!

    • Renee LaTulippe

      Oops, how did that comma sneak in there? That should be “Well played round…”

  • Natalie

    You threw in an extra comma for me, of course! :)

  • Peter

    This was fun! It’s too bad one of us will be sent packing.

    • Ed DeCaria

      Yes, but don’t forget: All non-winners get a consolation prize! See bottom of Official Rules for details. -Ed

  • Natalie

    You did a fantastic job, Peter! I am not sure of how I would have handled that word????

  • Ann Jacobus

    Tough call! Great job Natalie and Peter (and hooray for VCFA!)

  • Ed DeCaria

    I’d love to see both of these stories continued (in verse form, of course) … both beg for more scenes. What happens next???

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Yes! Hoorah for VCFA! I just started in January and reading these tournament poems reinforces my wonder at how fabulous the experienced students are. Something to aim for!

  • Julie Rowan-Zoch

    Go Natalie!

  • Kathryn Apel

    Yep. It’s close. Too close to call thus far. Need to think some more, and come back to this one…

  • Liz

    I really enjoyed both. I am amazed that you pulled off an excellent children’s poem with the word psychoanalysis!

  • laurasalas

    Love the endings of both of these poems. And I’m thankful I did not get psychoanalysis for my word. Though a psychoanalyst would have a field day with all of us and our poems…

  • Teasha

    Ha! I just evened up the vote on this one. It’s tied; you can’t get closer than that.

  • Peter

    Wow. It looks like we may be headed for a photo finish!

  • Natalie

    Yeah it does…this should be fun! :)

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Peter, perfect! That was a horrible word!

  • Natalie

    Congratulations Peter! Just seeing the results. Best of luck in Round 2! :)

  • Erik AKA This Kid Reviews Books

    This is cool!