ROUND TWO: 1-wonder vs. 8-fluent

[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:

When Wanda Wandered
by Jen Kelley

My friend Wanda wasn’t waiting when I went to Walter’s store.
Walter told me she went walking, which she’s never done before.

Wanda wasn’t one to wander, or to ever leave her post.
But the fact she left her fishbowl is what worries me the most.

I wonder where a fish would go without her bowl of water.
Wherever Wanda’s gone, I’m sure it’s dryer and it’s hotter.

What’s this I see outside the door, scales shimmering in the sun?
It’s Wanda wandering up the way with brand new toys – how fun!


Our Grandma Kissed A Mouse Trap
by Darren Sardelli

Our grandma kissed a mouse trap
and a giant block of cheese.
She also kissed a porcupine
that’s fluent in Chinese.
I saw her kiss a meatball
eating donuts with a queen.
She kissed us in these costumes
at our house on Halloween!



1-wonder vs. 8-fluent: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 1-wonder (Jen Kelley) (41%, 84 Votes)
  • 8-fluent (Darren Sardelli) (59%, 123 Votes)

Total Voters: 207

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GET OUT THE VOTE. The average pairing in Round 1 generated 154 votes. For Round 2, our goal is to DOUBLE the average vote total for all matchups compared to Round 1 … that’s 300+ votes! Use the share buttons below and mention the madness wherever you go so that these poems reach more kids!

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  • Catherine Johnson

    This has got to be the hardest one yet, both superb poems!

  • jone

    Both are terrific…I don’t know how to choose.

  • Julie Larios

    Ooh – this one’s going to be a squeaker, I bet! Congratulations to both of you on those great poems.

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Yikes, tough call! Well done, both of you – smiles all around!

  • Cathy

    I agree, very tough decision. I loved both of them! I loved the Halloween costumes and Grandma kissing everyone. But I really loved the alliteration of Wander. It makes me chuckle.

  • Donna Smith

    Good job on both here!

  • Amy LV

    These just made my whole mouth happy! I want to repeat those Wandawords over and over…and the surprise at the end of your poem, Darren, was a delight!

  • Dave Crawley

    The alliteration of Kelley,
    And rhythms of Darren Sardelli,
    Have given the voice
    To a difficult choice.
    A fish and old cheese are both smelly.

    • Jen Kelley

      Ha! Very cute!

  • Darren Sardelli

    Crawley – I love the limerick.
    Thanks for the chuckle.

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Unsurprised to see these are both excellent. But Darren once again has to be winner for me. Absolutely brilliant.

  • Jen Kelley

    Congratulations, Darren.
    This was SO much fun!

    Watch out, though! Next year, I’m clearing my schedule so I have the time and energy to do it up right!

  • Darren Sardelli


    You did a fantastic job as well. I love your writing style. I know I’m going to see your poems in bookstores very soon.
    I look forward to reading more of your poetry.

    • Jen Kelley

      When I went to your website to check out my competition, my reaction was, “Well, crap.” hahahaa
      I love your poems and it is an honor to lose to you.

  • Darren Sardelli


    I’m glad you’re enjoying my poetry. Thank you for the amazing comments.