ROUND TWO: 10-nascent vs. 15-bailiwick


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:


10-nascent what does it mean?
By Robert Schechter

Last year the spring came early. My snowman faced his doom.
The birds were still in Florida as trees began to bloom

and warmth returned to push aside the winter in its prime.
Last year the spring came early. It’s coming late this time.

The birds who are returning find their nesting branches bare,
and flocks of them seem flummoxed by my snowman’s coal-eyed stare.

My snowman gives the birds a wink, then melts away at last.
The nascent blossoms burst their buds. And winter’s finally past.



15-bailiwick what does it mean?
Ode to Algebra
By Carissa Mina

If x is 2 and b is 6 and little Suzie played with sticks
and I divide them by 2a plus all the food I ate that day,
then a would equal 21, but wait a minute I’m not done.
If b is squared, and x is too and all my toes were dipped in glue
then b would surely equal 4 subtracted by a dinosaur
or maybe b would equal 8
so you should probably call on Nick ’cause math’s just not my bailiwick.


Public Vote (10-nascent vs. 15-bailiwick)
Final Results:
10-nascent vs. 15-bailiwick

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
10-nascent vs. 15-bailiwick
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
10-nascent vs. 15-bailiwick

Like it? Share it!

Like me? Subscribe to TKT!

  • Damon Dean

    Loved them both! Too late to vote.

  • Beth Rayner

    Brilliance! Both!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    I love “flocks of them seem flummoxed”! Beautiful imagery in the spring poem.

  • Beth Rayner

    And “coal-eyed stare.”

    • Renee LaTulippe


  • Buffy Silverman

    Wonderful imagery in Better Late than Never–I’m imagining those flummoxed flocks pondering the coal-eyed stare (and such hope for those of us still waiting for nascent blooms!) Ode to Algebra made me laugh–a kid-pleasing rhyme.

  • Mandy Mandy Riu

    Oh man…this one is tough. I really love both poems!

  • Debra Shumaker

    WOW! I love both of these, but very different moods. I love the imagery of Robert’s and the fun in Carissa’s. Tough choice, indeed.

  • Samuel Kent

    I’ll echo what others are saying. Both of these are wonderful!

  • Diana Murray

    How apropos, Bob! I love the use of “flummoxed” and the way the snowman interacts with the birds. What a vivid scene you’ve painted! And Carissa, how funny! LOL. Math is not my bailiwick either.

  • Lori Degman

    This is such a hard one – it may take me a while! Robert, I love “coal-eyed stare” and Carissa, I love how you worked in “bailiwick!

  • Carol Samuelson-Woodson

    Two winners, surely!?

  • Maureen Lynas

    Both brilliant. My vocabulary is being stretched with Ed’s words.

  • Jackie

    Loved both so much. Wow what to do?

  • Marla Lesage

    Wow, this is a tough choice – they’re both so good.

  • lillpluta

    These are both so clever. I’ve enjoyed the various winter poems in this competition because I don’t live where we really have “winter.” But I also homeschool my fifteen year old, and oh-boy …. can I relate to the math poem. Both are very well done. It was difficult to choose.

  • Damon Dean

    Brave Robert, you dared a spring poem…while mine melted away in the first round, I think yours is solid. I love that “flocks of them seem flummoxed by my snowman’s coal-eyed stare.” So vivid.

    Carissa! You ratcheted up the math anxiety with every single word and line! Out loud laughter, I even raised my hands and ran my fingers through my remaining hair feeling the exasperation of your character.
    Wonderful laugh-matical results.

  • rjschechter

    Congratulations, Carissa! Well done.

  • Carissa Mina

    Oh, wow! I am shocked! Thank you!

    Robert, your poem was fantastic! I loved your use of language to create such beautiful visuals!

  • Dave Crawley

    Two incredibly creative poems!