ROUND TWO: 11-cavalier vs. 3-swerve

[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:

by Mary Lee Hahn


with the cavalier way
you explode whole constellations of purple stars
from your smooth grey bark.

Add glory
to the understory.


That Aint Elvis! That’s My Dad!
by Pam Courtney

Imagine a civilized cultured affair of refined noses perched high in the air.
And everyone talking through contracted lips and everyone walking with impacted hips.

Suddenly a musical turn in direction has Elvis proclaiming his Burnin’ affection!

Dad’s hips began rocking, those high brows were jocking for a guy they dismissed heretofore.
And all eyes darted towards Dad as he started to make his way onto the floor.

His arms flailing, such unnatural wailing, Lord O’ Mighty his temperature’s rising!
Fiery flanks flew as flesh whacked flesh, Dad’s moves were mesmerizing!

With a villainous swerve Dad’s hips gave a shove, DJ mangled by Dad’s hunka hunka burnin’ love!  



11-cavalier vs. 3-swerve: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 11-cavalier (Mary Lee Hahn) (80%, 97 Votes)
  • 3-swerve (Pam Courtney) (20%, 25 Votes)

Total Voters: 122

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GET OUT THE VOTE. For Round 2, our goal is to double the average vote total for all matchups 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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  • Pam

    No! No! No! No! I got the lady who had the word “whacked!” I remember you. I LOVED your poem!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Haha, Pam! “Whacked” was great, but Leafy was no slouch either! And what a fun word you got! Can’t wait to see this match-up…

  • Mary Lee

    And Pam…you’re the one that got all the way to the ocean with a sea dragon on “temptation”!! Yikes!!! The pressure’s on!!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Oooh….rubbing my hands with great anticipation to see what this talented twosome comes up with next. This one is going to be great.

  • Donna Smith

    This should be a good match! Waiting almost patiently…

  • Amy LV

    Oh, this is definitely the year we’re getting a redbud…you clinched it, Mary Lee. And Elvis lives! So funny to imagine him really walking into a party! These seemed like they were both a joy to write.

  • Mary Lee

    How fun, Pam! Who would have guessed that it would be Dad’s HIPS swerving in your poem!!

  • Pam

    Ouch! This is painful to watch! Although Mary Lee your poem is REALLY beautiful! I’ll tell you something interesting. Last night, when I began thinking of what to write, I downloaded the Big Bang theme song to get an idea. Spooky!

  • Jone

    Marylee, what a fabulous spring image. The Elvis poem is a hoot. The competition is amazing.

  • Donna Smith

    Well, we’re a rockin’ and a rollin’ and a jumpin’ and explodin’…

  • Kathryn Apel

    Stunning image of a redbud. Aussie-me googled it… but I’d already imagined it from your eloquent words.

    And that followed by a laugh-out-loud Elvis poem. Talk about a study of contrasts!

  • Pam

    10! I got 10 votes! Yesssss! Yesssss! I KNEW I could do it! I’m a star I tell ya! Huh? What’s that? Oh, er…umm. Well, how wonderful for her…

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Oh Mary Lee, you nailed the redbud. My two redbuds are exploding right now. I love how the flowers come first, before it starts to leaf out. And you’re ending…pitch perfect.

    Pam I just loved that image of dad’s hips a shaking. What kid wouldn’t be ready to hide under their bed in embarrassment!

  • Joy Acey

    Mary Lee,
    Congratulations for a great execution with the word Cavalier. I’ll never be able to look at Redbuds the same again. Well done.

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    Pam, you got the syncopation;
    Mary Lee, my adoration…Exquisite.

  • Pam

    BIG CONGRATS, Mary Lee! Did you notice I used “whacked?”

    • Donna Smith

      I noticed that and thought it was VERY clever, Pam. That would be interesting if we had to use the other person’s word along with the new one. You’d already be a step ahead though, and I would be sunk. Cement and nonconfrontational?

    • Mary Lee

      I’m embarrassed to say that I did NOT notice whacked! Right there in front of me…I must have moved my head at just the right moment to miss the impact.

      I’m sending you a virtual bouquet of redbud blossoms. Good game. Wish me luck against…eep…Julie Larios!!

  • Pam

    I thank you most kindly for my bouquet. Much luck to you Mary Lee.

  • laurasalas

    Oh, Mary Lee! What a stunning Things to Do If… poem.