ROUND TWO: 11-nether vs. 14-marginalize

[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 Tiffany Strelitz Haber

In Wackytown where up is down and night is bright as day
Santa Claus comes twice a year and drives a backwards sleigh.

It travels in reverse- a curse! But Santa’s got it made.
He’s got a secret weapon in his great reindeer brigade.

Rudy Booty leads the pack, attacking through the snow…
and sticks his tushy out, you see
his nether regions glow!


The Harlem Skunktrotter
by Stephen W. Cahill

It’s not a surprise when they marginalize
The skunk who signs up to their team.
His terrible stink is so bad that they think
He’s icky beyond the extreme.
But soon there’s a reason, first match of the season,
To drown him with kisses and roses.
This basketball skunk performs dunk after dunk
As the other team squeeze on their noses!



11-nether vs. 14-marginalize: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 11-nether (Tiffany Strelitz Haber) (50%, 193 Votes)
  • 14-marginalize (Stephen W. Cahill) (50%, 196 Votes)

Total Voters: 388

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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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  • Mary Lee

    This will be an amazing pair of poems with two highly-seeded words!

  • Pam

    Whoa! I’m staying tuned for this show!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    This could be the battle to watch. Can’t wait.

  • Debbie

    This will make a fun read. No pressure.

  • Eric Ode

    Yikes! Challenging words, both of ‘em! Have fun, you two.

  • Amy LV

    Animals using their special abilities in both poems! Again, the subconscious meeting of minds! I got a giggle from these critter poems…thank you!

  • Dom D

    Both of these are hilarious! Deciding will be tough… I think I’ll come back to it later, after another read or two! Well done.

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Two very good entries. Thanks for the giggles – it’s gonna be a nailbiter!

  • Greg Pincus

    These are funny and funnier, in no particular order. That’s just a statement of fact. Again… great for reading, horrible for having to vote!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Thank you Greg!

  • Hannah Ruth Wilde

    Who shall be on the nether end
    of this battle of word and wit?
    The win is sure to be by a margin
    unless voters o’ lies are it.

  • Donna Martin

    Oh my goodness! These are both fabulous! I’m not sure who I would vote for right now…will probably have to think a bit and come back to it…

  • Kristy Dempsey

    What a pair of poems! You guys are awesome. I am most definitely going to have to come back several times before I can decide on my vote. Great job!

  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    Great poems…good imagery and both fun to read aloud. Nice work!

  • Julie Larios

    Great poems from both of you!! Kids would love both of them.

  • Melinda Harvey

    You two are too talented….tough choice!

  • Donna Smith

    …which to pick, which to pick…

  • Allan Wolf

    This one was pretty much a toss up for me. Tough call.

  • Kathryn Apel

    Clever, witty rhymers are out to play!

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Holy cow! What a fantastic bunch of comments! Muchos thankage. Go go power poetry!

  • Stephen W Cahill

    And could anyone tell me how to upload my avatar here? That space invader really doesn’t do me justice!! :-)

    • Ed DeCaria

      It should recognize registered WordPress or Gravitar images. Not 100% sure, though.

      I can open up registration for this site specifically if people are interested. I thought it might be more of a hassle, though. Perhaps for the long term. If EVERYONE registered, I could add more cool features, though, which currently only work for resistered users. Nah, too much to handle this year. For now, just sign up for Gravitar if you want to show your face!

      • Stephen W Cahill

        Gravitar? Never heard of it – so it must be good! I’m on the case, thanks for the tip Ed.

  • Tiffany Strelitz Haber

    Hi guys,

    I second Stephen! What a fantastic bunch of comments! So fun!! I love that it’s such a close race!


  • Tiffany Strelitz Haber

    Apparently I can not get in enough exclamation points!! :-D

  • Stephanie Farrow

    This is one of those match-ups where it’s just not fair to have to choose only one. May we vote twice, Ed?

    • Ed DeCaria

      If you can magically conjure a new IP address and clear your cookies between votes, then sure, go for it! -Ed

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Stephanie I think I love you!

  • Tiffany Strelitz Haber

    Hey, Stephanie, I love you too!! :-D

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Adoration is always welcome :)

  • Katya

    This was such a hard call… two good poems using difficult words.

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Ed I think do not love you – anymore! Putting anyone up against Tiffany is, as my 4 year old would say, just not fair!

    • Tiffany Strelitz Haber

      lolololol- you’re insane! it’s been a dead tie the entire time!! perhaps there’s a future project in the works involving an athletically inclined skunk, and his kooky (and “backlit”) friend the reindeer!

      • Stephen W Cahill

        Insane? Moi? I’ve been called far worse. Hmm this project you suggest, it’s got legs, animal ones… I’m thinking a children’s animal encyclopedia featuring creatures with problematic bottoms. Tigers with roaring rears. Hyenas with howling heinies, etc. Unless of course this has been done before?!

        • Tiffany Strelitz

          Instant best seller!! :-D “roaring rears” = lolololol!
          Ps- Congrats!!!!! Go all the way, baby!

          • Stephen W Cahill

            Thanks a million Tiffany! xx

          • Stephen W Cahill

            Ha ha, Thanks a million Tiffany. You’re a star! x

  • Corey Schwartz

    It’s like pitting Agassi against Sampras in an early match. These two both belong in the finals!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Corey,I’ve printed your comment. I’ve laminated it. And I’m off out know to Frames R Us! Thank you!

  • Kenn Nesbitt

    Wow! That was close! Good job, both of you!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Thanks Ken – you big hunk!

  • Kathryn Apel

    Wow. So close to the finish!!!! What a contest. (Can you breathe yet?)

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Hard luck Tiffany. It was a draw really with 50% each. A big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us. And for all the kind comments.

  • Allan Wolf

    Not to worry, Tiffany. Your consolation prize is a dream date with Kenn “Hunk” Nesbitt. And Stephen’s picking up the bill.

    That’s what you call a SQUEAKER folks! Well done.

  • Darren Sardelli

    Both poems are amazing!!!! This one was a coin toss.

  • Julie Larios

    Have to say that your nether-poem has been one of my favorites of the whole tournament, Tiffany – hard to see such a great poem go down!