ROUND THREE: 14-insubordinate vs. 15-pseudonymous

r3 14-insubordinate vs. 15-pseudonymous

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 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.
  • You can only vote once from a given IP address.
    • Classrooms should submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.

Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word.
  • Technical elements: meter, rhyme, form, shape, and other poetic standards.
  • Creativity: wordplay, imagery, unusual approach, etc.
  • Subtle elements that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Your overall response: emotional reaction such as admiration, tears, laughter, terror, or some indefinable feeling.

Here are the poems:

Bad Bus Behavior
by Darren Sardelli

You’re rude and insubordinate!
This nonsense needs to stop!
Your bus was just pulled over
by an angry, irate cop!

He saw you squirting ketchup
on the windows, doors, and seats,
then caught you spitting spitballs
at civilians on the streets!

I heard you used a pogo stick
to set off the alarm!
You stuck your gum in Brenda’s hair
and sneezed on Adam’s arm!

These acts are inexcusable!
There’s no more to discuss!
You’re relieved of your position
as the driver of the bus!


The Amoeba Gang
by B.J. Lee

Albert the amoeba, a microscopic thief
had stolen from the hydra clan and now had come to grief.
The Unicellular Police were hot on Albert’s trail.
His pseudo-feet moved oh-so-slow. Would he be thrown in jail?
He tried to hang with slime molds, but they swam away from him.
The rotifers rejected him; his prospects now looked grim.
But suddenly he had a thought, a bright, pseudonymous plot—
a perfect way to slip and slide from this tight, ominous spot.
He fissioned once. He fissioned twice, and quick as one-two-three,
Al and Hal and Sal and Cal, all said, “It wasn’t me.”


Public Vote (14-insubordinate vs. 15-pseudonymous)
Final Results:
14-insubordinate vs. 15-pseudonymous

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
14-insubordinate vs. 15-pseudonymous
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
14-insubordinate vs. 15-pseudonymous

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  • Jean Daigneau

    Wow. These were really great! Can we vote for BOTH poems? I’m having an awfully hard time. Loved them both!

    • BJ Lee

      Thanks Jean! I enjoyed Darren’s poem very much, myself.

  • Mother Streusel

    OH MY GOSH….Wow. Two super clever and funny poems. Amoeba (I may be) in poetry heaven. My father-in-law is a bus driver and was quite the prankster in his youth. I am sending my mother-in-law a link to this stat! (She does all the internetting for both of them.)

    • BJ Lee

      Thanks Mother Streusel.

  • Quinette Cook

    I agree with Jean. I suppose we could split our vote. ;)

  • Malcolm Deeley

    Two clever and fun poems, but I’ve got to go with “The Amoeba Gang” for its sheer wild originality. Who knew that things were so intense in the microscopic world? And as a getaway tactic, fission is as unique as it gets.

    • BJ Lee

      Thanks Mal!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Ha! “He fissioned once…” – such an inventive poem, B.J.! This is a tough match-up with kid-pleasing Darren. Good luck to you both!

    • BJ Lee

      Thanks Renee! You spurred me on to greater creativity with your comment!

  • Debra Shumaker

    WOW! Both deserve to go on. What difficult words and you both made it seem seamless. This was a tough vote. Good luck to the both of you.

    • BJ Lee

      Thank you, Debra. I was quite disheartened when I received the word, but then…some possibilities did come to me.

  • Ldegman

    I didn’t see it coming, Darren – great job!

    • Darren Sardelli

      Thank you. I love coming up with surprise endings. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Elizabeth McBride

    AMAZING!!!! You both had extraordinary poems! What perfect rhyme and meter and wonderful, surprise endings! I need a clone! I need to vote for both of you!

  • Buffy Silverman

    Albert the amoeba stole my heart with his fissioning tricks–terrific, B.J.! And Darren, kids will enjoy seeing who has caused the trouble in your poem. I enjoyed both of these!

    • BJ Lee

      Thanks Buffy. Once I got the amoeba idea, I ran with it.

  • Deb Sieber

    This is so hard!
    What will I do?
    I’m not allowed
    To vote for two!

    • BJ Lee

      Glad to see you voting, Deb!

  • Ed DeCaria

    I am VERY curious (maybe this weekend, not while the vote is going on) to hear the factors that went into people’s final vote on this one. What a matchup!

    • BJ Lee

      The public vote was a nail-biter to be sure!

  • Michele Krueger

    Whoa, good work, both of you! Great attention to detail and humor!

  • Darren Sardelli

    When I first read B.J.’s poem, I knew this was going to be a close race. I’m blown away by the poem she wrote. This feels like a Final 4 match up than a third round match up. I love the competition! Great job B.J.

    • BJ Lee

      Thanks Darren. When I read your poem, I was like, “Whoa! A kid-pleaser for sure!” and I loved your marvelous ending!

  • Bonnie Bailey

    These are awesome!

  • Malcolm Deeley

    Wow, the voting is so close! If it ends in a tie, do Darren’s renegade bus driver and BJ’s Albert the Amoeba meet on the dusty street of a western town for a shootout? (I would pay serious money to see that…)

    • Ed DeCaria

      That would be a much better tiebreaker than just adding an extra hour of voting, as is the current plan.

    • Barb Meyer Heersink

      That’s how we do it here in Monte Vista Colorado…

      • BJ Lee


    • BJ Lee


  • Darren Sardelli

    Congrats B.J.
    That was a pretty intense match up. I with you the best of luck in the rest of the competition. I’m looking forward to reading more of your wonderful poetry.

    • Darren Sardelli

      Wish you

    • BJ Lee

      Thank you, Darren. I could just not believe the voting in the public round – it was crazy! You’re ahead. I’m ahead, We’re tied and on and on for hours and hours. It was a real nail-biter to be sure!

  • Mother Streusel

    Congratulations BJ!!! You brought an excellent poem to this matchup and the votes show it!!! I loved your poem! Darren, I loved your poem as well, especially since it reminded me of a favorite relative. Thanks for writing such an awesome poem. I think it is a new favorite of mine.

    • BJ Lee

      Thanks Mother Streusel!

  • BJ Lee

    congratulations on such an exciting matchup, Darren! Your poem was amazing!

  • Ldegman

    Congrats, B.J. – good luck in the next round!

    • BJ Lee

      Thanks Lori! Your match was very close too and I loved your poem!

  • Damon Dean

    Go BJ! Great match-up. As a young scientist I studied paramecium, amobae, euglenas. This is a treasure of a poem!

    Darren, I was a school bus driver for many years–this was hilarious! Loved it.

    • BJ Lee

      Thank you, Damon. Once I got the single-cell organism idea, everything else went on the back-burner.