REGIONAL SEMIFINALS: 16-colonize vs. 5-churn

[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:

Colonization Remix
by Peter Patrick Langella

I fall asleep and fantasize
of nations set to colonize

They’ll cross the sea to settle down
they’ll plant their flags into the ground

But in my dreams there are no tears
there is no fight, there are no fears

Vikings share and work with others
Romans treat all men as brothers

The Greeks provide for sick and poor
Conquistadors don’t go to war

The British never tax the tea
All native peoples will stay free

When I wake up I smile wide
and look ahead with joy and pride

We’ve messed up big-time in the past
but we can make a world that lasts


“If you can’t take the heat…”
by Kathy Ellen Davis

At the 25th annual Texas State spelling bee,
little Pat Butter was on quite a roll.
He correctly spelled spreadable, salted and soften,
but the pressure was finally taking its toll.

his stomach started to churn,
as he patiently waited his turn,
and the temperature rose ever higher.

It soon got unbearably hot,
and he melted, right there on the spot,
when they told him his next word was “friar”



16-colonize vs. 5-churn: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 16-colonize (Peter Patrick Langella) (63%, 118 Votes)
  • 5-churn (Kathy Ellen Davis) (37%, 68 Votes)

Total Voters: 186

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GET OUT THE VOTE. The average pairing in Round 1 generated 154 votes. The average pairing in Round 2 generated 178 votes. Use the share buttons below and mention the madness wherever you go so that these poems reach more kids! And remember, encourage voting on EVERY MATCHUP, not just this one!

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  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    These could go really well with each other….colonizing and churning….excited to be matched against you, Peter! I really liked your past two poems.

  • Peter

    Should be fun. Happy writing!

  • Debbie L.

    Great job poets!

  • Kathryn Apel

    Oh these are both great! Well done Kathy Ellen and Peter. A pleasure to read – but not-so to vote. :)

  • Mary Lee

    Your puns had me groaning all the way through! Pat Butter…on a roll with spreadable, salted, and soften…the churning…and what a punchline with FRIAR!! HA!!

    • Kathy Ellen Davis

      Thanks Mary Lee! I had so many ideas and at started writing up my churn poem four different ways before going back to butter. It was fun to think of things related to butter and what butter would be the most afraid of! Glad I had you groaning :)

  • Patricia Nozell

    History v humour, a hard one to choose. Loved the dream of a world better colonised & the puns that churned through the spelling bee. Oh, how to choose…

  • Amy LV

    Sigh. And Ha! I can imagine Peter’s poem as central in a social studies discussion and Kathy’s poem in a whole lesson on word play. So much to appreciate, and the characters shine through…

  • Allan Wolf

    Kathy, you deserve a pat on the back!

  • Allan Wolf

    Peter Patrick Langella for president! See my face? I’m serious. What we need is a new political party–The Poeticratic Party. Since poets have no money, we can fund it entirely through Super PACs (Poetry Action Committees). Peter you’ve been tapped! The people are calling. We need a leader. Your’re IT buddy. Think of the alliterative bumper-stickers: Pick Peter Patrick for Poetry President.

    • Peter

      Can I hire you as my manager?

    • Stephanie Farrow

      Can we make up one with my motto too?: World Peace through Poetry.

  • Hannah Ruth Wilde

    I am all for the Poeticratic Party! Contenders: Pat Butter on quite a roll – pure magic. As for Peter’s poem, I saved it to share with students in history class. Spot on.

  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    Congrats, Peter! Nice work with colonize and good luck in the Elite Eight! I look forward to seeing your next poem!

    And Ed, thank you again for this awesome competition! I have to let you know that so many people I know are checking and voting and say they are happy to be able to read such great poetry every day! It has even inspired some of them to write their own poems. What a good idea and what great fun! Can’t wait for the madness next year!