ROUND TWO: 16-ephemeral vs. 8-rancid

[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 Peter Patrick Langella

Vocab question five reads: “ephemeral.”
That’s one of those arteries, right?
The one in the thigh?

All my brain can think of is a numeral – 
my GPA and all its might…
It’s about to die!

Oh well. 
Nothing lasts forever.


Compost Recipe
by Michele Krueger

Bring me your rotted,
your moldy and spored,
throw in your spotted,
your rinds and your cores;
I’ll sun-bake a soufflé
of rancid fruit spoils,
and serve up a heaping
of rich garden soil.



16-ephemeral vs. 8-rancid: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 16-ephemeral (Peter Patrick Langella) (51%, 121 Votes)
  • 8-rancid (Michele Krueger) (49%, 115 Votes)

Total Voters: 235

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GET OUT THE VOTE. The average pairing in Round 1 generated 154 votes. For Round 2, our goal is to DOUBLE the average vote total for all matchups compared to Round 1 … that’s 300+ votes! Use the share buttons below and mention the madness wherever you go so that these poems reach more kids!

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  • Pam

    Ephemeral? Are you kidding me? Either Ed likes you a lot or he’s trying to get rid of you, Peter! I’ve looked for sentences using this word. So I’ll be anxious to see how you use it Peter. Michelle, your word would be difficult for me to flesh out. So I’m glad I only have to read how rancid will be used. Best to both of you. I’m eager about this match up.

  • Ed DeCaria

    C’mon, ephemeral is a great word. Look at the definition: “lasting only one day”

    Kids should learn and love this word!

  • Peter

    Haha. Depending on how the votes go, my life in the competition might only last for one more day!

  • Michele Krueger

    Peter, I feel the same way! My word rancid made my stomach lurch! Good luck!

  • Kristy Dempsey

    Good gravy. Ephemeral? Peter, I’m sending you happy poetry-ing thoughts!

    • Susan Taylor Brown

      What about me, Kristy? You didn’t send ME any poetic thoughts for using “translucent”. I see which way the wind blows in from Brazil.

      • Kristy Dempsey

        Ha! It’s because this MMPoetry is so dizzying, I can’t keep up! No matter, I KNOW you are fully capable of wowing me with poetry using the word translucent. Can’t wait to see what you came up with!

        • Susan Taylor Brown

          MMPoetry IS dizzying indeed. But so much fun. Not sure if I will wow anyone. Probably shock them instead. Looking forward to seeing what wonderfulness you came up with for rewind.

  • Julie Larios

    Ouch, for both of those words. Should be an interesting match-up!

  • Donna Smith

    I don’t think I’ve ever had occasion to use ephemeral…good luck on that one. But rancid – just the disgustingness of it makes it pleasant for kids.
    Post ‘em, post ‘em, post ‘em! (everybody chant!)

  • Greg Pincus

    You two are very, very clever wordsmiths. Verrrrrry clever!

  • Catherine Johnson

    These are great, well done!

  • Patricia Nozell

    Great words & wonderful poems built from both!

  • Lynne Wagner

    Only a garden lady with greenest thumbs could turn rancid to regenerative! LOVE the poem Michele!

  • Tabatha

    Those are both excellent!! Well done.

  • Jesse

    Peter…psychoanalysis and now this! Bravo!

  • dieuwke

    Now that is magic! From rancid to re-usable! love it Michele!

  • Robyn Hood Black

    These are both GREAT! Kudos to both of you.

  • Amy LV

    Peter – I know that test-feeling, and you brought it right back here. Michele – way to make a bouncy teaching rhyme from a not-so-nice word…I will think of you as we plant this year!

  • tanita

    Wow. Both hard, both well done. Just had to delurk to congratulate you both!

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    One of the upshots of this contest is going to be a volume of “definition poems” which successfully define a whole bunch of silver-dollar SAT words for kids! Really great job, both!

  • Pam

    This was great! Both words were creatively done! Kudos!

  • Lynne Wagner

    Where’s the poll, I want to vote! Can’t find the buttons anywhere on this page.

  • Michele Krueger

    Try refreshing the page.

  • Stephen W Cahill

    I enjoyed these. Two really lovely poems. Have no idea who to pick. E knee me knee my knee..

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Peter, Are the guy from VCFA who read that great piece about an ice hockey game last residency?

    • Peter

      That would be me. I remember talking to you about the zydeco moon. That was great!

      • Stephanie Farrow

        Thanks! Still haven’t forgotten your piece. I’d always thought that hockey was a game for over-testosteronated boys with sticks. The only hockey I’d ever seen was during the last Olympics. Not here in NM. Those games and your story taught me different! (And your poetry’s no slouch either:))

      • Michele Krueger

        Congrats, Peter. Did you save the big ammo for the last half hour?

  • Mary Lee

    The worms in my vermi-composting bin wish they could vote for “rancid”!!!

    • Allan Wolf

      OOOOoooooo Mary Lee! Do you vermi-compost? I’m a vermi-composter too! Worms have little poet souls you know?

  • Michele Krueger

    I am counting on them!

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Yikes! Another knuckle-biter. These match-ups are as stressful for the readers as for the poets. Almost.

  • Laurel


  • Michele Krueger

    In general,
    Ed’s game was ephemeral,
    barely time
    for poetic greetings…

    Good luck Sweet Sixteen!

  • Julie Larios

    Those who hard words for both poets. Congratulations, Peter! I’m headed over to Stephanie match-up now to say the same(and that VCFA = World Domination!)

    • Stephanie Farrow

      Right on about VCFA, Julie! Plus, you should know that my motto is World Peace through Poetry.

  • Julie Larios

    Oops – that should be “those were hard words” and “Stephanie’s” – My next book is a typo collection.