ROUND THREE: 16-professorial vs. 13-desiccant

r3 16-professorial vs. 13-desiccant

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:

Measure by Measure
by Miranda Paul

For Kathryn

A butterfly might measure days in miles left to go.
A firefly may mark the nights with each attractive glow.

An angry household counts a week in slams upon the door.
A grieving mother loses months remembering before.

A scholar weighs her worth in professorial degrees.
A businessman will add up rising interest rates and fees.

The calendar may calculate our lives in months and years,
But I, my friends, will tally all the good times and the tears.

And when my sun is setting, when wind cools off the air,
My waterline upon the shore will swear. . .
I was there.
I was there.
I was there.


Gel Silica
by J. J. Close

My mom said not to eat it, but I ate it anyway.
That little gel-filled packet that you’re supposed to throw away.
She says it’s used as desiccant to keep the dried fruit dry,
And that if I ingested it, I’d likely lose an eye.
She says that I’ll grow lumps and bumps across my shiny skin,
A zit will sprout upon my snout, a beard upon my chin.
Two lips will grow out of my toes, a nose out of my rear,
And all at once, into the air, my hair will disappear!
So “I” told her, I’d much prefer, my fruit be served as wet,
and eating up that gel packet’s not something I’ll regret.
For now that I have eaten it, the fruit will thrive and grow;
who cares if I lose all my hair, grow lips upon my toe,
or have to smell my underwear each second of the day,
and beards are awesome, lumps are fine, and zits will go away!
But don’t tell her, I know for sure her lies are tongue in cheek,
For I ate four of them before, and that was just last week!


Public Vote (16-professorial vs. 13-desiccant)
Final Results:
16-professorial vs. 13-desiccant

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
16-professorial vs. 13-desiccant
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
16-professorial vs. 13-desiccant

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  • Ryan Stockton

    I voted, but I hate myself for it. Thanks a lot you two.

  • Mother Streusel

    Okay…this is super tough. I’m not kidding. I have incredible depth and beauty vs. a poem that made me laugh by just reading the title and the first line. Normally I just vote my instantaneous gut reaction, but with this one I think I’ll come back and vote after I’ve let them sink in a bit. Too hard to decide.

  • Quinette Cook

    These are incredible. They evoke two very different emotions. Well done.

  • Allan Wolf

    This is one of those moments that I must remind everyone: There are no bad poets; there are only bad judges! This match-up is painful to quantify with a yea or a nay!

  • Darren Sardelli

    I agree Allan. Both poems are winners in my book. This is tough.

  • Michele Krueger

    O it is getter harder to choose the winner with each match I read. The craftsmanship each poet is showcasing is so impressive! thanks ,

  • Debra Shumaker

    I’m with Mother Streusel. Two completely different poems – I love the emotion and sentiment in Miranda’s but the humor in J.J.’s is top notch. I really cannot decide.

  • Jackie Wellington

    Miranda, I love the beauty of this poem. The imagery and the feelings it evoked in me was amazing. Your partner wrote a very good poem. It was kind of Shel-Silversteinic”. Two different poems, but one great match up. Kudos :D

  • Miranda Paul

    When I submitted last night, I checked JJ’s word and KNEW I’d be up against a silica gel poem. But it’s even more hilarious than I imagined! And great internal rhyme. Well played, JJ, well played.

    • Josh Close

      Haha, good call. It was either that or a diaper poem. I’d written one of each… decided to go against the potty humor. ;)

  • Elizabeth McBride

    What a tremendous match! Miranda, that was stunningly and lastingly beautiful! And J.J. – awesome poem and subject, as well as execution! You each brought your piece to a perfect close. What an incredible job! Thank you!

  • Buffy Silverman

    Excellent poems, you two! Wonderful imagery and emotions, Miranda. And J.J., your poems always bring a chuckle!

  • Samuel Kent

    This is getting harder and harder to choose. For what it’s worth, I like you both. I think I have to come back to this one.

  • Mother Streusel

    I almost forgot to vote!!! I just did it!!!

  • Ldegman

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

  • Mother Streusel

    Yay J.J. you made it to the Elite Eight!!!! So happy you made your goal with your funny poem. Miranda, your poetry is exceptionally beautiful and thoughtful.

  • Damon Dean

    Such different tones, but such wonderful words! This had to be a tough vote for those who voted. (Alas I had a long Friday.) Miranda, those last words are deeply calming. This is a treasure.
    JJ, you keep bringing on the fun right to the edge! Hilarious kid-view insights in so much of your work. Loving it.