ROUND ONE: 2-chapped vs. 15-misdemeanor

[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:

I Ran for the Chapstick
by Kenn Nesbitt

I ran for the Chapstick mom keeps in her purse.
My lips were so chapped that they couldn’t feel worse!
I dug through her handbag and pulled it out quickly,
then sighed in relief as I smeared it on thickly.
I felt so much better I almost rejoiced.
My painful, dry lips were now mended and moist.
My dad burst out laughing. My mom looked amused.
Her Chapstick was lost. That was lipstick I’d used.


A Hot Dog Wiener Misdemeanor
by Penny Klostermann

I’ve been served a misdemeanor
Cuz my sister’s room is cleaner.
I can’t help her nose is keener…
I didn’t smell that hot dog wiener.
So…I tossed that hot dog wiener
‘Cross the hall where smell is keener.
I’m smiling now—my room is cleaner,
And sister has the misdemeanor.



2-chapped vs. 15-misdemeanor: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 2-chapped (Kenn Nesbitt) (84%, 103 Votes)
  • 15-misdemeanor (Penny Klostermann) (16%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 122

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  • Linda Baie

    Ed, you are amazing! This has to have taken so much time. I hope you’re having a terrific time, because–this is amazing! Thank you for your creativity and your work.

  • Allan Wolf

    Chapped? Chapped? Come on Ken. That one’s easy! I hope I get a really HARD word . . . like . . . “Nesbitt.”

    • Ed DeCaria

      Oh, Allan. If you only knew what I knew …

    • Kenn Nesbitt

      Allan, yeah, I was hoping for a some double-dactylic monstrosity of a word instead of “chapped,” but I’ll write with whatever I’m given. Did you notice how cleverly I worked ‘”chapped,” but’ into that last sentence? ;-)

  • Kathryn Apel

    Hahahah. Now we’re all watching to see what Allan gets!

  • Melissa K.

    Ed, a question! What about FORMS of the word? What if my word is “chapped” and I want to write “Chapping” – or if my word is “Intangible” and I want to write “Intangibly”??? What degree of variance may be acceptable? Some? NONE???


    • Ed DeCaria

      NONE. From the Official Rules: “The assigned word must be used exactly as written — the poet cannot change the tense or form of the word.”

      While I wish it could be more flexible, allowing zero variation is the only way to protect the integrity of the assigned seed in some cases.

      Hope that helps!


  • Joanna

    Yay. Was on another continent, just flew back last night and discovered my word was up, so have around 4 hours now jet-lagged at work, to come up with something, which I will!!

    Thanks for this amazing organization, Ed!

    • Nessa

      You can do it! I forgot about the competition because my daughter had the stomach flu. When I remembered, I looked at my word and there was only an hour left! But I got it done and you will too!

  • Nessa

    Oooh! This was a difficult decision. I loved both poems!

  • Pam

    This was a hard one to judge! I laughed out loud after reading “It was lipstick…” Great job, Penny and Ken!

  • Penny Klostermann

    Kenn, Your poem was great! I was expecting as much since I check out your books from the library:-) I am a fan of your website, as well. I have suggested your site to my teacher pals, too. So even though I knew you would be the fiercest of competitors, I am thrilled to tell folks I was matched against Kenn Nesbitt!!

    • Joy Acey

      I’m rooting for the underdogs today. Keep writing.

  • Linda Baie

    This was a difficult choice. Both are hilarious & would be funny, funny to kids!

  • Joy Acey

    Delightful poems. I enjoyed reading these. and no Ken, I hadn’t noticed the chapped, but on my first reading. Thank you for pointing it out.
    Thanks for a good laugh, as always.
    Good work poets. Kid will love these poems.

  • Diane R. Chen

    I am so loving this round. Kenn, you came through with a twist like I always expect. Both were fun and I’ll be sharing these with my students to see who else is twisted.

    • Ed DeCaria

      Thanks for joining the madness, Diane! You are welcome back anytime! :)