ROUND THREE: 3-mooch vs. 15-extrinsic

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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.
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    • Classrooms should submit one vote as a class.
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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:

Couch Hopper*
By Quinette Cook

Mooch: it’s that funny word –
what some kids call me on the days
I actually make it to school and borrow
toothpaste, or makeup, or loose change from
my best friend’s purse when she’s not looking.
I take it without ever intending to return it,
but she never says anything, like I should
give it back or repay her. Instead, she
warns me not to beg, to steal, or be out on
the streets late at night. Alone. Sometimes,
we skulk in the house and sneak past her dad
as he snores in front of the TV and she
lets me crash on the sofa or her bedroom
floor as long as I don’t loiter or wander about
the house. But when she’s not at school that’s
when I get called a “homeless youth.”

*Definition Poem


By Dave Crawley

“Today,” said my teacher, “let’s try to select
pairs that compare, or in some way, connect.
Let’s think about things that are coupled, or linked.
In short, they must each be intrinsically synched.”

“Like muscles and bones?” “Cell towers and phones?”
“What if you matched up a pine tree with cones?”
My teacher kept nodding. Our answers were grand
(at least, till the moment I held up my hand).

“Teachers and oysters!” I cried. “On a plate!”
She laughed, “They’re extrinsic. They do not relate.”
My answer, unfettered, came forth in a rush
(with words that would make a teacher’s pet blush).

“Oysters make pearls,” I said. “Teachers do, too.
We glow, thanks to bright pearls of wisdom from you.”
My classmates were gagging, but what can I say?
My connection has earned me an “A” for the day.


3-mooch vs. 15-extrinsic: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 3-mooch (Quinette Cook) (32%, 112 Votes)
  • 15-extrinsic (Dave Crawley) (68%, 241 Votes)

Total Voters: 353

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  • Laura Shovan

    Great job, both of you! Quinette, I love the child’s voice in your poem. Dave — humor *and* heart in one poem. Good luck to you both.

  • Dave Crawley

    Beautiful poem, Quinette…and very sensitive to the needs of those who are all too often forgotten.

  • Angela Saylor

    Nice humor. Cleverly put, Dave.

  • Renee LaTulippe (@ReneeMLaTulippe)

    Quinette, that’s just lovely. As Laura said, the child’s voice comes through loud and clear. And clever form too, with the definition! Dave gets a big AWWW from this former teacher. :)

  • Carrie Finison

    There are a lot of heart vs. humor matchups this round. This was a tough one for me. Quinette, you really tugged at my heart with that poem. Dave, yours was clever and made me smile.

  • Carrie Finison

    I’m also really surprised this one isn’t closer.

  • Janet F.

    This is a VERY difficult choice. Two teachers. One in a school, in charge and one in school who helps…..kindness personified. I want both to win this one!!

  • laurasalas

    OK, I think next year we need to categorize the poems more. It’s killing me to constantly try to decide which I value more, quiet power or clever humor!

  • Buffy Silverman

    Did not expect Couch Hopper to take the turn it did–very powerful. And love the language and laughter of Connections.

  • David LaRochelle

    Two strong poems. I loved the unique verse form, Quinette. Such a different tone than so many of the other poems.
    Excellent humor, Dave.
    My hat is off to both of you.

  • Penny Klostermann

    I loved both of these. Couch Hopper touched me, and like, Buffy,I did not expect the turn-nicely done. Connections exemplifies the teacher’s pet who always knows just what to say!

  • Quinette Cook

    Thank you all for the kind words. The word MOOCH had so many funny connotations, but I decided to try something different this round. Did you know the definition of COUCH HOPPER, according to the Urban Dictionary is: a mooch?

    David, your poem is funny, clever and well executed. But it ain’t over yet! (At least I hope not.)

  • Damon Dean

    Quinette, I agree with others…the turn at the end clinched me. My heart stilled.
    David, had to laugh, what an A+ kid!

  • Allan Wolf

    I was waiting for the “pearls before swine” which thankfully never came. Good show!

  • Quinette Cook

    I’m closing in on you, David. Only 108 votes to go.

  • tanita

    Wow – two school poems, two definition poems – but certainly only one teacher’s pet! Great job, both.

  • Robyn Hood Black

    Terrific poems. Dave – very clever. Quinette – love the voice and the originality of yours.

  • Alvaro

    This is such a great match up!!!!

  • Dave Crawley

    Quinette, it ain’t over till the…where is that fat lady, anyway?

  • Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

    Quinette – your poem is making me think about some students I’ve worked with lately. So true…and your voice is right there, punching us in the gut. Dave – that ending was great….”We glow, thanks to bright pearls of wisdom from you.” Hilarious.

  • Marileta Robinson

    I chuckled at Dave’s poem, but Quinette, your poem is a whole novel in 16 lines.

  • Quinette Cook

    Congrats, David. Your poem was excellent – on so many levels. (And to think I was only a few points away from beating you.)
    I guess you were just too “mooch” competition for me. (I couldn’t resist.)
    Now go kick some apples!

  • Quinette Cook

    And thank-Q! everyone for all of the thoughtful comments. What a community. :)

  • Renee LaTulippe (@ReneeMLaTulippe)

    Quinette, I love your poem, as I said before. You ran a great race! Congrats to Mr. Crawley on advancing to the Elite Eight with another delightful poem!

  • Mary Lee

    Quinette, I feel the same way about this community! Congratulations on all of your poems…now, let’s you and I put our feet up on the couch and watch the rest of the contest — all of the fun and none of the stress!

    Don’t disappoint us, Mr. Crawley — keep writing great poems!!

  • Dave Crawley

    Thanks, Quinette. I think the second best thing abut this tournament is that we all write poems we would not have written otherwise. The best thing is meeting fellow poets like you.