ROUND THREE: 3-poach vs. 15-heuristic


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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’d like.
  • Mark the poem you like best by clicking the circle next to its name.
  • Press the “Vote” button to record your vote.
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  • In the Public Vote, anyone may vote, but only one vote is allowed per IP address.
  • In the Classroom Vote, you must be registered and logged in to vote.
    • Official voting classrooms should read and discuss each poem and then submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.
  • In the Authlete Vote, you must be a 2015 authlete and logged in to vote.

Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word, given its level of difficulty.
  • Whether or not the poem adheres to the poem requirements for the contest.
  • Precision: structure, meter, rhyme, syntax, etc.
  • Personality: creative imagery, language, metaphor, etc.
  • Power: makes you laugh, cry, want, sigh, think, dream, wince, scream, etc.
  • Plus One: it is a poem you feel drawn to share with another person for whatever reason.

Apply your own criteria as well! For more on the above concepts, check out POEMETRICS™.

Here are the poems:


3-poach what does it mean?
To Poach or Not to Poach: A Shakespearean Sonnet
By Helen Kemp Zax

To poach or not to poach, that is the question:
While simmering eggs in water is nutritious
And poaching versus frying aids digestion—
Fresh eggs cooked up in butter? Darn delicious.

Yet fried eggs with their crackly, crispy fringes
Seep salty, savory sweetness into crannies
Of muffins to create browned-butter binges
That put those extra pounds on people’s fannies.

Eggs scrambled, hard-boiled, baked, flipped over-easy
May fill a billion others with temptation,
But mixed with all the fixin’s—cheddar cheesy—
For me, there’s only one true combination:

’Cause with a smothered hamlet, there is nothin’
As good as a poached egg on a McMuffin.



15-heuristic what does it mean?
Life Lessons from The Three Little Pigs
By Carissa Mina

We’ve all heard the story The Three Little Pigs,
the ones who aspired to build their own digs.
Those piggies tried straw, and those piggies tried sticks.
Those piggies tried building their houses with bricks.
The wolf huffed and puffed, and he blew with such force
the sticks and the straw all went flying, of course.
The bricks they stood strong through that crazy ordeal,
and that saved the pigs from becoming a meal.

Now some say those piggies were horribly thick
to try and build houses with straw and with stick.
But I disagree, and, in fact, to be fairer,
those piggies were learning through trial and error.
So there is no need to make fun or reproach
those piggies just took a heuristic approach.

Besides, how many pigs do you know that can build a house?


Public Vote (3-poach vs. 15-heuristic)
Final Results:
3-poach vs. 15-heuristic

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
3-poach vs. 15-heuristic
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
3-poach vs. 15-heuristic

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  • Dave Crawley

    I love these two equally…but voted anyway. Hilariously ingenious!

    • Helen Kemp Zax

      Thanks! That’s how it should be!

  • rjschechter

    Two very strong poems! Hard choice.

    • Helen Kemp Zax


    • RJ Clarken

      Very hard choice! Wow!

  • Darren Sardelli

    Great job to the both of you. I had fun reading your poems. Now I have to decide…

  • Rebekah Hoeft

    Helen, I love “browned-butter binges” and the crannies/fannies rhyme! Also, now need a burger with a fried egg on it–my personal favorite use of an egg!.

    Carissa, such a great take on this story…I’ve read multiple versions and do not remember any with the lesson this one teaches with humor!

    • Helen Kemp Zax

      I will have to try that dish, Rebekah. I have the flu right now, so it may be a while before beef tempts me!

      • Rebekah Hoeft

        Ugh. I am sorry to hear that!

  • Debra Shumaker

    What fun. Good job, both of you!

    • Helen Kemp Zax


  • Helen Kemp Zax

    Carissa, I had planned to use the “reproach”/”approach” rhyme as well this time. Too funny!

    • Carissa Mina

      That is funny! I noticed a lot of poems are alike either in subject or words used. There was even one that mentioned the three little pigs! I guess good poets think alike

      • Helen Kemp Zax

        To you, too! It’s great having my poem compete with one I really admire!

  • Buffy Silverman

    Fun riff on to be or not to be, Helen! And Carissa, I love the way you used heuristic to show a different view of those pigs!

  • Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    Helen- does a Shakespearean sonnet get any better? EGGcellent! (I’m not really the first one here to dish up that pun, am I?)
    Carissa- this has got to be a classroom favorite! So fun and kid-friendly. Well done.

    • Carissa Mina

      Thank you! You are all so kind!!!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Helen, I thoroughly appreciated your unique subject matter and your take on this soliloquy – especially because you worked “hamlet” in there!

    Carissa – Great life lessons from pigs — but my favorite part is your final question, tacked on there. Very funny!

    • Helen Kemp Zax

      Thank you all.

  • deborahhwilliams

    Wow, these are both so well done! Ham, eggs–can’t we have both?

  • Tee

    These are brilliant!

  • lillpluta

    Shakespeare meets breakfast vs. clever take on three little pigs. Tough choice.Both well done.

  • Randi Sonenshine

    Helen, funny poem with a great concept…very Sh”egg”speare! Carissa, you have a lively take on a classic story.

  • Phillip Van Wagoner

    Exceptionally good use of your word, Carissa!

  • lillpluta

    Congratulations, Carissa!

  • Helen Kemp Zax

    Congratulations, Carissa! I loved your poem and am very happy you will be moving on to the next round.

  • Ed DeCaria

    Who says the sonnet is dead? I thought Helen’s was great. And Carissa, you continue to impress. Thank you both, and Carissa — Congrats on reaching Round Four!

  • Carissa Mina

    Thank you to everyone! Especially to Helen, who wrote an amazing poem and who I spires me so!!! I am so excited!!

  • Rebekah Hoeft

    Congratulations, Carissa! Can’t wait to read your next poem!
    Helen, I hope you are feeling better!