ROUND ONE: 3-temptation vs. 14-befuddling

[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:

The Leafy Sea Dragon
by Pam Courtney

Is his watch an aimless contemplation?
Or does this suspended animation
give plankton, shrimp and other crustacean
a cause to believe they’re no temptation?

So the leafy sea dragon sucks vegetation.
And in their moment of hesitation
the plankton, shrimp, and other crustacean
fall prey to Leafy’s manipulation.


by Marianne Nielsen

There once was a young boy named Fred.
He knew the meaning of each word he read.
Befuddling his teacher
This boy was a creature
Who should be the teacher instead.



3-temptation vs. 14-befuddling: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 3-temptation (Pam Courtney) (56%, 57 Votes)
  • 14-befuddling (Marianne Nielsen) (44%, 45 Votes)

Total Voters: 102

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  • Marianne Nielsen

    Ed…looks like you’ve linked the wrong people with these words????

  • Ed DeCaria

    Fixed! (And clock restarted!)

  • Marianne Nielsen

    Ed, I know you are likely really really busy but I just wanted to check that you received my poem by email….the rules said you would confirm receipt and I haven’t received it?

  • Julie Rowan-Zoch

    Go Pam!

  • Pam

    Thanks, Julie!

  • Pam

    Marianne, I think I was your hold up. I was late posting. I hope you had as much fun as I did, Marianne! How much fun was this? Good luck, Marianne!

  • Brenda

    Wow! What fun and hard work for the both of you. Do some more! :)

  • Regina

    What a great Poem Pamela!

  • Donna Martin

    Lovely limerick, Marianne!

  • Linda Baie

    Both really fun, the first using some non-fiction content which is great, & the second is also true, especially with those bright, bright kids! Good rhyming all.

  • Janet

    My husband’s name is Fred and this is absolutely true of him. He ended up a teacher, well, sort of, he is an econ prof……but quite the reader from an early age. Good luck Marianne! So I am a bit biased. But I like your poem, too, Pam!!! Good luck everyone.