ROUND ONE: 4-bent vs. 13-harrumph

[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:

Road Token
by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
I kicked a small stone with the toe of my shoe.
It clickety skipped like a silvery toad.
I bent down, took, tucked it inside of my pocket.
It tickles my memories of taking that road.
For stones murmur mysteries.  Rocks giggle riddles.
Pebbles tell poems of people long dead.
Reach in your pocket.  You may find a secret.
All stones are old stories that long to be read.


by Jone Mac

Capybara galumphs to lunch.
She’ll meet her friend for honeyed tea,
served with salumptious grass to munch.
Capybara galumphs with glee.

“Today for lunch, it’s celery crunch.”
They spy on the outdoor marquee.
Capybara sits and cries a bunch.
They then harrumph, “This simply cannot be!”



4-bent vs. 13-harrumph: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 4-bent (Amy Ludwig VanDerwater) (63%, 80 Votes)
  • 13-harrumph (Jone Mac) (37%, 46 Votes)

Total Voters: 126

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  • Amy LV

    Jone, I had to look up “capybara” to be sure I knew what it was. THE LARGEST RODENT IN THE WORLD! I love imagining two enormous rodents out to lunch. And way to make great use of a very tricky word. (‘Wish we could go to lunch – no celery crunch for me either, thank you!)

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Wow, this is a tough one to choose between. Harrumph would have gotten the best of me, I fear. Well done both of you!

  • jone

    Amy, I loved you poem. The last line, oh it’s the salumptious.

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Ooh, two very different poems, each wonderful in its own way. NOW what do I do? Fret, fret, fret….

  • Linda Baie

    Wow-these are terrific & like Renee, it’s so hard to choose. We used to have capybaras at the Denver zoo-they swam around and around this donut shaped pool-they were extremely large.

  • Mary Lee

    What a great pair of poems! Once again, I need TWO votes for this match-up!

  • Greg Pincus

    It’s unfair to have to vote. Capybara and harrumph and the same poem??? Joy! But Amy… wonderful imagery and rhythm and all that, too. Gah!

  • laurasalas

    These are great!

    Amy, I love “All stones are old stories that long to be read.” Love. Love. Love.

    Jone, how could I not love lines like, “She’ll meet her friend for honeyed tea,
    served with salumptious grass to munch.” Salumptious? That’s scrumptious!

  • Carmela Martino

    Two wonderful poems!

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    Yes, a trying moment again here: how to vote? Amy, I read the title as “Road Taken” the first time, as in the opposite of that famous road NOT taken. Made a difference to my reading! Jone, you could have written the competition’s shortest poem simply by rhyming “harrumph” and “galumph” (with maybe a few repeats for effect), but instead we get bonus capybaras and celery! The greatness this week never ends…

  • Amy LV

    Good game, Jone! I am galumphing off to the city, but wanted to first thank you for the fun in round one. Should we meet at a conference, the celery crunch is on me! :)

  • Jone

    Amy, great match. Thanks for the fun. I am at the coast waiting for some salumpious chowder.
    I could have had The shortest Poe, Heidi but I saw a capybara in my head when I read harrumph for the first time.
    I can’t wait to see the next poem in round two.

  • Deborah Ludwig

    Dear Amy,
    This is the best! How can I vote for you in the next round? Love, DL

    • Ed DeCaria

      Deborah, see the Live Scoreboard (top menu bar, first selection under Madness! 2012) and you can find all active matchups.