ROUND ONE: 4-manipulate vs. 13-crescendo

[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:

Playing with Words
by Liz Steinglass

I am a poet.
Words are my game.
I dribble them wildly
Without any shame.

I manipulate sound
To score with the crowd.
I finish each period
Sweaty but proud.


Encore! Encore!
by Quinette Cook

Molly Fernando sang alto soprano;
        her twin brother sang ‘long with a lilt.
Molly Fernando strummed chords on her banjo
        while Pauly jumped ‘round in his kilt.
Molly was pleased with the crowd’s wild roar
        a thunderous, stupendous crescendo.
And as they were bowing so low to the floor,
        she saw why – Pauly had gone commando!



4-manipulate vs. 13-crescendo: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 4-manipulate (Liz Steinglass) (48%, 84 Votes)
  • 13-crescendo (Quinette Cook) (52%, 91 Votes)

Total Voters: 175

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  • Carmela Martino

    This was a tough call. They’re both TERRIFIC!

  • Deb Schwab

    The images from Quinette Cook’s are strong and funny.

  • Joy Acey

    Excellent poems! These were a swell read. Thank you.

  • Darren Sardelli

    Two wonderful poems – one difficult choice!

  • Quinette Cook

    Your poem is wonderful and I am honored to have gone up against such a talented poet. And to all of you following this competition, if you haven’t checked out Liz’s blog I suggest you do so – it’s great.

    Best wishes in all your writing endeavors, Q