ROUND TWO: 5-accelerate vs. 13-deconstruct

[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:

by April Halprin Wayland

Accelerate!  That’s what the world is shouting.
Rush down the street!  Pay no attention to that cat in the alley!
Rush through your book!  Skip that big word that means yummy.

I won’t, though.

I’m going to decelerate. I’m going to breathe.
I’m going to watch that cat swat at a leaf spinning in the wind.
I’m going to stretch out on the grass with my book.
I’m going to savor / every / scrumptious / word.


The Wild Beast
by Quinette Cook


In class today we’re analyzing poems. We’re ripping them apart.

My teacher says hunt for the wild beast inside. Hear it’s roaring heart!


So, I deconstruct and dismantle mine, dissecting every word.

Wait! My poem’s NOT about a lion, but a little hummingbird.




5-accelerate vs. 13-deconstruct: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 5-accelerate (April Halprin Wayland) (35%, 63 Votes)
  • 13-deconstruct (Quinette Cook) (65%, 118 Votes)

Total Voters: 181

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GET OUT THE VOTE. The average pairing in Round 1 generated 154 votes. For Round 2, our goal is to DOUBLE the average vote total for all matchups compared to Round 1 … that’s 300+ votes! Use the share buttons below and mention the madness wherever you go so that these poems reach more kids!

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  • Pam

    These two words could really work together in a poem. Good luck to both of you!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    What Pam said. I would be happy with either of these words to play with. Good luck ladies.

  • Quinette Cook

    It should be a great matchup! Thank – Q for the support.

  • Mary Lee

    Can’t wait to read your poems, Ladies!

  • Michele Krueger

    Did deconstruct get stuck?
    Did accelerate hesitate?
    How long must we wait for their fate?

  • Quinette Cook

    You’re a poet. Did you know it?
    Your post shows it.

    And it made me smile.

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Ed, Are these gals OK? Their audience awaits!

  • Donna Smith

    Wow! accelerate is a 5? Deconstruct? This will be interesting! Good luck all!

  • Ed DeCaria

    UPDATE: The 5-accelerate vs. 13-deconstruct matchup is being put on the “Flight 2″ schedule, which means that voting will kick off tomorrow and go through Tuesday night.

    April did not even get a glimpse at her word until late this afternoon.

    One the polling ends on Tuesday, the winner of the matchup will almost immediately get their next word to begin the Round 3 (Flight 1) writing period.

    Hope that helps.

  • April Halprin Wayland

    …this is because Ed is a prince. And thank you, dear Quinette, for allowing this to be rescheduled. It’s funny–I discovered that my blog mate, Esther Hershenhorn, mentioned you in a blog about SCBWI last year…featuring some of your terrific sketches on her post!

    This is a small world. Lovin’ the commraderie!

  • April Halprin Wayland

    oops…that should be *camaraderie*!

  • Quinette Cook

    It’s a small world after all…Esther is great isn’t she?! I was going to do sketches for her blog this year but ended up being way too busy at the NY SCBWI conference and only had one, which I didn’t send. Maybe at LA.

  • Donna Smith

    Great sportsmanship to wait for a player!

  • Pam

    W O W!!!! Gonna have to come back and vote on these two. W O W!!!

  • laurasalas

    Love these–both the poems and the meanings. Great job!

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    Once again, the poems seem to speak to each other without formal introduction! I like the de-ce-ler-at-ion combined with the PO/ET/RY!

  • Janet

    I found it almost impossible to choose between these two wonderful poems. I JUST “simply” love them. Must be the teacher in me……savor and think, slow down, dig deep. Live. See and seek. My admiration and thanks to all the poets here.

  • Amy LV

    I adore both! The hummingbird of a poem is so dear, and the splitting of the word/lines is fantastic. April – I will sit with you to watch the cat swat at a leaf – love decelerate and breathe on the line and the whole meaning here.

  • April Halprin Wayland

    Q ~ I have been savoring the way you deconstructed POETRY all day today. It’s that thrill of surprise when you turn our world around and make us see it in a new way. Wow.

    • Quinette Cook

      Thank you for the wonderful compliment. (Thank you everyone.) Your poem reminded me to slow down and enjoy the yummy word play and scrumptious rhythms that are part of poetry. Very cool.

      You have a great website. I hope everyone will check it out. (Wish I could play an instrument. Maybe I’ll start taking accordion lessons.)

      • April Halprin Wayland

        Thank you and congrats! I’ll be rootin’ for you!


  • Allan Wolf

    Did ya’ll notice that both poems share a common theme? “Poems are not meant to be solved; they are meant to be savored.” Too bad I’m about to reduce all my mamby-pamby appreciation into a quantitative black-and-white calculation. Mwaaaah haaaa haaa!

    • April Halprin Wayland

      Love it. You can come teach in my classes anytime, Allan!

  • Hannah Ruth Wilde

    Words about words! A favorite here – anyway you write it!

  • Trish Emerson

    What amazing poems! My classes and I couldn’t vote between them. I wonder if Ms. Cook wanted “Po” to reference “Poe” (then enjambment?), “Et” to reference “and” (as in “Et tu Brute?”,” and “Ry” to mean re- (as in “do it again.”) The English nerd in me had to point out this cool happening in the poem to my students, this poem within a poem. They looked at me as if I had six heads. Love this (and so do my kids)! Thanks so much.

    • Quinette Cook

      Okay. If you want to tell your students I did that on purpose I won’t deny it. ;)