ROUND ONE: 5-numb vs. 12-ferret

[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
“It’s cold,” Dog said. “MeOW!” said she.
“I mean, he said, I cannot see—
my eyes are frozen shut,” Dog said.
“Oh, HUSH,” Cat hissed and searched for books.
“It’s c-c-c-cold,” Dog chattered, “have a look.”
Cat gazed from pages yet unread.
“I’m numb,” he whined, “my lips are frozen…”
Cat purred, then read the book she’d chosen.


What’s in a Name?
by Matt Forrest

Ferrets and hamsters and rabbits and rats,
My gramps never thought that their names were impo’tent;
To him, they were all pretty much the same thing:
A rodent’s a rodent’s a rodent’s a rodent.
(I told him a ferret isn’t actually a rodent – but he didn’t seem to care about that, either)



5-numb vs. 12-ferret: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 5-numb (April Halprin Wayland) (62%, 103 Votes)
  • 12-ferret (Matt Forrest) (38%, 63 Votes)

Total Voters: 166

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  • Ed DeCaria

    Matt: I just edited the instructions to have participants send their poems to me by e-mail instead of posting them in the comments. This way, the poet who finishes first does not have the disadvantage of allowing the other poet to see their poem and potentially react to it.

    It makes it easier for me administratively as well.

    So, I still have your poem, so no need to re-submit (though you are welcome to send me an update before time expires if you wish).


  • Richard Moore (@infosherpa)

    Numb is a bum
    That captures my thumb
    And screams out just when I try strumming.

    The Ferret don’t care
    His tail’s in the air
    He says, “Suck it!” and Wow! — it starts moving!

  • April Halprin Wayland

    Hey, Richard! That’s our next challenge, I’m sure–combining both words!