ROUND TWO: 5-volume vs. 4-zero

[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:

For William Wordsworth, Upon the 1807 Publication of Poems in Two Volumes
by Not Quite Shakespeare

Not every volume can be a hit,
and I wonder if you wilted a bit
when Lord Byron said, “Sir, you cease to please,”
and critics said, “Man, did you edit these?”
Is that when you roamed lonely as a cloud,
when you stood on Westminster Bridge and vowed,
“My heart will leap up, the world will listen.
I’ll spit-shine these lines until they glisten.”


We Need Books!
by Greg Pincus

Our entire school library’s empty. It’s bare.
It used to be full, but now look: nothing’s there.
We’ve got zero books. We’ve got zip, zilch, nil, none.
There’s nada. A goose egg. We’ve naught, nix, not one.
To help change our null set, please send something for us.
We sure miss our books – most of all our thesaurus.



5-volume vs. 4-zero: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 5-volume (Not Quite Shakespeare) (36%, 55 Votes)
  • 4-zero (Greg Pincus) (64%, 99 Votes)

Total Voters: 154

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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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  • Greg Pincus

    Zero! Hmmm. I’m initially drawing a blank, but I’m already thinking I will not rhyme with hero. (Don’t hold me to that, though, in case I surprise myself :-)).

    Good luck, NQS or, if I can use what I think is your real name… Good luck, Not Quite Francis Bacon.

  • Not Quite Shakespeare

    Greg, how did you know my real name?? No, wait. Wordsmith that you are, OF COURSE you figured it out. :) Good luck to you too…. I’m off to (Not Quite) Volumize something!

  • Julie Larios

    NOT QUITE FRANCIS BACON? I thought our Not Quite Shakespeare was actually NOT QUITE EDWARD DE VERE, EARL OF OXFORD! (….Sound of controversy raging….)

    • Greg Pincus

      Do I even dignify your idea with a response? Yes. Of course, I do! All I can say, Julie, is show me the proof. And by that I mean show me that “De Vere” is more fun to type, say, or eat than “Bacon.” You will not be able to do so. My theory is both better and tastier.

  • Quinette Cook

    These are both so well written. The choice is going to be difficult.

  • Greg Pincus

    Oh, geez. Shakespeare (and Bacon and DeVere) and Wordsworth???? That’s not fair, NQS. Unfair… but beautifully done.

    I have decided, btw, to dub this the battle of pseudonyms and synonyms. (Should I trademark that like “threepeat”?)

  • Not Quite Shakespeare

    How awesome is it that we both wrote about books??? LOVE IT. And I esp. love your sneaky goose egg!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Another spooky subject crossover – what’s going on in this tournament? Well played by both!

  • Robyn Hood Black

    Yep, these match-ups are certainly full of some kind of Jungian element, no? Must say I love the definition you chose to use for volume, my NQS Friend, and I’m quite a sucker for Wordsworth. Congrats to both of you on these fine entries.

  • Amy LV

    NQS – I love the image of Wordsworth writing and rewriting and vowing! And Greg – something for us/thesaurus is one heckuva cool rhyme.

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    These both rock, doggone it.

  • Pam

    You both should be smiling ear to ear. Wonderful jobs, both of you. NQS, you’re a riot! Us and thesaurus who’d have thunk it!

  • Allan Wolf

    Well done, authletes! I certainly got my words worth out of these two poems. My children are always telling me, “Remember Dad, the child is father to the man. And by the way, you’re grounded!”

  • Dave Crawley

    How much are fine Words Worth, when written in rhyme?
    Two Bards who love Books are a hit, every time.

  • Doraine Bennett

    Wow! What wonderful poems. Love them both. Alas, can only vote for one.

  • Not Quite Shakespeare

    Well, Greg, still some hours to go but it looks like your zero is soundly squashing my volume… and I am off to the beach! Well played, you. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for the next round. Go, all you Sweet Sixteen-ers!

  • Ann Jacobus

    Thoroughly enjoyable match up, here and all round!

  • Greg Pincus

    I wonder, NQS, if cuz folks didn’t know who you were – NQS, Bacon, DeVere, a talented poet/novelist incognito – that I got votes since I showed my face? And I’ll take them, cuz my face doesn’t always do that for me, but I considered this match a tossup when I read your poem…. I look forward to the next round, too, though have trepidation about the word I’ll get if I hold on here. Some of them are… brutal!

  • Mary Lee

    Love the “spit-shine,” love the “something for us/thesaurus” rhyme! Why can’t BOTH of these win?!?!