ROUND ONE: 6-aplomb vs. 11-epitome

r1f1 6-aplomb vs 11-epitome

Click here for authlete instructions.

Voter Instructions:

  • The countdown at the bottom of each pairing indicates how much time is left to vote.
    • When voting closes, timer will disappear.
  • Read both poems as many times as you like.
  • Mark the poem you like best by clicking the circle next to its name.
  • Press the “Vote” button to record your vote.
  • Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered.
  • You can only vote once from a given IP address.
    • Classrooms should submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.

Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word.
  • Technical elements: meter, rhyme, form, shape, and other poetic standards.
  • Creativity: wordplay, imagery, unusual approach, etc.
  • Subtle elements that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Your overall response: emotional reaction such as admiration, tears, laughter, terror, or some indefinable feeling.

Here are the poems:

Which One?
by Marileta Robinson

I’m a spelling sensation. I show great aplomb
spelling words like accordion, cymbal, and bomb.
I’m a legend at spelling bees, never defeated
with words like chameleon, crypt, and conceited.
The harder the word, the more boldly I spell it:
labyrinth, hemisphere, rhubarb, or pellet.
But I have a secret. (I’d die if they knew.)
I mix up the spelling of to, too, and two.


Ode to My Physiognomy
by Chris O’Carroll

When women take a look at me,
They hardly ever scream and flee,
But they don’t swoon with ecstasy
And sigh, “He’s the epitome
Of gorgeous Greek divinity
Or Hollywood celebrity!”
I might not be a minus three,
But I’m no ten they all agree.


Public Vote (6-aplomb vs. 11-epitome)
Final Results:
6-aplomb vs. 11-epitome

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
6-aplomb vs. 11-epitome
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
6-aplomb vs. 11-epitome

Like it? Share it!

Like me? Subscribe to TKT!

  • Linda Baie

    Interesting first person accounts of an attribute from both of you, and great rhythm and rhyme. I can see these in little ‘bios’ of interesting people! Terrific!

  • Gloson

    Great punchline, Marileta! It made me giggle!
    Chris, that ode was quite beautiful. :)

    p.s. Ed, thanks for standardizing the sequence in which the poems appear in the polls. :)

    • Ed DeCaria

      No problem. It was even making me nearly pick the wrong one, so I knew it was a problem.

  • Mother Streusel

    These are both so good, like either one could be someone’s favorite poem from their favorite book of poetry.

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Wonderful rhyme and meter from both, though Marileta’s is more for the kid crowd – and with a great punchline, too! Well done, authletes!

  • Diana Murray

    Ha ha! Well done.

  • Quinette Cook

    Marileta, I love all the words. (Isn’t this the second spelling bee poem?) Great rhythm.
    Chris, I agree with Gloson. It’s nice to see an ode in the mix. Good luck to both of you.

  • Catherine

    Both great endings, love these!

  • Bonnie Bailey

    Both funny…and relatable :)

  • Buffy Silverman

    Terrific rhyme and meter in both of these–love your punchline, Marileta and Chris your narrator makes up in words what he lacks in looks.

  • Allan Wolf

    Both of these poems rock! Each one holds a universalness. Each one well-crafted, and funny as heck. I really don’t wanna choose. Dang brackets!

  • SusanTaylorBrown

    Love your poem, Marileta! Well played.

  • Dave Crawley

    These poems are both excellent. It’s a shame they have to go head-to-head in the opening round…

  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    Great use of you words, you two…..or is it to, or too? :) Loved all the other fun words you threw in there…ok…I got this….too :)

  • Mother Streusel

    Congratulations Marileta!!! Your opponent’s poem was worthy, making your victory all the more triumphant.

  • Marileta Robinson

    Chris, I thought your poem was excellent. I wish you could have worked “girls” instead of “women” into the first line to make it more teen-centric. (No, I don’t! Then you would have beat me!)

  • rjschechter

    Congratulations to both poets! I’d agree with Marileta about changing “women” to make the poem more teen-centric, except for the fact that Chris did best in the classroom voting, where his poem tied, so evidently kids had no trouble relating. Those of you interested in light verse ought to Google “Chris O’Carroll” and some of the magazines listed in his bio. You’ll like what you find.