ROUND ONE: 6-chafe vs. 11-whacked

[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 Marina Sim

In one freezing ocean two icebergs collide.

They tackle each other with icy-cold pride.
They chafe and they grind. Their edges get cracked.
They need an ice-breaker – no joke, just a fact.
The sunshine warms up the two icy-cold grumps.

It melts them together, with no cracks or bumps.
The icebergs can float as one, with no frown:
No giant waves will flip them upside down.


by Mary Lee Hahn

Children — driven
Presents — given

Cake — gobbled
Apples — bobbled

Donkey tail — tacked
Piñata — whacked

Games — played
Mom’s nerves — frayed



6-chafe vs. 11-whacked: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 6-chafe (Marina Sim) (24%, 28 Votes)
  • 11-whacked (Mary Lee Hahn) (76%, 91 Votes)

Total Voters: 119

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  • Mary Lee

    Marina, I hope you had as much fun writing your poem as I did writing mine! My poem totally surprised me. I can’t wait to see yours!!

  • Marina

    so true, Mary Lee I surprised myself too!

  • Pam

    Marina, so creative to come up with icebergs from the word chaffe! Wow, I never woulda. Not in a million! Mary Lee your poem is so visual. You should totally get this illustrated!

  • Dom D

    Congrats to you both – to a casual observer (moi), these are excellent.

  • josie

    Congratulations to you both! Love the originality that you both brought to your words!

  • Nessa

    Great job, ladies. Marina, I never would have thought to come up with icebergs for chafe, or using a checklist for anything.

  • Donna Martin

    I liked both of these…it was hard to vote…good luck to both ladies!

  • Amy LV

    These made me smile…loving icebergs, happy children, tired mommy.

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    Extremely smile-worthy, and Mary Lee, you don’t sound like an amateur, my dear. That’s going straight into my classroom poetry collection for the first birthday next year!

  • laurasalas

    Nice! Love the wordplay in Icebergs, but I have to admit the complete spareness and cleverness of the to-do list stole my heart.

  • Marina

    Congrats, Mary Lee! Good luck in the next round!

  • Mary Lee

    Thanks, Marina! Loved the surprise of icebergs chafing! I’m tucking your poem into my THEME folder because it says important things about cooperation and collaboration.