ROUND ONE: 6-cynic vs. 11-acumen


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’d 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.
  • In the Public Vote, anyone may vote, but only one vote is allowed per IP address.
  • In the Classroom Vote, you must be registered and logged in to vote.
    • Official voting classrooms should read and discuss each poem and then submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.
  • In the Authlete Vote, you must be a 2015 authlete and logged in to vote.

Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word, given its level of difficulty.
  • Whether or not the poem adheres to the poem requirements for the contest.
  • Precision: structure, meter, rhyme, syntax, etc.
  • Personality: creative imagery, language, metaphor, etc.
  • Power: makes you laugh, cry, want, sigh, think, dream, wince, scream, etc.
  • Plus One: it is a poem you feel drawn to share with another person for whatever reason.

Apply your own criteria as well! For more on the above concepts, check out POEMETRICS™.

Here are the poems:


6-cynic what does it mean?
A Letter to People like Us
By Joseph Miller

Don’t mimic the cynic or be pessimistic.
Don’t copy the zombie or be really snobby.
Don’t follow the shallow or be all bravado.

Instead, we humbly advise:

Be true to you and make your own way.
Be rife with life and kind every day.
Be sunny and funny at work or at play.

the Buried Unwise.



11-acumen what does it mean?
By Renée M. LaTulippe

It’s the opposite of ignorance, a cousin to good taste.
It’s awareness, wit, intelligence, with insight interlaced.
It’s the know-how and the cleverness you bring to all you do.
It’s the keenness and perception that supports your point of view.
It’s a talent or a knack, the thing that makes you more astute—
it’s your acumen that cunningly gives ignorance the boot!


Public Vote (6-cynic vs. 11-acumen)
Final Results:
6-cynic vs. 11-acumen

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
6-cynic vs. 11-acumen
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
6-cynic vs. 11-acumen

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  • Michele Krueger

    Nice job, both of you!

  • Joseph Miller

    Thanks! Great job, Renee! 40 hours can’t come fast enough.

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Good work, Joseph!

  • Debra Shumaker

    Great poems! Congrats to both of you, voting is always hard. . .

  • Ryan

    Oof. Both are great. It hurt voting for this one.

  • Carol Samuelson-Woodson

    “A Letter…” sort of creepy–in a funny kind of way! Renee, yours excels in perfect rhyme and meter and after reading “The Opposite of Ignorance” there’s not much left to say about “acumen.” Well done. Hard to choose.

  • Darren Sardelli

    Renee – Well done!!!

  • Ed DeCaria

    Joseph writes and delivers a great message to us all, but in the end Renee’s lyrical language captures all three vote tiers. Thank you, Joseph, and congrats on moving to Round Two, Renee!

  • Joseph Miller

    Well deserved win, Renee. I really loved your poem. Here’s hoping you go all the way!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Thanks for the great matchup, Joseph! And thanks, Ed, for putting us all in this together. :)