ROUND ONE: 6-dearth vs. 11-appendage

r1f1 6-dearth vs 11-appendage

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:

How the Snake Lost its Limbs: The Legend of Legless Lizzy
by Buffy Silverman

Long ago, in ancient times, a lizard left the ocean
to slog through bogs and stomp through swamps with leggy locomotion.
She raced past snails and paced with turtles, proud and in command–
until she spied Pteranodon who rose above the land.

For weeks she dreamed of soaring skies, then launched off from a mound–
but snapped her four appendages when crashing to the ground.
With loss of legs and dearth of hope, she never neared her goal.
She slithered through the swampy muck and snaked into a hole.


I Fell Asleep
by Matt Forrest Esenwine

My left arm was under my pillow.
My right arm, in back of my head.
My left leg was under my right leg,
which was hanging half-way off my bed.

I’m starting to feel pins and needles –
oh no, here they come, here they come!
I should have kept sleeping all morning
and let each appendage stay numb.


Public Vote (6-dearth vs. 11-appendage)
Final Results:
6-dearth vs. 11-appendage

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
6-dearth vs. 11-appendage
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
6-dearth vs. 11-appendage

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  • Vikram Madan

    A dearth poem about appendages and an appendage poem about the dearth of sensation! Ha – well done! ;)

  • Damon Dean

    Great poems, both! Loved the Cretaceous legend, Buffy! And Matt, I agree, people who sleep like pretzels should stay in bed. Well executed poems!

  • Jackie Wellington

    I loved these poems. I love the rhythm and the pacing. And Iearned something new.

  • Linda Baie

    Wow, two story poems, both rather sad, but so well done. Congrats Matt and Buffy!

  • BJ Lee

    omg, this will be a tough one, Buffy and Matt!

  • Mother Streusel

    These are both great!!! I will confess my favorite line was Matt’s “oh no, here they come, here they come!” SO relatable!!! I could almost feel the pins and needles! Ha ha ha.

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Why, oh why, are Poets’ Garage members always pitted against each other? Not fair! Can’t decide! I knew this would be a stellar matchup. Well played, Buffy and Matt. Great story and language from Buffy, lots of kid appeal and chuckles from Matt. Gah. I’ll be back.

  • Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    Yay for you two! Boo for tough decisions!

  • pennyklostermann

    I wish you two Garagers weren’t matched in the first round! These are both excellent and it’s so hard to choose!

  • Diana Murray

    Wonderful approaches! Excellent narrative in the first and great incorporation of the word in the second.

  • Debbie B. LaCroix

    I love how themes come out! It’s like a thread ties it all together.

  • Matt Forrest

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. Well done, Buffy! Either way it goes, at least Poet’s Garage will be representin’!

  • Miranda Paul

    Ha! Way to use the opponent’s word in your poem as well, Buffy! And Matt—excellent work playing on a sensation we all will recognize and feel. These poems really draw the reader in! Good work.

  • Quinette Cook

    I’m on pins and needles…
    lots of internal rhyme in Buffy’s poem, not to mention great storytelling.
    the simplicity of Matt’s poem as well as the imagery it creates is great fun.

  • Catherine

    I too cringed at this match up. You’re both making it very difficult. Pretzels and snakes go we’ll together.

  • Buffy Silverman

    Thanks all, for the kind comments.
    Love your poem Matt–I’m on pins and needles awaiting the outcome. Aargh, just can’t stop stealing your words.

  • Stella Michel

    Love them both!

  • Lynn Ward-Author

    Two great poems again!

  • Dave Crawley

    There is no dearth of worth in these apropos appendages. Great job, both of you!

  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    Fun poems you too! Loved the legend of Lizzy, and appendages falling asleep is so relatable!

  • Mother Streusel

    Congrats Buffy! Look forward to seeing your poem in the next round. Matt, your poem was a favorite of mine. Can’t wait to own the book it’s published in.

  • Matt Forrest

    Congratulations, Buffy! No contest here…you OWNED it. Make me proud in the 2nd Round! ;)

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thanks Matt–I’ll do my best. (Although I see I’m up against Vikram–I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge if he pulls off a poem as creative as his first round masterpiece!)

  • Gloson

    Wow, the classroom vote is a tie! I bow to both your poems’ tie! ;)