ROUND TWO: 6-fortitude vs. 14-quintessential

r2f1 6-fortitude vs. 14-quintessential

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:

Wanted: Penguin Papa, For Brooding Egg and Hatching Chick (Only Emperors Need Apply)
by Buffy Silverman

Do you have the fortitude to bear a frozen latitude
and incubate the egg you’ll brood? No time to sleep, no break for food;
you’ll stand through blizzards, ice, and sleet and balance me upon your feet.
For two long months you’ll wish for heat. Then I’ll hatch, I’ll squeak and cheep–

you’ll keep me warm, you’ll keep me dry, until at last it’s Mom you spy!
You’ll call her to us with your cry, then flap a flipper, wave goodbye.
You need not be a sporty dude to earn unending gratitude:
just be a pop with fortitude in this Antarctic latitude.


Magic Potion (or Why I Got An ‘F’ in Math)
By Vikram Madan

“First, take one twitch of witches’ itch, and swirl in swish of pirate’s blade
Then add a dab of dragon scab, and spice with hints of tint of jade
Whip up the scowl of two foul owls, and pep with pinch of poet’s woe
Mix in the roar of ogre’s snore, and boil this all with stub of toe!”

“And when you’re done”, the Gypsy hummed, “you will have made a potent brew –
A quintessential tonic that will fix whatever’s vexing you!”
No time to think! I cooked this drink! And poured it on my test today!
Well, did my test turn out the best?!? No … it grew legs and ran away … :(


Public Vote (6-fortitude vs. 14-quintessential)
Final Results:
6-fortitude vs. 14-quintessential

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
6-fortitude vs. 14-quintessential
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
6-fortitude vs. 14-quintessential

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  • Heidi Mordhorst

    Most enjoyable, you two! Vikram, I admit you surprised me–I could see doom for the math assignment ahead, but not that it would flee on its own legs. Buffy, I admire how you not only meet the challenge of your word but stay true to your interest and skill as a science and nature poet. Great job!

  • Ed DeCaria

    Once again, I would like to point out that #MMPoetry authletes are given only 36 hours to write these poems. That includes thinking, writing, editing … two nights of “sleep”, 3-4 meals, 0-1 showers, and DOZENS of times nodding “uh huh” while pretending to listen to what family members are trying to tell them.

    And this is what they deliver. Marvelous matchup.

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thanks, Ed–I appreciate it. (And I agree that Vikram’s potion delivers!)

      • Vikram Madan

        Yes, I second that – Thanks Ed! I almost replied to Buffy’s wanted ad .. but then I remembered I wasn’t a penguin … oh well…

    • Quinette Cook

      Especially the “uh huh”!

    • Bonnie Bailey

      Agreed – these are both masterful.

    • Gloson

      “sleep”. hehe

  • Damon Dean

    Indeed! These are both fantastic in form, in purpose, in story. Love them both and don’t know how to vote.

  • Debbie B. LaCroix

    Wow! Hard to decide… Great job poets!

  • Catherine Johnson

    Two remarkable poems! Love these

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Strong, strong matchup here. So much language play to love! Bravi, authletes! Thank you for these wonderful entries, but also: boo, hiss for making the voting so difficult!

    • Vikram Madan

      Well, Renee, I’m pretty sure no one said any aspect of this tournament (including voting) was supposed to be easy … :)

  • Debra Shumaker

    I cannot believe what the two of you came up with! GREAT job. This is why this contest is so much fun!

  • Elizabeth McBride

    Oh My Goodness! These are EXCEPTIONAL!!! My white flag is flying! Both of you have done superb work here and both of these would/will be loved by all!!! I am in awe!

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Answer me this, you poets: how the heck are we supposed to choose between you? Not possible.

  • Mother Streusel

    Ha ha!!! The frown face on Vikram’s is awesome. It’s a tight symphony of words. Buffy, your poem is delightful. I’m impressed.

  • Quinette Cook

    internal rhyme, assonance, consonance, rhythm and great storytelling in BOTH poems! did I miss anything?

  • Victoria Warneck

    Wow! I have just officially become a Huge Fan of both Buffy and Vikram. Ed (because you need even more to do!), when MMPOETRY concludes we should have one last vote for most outstanding poem that didn’t win…

    • Ed DeCaria

      Sure, why not!

    • Ldegman

      And a vote for the best comment – some of them are as good as the poems!!

  • Samuel Kent

    Bwat fun wordplay in these. Both make such good use of alliteration and assonance. I’m having a tough time with this one, you two.

  • Julie Rowan-Zoch

    This was the toughest choice for me today – both so well done!

  • BJ Lee

    Buffy – you really pulled it off! and Vikram, so much fun!

  • Vikram Madan

    Congratulations, Buffy! You had such a great poem that the results do not surprise me at all :) Best of luck for the next round and beyond – It was an honor to be pitted against you!

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thank you Vikram–as I said to you on facebook, I think your poem was brilliant. I had so much fun reading it aloud. And so nice to get to know you through march madness!

  • Ed DeCaria

    Still amazed by the work here. What great little stories in verse. Not sure how our authletes do it!

    Buffy — stay warm … Round 3 starts tomorrow!

    Vikram — thank you for showcasing your talents in #MMPoetry this year. Was a pleasure to read your two poems under pressure.

    • Vikram Madan

      Thanks for including me in #MMPoetry Ed – what a great experience! I’d been taking a long hiatus from poetry (since publishing my poetry book last year) and this tournament has got my poetry-juices flowing again … so much fun! Here’s wishing all the remaining contestants the very best – Good luck all! :)

      • Mother Streusel

        So glad you are going to keep writing. Your work is so good. I’m so glad I was introduced to it and will keep following you. My whole family was very impressed.

    • Mother Streusel

      Congrats Buffy! You did a stellar job. Vikram is tough, tough competition and deserves recognition for his work as well.

  • Julie Larios

    Oh, I was sorry to see these two poets go up against each other, since only one of them could win….I had both Buffy and Vikram going the full way, battling each other out for Top Honors at the end of the Madness. Excellent poems from both.

    • Vikram Madan

      Well Buffy will just have to carry the torch forward on my behalf – and I have full confidence she will do a stellar job of it (No pressure Buffy!) :)

      • Buffy Silverman

        No pressure indeed…I’m just happy to have the opportunity for one more match.

    • Buffy Silverman

      Yikes, Julie–I’m wondering if your confidence is misplaced, but I certainly appreciate it!

  • Ldegman

    What a great match – congrats, Buffy! Good luck in round 3!

  • Damon Dean

    Great match indeed. Happy feet to you Buffy! Vikram, I am a fan.

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thank you for all the kind comments!