ROUND ONE: 6-spastic vs. 11-baldness

[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:

Spastic Poem
by Charles Ghigna

Dear Poetry Partner,
so full of wit,
Tiffany, our lamp is lit.

May the heat of our battle
bring joy and not rattle
our Muse into a rhymed rage.

Like the melting of plastic,
my poem of spastic
now oozes all over this page.

Children rejoice,
raise your rhymed voice,
this poem is finally done.

With your vote and blessing
may this poem stop stressing
and earn us all number WON!


by Tiffany Strelitz Haber

I had a strange disorder growing up, I surely did.
I looked just like a chicken. Nothing like a normal kid.
A genie claimed he’d cure me, “Buck up, boy. Have no despair.”
“The side effect is baldness though.”
(I told him, “I don’t care.”)
He had me grab my beak and shriek and spin and shake my leg.
And that, my friend, is why and how
I now…look like an egg.



6-spastic vs. 11-baldness: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 6-spastic (Charles Ghigna) (25%, 38 Votes)
  • 11-baldness (Tiffany Strelitz Haber) (75%, 113 Votes)

Total Voters: 151

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  • Allan Wolf

    Oh Charles! You got “spastic.” That’s fantastic!

  • Tiffany Strelitz

    Not for me it’s not! Ha!

  • Marianne Nielsen

    Heh he’s got more than 8 lines!!!!!!

    • Ed DeCaria

      ‘Tis true, but I’m not going to moderate unless there is a gross abuse. This poem would be readable as five lines of verse, regardless of how many lines it uses visually. I hope everyone is okay with that — I edited the rules to clarify my POV on this.

  • Pam

    Charles, my poem had me stressing too. I’m a newbie to writing. Thus the anxiety. Tiffany, your poem is hilarious! Best of luck to you both.

  • Tiffany

    Thanks, Pam!!

  • Charles Ghigna

    Thanks, all! Sorry to have fudged on the 8 line rule! I wrote the poem in haste (Boy, that’s obvious, you say!) and didn’t read the details. So much for automatic writing! How ruleless of me! Love your poem Tiffany. You deserve to March on. I will follow your progress. And your new books! Congrats to you — and to Ed and to all who join in here at this poetry potpourri!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Charles and Tiffany, I enjoyed both of these.

    I think this has been a fabulous adventure so far and the exposure for poetry (okay, and Ed – hahaha) have been great. Ed, I hope you have the stamina to stick with this through the end. We sure appreciate all your hard work on our behalf and on behalf of poetry.