ROUND ONE: 7-gamut vs. 10-nadir


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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.

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Here are the poems:


7-gamut what does it mean?
By Amelia Shearer

“How was school?” my mother asks …
but do I dare to say
the gamut of experiences which I have had today:
Do I tell her how I finally met the gaze of Riley Krauss?
Or that we left computer lab ‘cuz Sidney saw a mouse?
Should I say my science partner licked up something real grotesque,
Then at lunch I caught my teacher clipping toenails at his desk?
Or that on the bus Joe “Jumped the Bump” onto my head (the lug!)
Mom wouldn’t care about that stuff …
“We read some poems” I shrug.



10-nadir what does it mean?
By Robert Schechter

My team came in second. My friend moved away.
My bicycle’s broken. My iPod won’t play.

Somebody teased me. My feelings were hurt.
Pizza sauce splashed. And it splattered my shirt.

The. Worst. Day. Ever. I’m going to bed.
But one consolation goes round in my head:

Today was the nadir. The worst. An abyss.
Tomorrow is bound to be better than this!


Public Vote (7-gamut vs. 10-nadir)
Final Results:
7-gamut vs. 10-nadir

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
7-gamut vs. 10-nadir
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
7-gamut vs. 10-nadir

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  • Renee LaTulippe

    Ah, two school-themed poems going head-to-head. This one may be tight…well done on both sides!

  • Debra Shumaker

    Wow, congrats. Two excellent poems!

  • Amy Moore

    These are both great!

  • Samuel Kent

    Amelia, yours elicited a genuine LOL from me. Robert: SPOT ON inclusion of your challenging word. Contextual definitions with synonyms make this clear to neophyte readers what a nadir is.

    • Amelia Shearer

      Thanks, Samuel! That means a lot coming from you – I’ve loved reading your poems from past years! :-)

  • Damon Dean

    Great school chaos!

  • deborahhwilliams

    Two crummy days at school, two terrific poems!

  • Lori Degman

    So similar and both so good – tough one!!

  • Phillip Van Wagoner

    Two great poems! Amelia, this kid is such a wonderful, relatable character! And Robert, to use “nadir” to create a positive, uplifting poem – well done! I really enjoyed both of these a lot.

    • Amelia Shearer

      Thank you! :-)

  • Ed DeCaria

    My 4yo just looked at the Thinkier trophy picture and said “That looks like the Statue of Liberty!” and then immediately followed that by looking at the picture of Robert Schechter above and said “Hey! That looks like Abraham Lincoln!”

    Her eye appointment has been scheduled for 4pm CDT.

  • Tee

    Ooh, another very evenly matched pair — stupendous word choices on both sides.

  • rjschechter

    Thank you, everyone! I really enjoyed Amelia’s poem and I really hope I get to read more of her poems in the future. And Ed, thanks for everything. Your daughter’s eyes are just fine. I am actually quite presidential, a fact she was astute to pick up on. (Or perhaps she sensed that my son is named Lincoln . . . which is true).