ROUND TWO: 7-knuckles vs. 2-hunk

[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:

desert haiku
by Stephanie Farrow

tight-fisted knuckles
thrust hard through barren earth—
desolate mountain


Trippy Skippy
by Kenn Nesbitt

Trippy Skippy,
happy hippy,
married Paige the punk.
Their son, Tom,
was dad + mom;
in other words, a hunk.



7-knuckles vs. 2-hunk: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 7-knuckles (Stephanie Farrow) (51%, 75 Votes)
  • 2-hunk (Kenn Nesbitt) (49%, 71 Votes)

Total Voters: 146

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GET OUT THE VOTE. For Round 2, our goal is to double the average vote total for all matchups compared to Round 1. Use the share buttons below and mention the madness wherever you go so that these poems reach more kids!

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  • Mary Lee

    Hopefully the hunk is not a knuckle-dragger!

    • Donna Martin

      Mary Lee, your comment made me laugh out loud…nice!

  • Stephanie Farrow

    You’re too funny, Mary Lee! At the moment this non-hunk is chewing on her knuckles, thinking good grief, no way.

  • Pam

    Ooh, I can’t wait to see what is created from these two words. I’m thinking really visually funny stuff.

  • Greg Pincus

    These are fun words. Maybe we should have a round of voting just on the words themselves? Next year, Ed! :-)

    • Dom D

      Agreed Greg – if nothing else, we could vote on Ed’s creative word pairings! I think “Funk vs Sanitize” was just awesome. To try my hand at it in poetry terms:

      Knuckles and Hunk have great pairing appeal;
      The Fighter contesting The Lover.
      We’d need Ed to let us start paring the peel
      Of his fruitful mind as-yet uncovered.

      • Ed DeCaria

        “The Fighter contesting the Lover”

        Awesome …

        “Of his fruitful mind as-yet uncovered”

        Double awesome …

      • Stephanie Farrow

        OK, that’s it. After reading your poem, Dom, I’m abdicating! You can take my place. I’ll just go drink a pint of St. Paddy’s day Guinness.

        • Dom D

          Sorry, Stephanie – I’ve already beaten you to the Guinness… have fun!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    This is a really interesting combination of words. Time to quit drooling over the hunk and knuckle down and get to work. :) Good luck!

  • Stephanie Farrow

    The instructions say no photos but maybe this match-up needs a centerfold.

  • Kenn Nesbitt

    It’s entirely because I have kids, but I can’t hear “Knuckles” without thinking of Sonic the Hedgehog.

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Hmmm. Sonic the Hedgehog as a centerfold . . .

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Oh Stephanie, what an image! hahahaha My kids are old. I’ve never seen Sonic the Hedgehog.

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Not what I’d consider centerfold material, altho’ maybe lady hedgehogs would go for it.

  • Julie Larios

    It’s getting harder to choose just one, isn’t it? I think these are both fabulous.

  • Amy LV

    You both did a lot in UNDER 8 lines. Wow. I love the contrast and both poems here too.

  • Mary Lee

    Love the image of the mountains as knuckles…and glad to know how hunks are made!

  • Allan Wolf

    Maybe Kenn Nesbitt won’t be such a hunk after Stephanie Farrow’s knuckles are done with him!

  • Greg Pincus

    I love that as much as I loved the words, both poems exceeded expectations… and neither went any direction I coulda predicted. Great stuff, y’all.

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Good trash talk, Allan. Made me laugh. And thanks for your comment, Greg. The interesting thing is that the poem didn’t go in any direction I could have predicted either.

  • Kathryn Apel

    Oooh. I love that you wrote a haiku. A friend’s very talented daughter sat for a scholarship test. Two hours to write to given stimulus. At the time, wondered what they’d do (if they’d even *recognise* a perfect haiku… I still wonder. :) Great knuckle image!

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    Tough, VERY tough. I find it especially hard to compare such different moods…

    • Stephanie Farrow

      Me, too, Heidi and I wrote one of them.

  • Darren Sardelli

    Kenn – your poems always entertain me.
    Great job to both poets.

  • Stephanie Farrow

    Kenn – We’re going right down to the wire. It’s been fun! No matter who wins, let’s have a celebratory glass of wine afterward. Of course, depending on where you live, we may have to do it virtually.

  • Annemieke Farrow

    What a great competition between 2 wonderful poems! Just as exciting as a close basketball game. :)

  • Kenn Nesbitt

    Congratulations, Stephanie! I couldn’t think of a better way to go out of the competition. Best of luck with Round Three!

  • Eric Ode

    Couldn’t have come much closer! Well done, both!

  • Allan Wolf

    Tough break Nesbitt. But your still my little pooky bear. There, there . . . dry those tears.

    Seriously wonderful to you both Kenn and Stephanie. Well done.

  • Julie Larios

    Both really fine poems, and so different – a great match-up but it was apples and oranges for me. They were hard to choose between. Congratulations, Stephanie! And I’m headed over to Peter Langella’s Round Two match-up to say the same (and that VCFA = World Domination!)