ROUND ONE: 8-hazard vs. 9-dilapidated

[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:

by Joanna Jedi

A buzzard
is a hazard
only if you wear
a necklace made from gizzard
and you taunt it with dead lizards.
So be sure your neck is covered
to approach a hungry buzzard
– unless you’re in a blizzard!


by Suz Blackaby

Dilapidated cats—
Saggy backs, notched ears—
Steer through milky moon pools
To gather in back alleys.
Draped on dumpsters and crates,
They loll and caterwaul,
Waiting for scrapings and scraps
That come from fish (they wish).



8-hazard vs. 9-dilapidated: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 8-hazard (Joanna Jedi) (17%, 27 Votes)
  • 9-dilapidated (Suz Blackaby) (83%, 129 Votes)

Total Voters: 156

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  • Robyn Hood Black

    Great work, ladies. Suz, you’ve packed a lot of dilapidated personality and setting into those eight lines! The only thing harder than creating poetry with the clock ticking is having to choose favorites….