REGIONAL FINALS: 8-irksome vs. 6-acknowledge

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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.
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    • 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:

Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day
By Marileta Robinson

do not let
the irksome drone
of morning news
spill your joy
stars shine like berries
in that bowl of Cheerios
juice sings orange
on your plate
a golden sun glows
ripe with hope
this is your day
pull up your chair
and begin


The Vowel Rap
By Cheryl Lawton Malone

Yo! Out there!

We vowels got it going! And we think it’s well worth knowing
that without our sista a, you’d have by instead of bay.

The Snoop Cat known as E says his name in key and me.
When he’s silent, Mr. E will make vowels long for free.

I-Z you should be praising, his kid lit and chime, amazing.
So what’s also going down is he’s got his own pronoun.

My buddy Lil’ O rocks the o in fog and go.
And he loves to change his sound, check out soup, allow and round.

I’m the Puffy U, who’s the fun in tug and blue.
But I share my vowel glue with the double o’s in too.

Acknowledge the knowledge!

Peace out!


8-irksome vs. 6-acknowledge: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 8-irksome (Marileta Robinson) (39%, 119 Votes)
  • 6-acknowledge (Cheryl Lawton Malone) (61%, 184 Votes)

Total Voters: 303

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  • Renee LaTulippe (@ReneeMLaTulippe)

    Ouch! What to do? Marileta, what a great way to start a morning with a poem such as yours full of orange possibilities. Lovely! And Cheryl, as one who edits spelling curricula – YES! Kids will love this. Kudos to both of you!

  • Ed DeCaria

    Cheryl, I double dog dare you to record a video of your vowel rap and send it to me for posting …

  • Cheryl Lawton Malone

    Already in the works – but not me rapping – that would be ridiculous – one of my best friend’s nieces and nephews. Stay tuned!

  • Robyn Hood Black

    Such different poems – much to love in both! Marileta, your “juice sings orange
    possibilities” is wonderful (and another poem with a golden glow this round!), and Cheryl, I’m sure kids wouldn’t mind the vowel lesson tucked in your rap. Well done, ladies!

  • Penny Klostermann

    I, too, love “juice sings orange possibilities”! Cheryl, teachers will be delighted to have a lesson within a rap!

  • Buffy Silverman

    These two are so different, and yet so wonderful! Love the joy, and juice sings orange, Marileta. And I agree–teachers and kids would love this rap, Cheryl.

  • Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

    Oh, I want to read this breakfast poem every single morning. Such a reminder that our outlook is what determines the beauty of a day. Great fun in this vowel poem as well – I get a kick out of poems that play with our funny language. Thank you both! a.

  • Gloson Teh

    Love the line “Acknowledge the knowledge!”. I didn’t know Cheryl can be so serious in her previous “involuntary” poem and so rappy in this one. Can’t wait for the rap video!

    Marileta, what a wonderful, hopeful reminder for each morning. Maybe you should also recite your poem to music! :D

  • Laura Shovan

    Marileta, beautiful poem — a mantra for the morning.

    Cheryl, I like a vowel with attitude.

  • Samuel Kent

    Marileta, your imagery is stunning. Cheryl, I will pay you a whole dollar to record that and post it.

  • Quinette Cook

    A whole dollar, huh, Samuel? That’ll make her rich. Ha, ha. These were two very different poems which is what makes this competition so great and the voting so difficult (and me hungry). Marileta’s poem has a quiet strength to it, evident in her word choice. Cheryl’s poem has an attitude and bounce that makes vowel sounds fun. Perhaps it is the new SchoolHouse Rock?! (Groan. I’m dating myself.)

  • Cheryl Lawton Malone

    You got Samuel! A dollar it is….Thanks to everyone who has commented. This is such a blast!

  • Dave Crawley

    Love the imagery in Marileta’s poem, and tricky wordplay in Cheryl’s. Hmmmm…

  • Linda Boyden

    Lovely and Fun…so hard to choose.

  • Alvaro

    Wonderful poem Marileta!!

  • Marileta Robinson

    Cheryl, I really enjoyed your rap–I think it will become a classic. Congratulations!

    Thanks to all for your kind comments–I feel as if I’ve been in a poetry master class.

  • Cheryl Lawton Malone

    Marileta, it’s been a true pleasure. You’re language is gorgeous. I love your poem. I have a lot to learn!! And thank you to everyone who commented. I’ve been blown away by all the poems. Well done everyone.

  • Buffy Silverman

    Congratulations Marileta on four terrific poems–and looking forward to reading your next one, Cheryl!

  • Damon Dean

    Cheryl, my first thought was ‘someone must record this!’ I hope you get it to Ed to share out loud!
    And Marileta, I will see stars in my Cheerios tomorrow. What a great way to start the day.

  • Renee LaTulippe (@ReneeMLaTulippe)

    Congratulations to both of you for the collective work you’ve contributed in all four rounds – beautiful and impressive. Cheryl, best of luck in the next round – I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. :)