ROUND THREE: 8-minutiae vs. 4-buoyant

r3 8-minutiae vs. 4-buoyant

Click here for authlete instructions.

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.
  • You can only vote once from a given IP address.
    • 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:

Minor Details, Trivia Equal Minutiae
by Jane Yolen

Minute by minute,
The tick-tock of time
Quite overwhelms me.
A victimless crime
Of passion that fashions
A villain of Fluff.
Working me over?
Minutiae stuff!

Minute by minute
I’ll fight to get done
All of my chores
Till I finish each one.
Homework and housework
And work-work and all–
Small moments of mayhem
A trivial brawl.


Before You Ask Me for an Explanation…
by Elizabeth McBride

In science, we talked about floating and sinking
and what “buoyant” means, and it started me thinking…

we could run our own “tests” (my friend Ryan and I),
call it “science,” and play where the creek’s running high

on the way home from school! What a great way to “study”-
throwing things in the water – just me and my buddy!

We tried stones (none would float, but they skipped and they SPLASHED!),
then we tried Ryan’s sandwich he’d sat on and smashed.

Then we blew up the sandwich bag, zipped it real tight
(after adding small rocks so it wasn’t too light),

threw it in – but it caught on a stick in the stream!
And we wanted to free it; you know what I mean?

Well, we’d thrown all we had when I turned round to look –
just as Ryan reached back…and he grabbed my math book!

As it sailed toward the water, I saw my one chance.
I leaped in to save it – and came out with wet pants!


Public Vote (8-minutiae vs. 4-buoyant)
Final Results:
8-minutiae vs. 4-buoyant

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
8-minutiae vs. 4-buoyant
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
8-minutiae vs. 4-buoyant

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  • Mother Streusel

    There is seriously so much talent in this competition. Two extremely great poems! Thanks for making voting so fun and difficult.

  • Quinette Cook

    Great poems. Hmmm, housework and homework. I seem to have a lot of both. Perhaps I could conduct an experiment – leave it and see what happens.

  • Darren Sardelli

    Jane. I love the flow and rhythm of your poem. Beautiful!

    • Gloson

      Elizabeth’s poem had good “flow” too, you know what I mean. =P

      • Darren Sardelli

        You’re a funny one, Gloson!

  • Darren Sardelli

    Elizabeth – fun poem!!! Cute ending!!!

  • Debra Shumaker

    Again, I am in awe. Great work both of you.

  • Margo

    Yes. Awesome group.

  • Buffy Silverman

    Loved both of these–love the sounds in the minutiae poem, and those buoyant boys in the river.

  • Erin

    This was a difficult decision. Both were so great.

  • Jane Yolen

    Getting seasick from the see-saw.. .LOL

  • Jane Yolen

    Getting seasick from the seesaw, from the teeter and the totter.
    Getting whiplash from the roundabout; the race is running hotter.
    If we squeezed a teeny closer, they could call us Siamese twins,
    But we won’t know till much later of the two of us who wins.

    Good luck, Elizabeth and all the authletes.


    • Elizabeth McBride

      Jane! I just saw this! What a great poem! And yes, we were back and forth by one or two for the longest time! Thanks so much for sharing this whole experience! I have truly enjoyed getting to know my fellow Authletes! Best wishes to everyone!

  • Ed DeCaria

    Everybody having fun tonight?

  • Mother Streusel

    OH MY GOSH!!!!! Wow, this was an extremely exciting match up!!! Congratulations to you Elizabeth!!! Beautiful poem!! Jane, you are one of the most prominent people in the field of children’s poetry, and your exceptional poems make it clear why. I was extremely impressed with your work throughout this whole competition!

  • Elizabeth McBride

    Jane, Your poem was great, and you are certainly a formidable contestant! Best wishes to you in your recovery. I hope you will be feeling much better very soon, Most Sincerely, Elizabeth McBride

    • Jane Yolen

      You creamed me, Elizabeth, and won a well-deserved place in the next round. Proud to be beaten by such a fun poem that reads as well as it surprises. Good luck. I will be pulling for you in the round 4.

      And all you other authletes, I intend to keep voting!!! So write well. I’ve got my eye on all of you.


  • Ldegman

    Congrats, Elizabeth – good luck in the next round!

  • Damon Dean

    Elizabeth, the best science experiments are outside the lab! Loved this and lived it too. Will be cheering you on.
    Jane, those small moments seem to overwhelm indeed…you shared it well. Thanks for your inspiration and generosity–time is treasure.