Ed’s Top Ten Favorite March Madness Poetry 2014 Poems: #1

& without further delay, I present to you my #1 favorite poem of March Madness Poetry 2014:


A Letter on Behalf of Ampersand
by Samuel Kent

Dearest teachers & assistants,
Please adhere to this insistence.

It’s our mission to petition –
for its overdue admission:
alphabetical addition
of the letter Ampersand.

Though it neatly nestles nicely
‘twixt the “Y & Z” precisely,
and has a certain function
as a substitute conjunction,
we confess with calm compunction,
it’s abused as merely “and”.

We believe we have a duty
to this hieroglyphic beauty.
Let its usage be expanded:
written right- or leftward-handed,
“a – n – d” is ampersanded!
That’s our solemn, sole demand.

Think of effort we’d be saving
giving sentences a shaving,
making phrases much less “and”-y
& a lot more ampersandy
adding simple, shortened candy
to the words we write by hand.

With accelerated fleetness
we’d complete with nimble neatness
every note or memorandum —
spelling wouldn’t seem as random —
with the ampersand in tandem
at our everyday command.

With respect, we share our letter
for this character that’s better.

Signed sincerely by
& Mir&a
on behalf of Ampersand.


36 hours. That is how much time the authletes have to conceive, draft, edit, and perfect their poems prior to submission. 36 hours.

There are very few people on this planet who can write a poem like this. The fact that Samuel Kent wrote it in less than 36 hours baffles me as much today as it did 11 months ago. And I am not alone in this sentiment. Here are some of the comments left by readers last year in response to this poem:

  • “Ampersand is brilliant and boy! do I wish I’d had the chops to write it! Wowser.”
  • “I found my jaw dropping at the hieroglyphic beauty (and rhythm) of ‘Ampersand'”
  • “Very clever dude (truly, I’m not worthy). To echo Jane Y, this is one I wish I’d o’ written myself.”
  • “For sheer skill and almost excruciating cleverness I’m with Am&a, Br&don, &drew, Alless&ra, R&al, C&ace and Mir&a.”
  • “I think Sam may have started something with this & thing, lol.”

I’ll call special attention to that last quote, not only because it is true (it really is fun to replace the text string “and” with “&”!), but because it came from tournament runner-up J.J. Close, whose poem A Penny For Your Thoughts was creative and fun in its own right, and even won the Classroom Vote in this final matchup, 17-6.

But Ampersand took the Authlete Vote and the Public Vote, earning Samuel Kent the title of March Madness Poetry 2014 Champion and possession of The Thinkier trophy:

The Thinkier Trophy & Ampersand

The Thinkier & “&”. Image from Samuel Kent’s Facebook page.

Click here to see this poem as it originally appeared in #MMPoetry 2014.

March Madness Poetry 2015 begins TOMORROW. Remember, tonight is daylight savings time so 8pm is an hour closer than you realize! Authletes, start your (p)engines …

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  • http://closejj.wix.com/meretricktheworm Josh Close

    & I’ll be making it my goal to write masterfully with concentrated ab&on so that by this years tournaments end, I’ll set my own personal st&ard & be able to hold a c&le to this masterpiece! I’m dead set on getting my h&le on that trophy, as well as my h&s!

  • Samuel Kent

    I can hardly st& the wait! So exciting! Good luck to all of you!