Ed’s Top Ten Favorite March Madness Poetry 2014 Poems: #6 and #5

We are now only five days away from the start of the March Madness Poetry 2015 tournament! Round 1, Flight A words will be unveiled at 8pm CDT on Sunday, March 8th. Today I resume our countdown to the madness with number six and five on my list of top ten favorite poems from #MMPoetry 2014, which just happened to be pitted against each other in Round 4, with a trip to the Final Four hanging in the balance.

 

13-invigorating
Bring on the Bacon
by Samuel Kent

I was built for eating bacon:
that tremendous, tasty treat.
I’ve a greedy need for feeding
on that salty, scrumptious meat.

Its ambrosial, fine aroma!
Its invigorating crunch!
How it frizzles, pops, and sizzles!
How I dream all day to munch!

I’d inhale a hundred slices
then I’d nibble ninety more.
I presume I could consume it
till my guts are gorged and sore.

I could savor all its flavor,
or just gobble it right up.
How unfair, you never share it
with this poor, pathetic pup.

vs.

3-cadence
Counter Intelligence
by Victoria Warneck

Through the sweet-scented night, Missy crept without light,
quite deftly evading surveillance.
Her guards unaware, she escaped down the stairs,
then rapidly quickened her cadence.
With purpose and guile she slinked across tile,
and dared to relocate a chair.
She labored to budge it and inch-by-inch nudge it
adjacent to succulent fare!
Then, using that stool, Missy broke every rule
and flagrantly scampered up high,
where the triumphant robber proceeded to slobber
all over Mom’s blackberry pie.
You don’t have to guess at the scope of the mess
that awaited us all the next morning,
when we found with a fright that our poodle (once white)
had turned purple without any warning!

 

I loved this matchup!

So which one is #6 on my list and which is #5, you ask? Well, if you peruse the comments section of the original matchup, you’ll see that this was a tough choice for many voters. I asked people to explain their choice, and promised that I would do the same. Well, I never did, so now seems as good of a time as any!

As many of you already know, I’ve devised a framework for characterizing and evaluating poetry that I call POEMETRICS™. It is still in its infancy, and I’ve not yet decided what direction to take it next, but for now I find it especially handy when it comes to casting tough votes like this in #MMPoetry. In its simplest form, I rate poems on the following scale:

  • Precision: structure, meter, rhyme, syntax, etc. 2=Perfect, 1=Passable, 0=Pretty Bad.
  • Personality: creative imagery, language, metaphor, etc. 3=Bursting, 2=Fresh, 1=Present, 0=Stale.
  • Power: makes me laugh, cry, think, scream, etc. 4=Wow!, 3=Well Done, 2=Worthwhile, 1=What?, 0=Why …
  • Plus One: something I feel drawn to share for whatever reason. 1=Shared, 0=Did Not Share.

Here is how I rated Samuel’s Bring on the Bacon and Victoria’s Counter Intelligence side-by-side using POEMETRICS™:


BRING ON THE BACON Metric COUNTER INTELLIGENCE Comments
2 Precision 2 Some minor syntax issues in both, but they each still earn the maximum “2” since they were written in under 36 hours.
3 Personality 3 Bring on the Bacon is very tight. I feel like someone is dangling a piece right in front of me as I’m reading it. (Look closely and you can almost make out a strip along the edges!) Counter Intelligence tells a lively story, too, with excellent pacing (cadence?) and well-crafted language.
3 Power 3 Both had strong punchlines to top off already-excellent beginnings and middles. Unfortunately for Counter Intelligence, due to a personal association I initially mistook “Missy” for a person rather than a dog, so the punchline didn’t have the same “first time effect” for me as I imagine it did for others. Still, well done by both.
1 Plus One 0 Not sure why (um, bacon?), but for me personally, I felt more drawn to share Bring on the Bacon than Counter Intelligence. Of course, since they were posted together, I shared them both, but in that moment I’m not sure that I would have shared Counter Intelligence among my family, friends, etc. on its own.
9 Total 8 Though the differences were very slight, I personally preferred Bring on the Bacon, but both poems readily deserved a place side-by-side on my list of 2014 #MMPoetry favorites.

Click here to see these poems as they originally appeared in #MMPoetry 2014, and while you’re at it read the full string of comments to learn more about what goes through other people’s minds when they vote in #MMPoetry, too.


Note to TKT Subscribers: This continues what will be an unusually high frequency period for TKT emails for the next three weeks. After the first two rounds of the tournament are over, emails will resume a more normal pace. But as ever, you may opt out at any time — no hard feelings! Non-subscribers: I invite you to join the TKT mailing list — it’s the best way to stay in touch outside the madness of this particular event.

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  • Damon Dean

    This pair were two of my favorites as well…laugh-out-loud-hungry-hound hilarity.

  • Buffy Silverman

    Both of these poems were wonderful to read aloud–and fun that the stars of both were hungry pups (I especially loved that purple poodle.) Thanks for sharing them again!

  • BJ Lee

    These are great! Fabulous endings on both!

  • Victoria Warneck

    Thanks for including this matchup and for sharing these thoughts, Ed. Fun to see your framework in action! A year later, I appreciate Samuel’s poem even more — so sensory & immediate. I still laugh at the similar subjects and punchlines. Dogs and food were in the creative ether late that night!