View Full Version : Iron Poet X

2010-06-11, 10:07 PM
Welcome to Iron Poet, Round Ten!!


1) Only the first 16 respondants expressing a desire to compete will be the contestants. It IS a first come, first served basis.

2) The contest will consist of a number of rounds pitting 2 randomly determined poets against each other until only one contestant remains (winner).

3) Each matchup will be given a theme, picture, article, subject, or other criteria to write on, and the poem submitted must match this as much as possible. Stricter following of prompts may help you win.

4) The winner as determined by a panel of judges will advance to the next round.

5) In case of a judge or judges not posting judgments in a timely manner, Vaynor will adjudicate and determine the winner.

6) The poems will be limited to 1000 words with a 50 word minimum

7) The entries will be poems. All forms of poetry are acceptable, as long as they meet the required word lengths. If your chosen style is too short, you are free to make two of them, i.e., you may make a limerick with 48 words, then add another limerick, still following the same theme, to reach the required word length.

8) All posted deadlines will given in as much time zones as possible, as labeled.

9) No late entries will be accepted. If you don't post or fail to post by the deadline, you will be disqualified. A 15 minute grace period is allowed. You have one freebie per contest, use it wisely. This allows you to be up to half a day late (12 hours) with your poem (no more).

10) If your entry does not include the article(s) and the picture(s), you will most likely lose because of it, however this will not disqualify your poem, as poems are judged on best use of the prompts.

11) The judgments are final. What the judges decide is how it is.

12) The entries will only include content suitable for the Playground.

13) Anything not clear will be decided by me.

14) The contestants will have 1 week (roughly) from the bracket posting to get their entries posted.

15) Post your poems in spoilers. Judges: do not read poems before the round ends.

16) Feel free to edit the post with your poem in it until the round ends. After that, any additional edits will disqualify you (barring a use of your half-day extension).

17) Judges have 1 week to complete judgments. If not all judges respond by this time, the round will be decided as if the late judges were not a part of it (i.e. if there are 5 judges to begin with and only 3 are on time, the round will be decided with 2 votes as opposed to 3). If there are only an even number of judgments, I will cast the remaining vote.

1. Ravyn (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43424)
2. Rubakhin (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54933)
3. Elvaris (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69302)
4. Alarra (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76283)
5. Truemane (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82545)
6. Devigod (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93376)
7. Alarra (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106066)
8. Devigod (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=119306)
9. Alarra (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=141907)


Lord Loss
The Fiery Tower
Blue Ghost


The Extinguisher


Iron Poet X: Round One

This round we'll be starting off with a single word prompt. Good luck!

Devigod vs. billtodamax: Host
Kurama vs. Elvaris: Harrow
Lord Loss vs. Szilard: Throne
CWater vs. The Fiery Tower: Posterity
drengnikrafe vs. DreamintheDark: Blur
Phoekun vs. Helgraf: Whole
Rutskarn vs. Blue Ghost: Willingness
mrpitchfork vs. Errandir: Part

Deadline: July 2nd, 2010, 11:59 pm (EDT).

2010-06-11, 10:47 PM
I would like to judge.

2010-06-11, 11:10 PM
I shall compete (as a contestant) because judging is extremely hard work! (Not that writing isn't).

2010-06-11, 11:40 PM
I'll compete!

Viera Champion
2010-06-11, 11:45 PM
I'll try my hand at competing.

2010-06-12, 08:00 AM
I'll compete.

Lord Loss
2010-06-12, 09:04 AM
I will compete.

2010-06-12, 11:28 AM
I definitely feel like competing again.:smallcool:

2010-06-12, 01:14 PM
Hi! I'd like to compete. I'm not a very experienced poet nor a native English, but I'd still like to try.:smalltongue:

2010-06-12, 02:27 PM
I think I'll compete again.

2010-06-14, 11:35 PM
Your honors, I beg that you give me another try at this contest.

2010-06-14, 11:44 PM
I wish to join. May I?

2010-06-15, 09:05 AM
Wishing to compete, for the very final time.

2010-06-15, 11:37 AM
Sign me in.

2010-06-16, 01:31 PM
Sign me up, poetoman.

Blue Ghost
2010-06-16, 01:43 PM
If there's room, I'd like to compete. I will probably fail horribly though... :smallsigh:

2010-06-16, 02:09 PM
I fear I may have scared away all the judges with my post. :smalltongue:

2010-06-16, 03:56 PM
Not all the judges.

2010-06-16, 05:07 PM
Well I meant the other two-four potential judges (although hopefully they will soon become ex-potential judges).

2010-06-16, 06:37 PM
Well I meant the other two-four potential judges (although hopefully they will soon become ex-potential judges).

I'm on it.

*organises a hitman to take them out*

The Extinguisher
2010-06-16, 10:02 PM
Wow. I was going to compete but then it filled up really really really fast.

I guess I could try judging this round.

2010-06-16, 11:48 PM
There are still two competitor spots available. But you can judge, I don't mind. :smallbiggrin:

The Extinguisher
2010-06-16, 11:56 PM
This is me skimming the thread :smallredface:

But no, I'll still judge. It should be interesting to be on the other side this time around.

2010-06-17, 12:24 AM
Ech, I'll be a contestant.

2010-06-18, 07:07 PM
I think I'll take the last contestant's spot, then. Although if anyone else shows up at the last minute wanting to compete, I'd be happy to try my hand at judging instead.

2010-06-19, 06:13 PM
Well, here you guys are again. Unfortunately I will be away for five weeks without internet, so maybe next time :)

2010-06-22, 01:04 PM
We need some more judges, everyone! Let's get this thing started!

2010-06-23, 05:15 PM
I would like to judge.

2010-06-24, 08:44 AM
Ok then, we're good to go for the first round. I'll post it later today.

2010-06-24, 11:56 PM
I forgot how this thing sort of just inches forward, but for how much it causes my creative juices to flow, and me to push myself, it's totally worth it.

2010-06-25, 01:23 PM
Iron Poet X: Round One

This round we'll be starting off with a single word prompt. Good luck!

Devigod vs. billtodamax: Host
Kurama vs. Elvaris: Harrow
Lord Loss vs. Szilard: Throne
CWater vs. The Fiery Tower: Posterity
drengnikrafe vs. DreamintheDark: Blur
Phoekun vs. Helgraf: Whole
Rutskarn vs. Blue Ghost: Willingness
mrpitchfork vs. Errandir: Part

Deadline: July 2nd, 2010, 11:59 pm (EDT).

2010-06-26, 01:37 AM
Oh damn, I've got to face Phoe in Round 1.

Was hoping to run into her later on... ... say Round 3 or 4.

The Extinguisher
2010-06-26, 04:39 AM
I'm excited. But also forgetful. But fear not, because I marked the deadline on my calender.

I was going to say something.
Oh yeah. Good luck :smallbiggrin:

Blue Ghost
2010-06-26, 11:14 AM
My very first match is against Rutskarn? Ooh boy.
... I am willing.

Viera Champion
2010-06-26, 11:40 AM
What definition of harrow?

2010-06-26, 04:11 PM
Any.white text

Viera Champion
2010-06-27, 08:17 AM
Okely dokely.^_^

Blue Ghost
2010-06-28, 12:25 PM
As I am going to be away when the deadline comes, I'm posting my poem early, if that's all right.
Prompt: Willingness

When I was but a little child, there came to me a call,
A voice that softly spoke to me, still and sweet and small:

ďAre you willing?
To give your all until you have no more to give?
To lay down your life that you may truly live?
To walk in trust and hope when your eyes fail to see?
To give your very soul in love and charity?
To fight your inner demons each and every day?
To walk not with the multitudes, but choose a better way?
To struggle with the evil one, and fight the noble fight?
To flee temptation everywhere, and always choose the right?Ē

My heart was filled with wondrous joy, burning bright and clear.
I gave my answer strong and loud, despite my doubt and fear:
ďI am willing.Ē

For many years Iíve walked the path, righteousness my cause;
Iíve tasted glorious victory, as well as bitter loss.
Many times Iíve failed to love, my promise could not keep.
My weakness haunts me day and night, in waking and in sleep.
Other voices scream at me, shrill and sharp and strong,
Telling me to change my course, trying to steer me wrong.
My spark is slowly dying out, my passion all but gone,
I do not know how I will find the strength to carry on.

I feel I have no more to give, my spiritís set to fall;
But still that voice doth speak to me, still and sweet and small:
ďíTis not time to slumber now, the fight is still not won,
There remains much work to do, the race has just begun!

ďAre you willing?
To be led by your calling where you do not wish to go?
To descend into the darkest depths, there your light to show?
To do whatever Good demands, no matter what the cost?
To be not proud in victory, and keep your joy in loss?
To ever be alert and watch for the enemy within?
To not give up when you may fall, but rise and try again?
To work for peace but fight for right, justice to defend?
To persevere and run the race until the very end?Ē

My spiritís willing, but my flesh is weak and tired and lame;
I plead for strength of heart that I may answer just the same:
ďI am willing.Ē

2010-06-30, 08:12 AM
.... you didn't link this in the last contest thread? :smallfrown:
I wanted to judge this time. Ah well, one of the judges will probably not show up anyway. :smallwink:

2010-06-30, 04:45 PM
Sorry Alarra, I'll make sure to do that next time, it didn't occur to me (I assumed people that check that thread would see this one). I guess you were subscribed to the last one?

If another judge shows up you could always judge, as well. Or maybe I'll fill in the last spot to make an odd five. Like you said, one of them most likely won't show up anyways. :smallwink:

2010-06-30, 08:57 PM
If the even number is the issue, I could provide the fifth.

I mean, you're both right, someone else will no-show anyway, making the whole process moot. But best to be prepared.

2010-07-01, 01:45 AM
Sounds great! Thanks Truemane. :smallsmile:

2010-07-01, 12:42 PM
Promt: Throne
I haven't really titled any of my poems, but I might as well start now.
How about...
The Dragon

It is said,
That there was once a great dragon,
But while you lie in bed,
It really wasn't too much fun.

Especially for the King,
Though he had been trained as a knight,
he had way too much bling,
So the dragon picked a fight.

First it ate some cows and sheep,
Just to gain some strength,
All the villagers said "Meep!"
When they saw the dragons length.

It was a hundred feet head to toe,
The wingspan doubly so,
And while the readied his bow,
He aimed a bit too low.

The dragon ate him,
And his little dog too,
Munching on each limb,
Turning them into goo.

It headed to the fort,
Where the King resides,
He would not abort,
The knights brought shields to their sides.

It was a magnificent beast,
If the knights defeated it,
They'd get a gigantic feast,
But the fire was lit.

With flames fifty feet,
Many knights went down,
The dragon was hard to beat,
It even ate the Queen's gown.

The King would not surrender,
With swing after swing,
He was no mere land-lender,
He was the King!

He swung there,
He cut here,
The blood was everywhere,
He could really go for some beer.

The dragon was finished,
It had nothing to say,
Though the King had wished,
It didn't just lay.

He stabbed his sword,
The dragon gave one last moan,
The King was still a lord,
And sat on his throne.

Viera Champion
2010-07-01, 03:11 PM
I won't show, for the competition... I must drop out... No time...:frown:
Maybe I can join the next one...

2010-07-01, 04:10 PM
Prompt: Blur
Title: Him.... I'm not good at titling(?) poems.
The picture came,
Quickly fading from sight.
Lines disappear, blending together.
The arms began to blur.
Next the torso. It left suddenly.
The legs went next.
Slowly fading into oblivion,
Joining the arms and the torso.
The face started to leave.
The nose and mouth, gone.
The ears and the hair slipped away.
The eyes stayed.
The bright, beautiful, blue eyes.
Never stopped looking. Never faded away.
There forever.
Always looking
Always showing what he really wanted.

2010-07-01, 04:20 PM
Are you allowed to edit, if you submitted BEFORE the deadline?
I can't remember.

2010-07-01, 05:07 PM
If the edit is also before the deadline.

2010-07-02, 03:34 AM
I won't show, for the competition... I must drop out... No time...:frown:
Maybe I can join the next one...

You still have about 30 hours to complete your poem, if you hurry. That is, if you use your extension. I'd prefer all poems to get in, if possible.

If the edit is also before the deadline.

Precisely. I will check your edit time at the end of the competition.

Less than a day remaining and 3 poems completed. Come on, everyone!

2010-07-02, 02:02 PM
Oh god DAMN I totally forgot I signed up for this.

Well, better get to work.

Also, Vaynor: I'm guessing it's not, but your avatar looks a lot like Matt "Dr. Death" Jackson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q723dk9-Jj0).

2010-07-02, 02:43 PM
Hm, there is indeed a resemblance. My avatar is based off of a painting by Clive Barker, however. Good luck finishing in time! It's because of people like you that I have to send those PMs out in the first place. :smallwink:

Viera Champion
2010-07-02, 03:17 PM
Well Vaynor convinced me against dropping out. So despite my limited time to do this, I hope I win.^_^

The Torture of an enemy
You've messed with my mind
You've harrowed my soul
You have stayed young
While I have grown old

Your existence tortures me
As mine does to you
We live in constant agony
So we can see it through

This harrowed mind
This harrowed soul
What will you find?
Will you be full?

You shouldn't venture to far in
My mind will snare you in it's trap
We have both caused mighty sin
We've created many gaps

And with my dying breath I say
"Curse your name upon this day"
And curse I did
And you ended

2010-07-02, 05:28 PM

I know the guilt is in your gut, and every time you tug to pull it free
It clings the stronger.
I will do try to do what you cannot;
I will show you what you do not see, and put you at rest
As best as I may.

You think I do this thing for you.
You think that, at the cusp of my triumph,
Standing before a golden chorus with sweet music in my ears,
Only the gravity of a single step between me and a host of glories without end, I stand;
And then, I see your face in my mindís eye,
Standing behind,
Away from the lights and the song,
And that my warm blood chills.
You think I close my eyes,
Let go my aspirations in a single gust,
And turn, as a man to the gallows,
To you,
And count the painful seconds before the chorus drifts away
And the music is gone forever.

This is what you think I do.
Were I you, and you me,
I would feel no different. It would be you addressing me,
You speaking the truth my guilty heart would not allow me to accept.

It is this:
I do not make this choice for you.
There is nothing I would not do for you, but this, I do for myself.
I am not condemning myself to dust, tea,
And a thousand regrets that linger like the smell of mold
In a suburban home too long stagnant,
All for your benefit.
It is regret that I am turning away from;
I choose joy.
I choose your warmth, and your eyelashes,
And the smell of your hair and the words you spoke,
That night, when the heater broke down
And the power went out
And we had only whispers in the night.
That was when I made my choiceó
That was when I knew that this was enough.
A moment with you, in the silence and the dark;
That was enough.

Lord Loss
2010-07-02, 06:16 PM
Due to an event in my personal life, I will no longer be able to participate in this contest. I sincerely apologize.

2010-07-02, 08:08 PM
Prompt: Host
Imagine here now, if ye will:
In frigid winds and sullen lands,
A coronated lowland hill,
Repurposed by coarse human hands.

A highway leads, with moon in tow,
A traveler, alone by sight,
Who frontier flanked, and cooked in snow,
Makes steady progress, through the night.

But lo and mark, he's not alone.
With weary feet and death beside,
A temple hearth, entombed in bone
Sounds murmured drums to match his stride.

But now an omen does attest,
Or rather air, with smoke implies:
That o'er the next 'ere hilltop crest,
A settlement may yet arise.

And 'fore he reaches the next crown,
There 'fore his wayward, weary eyes:
A lonely, placid cottage sown
Affords the quest-less errant prize.

A knocker greets him, brazen-faced,
Obliged and fearful, will it chime.
For swift refusal, vagrant braced,
And met the dweller, omen-blind.

For whereas sight could brand define,
And know the bearer was to fear,
The host, for one, could not divine.
The nomad entered, undeterred.

He treated host with kindly thanks,
His feet were washed and clothes replaced.
He ate fair spice with stewed flock shanks,
And left his host with kind embrace.

So Cain the wanderer bid farewell,
To join the weary road again.
And host resumed to merely dwell
In Nod, just east of fair Eden.

For branded killer though he was,
The road had taught him how to grieve.
He'd only slain by maker's flaws;
And each and all deserve reprieve.

Man, between grad parties (others, as well as my own), birthdays (18 now) and packing for the cottage, I'm amazed I got this done on time.

2010-07-02, 09:17 PM
If I'm past the deadline then I guess I'll use my extension.

Warning: This gets a bit profane towards the end.

Prompt: Host
Quick they're arriving, Quick they're arriving!
Set the table, knife fork spoon!
Someone toss the salad, someone toss the salad!
Oh fine, you know you'll do it anyway.
Go let them in, go let them in!
You can't just leave them waiting at the door!
Nothing must go wrong, nothing must go wrong!
This is your big chance, you can't blow it!
Everything's fine, everything's fine,
the party's going well, without incident.
Oh god what's this, oh god what's this?!
It's a disaster, everything's ruined!
See how they sneer, see how they sneer!
Whispering cruel insults, pretending you can't hear.
Look at them leave, look at them leave!
You worthless piece of garbage, thinking you could hold a party for them!
Useless b*tch, useless b*tch!
The night's a terrible failure!
Clean it up, clean it up,
you miserable piece of sh*t!
Disgusting woman, disgusting woman.
How could you even consider yourself as good as them?!

2010-07-02, 09:27 PM
Prompt: Harrow

A horrifying spectacle
Still preys upon my mind
More viscera, more bloodshed
Than you shall ever find.

The screams of shock and horror
Will not leave my ear.
Yet harrowing my soul
With their cold and chilling fear.

My mind cried at the senselessness
Of what I had beheld
While innocents lay dying
And goodly men were felled

A cruel and bitter ending
Left all involved with scars.
The screen has never seen the like!
A tour de force! Four stars!

2010-07-02, 11:03 PM
We came in through the front door,
All five of us, in Davis clothes.
But you felt like a shepherd there;
You felt like you were greater than those,
Like your words perfumed the air.

My friend came in, heart crying,
You would have seen it, but apathy.
You covered your eyes with a fake smile,
"Complete my control I control my symphony",
You always hurt, no caution, denial.

And then I saw my hands, my words.
It tasted different but I could.
I saw you tear ourselves apart.
I knew today, now, today I would,
Take apart, no longer be a part.

Took myself away, the binding away,
Your hurt away, the people recover.
Hate and fear suddenly drift, disappear,
Apocalypse visions gone, the lost found lovers,
Minds in their place, no need for fear.

But running away, distant talks,
Pulling away, isolation, and with it,
Abyss, or something more like fire.
One will find his sanity's limit,
But he will, self-directed, be a liar.

And to the man who rent ourselves apart,
I wish only for Ego to leave your heart.

2010-07-02, 11:09 PM
Prompt: Part
Here where autumn's deep aroma
Meets the raindrop's shimm'ring hue,
Lies a figure, calm and languid
Eyes turned toward the cloudless blue,
While the daylight melts to pallor
And the grass-stalks bend with dew.

Evening falls in velvet ribbons
Sloping softly through the trees,
Lighting all the lithe-winged glowflies
As they flicker in the breeze,
E'en the scattered wildflowers
Furl their bids with practiced ease.

In the calm that unalertness
Folds upon the half-closed eye,
Lies the figure yet, in stillness,
Save perhaps for one soft sigh,
Gazing upward, ever upward
Toward the endless evening sky.

Here where thick dark blue-black shadows
Mute each color's vibrant flame,
Light and all clear definition
Fade from whence the figure came:
Human, grass-stalk, tree, and flower,
In the night seem all the same.

2010-07-02, 11:24 PM
I will have to use my freebie I'm afraid, the poem will be here shortly.

EDIT: :smalltongue:Here it is, it's still a little...unpolished, but I don't have more time:smallfrown:


Because of him
They are feared
They are hated
They are hunted
Because of him

Even though it was lifetimes ago
A thousand sun's dances ago
The people of the land still remember

How he tore apart the ground
Drived wild the sky
Killed children in their cradles
Enslaved the poor people

That is what he did, that's what stories tell
And the people know, it has to be true
And hate claims ground
And they are perscuted
Those that are of his blood

They are witches, anyone can see it
Their skin is pale and their eyes are dark
Like a moonless night
And they wander through the land in their black robes
And death is what they bring
But when one of their kind dies
The bells of the tower will ring

Like on that day long time ago
When died the original evil
When his body was hacked to pieces
And banished was the devil

Without the one brave woman
Would darkness have consumed the land
Without her will and courage
Would it all have been lost

And thus those with cursed eyes
Are feared
And hated
And hunted
Because of him
And her

And the bells ring
Ding Dong Ding Dong Ding Dong
Ding Dong...

Throughout a millenia
Has this dance been going on
In the ballroom of time
With this haughty melody for music

And one day, only one remains
The one who hid from the shadow
All his life
But when the land drinks the last drops of blood
An innocent soul cracks
Eyes turn cold and all his feelings flee
Only one emotion stays behind
Guess which one it is

2010-07-03, 02:22 AM
Not sure if this was on time or not, but I technically did file for extension.

Prompt: Whole

Rheumy Relations

See me, who I am.
Not as I hobble here
Worn and rheumy, eyes unclear

See me, who I am.
Not as I shake and stare
Torn and gloomy, memory spear'd

See me, who I am.
Not left and bereft
Mourning, moody, forgetful fears.

Who am I, you see?
More than just a stitchery
morbid flesh, dying mind
these are what I'm left behind

But also strength and quiet grace
Passion's kiss to lead a chase
to hidden valley, treasured shrine
fiery moments yours and mine

So love, though the flesh is old
If I may dare, and be so bold
To state it clear as my true goal
To cleave to you, be once more ... whole.

2010-07-03, 03:19 AM
You don't have to file for an extension, if you post your poem late it will simply be noted that yours has been used up.

Man, between grad parties (others, as well as my own), birthdays (18 now) and packing for the cottage, I'm amazed I got this done on time.

:smallbiggrin: Happy birthday, I just turned 18 recently as well.

2010-07-03, 04:43 AM
Prompt: Posterity

A man turns twenty-five today,
which is about the time, they say,
this man will maybe find a spouse.
These two will then combine their things,
and both will be exchanging rings,
and both will live inside one house.
You may think that this act is small,
and really won't be much at all.
(With billions on earth, itís true.)
But this man may then have two sons,
who, in turn, have other ones,
and also theyíll have children too.
Increasing exponentially,
the amount of his posterity
will number hundreds, maybe more.
Now even that might not be much
but hundreds more lives each will touch.
The number of lives affected will soar.
His actions, his personality
What he does, will probably
affect everyone I've said before.
This man will just live out his life,
Oblivious that all his strife,
will transcend to so much more.

2010-07-03, 04:53 AM
The suspense is killing me!

Plus I really wanna read Devi's poem.

2010-07-03, 05:09 AM
Sorry I'm late with this. I was away from my computer all of today (by that I mean the second, not the third, which I suppose it technically is), and it was just today (still the second) that I got finished with it. I apologize on the lateness, I use my freebie. I'll be more prompt next time, I swear.
So, without further ado...
Prompt: Blur.
Poem: Dancer
As all the people cheer
she stands upon a stage
dressed in beautiful clothes
hers is the perfect life

The spotlights shining down
the glitter in her hair
she begins to twirl
it all becomes a blur

The black and white shades of her soul
fade to grey in the whirlwind
the people only hear laughter
the people only see the show

A hundred thousand heartbreaks
hide beneath her mask
A lifetime of resentment
lurks beneath her clothes

There is none who can see through the blur.

2010-07-03, 10:01 AM
I think at this point it's safe to say I'm not going to make it.

Not going to make excuses. I allowed myself to become distracted, and didn't allow myself enough time to get the prompt to work for me.

Still working on it, but at my rate of progress I don't think I'm going to make it under the wire. I'm very sorry, Helgraf and everyone.

edit: officially out of time now. Just as well. I wasn't close.

2010-07-03, 10:53 AM
:smallbiggrin: Happy birthday, I just turned 18 recently as well.

Thanks! You too. :smallwink:

Plus I really wanna read Devi's poem.

It's pretty much okay to read it after the deadline+extension. (Which I think would be around 8 mins from now), but honestly, I don't mind if you want to check it out now. I doubt you'll change your poem at the last second based on what you find and the competition is supposed to be about the poetry anyway.

2010-07-03, 12:36 PM
Spoilered to keep judges away:

Elvaris, that was one of the funniest things I've read in a while. :smalltongue:

2010-07-04, 01:14 AM
I think at this point it's safe to say I'm not going to make it.

Not going to make excuses. I allowed myself to become distracted, and didn't allow myself enough time to get the prompt to work for me.

Still working on it, but at my rate of progress I don't think I'm going to make it under the wire. I'm very sorry, Helgraf and everyone.

edit: officially out of time now. Just as well. I wasn't close.


I wants rematch. This not fair "last time". *sage nod*

2010-07-04, 05:17 PM
I think at this point it's safe to say I'm not going to make it.

Not going to make excuses. I allowed myself to become distracted, and didn't allow myself enough time to get the prompt to work for me.

Still working on it, but at my rate of progress I don't think I'm going to make it under the wire. I'm very sorry, Helgraf and everyone.

edit: officially out of time now. Just as well. I wasn't close.

Write it anyway. Art isn't just for contests you know!

The Extinguisher
2010-07-07, 05:40 PM
So I've had a very busy weekend, and I'm only able to look at poems starting today. I promise I'll have the results up as soon as possible.

2010-07-07, 10:42 PM
No worries. Having officially experienced it from the judge's side of the board, the first round is always the most daunting/toughest because of its size.

We're patient pandas.

2010-07-08, 02:29 PM
Okay. General notes. There was some really quality work in this round. It's nice to see so much structured verse and nice to see so many poets taking risks and trying out unusual things. So, great work everyone.

I'm going to apologize if my critiques aren't as in-depth or as long as maybe they've been in the past. I'd forgotten how much work it is to this job the right way and time is ever and forever my enemy. I'll spend more time on each piece as the number of them decreases in future rounds.

If anyone would like any further commentary on their entry, feel free to PM me and I'll do what I can.

And all that's left to say is...


Devigod vs. billtodamax
Prompt: Host


This one was good. Better than some of the others I've seen from you, Devi. We've talked about your tendency to get lost in your grammatical digressions and the cost-benefit analysis of over/under punctuating and about the way you seem to obscure meaning intentionally.

But there wasn't any of this here. The diction and word usage are arcane, for sure and the grammar quite convoluted, but it's quite understandable for all that, and even quite fluid.

My favourite bit is this:

But now an omen does attest,
Or rather air, with smoke implies:
That o'er the next 'ere hilltop crest,
A settlement may yet arise.

I love that second line. A conditional clause and then another subconditional, then back to the dependant clause in the third line, and away, and all of it looking and sounding like people do it every day.

Cool beans. And I admit, when at the end it was Cain, I said, in my head, 'Awesome.' Didn't see it coming, but wraps the whole thing up very well, and your conclusion is interesting and valid.

Sole regret: I might have liked the host's choice to accept Cain into his home to have had some weight and meaning. Maybe there was some darkening of the sky to indicate it was a bad idea, or maybe make it clear that he let the guy in, even knowing he was Cain and marked by God.

And that last stanza could very well be said by the host himself, since as the one and only value judgment in a poem exclusively built on physical description, it could naturally be someone's opinion, commenting on the experience the narrator has just presented.

But other than that, nice work. Thank you.


I'm sorry, bill, but I didn't like this one at all. It opens with a bunch of neutral declarations that neither reveal the scene nor offer any commentary on it. The refrain-like repetition n every second line makes the piece feel stilted and halting when some free-flowing energy might actually have helped some.

And then, right at end, when the evening turns, the language grows harsh and abusive. And you haven't done anything, said anything, indicated or revealed anything that would earn the chance to use that kind of language and so, to me, it comes off as exploitative. Or attention-seeking. Certainly there's nothing here, no character trait or slant or angle on the material from which that kind of language grows organically. So it feels just tacked on. For effect. Like you didn't have anything else to add so you figured some bad words would be cool. Like an explicit sex scene in an otherwise PG movie.

And your conclusion doesn't work. What indication have we had that the woman in question thinks she's 'better than them?' This is clearly the narratorís party, the narrator's event, the narrator's reputation on the line and the narrator feels himself to be the victim here. Same with 'This is your big chance, you can't blow it!' I'm pretty sure this narrator would say 'This is MY big chance, you can't blow it!'

Otherwise he wouldn't talk like that in the opening and middle sections. If it really had been her party, her guests, he would have stood back, away from the action, commenting on how many ways she'll screw it all up. And, in not helping at all, might very well have contributed to the party failing, and then, when it did, he would have launched into his diatribe about how he knew it all the time.

That might have made a poem. But this one, as it stands, is a total misfire.



Kurama vs. Elvaris
Prompt: harrow


The Torture of an enemy

Too much and not enough. This piece feels to me like you had something specific and simple to say and then went about deliberately obfuscating it in 'poetry' so that it would be harder to understand. And so, instead of a specific experience or thought or idea expressed in evocative terms, you have a string of circumlocutions that don't communicate anything much at all.

What's this about? Domestic abuse? Grudges? Clan wars? Maybe you say it's about all of them, but it has to be about something before it can be about everything.

Also, small thing, you use the word 'harrowed' at least one time too many. If you're going to go with '...harrowed mind ...harrowed soul' then I'd strike it from the first stanza. It's a strange word and the repetition is awkward.

There's some neat stuff in this one, to be sure, Kurama, but overall I'd have to call it a misfire.


Hey. Nice work, Elvaris. This one's really good. The last time we spoke you submitted two pieces that were outside your comfort zone, soon after you mentioned you were trying to stretch yourself. And I felt bad because I didn't think either one really worked (although I respect, then and now, the effort).

This one really worked for me. It's your standard clever, well-structured, stream-lined verse and then, right when we're comfortable and in the groove, you hit us with the kicker. And it's a good kicker. Quick, simple, fun, but forces us to re-evaluate everything that came before.

Have you ever heard of Odgen Nash? He was a very popular poet in the 40's and 50's. Your verse reminds me a lot of his: it sounds like it's just silliness and nonsense (and in fact Nash himself dismissed his own work as 'doggerel') but when in fact many of his poems are almost perfect little marriages of form and content.

Anyway, I liked this one a lot.



Szilard vs. Lord Loss
Prompt: Throne


The Dragon

Hehe. Cute. Really cute. Even clever at times. I liked how the semi-serious theme sort of sneaks its way in there and plays against the silliness. While everyone's saying MEEP and going for beer the king is saddened and lessened by the necessity of slaying something beautiful and pure.

Good stuff.

The thing that hurts this piece is the rhythm. Or, rather, the lack thereof. There's no consistency in the syllables or the beat and it hurts the flow and the imagery and makes the rhymes feel tacked on and extraneous. which is why, in poetry, you see a lot more structured, unrhymed verse than the opposite.

And if your tone is going to be light and silly, rhythm is essential. Give it a good, hard beat, and your start reading it like a nursery rhyme in your head, which is all to the good. And especially, especially, since you put the silly bit at the end of each stanza. That way, the beat kind of leads you forward and adds weight to the words and images.

One thing I would recommend for you, next round, is to read your poem out loud when you think you're done. And then, when you think it's done after that, get someone else to read it out loud. You'll find other people read it differently than it sounds inside your head. Listening to where you've cheated on words and beats and tweaking after will work wonders for the nitpicky job of polishing and tightening the flow.

But it was fun. Good times.

Lord Loss

No entry


Szilard, by default.

Cwater vs. The Fiery Tower
Prompt: Posterity


This isn't a bad piece, Cwater, but it's a weak one. I get what you're saying and I can even groove on how you present it, but the language is neither particularly vivid nor specific and the structure is similarly haphazard. I don't get the feeling that you put a lot of thought into the exact words you used, or into how they lie on the page.

And so the result is... okay.

What could make it better? Specificity. Show us what happened millennia ago with some vivid pictures. Give us a story. And then, instead of just talking about the fallout, show it to us in a couple of short scenes. Just snapshots, like.

And then, at the end, show us the last one left. Give us an idea of who he is and why he is and what it all means. And then let us make our own conclusions.

The Fiery Tower

What a demented little rhyme scheme you've concocted for us. And I think it works really well for this material. The 'bookend rhymes' almost force you read the internal couplets quickly as a unit, like the short lines in a limerick and that drives the piece forward and gives it a lot of momentum it might not otherwise have had. And momentum and energy are what the piece needs. As a sombre meditation it would have been plodding and dry. As a quick and headlong rush it's fun and entertaining.

Simple idea, given a good, solid execution. It is what it is and it works quite well.

Only note for improvement is that you should pay more attention to the rhythm. It's inconsistent and uneven and hurts the forward thrust that you create with the rhyme.

I've given this advice before, but whenever you write structured verse your final few steps in polishing should be reading it out loud and then getting someone else to read it out loud. Helps immeasurably.

Good one.


The Fiery Tower

PhoeKun vs. Helgraf
Prompt: Whole


No entry.


Rheumy Relations

Is this about an old guy hitting on a young chick? I was there with you on my first read-through. The idea that the elderly / disabled are more than they appear is a good one and none the worse for having been done before.

But passion's kiss? Hidden valley? Fiery moments? I was kind of assuming these to be memories, especially as 'hidden valley' and 'treasured shrine' both easily lend themselves to oblique sexual references. But we were still okay. And then, in the last stanza, the narrator says he/she wants to hang out with the young person and be whole again? 'State it clear as my true goal'? That sounds downright creepy, especially with the word 'cleave' which has alternate meanings that are less than comfortable in this context.

Not to mention the word 'relations' in the title, which lends itself to less-than-oblique sexual references.

Maybe that was what you doing. Being creepy. Or maybe I'm completely over-thinking things. Either is equally likely.

But what we need here is a narrative, I think. Some kind of structure to hang the stanzas from. To give them shape. For example, you've got three 'See me, who I am' stanzas, each of which describe a something he's NOT in sensuous (meaning derived from the senses, not 'sensual') terms. Which is good. But then we only have one 'Who am I, you see?' stanza, in abstract and non-sensuous terms.

Why can't we have three and three? All concrete physical description? And if you're looking to be creepy, add your creepy in there so it kind of suffuses everything and doesn't pop up at the end.

Or maybe you have one NOT trait and one REAL ME trait in each. Same end. But it's the sense of structure that's missing here.

Also, stanzas two and three don't rhyme for no reason I can ascertain. If you're going to set up a scheme, you should only ever change it for specific reasons. Make it all rhyme, or none of it. Half-and-half is distracting.

So. Kind of creepy. But pretty good, all-in-all. Especially if all the creepy was intentional.


Helgraf, by default.

Blue Ghost vs. Rutskarn
Prompt: Willingness

Blue Ghost

Oh, man. You like walking the line, don't you? I read your entry with a sort of tense creeping dread, expecting you to walk over the line. But you kept it this side of the TOU. Barely, but enough.

Anyway, all that aside, very nice piece, BG. Tight. Controlled. Well-constructed, well-executed. It takes a simple and direct idea and communicates it in a way that is just ornate enough to suit its own purpose. Also, in the interests of full disclosure, as someone who once fervently walked a path very much like the one you describe, I responded to it on a deep and personal level.

My only regret is that there's no movement in the piece. The second set of questions is much like the first and therefore neither reveals or indicates any growth or change or development in the speaker who answers 'I am willing' both times.

What would the voice say to a child or young person (youth in this case can be either literal or figurative - it serves the same purpose)? And what would that voice say to a full-grown person with a few years hard, hard experience with the difficulty in maintaining principles in the face of practicality? I suspect that the two experiences would be very different. And therefore when the narrator responded the same to both sets of queries, it would be deeper and more resonant.

Also, minor note, this is the kind of piece that resists overly poetic language. I'd get rid of the 'doth speak to me' and replace it with a good old fashioned 'does speak to me.' Or something similar.

But that aside, it was a well-done piece. I hope to see more from you.



This is quite a different direction for you, isn't it? One of the real pleasures of being involved in these contests over time is that you get see writers develop and stretch their poetic muscles. Like this.

And let me tell, the end of this piece is so strong, so powerful, so delicate and wonderful, that it does the double-edged duty of closing it out with a bang and yet also showing up the artifice and weakness of the opening.

This is a piece that cries out for the vernacular. Read that last stanza to yourself once or twice. Note how there's nothing in there that you wouldn't say in a half-drunk late-night phone call. Nothing in there any guy off the street wouldn't say trying to communicate the same thing.

And all the same, can you feel the emotion in it? I can. That last stanza stuck a cold little ice-pick through my heart when I read it. That a man's entire life can be distilled to a single moment of perfect happiness and made to stand for everything before and after. Beautiful.

Now, compare to the opening stanzas. Especially the second. All that high-falootin' poet talk hurts the piece. It takes the experience and, instead of evoking it, it hides under all the verbiage until it's distant and faded and lost. Give this a re-write. Remove all the 'cusp of my triumph' and the 'golden chorus' business and take all that and boil it down to a single over-riding image. What victories is he turning away from? What triumphs? What is he giving up? And why does he have to make the choice? If she loved him, wouldn't she be willing to wait/sacrifice until he could have both? I know I would.

Tell us what's going on there. In simple, direct, evocative terms. Trim down the transitions (stanza three can pretty much be reduced to 'This is what you think' and folded into the end of the previous or the start of the next. And I think stanza one can just go. Start with 'You think I do this thing for you.." and hit it.

Also, contractions. Nothing makes a poem feel more informal and direct than contractions. No one ever uses them. But consider the difference:

It is this:
I do not make this choice for you.
There is nothing I would not do for you, but this, I do for myself.
I am not condemning myself to dust, tea,
And a thousand regrets...


It is this:
I don't make this choice for you.
There's nothing I wouldn't do for you, but this, I do for myself.
I'm not condemning myself to dust, tea,
And a thousand regrets...

Huge difference. Huge. From just a few minor tweaks suddenly we're listening to a real guy telling a real story and not just some poem.

If you happen to try the re-write, post it if you like, or PM it to me. I'd be happy to take a second look at it.

Otherwise, nice work. And good job walking outside what I perceive to be your comfort zone.


Just like the World Cup, there's always at least one bracket that has two poets I'd like to advance. I think these were two of the strongest entries in the round and I'd like to compliment you both.

But I have to pick one.

Rutskarn. Despite my ambivalence about his opening, the depth and power of his closing as well as the complexity of the experience he was trying to articulate, wins him the round.

But if I could, I'd call this one a tie.

mrpitchfork vs. Errandir
Prompt: Part


I read this one a few times, just to make sure that I had the gist of what you're trying to say. And, although on my first read-through I confess I didn't think much of it, a few reads later and I like it a little more. To borrow a line from Somerset Maugham, it improves upon acquaintance.

Now, that being said, I think you shoot yourself in the foot as often as you don't in this piece. You punctuate heavily, and not according to the usual rules. Sometimes that works, but in this piece I think it's a distraction. Like:

My friend came in, heart crying,
You would have seen it, but apathy.

That's not a sentence. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the flow of language is informal enough to suggest regular speech patterns and so I'm left wondering 'but apathy what?'

And you do that a lot. Use periods at the ends of lines where maybe no punctuation at all might have worked better. Let the natural pause at the end of the line serve as your rest without breaking up language so much.

Similarly, while I'm all for ambiguity, I think this might have benefited from some clarity and immediacy of purpose. If we knew, at the outset, what was happening and why, we might feel more sympathy, be able to identify with the characters more, and might have a better chance to digest the way you present the material rather than spend our time trying to work out what the material is.

On the other hand, I very much enjoyed your feminine rhymes. And the start-stop-halt-and move flow works very well, I think.

And then I saw my hands, my words.
It tasted different but I could.

Is very nice. And...

But running away, distant talks,
Pulling away, isolation, and with it,
Abyss, or something more like fire.

Is also quite excellent, as though the narrator himself is in such conflict over this matter that he's re-thinking it through even as he tells us about it.

Lot of good stuff here. You just need to develop some control over your language and watch HOW you write it changes WHAT you write.


I liked this one a lot. You're the second poet this round to give us a piece with an eccentric rhyme scheme and the second poet to really make it work.

Usually rhymes come in even numbers. Usually twos. But you added a third rhyme to each stanza. And after reading it, your mind is kind of expecting a follow-up that isn't there so that last line sort of hangs there, almost incomplete, and naturally forces a pause in between each stanza that makes your imagery even gentler. Like a slow summer breeze.

Your word choices are quite good. Lots of soft consonants and soft rhymes. Your rhythm is almost completely trochaic, which is unusual enough to make the piece feel exotic and strange, which really works with the material (also, as the most famous poem I can think of to make heavy use of trochaic rhythm is Hiawatha, you get some nice, possibly unintentional, echoes there).

There are some little tweaks I might suggest, but they're all minor.

Overall, nice piece. One of the better ones this round.


I liked both pieces for completely different reasons. And while mrpitchfork's piece might have defeated some of the other pieces this round, I can only judge it according to the one it's matched against.

And so I must vote for Erradir.

DreamintheDark vs. drengnikrafe
Prompt: Blur


What this piece needs are bookends, DinD. As it stands, it's sort of a one-trick pony without a trick. Once we get that the picture, whatever it is, is fading, everything from line... say 4 to 12 are extraneous, no? There's nothing in any of those lines that communicates anything we haven't already been told. No spin, no angle, not even any imagery. Just 'arms, torso, legs, nose... fade fade fade fade.'

But what's the picture? Memory? And who's the girl? And why is she fading? And how does the picture come and then fade? Isn't 'come' the wrong verb if it's going away?

I get the base premise. Everything fades but the eyes and that's what he spends his life pining over. But if that's what we're talking about, then the poem needs to be shorter, or we need to add in who this guy is and why he's pining. Thereby making the experience specific and concrete rather than vague and abstract.



There's some really good stuff in this piece, Dren. And then some really weak stuff too. Remember that, when you're trying to paint a picture or an experience in words. Avoid vague phrases like 'perfect life' and 'beautiful clothes' and instead show us what she's wearing, and show us what she looks like to everyone. And let us decide what's perfect and what's beautiful.

The second stanza is really good. See how immediate the images are? Glitter. Spotlight. Blur. All things that we can see with our senses and can get clear, evocative images of in our head and all of which puts us there with her in the experience.

But them, when you switch it all up, you only give us vaguer and ambiguous phrases that don't really mean anything. Lifetime of resentment? Hide beneath her mask? I get what you're saying, but show it to us. Contrast her inner life with her outer life. We've got glitter and spotlight, right? So what's inside her head? Growls? Frowns? Boiling acid?

I liked this one. I liked the set-up and I thought the pay-off was good. But a little more attention paid to communicating the experience in concrete terms and you'd have really had something.



Poets, as always, I thank you for your time and efforts. It's always so inspiring to me to see so many people taking the time and energy to do this thing.

EDIT: Cut and Paste Disaster! Dreamin informed me I omitted her bracket. Mended. My deepest apologies.

2010-07-08, 10:28 PM
I've been out of town all week, I'll be getting to judgments soonish, next day or two.

2010-07-08, 10:34 PM
No problem, take your time. Like Devigod said, this round is the most difficult to judge because of the large amount of entries. I don't really expect them to be done within the week, but obviously as quickly as possible would be great.

2010-07-08, 11:18 PM

*Devigod vs. billtodamax
Prompt: Host


Great rhyming, great rhythm, great overall poem. The Cain part at the end was well-integrated, and showed how old the concept of "Host" is. Great job.


This felt very... rushed and angry. The repetitiveness seemed off and forced.



*Kurama vs. Elvaris
Prompt: harrow


That's got a beat that makes me want to snap my fingers. Very good. A couple grammatical errors, but I get the concept of Harrow from it. Top notch.


Very dark, captures Harrow. I particularly liked the ending. Good twist, good poem.



*Szilard vs. Lord Loss
Prompt: Throne


The rhyming on this is great! I wish you had incorporated the throne a little more into the story, but overall, good.

Lord Loss

No entry.



*Cwater vs. The Fiery Tower
Prompt: Posterity


Great story. The tale spoke well Posterity.

The Fiery Tower

Good scheme. Nice rhyming. Overall, good poem.


The Fiery Tower

*PhoeKun vs. Helgraf
Prompt: Whole


No entry.


Interesting. Delves into the thought of what makes a person whole, with the different areas of body and mind. The whole thing about how the storyteller is not whole in body, and maybe not mind, he can still love and this is what to him means to be whole. Great perspective.



*Blue Ghost vs. Rutskarn
Prompt: Willingness

Blue Ghost

Very well done. Some of the lines were a little forced, but overall the flow was fantastic. I liked the meter, I liked the pace. Good interpretation of Willingness.


Very powerful. It definitely conjured the scene in the mind's eye. The story you told was full of life, and the ending

A moment with you, in the silence and the dark;
That was enough. spoke very strong. Great work.



*mrpitchfork vs. Errandir
Prompt: Part


Great poem. A few of the lines seem strain, but overall well-polished.


Wow, very deep. The last line drives the the theme home. Awesome job.



*DreamintheDark vs. drengnikrafe
Prompt: Blur


That was very... short. While you told the story, I don't feel I got the "Blur" vibe from it. Some of the lines seemed forced at best.


Very good. The scene is very clear, but still poetic. The woman helps translate the theme of Blur to the crowd, which could be seen either as a literal crowd or perhaps looking beyond the fourth wall. Great job.



Posting what I have so far, as my computer is wont to die.

The Extinguisher
2010-07-10, 10:08 PM
Oh wow. Judges have to do a lot of work. Yikes.

Devigod vs. billtodamax: Host

Interesting. I enjoyed the simple structure to the poem, that didn't get in the way of where the poem

was going. The narrative to it was smart and elegant. There were some parts that the rhythm didn't seem to work

so well for me, but I can see what you were trying to do with it.

First thing I noticed is the rhythm of your poem. In that there doesn't seem to be one. The length and

flow seem to change every line. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it seems to distract from the poem in

this case. I imagine you were trying to create a frantic feel to the whole thing, which I can kind of see, but

it fell a little flat. I enjoyed the repetition you had, which I think creates a much more frantic feeling than

the erratic rhythm.
Both of you used the idea of a host rather similarly, but from different perspectives. Both were

enjoyable, but still there needs to be a winner. I think Devigod's poem stands above the other

Kurama vs. Elvaris: Harrow


Glad you were able to submit something. Alright, on track. Excellent work. Highlights to me are the third and

last stanza. The shaking up of the established rhythm jumps out at you and keeps your focus there. Well done

I really like comedy poetry. I also really like surprise endings, and I was definitely surprised. Good

job. That being said, you also have a quality piece of work here. The imagery is very strong and serves the

poem well.

I'm disappointed in you two. I wanted more poems about farm equipment :smalltongue:. Anyways, both poems are

really strong and I think equally matched. I'm going to give it to Elvaris due to personal biases

towards the funny, but it wasn't a simple choice, and I really enjoyed Kurama's poem as well.

Lord Loss vs. Szilard: Throne

Lord Loss

No poem :smallfrown:

Kind of humorous, but it seems like it needs some work. The rhythm didn't really make sense and many of the

rhymes seemed uninspired. That being said, the narrative was interesting, but there were a couple of confusing

points. It seemed like the dragon ate the king early on, but then he's back? I liked what you were trying to do

here, but it could have been done better.
Since only one poem was submitted, the winner is Szilard

CWater vs. The Fiery Tower: Posterity

Well done. First thoughts, kind of confusing. But that's mostly on my end. I actually really enjoyed

this. I like the flow of the poem, and the subtle imagery. I feel it might have been too long, but I don't

think you could shorten it much more and still remain effective.
The Fiery Tower

An interesting idea, I must say. Plus, I love the rhyming pattern you have there. The rhythm and feel of the

poem reminds me of "The Unknown Citizen" by W.H. Auden, which is a poem I really enjoy. So good job.

Excellent use of the prompt both of you. This is another really hard choice. My first instinct was to give it

to CWater, but looking further makes me think The Fiery Tower should have it. I think I'll give this one to

The Fiery Tower for clever use of rhyme and prompt.

drengnikrafe vs. DreamintheDark: Blur

Simple but elegant is all the words I have to describe this. Okay maybe not all of them. I really

liked how you captured the dissociation with the audience and the dancer, and the mental imagery of the dance.

Well done.
Simple and elegant as well. I'm not sure what it is about this prompt that makes people write like

that, but I like it. I do like the imagery and how you incorporated it into the prompt. Another excellent

So many tough choices. But I'm giving this one to drengnikrafe, because his jumped out at me

much more, so to speak.

Phoekun vs. Helgraf: Whole

No poem :smallfrown:
I enjoyed this. Have I mentioned how I like repetition? The simplicity of the poem does so much for

it. Well done. Not much to say on the poem. It was really good.
Helgraf by default, but it was still a wonderful poem.

Rutskarn vs. Blue Ghost: Willingness

I really liked this poem. I've always been a fan of poetry that doesn't have any rhyme or reason to

it. I like how the poem flows and I like the structure it creates. The only thing I found off was some of the

language. I'm not sure where exactly, but there were some places that I feel the words weren't the correct

ones, that there could have been something better. But it's not much help because I can't really put my finger

on it. Well done though. Great poem.
Blue Ghost
I enjoyed this poem as well, but there were places where the rhythm seemed out of place and slightly

off. I liked the idea and the narrative behind the poem, as well as the voice you've created for the speaker.

Some of the lines seem strained? Mostly where the rhythm is off, but some lines feel like their wording needs

Excellent use of the prompt both of you, but I think Rutskarn had the stronger piece.

mrpitchfork vs. Errandir: Part

Once I read through the poem, I could see what you were trying to do here, but reading it was

difficult. The rhythm of the poem changes wildly, and even though it's consistent throughout each stanza, it

still feels hard to read each time. That being said, I liked the poem, I liked the language you used and what

you were trying to convey. I just wish it was a little be easier to read.
This is the best use of rhythm and meter I've seen this competition. Well done. It flows beautifully

together and paints a very pretty picture. Your imagery was excellent and the language was well thought out.

Well done.
Errandir. I really enjoyed the poem and I feel it is the stronger of the two. Excellent work

both of you though. Interesting takes on the idea of the prompt. Well done.

Now I'm probably terrible at this whole judging thing but here you go. :smallbiggrin:

2010-07-13, 12:37 AM
So do we have 3 or 5 judges this time?

2010-07-13, 12:39 AM
Devigod vs. billtodamax: Host
Devigod: There were parts of this I liked and parts that I didnít. It flowed well and the language used matched the biblical time period in which it was placed. It was intellectually complex and I enjoyed the story, but it felt somewhatÖ.hollow? I guess. I didnít feel any emotional connection and felt very removed from the character, probably because of the intellectual nature of the language. Overall I liked it well.
Billtodamax: Hmm. I liked the idea of the harried woman trying to host a party for those she thinks are above her and berating herself and reading too much into her guests behavior, etc. It was the execution that I had a problem with. The repetition could have worked in your favor to convey her state of mind and obsession level, however, because the phrases you chose to repeat were so long, it came off as really clunky. I might have just repeated one word of the phrases that you wanted to emphasize. Itís hard to make inner dialogue sound poetic and yours doesnít really at all, Iím sorry to say.
Verdict: Devigod

Kurama vs. Elvaris: Harrow
Kurama: I didnít really like this. It felt like a rather superficial treatment of the prompt and I was left not really understanding what had happened and how the speaker and antagonist died? or why. The flow wasnít terrible, at least until the last two lines, which were very abrupt and brought any rhythm that had been built up to a screeching halt, and actually, the first verse was rather nice, almost felt like they should be song lyrics.
Elvaris: I like your short poems. Iím often impressed at the amount of content that you can convey in just a few short verses. Your rhyming and rhythm were very good and it was amusing.
Verdict: Elvaris

Lord Loss vs. Szilard: Throne
Lord Loss: No entry
Szilard: There were parts of this poem that were nice, that rhymed well, that told a story. There were others that felt like they were part of a completely different poem and just mashed in there. ĎBut while you lie in bed; It really wasnít too much funí for example. Those lines seemed to have nothing to do with the rest of the poem. Did you just need filler? I also didnít find that your language use matched the action of the poem and what could have been a very exciting dragon fight, if handled well, left me feeling very meh and bored.
Verdict: Szilard

CWater vs. The Fiery Tower: Posterity
CWater:This started out so well. The first three verses were great, setting a scene without giving away Ėtoo- much, establishing a rhythm that could have been really interesting. I really liked the repetition of the first verse and think it could have been very effective if used more often. Unfortunately, the rhythm got completely screwed up by verses 4 and 5 and I found myself stumbling through it when reading. As far as imagery, you could tell that there was an interesting story here, but you put too much time into the build up and repeating things youíd already told us, and not enough filling us in on the rest. Who is the woman? I also have no idea what happened with this last person that remained. I had somewhat hoped from how the poem started that this was going to be a tale of people unjustly persecuted for the actions of their ancestor, but they sounded evil as well, which was disappointing. Overall, not bad, and you did meet the prompt well.
The Fiery Tower: I really liked this. Iíve noticed I have far less to say when I like a poem than when I donít, but Iíll try to give you something more. UmmÖ Great use of the prompt. The rhythm was nice and I felt that the poem flowed very well. I liked the idea behind it as well.
Verdict: The Fiery Tower

drengnikrafe vs. DreamintheDark: Blur
drengnikrafe: Hmm. I could see where you were going and it was an interesting idea and could have made for a good poem, however, I donít feel that you gave us enough. The rhythm wasÖokay, though the last line felt very out of place and actually, it felt like you didnít know how to end the poem and wanted to make sure that we got the point. Some of your imagery was very nice though and I especially liked the last verse.
DreamintheDark: Nice rhythm, good imagery, though some lines I wasnít fond of, 6, 7 and 9 specifically. Iím not entirely sure whatís happening in the poem, but I like the idea of perhaps a memory of someone fading until all you can remember are their eyes and stare. Not my favorite poem, and fails a bit at connection, emotion and story, but pretty good nonetheless.
Verdict: DreaminintheDark

Phoekun vs. Helgraf: Whole
Phoekun: No entry. PityÖthis is one of the pairings I was most looking forward to.
Helgraf: Beautiful. Lovely imagery, the repetition helped to solidify the rhythm and give the imagery more impact. You had some lovely lines, great use of language, I especially loved the second to last verse. I also really liked the way you used the prompt and the story and character that you created in a short space. There was also emotion, though not overpowering. Very nice.
Verdict: Helgraf.

Rutskarn vs. Blue Ghost: Willingness
Rutskarn: There was some nice imagery here. I would have preferred it broken up into shorter verses, it got a bit clunky and long winded at times and I actually found myself skimming ahead and not invested. I feel that at times the language that you used created a barrier that disconnected the reader from the characters. Iím also, even after reading it three times, not entirely sure what heís talking about.
Blue Ghost: I liked this very much. The rhythm was great, the questions added a great deal to the poem. Your imagery and language use was very good and your use of the prompt was spot on. Good work.
Verdict: Blue Ghost

mrpitchfork vs. Errandir: Part
mrpitchfork: Hmm. Rhythm wasnít awful. Story wasnít awful. Some of your lines wereÖ.weird though. The words you used didnít flow or seem natural and some of the verses seemed like a lot of disconnected thoughts and imagery just mashed together. Your use of the prompt was fine, but I was left feeling very underwhelmed by this. There were some nice lines, that if they werenít stuck with things that didnít really connect with them, might have made for a very nice poem.
Errandir: Iím not sure Iím grasping the connection between the prompt and the poem. The poem, however, is lovely. Your imagery is fantastic. The language is flowing and gorgeous and the rhyme seems perfectly natural and effortless. I love reading your work.
Verdict: Errandir

2010-07-13, 08:22 AM
So we've got one judge who hasn't chimed in yet, yeah? And one with incomplete judgements.

But, on the positive side, we have three complete judgements already. Which is more than we sometimes have.

I'm surprised there haven't been any comments from the poets. Usually the post-judging period is rife with commentary.

Wants me some commentary. :smallfrown:


We only have two brackets where a fourth/fifith judge would make any difference. Just in case absences demand that we move this thing along.

(this does not include Jokasi's votes, as they are not yet complete)

Devigod - 3
billtodamax - 0

Kurama - 0
Elvaris - 3

Lord Loss

Cwater - 0
The Fiery Tower - 3


Blue Ghost - 1
Rutskarn - 2

mrpitchfork - 0
Errandir - 3

DreamintheDark - 1
drengnikrafe - 2

2010-07-13, 11:59 AM
You see, normally I would be commenting, but I'm winning by default, so I'm just taking the criticism I'm given. Hopefully it'll help when I actually go against someone next round.

2010-07-13, 12:50 PM
I can do commentary. :smalltongue:


Your rhythm is almost completely trochaic, which is unusual enough to make the piece feel exotic and strange, which really works with the material (also, as the most famous poem I can think of to make heavy use of trochaic rhythm is Hiawatha, you get some nice, possibly unintentional, echoes there).

The Raven?

Actually, I wasn't even thinking of Hiawatha, but it probably matches the feel of this poem better. Trochaic meter seems to have a gentler or more dreamy feel to it, which I thought fit well. I would have liked to write the poem entirely in trochees, but frankly it was too difficult to make all the feminine rhymes work, so I cut each second line short to allow for the masculine rhyme.

If one of the prompts in this contest fits, maybe I'll try a poem in anapaestic meter. That would be fun.

Thanks for the response. In respect to the prompt, the idea when I wrote it had to do with the person (I tried to avoid specifying "man" or "woman" when I wrote the poem, but that left me with the slightly awkward "figure") fading into and becoming part of the surroundings. I'm not sure exactly how well I got the idea across, though, since it's really only stated in the last two lines.

2010-07-13, 01:26 PM
See? Comentary rocks!


That's funny. I didn't even think about the Raven. Had you asked me a half-hour ago I would said, without a moment's hesitation, that it was anapestic.

But, upon re-reading, you're right. Learn something new every day.

And that does add an interesting, almost sinister, level to the piece.

Hm. Good fun.

2010-07-13, 01:34 PM
Hmm....you know... I have no idea what trochaic or anapaestic meter means, or trochees. And what makes a rhyme masculine or feminine? *wonders if she's really qualified to keep winning these things* :smalltongue:

2010-07-13, 01:55 PM
Some real commentary from me now. Why not?

Glad you liked it for the most part. As for the rhythm, that's something I always needed to work on, and I'll try to throw way more of that in next round if I do a whimsical piece. Though if I wanted to make an excuse, I can say I didn't have time to iron out the rhythm because when I wrote it I thought it was the morning of the last day. But that's just a lame excuse. :P But thanks for the advice.

Thanks. As for incorporating the throne, I simply thought it'd be better to recite the tale of the person who sits on the throne rather than the throne itself.

The Extinguisher:
Yeah, rhythm is something I definitely have to work on, and a couple of times I pulled rhymes from nowhere and hoped it worked. As for the dragon eating the king, I don't think I ever made it look like that happened. The dragon ate some sheep and cows, an archer, his dog, and then roasted some knights. I don't see anywhere in the poem where it seemed like the king was eaten.

When I wrote the lines, "But while you lie in bed; It really wasnít too much fun" I was imagining this poem to sort of be a bedside story that a parent would tell their kid before they went to sleep about the brave king and the evil dragon. Other lines I did throw in for filler though because I needed some lines for rhymes.

That's about it. I decided maybe it'd be fun to address the points you guys made in your judgements. Other than that, thanks for judging, as well as for the criticism I'm getting.

2010-07-13, 01:56 PM
Still following this, and feeling kind of uneasy. A kind of weird thought occurs:

Would anybody object if I submitted a "makeup" entry at some point in this competition? Obviously I've already forfeited my chance at winning the contest, but would it be too weird to place an exhibition entry somewhere to the side?

I don't have any idea how this is supposed to work. I'm just very bothered by my no show...

2010-07-13, 02:35 PM
If you submit a poem, Phoe, I swear by my judge's honour that I'll critique it. But I would do that for you any time you asked anyway.

As for any impact it might have on the contest, that's a Vaynor call.

Also, Alarra

Trochaic and Anapestic are kinds of rhythm. The first is a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed, repeat. DUH-duh, DUH-duh. DUH-duh. The second is two unstressed and one stressed. duh-duh-DUH, duh-duh-DUH, repeat.

One unit (called a 'foot') is called, respectively, a Trochee and an Anapest. String a few of them together, and you call the rhythm of the piece Trochaic or Anapestic.

ONCE upON a MIDnight DREAry, WHILE i PONDered WEAK and WEARy
OVer MANy a QUAINT and CURious VOLume of FORgotten LORE.

Oh WHERE are you GOing, said READer to RIDer,
For YONder's the VALley where FURNaces BURn.

The other kinds are:

Iambic: duh-DUH (one foot is an iamb)
Dactylic: DUH-duh-duh (dactyl)

Thereís also spondaic (DUH-DUH) and pyrrhic (duh-duh) and the rarely used, rarely mentioned Double Iamb (duh-duh-DUH-DUH). But theyíre rare and generally only occur in single foot increments (ie no one writes a whole poem in Spondaic).

And the number of feet in a line gives you the other word in a rhythm's description.

one foot: monometer
two: dimeter
three: trimeter
four: tetrameter
five: pentameter
six: hexameter
seven: heptameter
eight: octameter
nine: nonameter
ten: decameter.

So, in a sonnet, you have ten syllables, in iambic, hence five iambic feet, hence Iambic Pentameter.

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state.

After some practice (or, in my case, more practice than is probably healthy) you can usually name the rhythm after a couple of reads. And then you too can sound all smarty-pants-poet-nerd.

And the term 'Feminine Rhyme' can be used to describe about 43 different things, but here Errandir refers to rhyming lines that end in unstressed syllables, as opposed to stressed.

And none of this is the least bit necessary for writing and appreciating fine verse. Although, as I've always said, Craft is like your wardrobe: the more of it you have access to, the more flexibility and specificity you can bring to any situation.

2010-07-13, 04:54 PM
Thanks for all the comments and critique, even the harsh words, they were well received.:smallsmile: I'll try to use the time given better next time should I take part again, I feel the poem might have been much better with a few more hours spent on it.

Your first thought on the story the poem was about was correct, it is indeed a tale of a unfortunate family that gets blamed because of the deeds of one man. But, as I re-read it, I can see how it can easily be misunderstood, my bad. I think I should perhaps have cleared it up a little. :S

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the judging and poems. This was fun!:smallsmile:

2010-07-13, 04:57 PM
Oh WHERE are you GOing, said READer to RIDer,
For YONder's the VALley where FURNaces BURn.

Hmm, I've never seen that poem before. For anapaestic meter, I usually think of Byron ("We sat down and wept by the waters..."), but I liked that one. Maybe I should look up Auden sometime.

Alarra, to be more specific, I was saying that feminine rhymes are more difficult to work with because they're generally two syllables (i.e. learning / yearning) while masculine rhymes are generally one (i.e. bat / hat). And to be honest, I learned all the poetry terms and such from Wikipedia - it's probably as good a place as any to start.

This is probably getting off topic, though. Maybe we should start a thread somewhere for poetry recommendation and discussion... would anyone be interested?

2010-07-13, 11:56 PM
I will be unavailable until Sunday so if the contest ends before then, someone can either start a new one or just wait for me.

2010-07-17, 01:12 AM
I will be unavailable until Sunday so if the contest ends before then, someone can either start a new one or just wait for me.

Umm, we just (almost) finished round 1. How could the contest end before SUnday?

Zeb The Troll
2010-07-17, 01:54 AM
Still following this, and feeling kind of uneasy. A kind of weird thought occurs:

Would anybody object if I submitted a "makeup" entry at some point in this competition? Obviously I've already forfeited my chance at winning the contest, but would it be too weird to place an exhibition entry somewhere to the side?

I don't have any idea how this is supposed to work. I'm just very bothered by my no show...I'm not participating in this in any way, shape, or form this time, but I know I'd appreciate being able to see your work and I fail to see how it could have any negative impact on the competition as a whole since you're not trying to get back into it by making the post.

We only have two brackets where a fourth/fifith judge would make any difference. Just in case absences demand that we move this thing along.

(this does not include Jokasi's votes, as they are not yet complete)

Devigod - 3
billtodamax - 0

Kurama - 0
Elvaris - 3

Lord Loss

Cwater - 0
The Fiery Tower - 3


Blue Ghost - 1
Rutskarn - 2

mrpitchfork - 0
Errandir - 3

DreamintheDark - 1
drengnikrafe - 2
Jokasti's results are now complete and confirm the outcomes listed in the spoiler. I think we can call Round 1 officially in the books. But since Vaynor says he'll be back tomorrow, it's probably best just to let him keep doing his thing.

Congratulations to everyone who made it to the next round! And thanks to the runners up in each bracket for participating. :smallcool:

2010-07-17, 07:16 AM
Jokasti's results are now complete and confirm the outcomes listed in the spoiler. I think we can call Round 1 officially in the books. But since Vaynor says he'll be back tomorrow, it's probably best just to let him keep doing his thing.

Congratulations to everyone who made it to the next round! And thanks to the runners up in each bracket for participating. :smallcool:

Well, not really. Jokasti's results just say "Opinions" in my bracket. Admittedly, I was up aganst Phoe who had time issues, but it would have been nice to see actual thoughts on my submission.

2010-07-17, 07:48 AM
Umm, we just (almost) finished round 1. How could the contest end before SUnday?

I had exactly one minute on the internet so I didn't have time to check or proofread my post (incidentally, I meant this round, not the contest). I still don't have internet, I'm posting this from my iPhone so my previous comment stands.

2010-07-20, 12:24 PM
Ok sorry for the delay everyone, I didn't have much time yesterday.

Congratulations to the winners of round 1:

The Fiery Tower


Errandir vs. Devigod: Inaccessible
Szilard vs. drengnikrafe: Memory
Helgraf vs. The Fiery Tower: Time
Rutskarn vs. Elvaris: Revitalized

Deadline: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 at 11:59 pm (EDT).

2010-07-27, 03:41 AM
Alright, here goes my submission(Yay for being first)

Impulsive tapping, quiet rapping,
A beat flowing from somebodyís head.
Sound spreading, quickly spreading,
Hitting ears and ending up dead.

Mixed reactions, causing distractions,
Each tap spreading across the room.
Causing frustration, a growing temptation,
For classmate's heads to explode: go boom.

Sound unending, promptly sending
A person into a frenzied state.
Someone yelling, bluntly telling
The tapper that their rhythm they hate.

Silence broken, person awoken,
The student retreats into his shell.
There staying, secretly praying,
That soon heíll hear the sound of the bell.

Very worried, heartbeat hurried,
The personís staring at the clock
Thoughts growing, sadly unknowing,
His finger is tapping to the ďtick tockĒ

2010-07-27, 08:26 PM
A little over a day left and 7 poems still MIA. Let's get those poems done everyone!

2010-07-28, 09:52 AM
Prompt: Memory
Title: I Forget
Memory is a fickle mistress,
Or perhaps Athena herself,
But however you can twist it,
You might just forget yourself.

It's no easy task,
To forget you existed,
Might take a blow to the head,
I've see worse in old age.

Some can argue,
I'm in the mood to agree,
When you die,
You can't think to be.

But is it wisdom?
Is Athena even involved?
Probably not,
But it's nice to remember.

2010-07-28, 12:39 PM
Prompt: Memory
I'm really sorry everyone. I have to drop out of the competition. It's not because I have a lack of time, or any other... rational... reason. It's just, when I read the prompt, and in the week that followed, I got nothing. No image, no ideas, no progress. And so today, I have nothing ot present.
I'm really sorry once again.

2010-07-28, 09:24 PM
Prompt: Time

Here I stand, ill defined mortality
Overweight, what is my velocity?
Under standard pressure I have cracked
Ripped and bled by burden I have backed
Stepping round and every trip the same

Memory provides no consolation
In my travel across this desolation
Never to exceed this lengthy chain
Under which lies my constant shame
That echo everpresent in my soul
Escape, a hopeless notion in this hole
Stepping round and every trip the same

Sameness, constant refrain for my eye
Every vantage all the same I cannot die
Circumscribed and bound to pattern
On a treadmill like a slattern
Not for me any variation
Damned to mark off every station
Stepping round and every trip the same

Echoed to eternity
Never lost but never free
Damned without variety
Left behind again ahead of me
Enslaved to monotony
Stepping round and every trip the same
Stepping ... round ... and ... every ... trip ... the ... same

2010-07-28, 11:09 PM
I've been at orientation, so it's been hard to find comp time. Gonna have to use my extension- I'm typing my poem now.

2010-07-28, 11:20 PM
There's still four more to come, three with Devi's.

Most worrisome.

2010-07-28, 11:53 PM
Edit: Posting was premature. Will repost poem after I fix something.

Edit 2: Here it is.

Prompt: Inaccessible

It dangles.
To tempt and draw your fingers to its face.
But reason slips your grasp and leaves no trace.
And yet,
The glammer with its power holds it true.
One thing,
That stops the breath and bids the world adieu.

'I say, fair maid,'
'Trust not his cunning tongue.'
'Who's that,' you ask?
'Well his forked words made ribs from which you sprung.'

With light came light, and snuck in doubt,
Which truth is true, and which devout?
Do suns here show, or blind from sight?
And what does drip from ere immortal serpent's bite?

Is death escape, to paradise?
My hope is truth in my own head.
Is our planet run by mice?
Each new question soars ahead.

I set the chair and tie the knot.
And set in motion plans for naught.
I make my art unmake my cage-
And kick the chair and turn the page.

And now I hear it, sullen stir-
A final sigh to mourn.
The bell, with ringing, does concur,
A promise made when born.

And yet it's gone, what I did hear
For sound is fleeting, so I fear
Eludes the echoes that pursue,
Diminishing, repeat, renew.

Are echoes there, or just a thought?
Salvation to my hope?
Deceive myself. My own truth wrought.
My neck holds off the rope.

I show my strength, as I suspend,
Belief and life to make amend.
My pending sentence ends today-
In practical, though bored clique.

For people here are naught but waves-
We echo long to match the bell.
We travel out, as habit's slaves,
But never leave our prison cell.

The origin's where fact takes tea.
And tell: what better way to see,
Than unmake one, and ring again?
For every start, must have an end.

Zeb The Troll
2010-07-28, 11:58 PM
Yikes. Three missing in this round is ... unfortunate. :smallfrown:

2010-07-29, 02:10 AM
Yeah, I forgot about it this time, but I do have a legitimate excuse--jury duty. I can't go into details, but suffice to say it's taken up a crapload of my time.

Have I already run the length of what extensions I could beg? Because even tonight, I just plain can't work on a poem and get enough sleep. I've got to get up pretty damn early tomorrow to get over there in time for deliberations.

2010-07-29, 09:39 AM
I'm fine waiting if Rutskarn can get something submitted. (And there's still an hour and a half or so on the day pass)

Prompt: Revitalized

The Everyballad

A siren wailed, a call went out.
Trouble cast its pall.
At bleakest point, at greatest need,
a man answered the call.

The hero stopped, surveyed the scene
and settled on a plan.
For dealing with the foe at hand,
there was no better man.

And so he charged, devil-may-care
headlong into the fray.
With skill and speed unmatched by all
he's sure to save the day.

But no, he falls! A tragedy!
How can this come to be?
Can darkness triumph over all
and spread its misery?

But look, he stirs! Hope is revived!
No grief shall stain this place.
The hero rose, revitalized
a smile across his face.

He conquered fear, he conquered foes,
and claimed his victory.
The hero stands protecting all,
for the sake of you and me!

2010-07-29, 08:33 PM
Missing poems make judging sad :smallfrown: These aren't quite complete, but here's thoughts anyway.

Judgments Sorry that Iím ranting so much on rhythm this time.

Errandir vs. Devigod: Inaccessible

Errandir : No Entry

Devigod I loved the first verse and would have really liked it if you had continued that rhythm and pattern throughout the poem. I read this several times and will probably come back to it again before I post this, but as of now, I have absolutely no idea whatís going on in this poem. There are some pretty lines and nice use of language, but, *shrugs* maybe itís just going over my head. The first verse was nice and refreshing because its irregular rhythm broke things up and lent to more natural pausing. The rhythm that you used for the rest of the poem tended to lend the verses to blur together, and the line: In practical, though bored clique. Brought the reading to a halt because it didnít follow your rhyming pattern. There was some nice word choice though, and really this poem fits the prompt well, if nothing else, I found the poem itself rather inaccessible.
Verdict: Devigod by default

Szilard vs. drengnikrafe: Memory

Szilard: Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. I feel that youíre working on it, and the first verse actually flowed pretty well. Then the second verse came along and I got stuck there, trying to make the lines you have flow at all, but ďIíve see worse in old ageĒ does not fit at all. The 3rd verse, flow is better but not great, and then 4th verse is bad again. I also do not understand Athenaís involvement, and overall the treatment of the prompt seems very shallow and superficial.

Dregnikrafe No entry

Verdict: Szilard

Helgraf vs. The Fiery Tower: Time

Helgraf: I usually like repetition as a way to create emphasis, but it still needs to flow within the rhythm of the poem as a whole. Yours didnít. I found myself stopping each time I came to that line, the natural flow of the reading completely thrown off by it. That being said, I liked your use of language and the image you presented. It took a couple read-throughs before I figured out exactly how this was tying into your prompt, but I think thatís rather more because Iím tired and this is a bit more intellectual than our usual fare. Mostly good though.

The Fiery Tower: Bouncy, rhythmic, it captured the idea of a clock. Unfortunately, there were a few lines that had an extra syllable or two that threw the rhythm off. ďThe tapper that their rhythm they hate.Ē was the line that bugged me the most. I liked the idea though. Your word choices were okay, although I felt that at times the subject and words called for a bit more immediacy than the words you used. Like the fact that you continued to refer to the subject as Ďa person or the personí, it really served to distance me from the subject.

Verdict: I donít know yet. Iím still deliberating on this one. Figures. The first contest that actually has two entries and I donít know which one I want to go with. Edit: Okay, I've decided to go with Helgraf

Rutskarn vs. Elvaris: Revitalized

Rutskarn Love it. Great combination of imagery, elegant wording and emotion and left me wanting to read more.

Elvaris Yay! Rhythm! Sorry, I know Iíve been ranting on this a lot tonight, but for some reason itís really bugging me in everyoneís poems. Not here though, here we have a nice, bouncy little rhythm that perfectly fits the story being told, matching perfectly to the language to infuse the near-tragedy with lightness and cheer. Thereís not much connection or emotional depth and the subject is rather shallow, but itís sweet and rhymes and is coherent and well written and portrays some nice imagery. Overall I wouldnít call it your best entry, but itís good, and the only poem submitted so far that I didnít stumble trying to read.

Verdict: Elvaris, because Ruts was too late to be contending.

2010-07-29, 10:11 PM
Ack! Total mess-up on my end. Clique was supposed to be cliche. Nevertheless, read on if you want me to explain what it's about. Most of what I was going for was a piece about a guy trying to hang himself in order to escape a world which he perceived as a "lie" and see the truth that he hopes comes after death.
Thanks, as always, for the critique.
Judges or others who see something odd happen to the rhyme scheme should read the first spoiler I directed at Alarra.

2010-07-29, 11:35 PM
@Alarra(Who probably shouldn't read this until after she has decided):

I can explain the lack of immediacy. The thing is that this poem was written based on a real life experience, and I didn't really know the person who it happened to that well. So when I actually wrote it, I must have written that fact in there.
The rhythm: Well, I guess I missed most of them, and you're probably right. I wasn't exactly sure on the line you spoke about also, but I really like the repitition of the th sound, and it made sense rhythmically(albeit a tiny bit off) well enough, so I didn't change it.

Thanks for the critique.

2010-07-30, 07:44 AM

Ack! Total mess-up on my end. Clique was supposed to be cliche. That's what I figured by 3rd reading.

2010-07-30, 10:41 AM

I was working on rythm, but when I got to the fourth line on the second stanza, I had no idea how to rythmically include old age. I had a few other lines I could have used too, but none of them flowed really well. I guess this one didn't either... But yeah. As for the last stanza, I had realized that I mentioned Athena for no reason and tried to address that. I'm not even sure why I'm talking if I have nothing to say but "I totally agree with whatever you said."

2010-07-31, 12:04 AM
My duty to the state is completed. I wrote this poem--all of it was written after the competition's due date, but there was little I could do about it. Whether or not it is considered for judging, feel free to comment on it.


Hell is the thing you make with your own hands;
Mine was constructed with the greatest pains, its raw materials,
My very life.
That is no exaggeration. What had I to give but years?
Years, and effort, erecting from a rock as bare as bleached bone
A floorónot lush or elegant, and the last place I would want to live,
Which is why I could not allow myselfóin weakness--to leave.
I sealed the doors with iron bars, I hardened the walls until they were thicker than the rock beneath,
I seized each open window and brought it slamming shut
Until I could neither see nor breathe
And the only reprieve, the only way to bring back light and oxygenó
My only escapeó
Was upwards.

Years and will;
From this combination I poured girders, which one by one
I laid upon the forsaken foundations that I had built.
With pains, I had created the second story, and where the floor beneath me was an airless dark,
This floor had enough light that the eyes were dilated and strained, and enough oxygen
That the lungs could wheeze and burn.
Perhaps, for others, that would have been enough. For some, this was the apexó
For some, this was the highest point they would strive to, or could achieve.
This thought ignited angeróanger that consumed the oxygen around me, and caused the darkness to grow and press at my skin,
Until my anger boiled into urgency
And urgency boiled into will
And I began to erect another floor, and one above that,
Gradually erecting loftier and loftier prisons.
Inch by painful inch, my Hell swelled upwards towards Paradise.
Every day of creation was back-breaking, desperate, suffocating, agonizing,
And everything I ever wanted.

Heaven did not come to me; I came to Heaven,
And I came with blood that hissed like boiling water
And eyes that glowed like glory.
My bones were old and frail from the years I had spent,
But my will was not depletedóit was honed.
There I stood, on top of it all, the apex of achievement,
And my drive to conquer was the strongest it had ever been.

I pressed upwards;
My skull scraped against Heavenís golden ceiling.

It did not take me long to realize my mistake.
The dark abyss below me was black and suffocating,
But it was not the true prison.
That was Paradise--for where had I to go once I had ascended to the highest peak?
There was no challenge, no sport in downwards,
And nothing could be found above.
Here, where the light was strongest, it was too bright to see.
Here, where there was air, I could not draw it into my lungs.
I was more trapped than I had ever been before;
At first the old familiar rage fired in my gut,
But there was nothing to consume but itself.

True oblivion came soon after.

And then, one day, the message came from the ether
As wonderful as if it had come from my dream.
The tower had fallen.
My work had been undone.
My lifeís labor had vanished in an instant,
The floor had disappeared out from under me,
And I was free-falling to the choking dark far below,
As far from the lights of Heaven as I had ever been.

The first flush of emotion that returned to me was laughter;
Then, hardly able to believe my luck,
I set to work once more.

Zeb The Troll
2010-08-02, 04:55 AM
Vaynor has asked me to take the reigns of this while he's out for the next week.

I would like input from the other contestants/judges on Rutskarn's eligibility for the next round.

I'd also like to see other judgements, pretty please? :smallcool:

Viera Champion
2010-08-02, 06:50 AM
Noooo! I lost...:smallfrown:

2010-08-02, 06:55 AM
1. No comments on on-going rounds, Kurama. All that stuff in spoilers please. No preudicing the other judges (including me).

2. I will be happy to offer comments on Rutskarn's poem, but late is late and that is that. And by his own admission he was late, not because he was too busy, but because he forgot about the contest. He may have had valid reasons for forgetting, but still. Had he asked for permission to be late beforehand, different conversation. As it lies I would have to ask that his poem be disqualified. Otherwise it's just not fair to everyone else (Elvaris in particular).

3. Last week and This are busy for me at day work, but I'll try to get them up by the end of this coming weekend. Hopefully a little sooner, even.

Viera Champion
2010-08-02, 07:05 AM
1. No comments on on-going rounds, Kurama. All that stuff in spoilers please. No preudicing the other judges (including me).

2. I will be happy to offer comments on Rutskarn's poem, but late is late and that is that. And by his own admission he was late, not because he was too busy, but because he forgot about the contest. He may have had valid reasons for forgetting, but still. Had he asked for permission to be late beforehand, different conversation. As it lies I would have to ask that his poem be disqualified. Otherwise it's just not fair to everyone else (Elvaris in particular).

3. Last week and This are busy for me at day work, but I'll try to get them up by the end of this coming weekend. Hopefully a little sooner, even.

I'm commenting on nuttin' fool!:smalltongue:

I lost LAST round. so yeah...

2010-08-02, 11:23 AM
Vaynor has asked me to take the reigns of this while he's out for the next week.

I would like input from the other contestants/judges on Rutskarn's eligibility for the next round.

I'd also like to see other judgements, pretty please? :smallcool:

The time pressure is a part of the entire process. It involves seeing what you can write under a deadline. I can assure you, if I wasn't operating under the deadline, my poems would show a lot more polish. Instead, I have to occasionally take risks with my verse that I wouldn't otherwise in the interests of getting my submission in under deadline. This isn't the final round; while Rutskarn wrote a beautiful piece, if we start exempting the rules left and right, what's the point of having them?

2010-08-02, 01:19 PM
2. I will be happy to offer comments on Rutskarn's poem, but late is late and that is that. And by his own admission he was late, not because he was too busy, but because he forgot about the contest. He may have had valid reasons for forgetting, but still. Had he asked for permission to be late beforehand, different conversation. As it lies I would have to ask that his poem be disqualified. Otherwise it's just not fair to everyone else (Elvaris in particular).

Not disputing your call, but to clairfy--I forgot to do it before Jury Duty. After that began, there was basically no opportunity to get it done.

The Extinguisher
2010-08-02, 04:10 PM
It's been a really busy week, and this week will probably be just as busy. I'll try and get judging down when I can, but it might take a little while. Sorry for the delay.

2010-08-07, 12:54 AM
'ello Judges?

The Extinguisher
2010-08-07, 12:07 PM
Ugh. Someone kill me. I can't believe I forgot about this. So sorry.

Alright, so I'll do my best to get my actual judgements up sometime this weekend, but until then, here are the results.

Errandir vs. Devigod: Inaccessible

Szilard vs. drengnikrafe: Memory

Helgraf vs. The Fiery Tower: Time

Rutskarn vs. Elvaris: Revitalized

So yes. The rest of the judgements will hopefully be up by tomorrow. Things have been pretty hectic around here. My apologies.

2010-08-11, 12:17 PM
:gently prods judges:

2010-08-13, 06:34 PM
I'm a little past gentle at this point. Judges, I would appreciate promptness now and in all future rounds. I know it's a lot to go through and that this job requires diligence but you know what you signed up for. I thank you greatly for it, but it has been over two weeks since the end of the last round. I need judgments.

2010-08-17, 09:20 AM

Here we go.

Errandir vs. Devigod
Prompt: Inaccessible


No Entry



Interesting stuff, Devigod. A little more abstract than your usual offering, a little more of a think piece and less of a narrative.

And that's where it sort of falls down for me. Without that strong narrative thread to keep your language on rails, you meander and wander more than you should and you lose the tight control you usually exhibit.

Not that there isn't some good stuff in here. There's some excellent stuff in here.

I set the chair and tie the knot.
And set in motion plans for naught.
I make my art unmake my cage-
And kick the chair and turn the page.

Is a wonderful little package of words and thoughts and insights. Make my art unmake my cage? Bad. Ass.

But then consider:

Is death escape, to paradise?
My hope is truth in my own head.
Is our planet run by mice?
Each new question soars ahead.

Starts strong. Good question paired with an excellent declaration in the second line. But then the sudden shift to the mice thing. I get what you're on about, but the shift is jarring and inelegant. And then the final line. Doesn't say anything. Doesn't add anything. It feels like a place holder just to complete the rhyme.

It's all of a piece that way. Lots of great lines mixed in with some confused lines, some pedestrian lines, some flat lines. I don't know if you just had too much stuff in your head that you wanted to include, or not enough and felt the need to stretch. But you need to keep one stanza-one thought. Ladle out your thoughts in discrete units.

Final note: Are you saying that God (the guy who 'made ribs from which you sprung') is the one with the cunning tongue and forked words? Or are you saying that Satan made women? Or men? No idea what's happening there but I find the second stanza to be most fascinating as a result.

Your work is consistently of a high-calibre, Devi. This one's no exception. It's good. I just think it needs a re-think and some polish.


Devigod, by default

Szilard vs. drengnikrafe
Prompt: Memory


I Forget

This one didn't work for me at all, Szilard, I'm sorry to say.

No real rhythm. Uneven and inconsistently applied rhyme scheme. You rhyme self and self in the first stanza, existed and age in the second, and the by the fourth you aren't rhyming at all.

And there's not really anything here. No imagery. No statement. No flow of thought or insight. The only thing you've got going on here that's a literary device is the inclusion of Athena. As the Goddess of Memory and Wisdom, that's even pretty clever, but then you lampshade it in the forth stanza and ruin the effect completely.

For me, a misfire.


No entry


Szilard, by default

Elvaris vs. Rutskarn
Prompt: Revitalized


The Everyballad

This one had all your trademark technical skill but none of your wit, Elvaris. It was nice, it flowed well, your word choices are always good. Tone was light and fun.

But where's the edge? The twist? The angle? All we have here is a vague and ambiguous hero who falls down and gets back up. Nifty enough, but there's nothing underneath it or around it.

Also, a minor point, I think these stanzas would work better as couplets, all strung out in one line to gather energy as they go, rather than break them into alternately rhyming lines.

I think:

A siren wailed, a call went out, trouble cast its pall.
At bleakest point, at greatest need, a man answered the call.

Works better.



I liked this one, Rutskarn. Nice and tense and controlled. Maybe your previous entry wasn't as atypical of your work as it seemed to me then.

I only have two things to mention:

1. Word choices. You're good with words. The language. You are. But I think you have to fight the urge to 'poetry' up your language in places where it doesn't belong. Far too often the flow of your imagery is broken up with these cumbersome and overly ornate and archaic phrasing that just doesn't fit the kind of immediate and free-wheeling emotion you're trying to convey.

2. Angle. I get the end. I get it. It's the niftiest part of the whole thing. But in order for it to work we need to know a little something about the narrator, why it is, exactly that he would suffer through so much and then be happy to do it all again. I can think of lots of reasons why, but none of them are there in your poem. Ambiguity only works for emo death poetry and (sometimes) John Keats. Everywhere else, specificity is the path to the universal. Tell us who this guy IS, and why, and we'll empathize with him.

That's it. Nice work. I'm sorry it's not officially eligible.


Elvaris, by default

Helgraf vs. The Fiery Tower: Time

The Fiery Tower

Hehe. Cute. I liked this one a lot. Simple. East to read. Clever. Has a nice strong finish. I liked the internal rhyme and I liked the heavy rhythm, both of which match the imagined 'tap tap tap' of the student.

Few places where the rhythm falters. A few places where the flow is hindered and not enabled. But overall, a solid entry. Enjoyable.


Mixed feelings about this one, Hel. I really liked the repeated refrain and some of your rhymes were very very nice. But then, some felt really forced (treadmill like a slattern?).

My biggest gripe is that you've got a lot of smoke here and not much fire. Every step the same. Got it. But than all you do is repeat, again and again, that every step is the same in different words without adding anything or communicating anything more than that.

It is unbearably sad that this is the only actual decision I had to make for this round. Anyway...

The Fiery Tower. His piece felt more polished, more complete, a better merge of form and function.

There we are, poets. Iím looking forward to seeing what the next round brings.

2010-08-18, 12:16 AM
I thank you as always, for reading through it. You can probably tell I was trying something different. I was also constrained by lack of time, so it was admittedly missing a good layer of lacquer- this is something you nailed right on the head.

I believe part of what I was getting at in the forked tongue stanza is the implication that God 'created everything'. Therefore, by extension, he must have created the snake/Satan, and can be held responsible for it.
Spoiler: Larger theme of poem.
The larger theme of the poem, on the other hand, was a hanging man's doubt in reality as it was presented. The poem was something of an spoken or unspoken dialogue outlining his desire to truly understand oblivion and (in his view) new beginnings.

2010-08-20, 11:22 AM
Well, we have 3 judges out of 5 in, which is technically enough to call the round.

I'd rather have all five though... even if it means I end up losing because of it.

Zeb The Troll
2010-08-20, 11:47 PM
I think 3 judges is about the best we're going to get in this round. It's pretty typical, sadly. That's why it's nice to start with 5, so that when the judging happens in the later rounds we can get 3 to actually provide input.

Vaynor, I didn't sign up to judge because I don't feel as comfortable doing it as some of the other veterans, not being a poet myself, but if you find you need an extra, let me know.

The Extinguisher
2010-08-21, 06:39 AM
So I feel pretty terrible for not getting any actual discussion of any poems done for this round. I've been working on it as best I can, but things have been kinda rough for me lately, and I'm having a hard time organizing my thoughts properly. I'll do my absolute best to get them up as soon as possible. I basically need to make sense out of what I've written down.

Again, so sorry for the delay. I promise not to have life go crazy on me for the next round.

2010-08-21, 12:01 PM
Agreed, sorry for the delay I just arrived at college and have been settling in.

Congratulations to:


Iron Poet X: Round Three

Devigod vs. Elvaris: Indomitable
Szilard vs. Helgraf: Revered

Deadline: Sunday, August 29th 2010 at 11:59 pm (EDT).

2010-08-26, 09:00 PM

It's big
It's green
Gentle hills
Many crosses
A tomb here
A mausoleum there
A memorial there

The casket was carried
In lay the one
One of the many
Yet one of the few
One of the proud

A flag was folded
Rifles spun and shot
Many salutes

He gave his life
Others gave their lives
Not just their bodies
Some their souls
They are broken
We broke them

One of the many
Sent to war

For what?
Freedom to talk
Freedom to think
Freedom to be here
Freedom to wear anti-war shirts
Our freedom

Living and dying
Losing life or mind

For us

We look at the graves
The memorials
We look around
Men and women serving

For you

To be here

The one in the casket?
The One?
Never thanked
Not by you
Not by anyone
No one is
Not really

They did it anyway

For us

That feeling?
In your heart
The swell
The shiver down your spine
At the end?

That is reverence

For those now
For those lost
The sons
The daughters
Their fathers
Their mothers

Some die
No children
Others do nothing
They have children

That is their service
To protect the people
That is why they are revered
That is why they are loved

2010-08-29, 10:56 AM
Prompt: Revered


Before the spectacle, before the crown
Before the pipers played in the town

When evening was quiet, light was still dim
You sat by the bedside, invited me in.

I could not reward you with trinkets of gold
Nor ply you with jewelry, fiery and bold

Only my gaze could speak for my soul
And the fire you'd kindled in long sleeping coal

You sit now on ivory, impossibly high
Wearing a fortune I never could buy

An earthly sovereign, perched high on the throne
As lonely as widows, though never alone

The birds sing your praises with voices that lilt
But every word hollow, a prison of gilt.

But I still remember your trembling sigh
The moments of freedom found 'neath the sky

Though the paths of our lives have split far apart
I still have you and hold you, here deep in my heart

I must creep through the garden, with my head canted low
To lay once more before you, and bathe in your glow

To give forth your praises, by tongue and by touch
And lighten your burdens, if ... not by that much.

To have you and hold you, beneath golden chain
To pass back the fire you set in my mien

To worship you fully as is only your right
A queen in the day, my goddess at night.

2010-08-29, 10:36 PM
About last rounds poem...
The goal was to present it as sort of a "Mad Lib" style poem with "the hero" and "the foe" in a fill in the blank style. Hence why everything was as generic as possible. And hence why it didn't work out so well...

And yes, I know that now that the round is over I don't have to spoiler this, but frankly I'm embarrassed by that particular entry, and embarrassed that it needs explaining. So, yeah...

Prompt: Indomitable

A building rises,
Refilling a footprint left
By constructions past.

The decay begins
Before the last nail is struck
Mocking the order.

A need for structure.
An indomitable urge
To make harmony.

Age and entropy
Erode the edifice with
Implacable force.

Vigilant upkeep,
Battling to hold back time.
Striving to maintain.

Failures escalate,
Compromising the framework.
Confounding repairs.

Fixes multiply
Bracing against disaster.
Patchwork of patches.

The building crumbles,
Old structure carted away
To make way for new.

A building rises,
Refilling a footprint left
By constructions past.

2010-08-29, 10:46 PM
Prompt: Indomitable
Fools have said:
Their love will last forever,
That there exist true eternal ties...
But all have bled:
All failed in their endeavor,
And every thing which lives, so dies.

My world is frail, lilting limbs and nails clutch only air,
My precious flesh, wilting sinew- slips from ailing bones.
My skin is shale, buried far, inhumed lay blush and fair,
A tattered mesh, harried thin- consumed by tumbling stones.

Yet (defiance) I may stand, with knowing final wheeze:
Age (a cruel one) at my left, Thanatos at my right,
I scoff (fly flouting) at fear, the bottom of my wax-
Cry thanks (compliance) indeed, light fire burns with ease.
The end (I, undone) will come, without a final slight,
In bed (dream-spouting), disease, or adversary's axe.

No bloody murder's this; I'm merely paying tolls,
I kicked the bucket, while I passed him by.
For time's the stiffest merchant, beg, and on he rolls,
And if you try to cheat, he'll nod and sigh.

And all that's good, and all that will
Will also not, with stuff between...
A world of mold and dirt and dust...
A world of blood and grit and rust...
Do and make do. Or rebuff the queen...
To ash to ash, to pay the bill.

And see that I, turned up, upon its head:
That thing I said- before, of transience,
For time's unyoked, (and death has never fled)
And stays unchoked, all times, in all parlance.

2010-08-30, 02:29 AM
Yay! No one was late this round! :smallsmile:

2010-08-30, 06:03 AM
Yay! No one was late this round! :smallsmile:

Hopefully the judges will follow our prompt example! :)

2010-08-30, 02:39 PM
I can say from experience that judging is a hard day's work. Ironically, as the rounds get later, the job becomes easier due to less rounds to judge at once, but harder due to the higher 'stakes' involved.

2010-09-02, 01:12 PM
I can say from experience that judging is a hard day's work. Ironically, as the rounds get later, the job becomes easier due to less rounds to judge at once, but harder due to the higher 'stakes' involved.

Yes, I know. I'm just all anxious. :)

2010-09-03, 11:55 AM
Sorry for the false alarm, there are no judgings here.

I'm on vacation this week, and that means I won't be getting to judgements until probably something like mid-next week. Just so everyone knows. I know I haven't been the best at this whole punctuality thing, but I'll get them out to you by next weekend.


2010-09-03, 12:44 PM
and mine'll be in tomorrow, probably. Maybe late tonight, maybe not til Sunday, but soon. :smallbiggrin:

2010-09-04, 12:42 AM
Oooh, new posts ... that means judg-

*pauses, reads* Oh, okay then. This weekend is goo...

Well, one judge at least is good.

2010-09-05, 10:38 PM

Szilard vs Helgraf: revered
szliard: Not bad. I liked the idea you were putting forth and some of your lines were very good. I particularly liked the Ďfreedomí repetition verse. I think that it should have ended at ĎThat is reverenceí it would have been more impactful and I didnít much care for the verses after that. Really I think thatís the core of the problem that I have with this poem, it needs a good editor. Thereís some nice stuff here, but there are a lot of problematic lines as well. Really, Iíd probably cut about half of them, leave people with just the really important bits of meaning. And for a topic that should be so emotion driven, there wasnít much. Still, thereís much potential here and I think if you gave it some fine-tuning, you could have a pretty nice piece.
helgraf: I want to read this in prose, to know who these people are and what happened before the crown and their paths were split. I feel like this is referencing a story I should know, but Iím not getting it. A lot of your images and word choices were perfect and the rhythm flowed really well. I only came across a couple places where I might drop a word. And also, I loved that you rhymed, because I canít, so I always find poems that can rhyme, and especially rhyme without sounding forced, or even better, sounding natural, impressive. And you stuffed it full of emotion, so yay! Anyway, really really nice work.
Verdict: Helgraf
Devigod vs. Elvaris: indomitable
Devigod: Interesting. There were some very nice images here and I like the idea behind it. However, I felt at times that some of your word choices and images felt muddled and unclear and it took a few read throughs before I really understood some of the imagery. Some of the sentences were just too wordy and I got bogged down in the vocabulary, which undermined the emotion and connection that could have been felt. I also liked that you didnít have to actually use your work to get the idea across. I did like this though, itís a very good piece.
Elvaris: I really like this. I liked the structure of the poem, the way the two sides battled with one another. The cyclical nature of it with the repetition of the first verse, really brought home the idea of something never ending, a constant battle that we can never win. Really great use of the prompt.
Verdict: Elvaris

2010-09-11, 02:45 PM
Judgments, please! :smallsmile:

2010-09-12, 03:02 PM
Okay, folks. Here we go. Since I screwed the pooch on the last round, I wanted to be sure I kept my promise this time.

So here we go. By the end of the weekend, as promised.

Szilard vs. Helgraf
Prompt: Reverence


I think I get what youíre doing here and I even think a lot of it works. But I donít think you took it far enough. I like the solemn tone you manage to evoke and the vaguely rhythmical cadence that makes the whole thing play like a funeral dirge (which is what it is). And I think both of these work with the material.

But I think this would have benefited from more structure. Something regular and clearly defined. With a refrain maybe and even a regular rhythm and rhyme scheme. It would have dovetailed well with the images of the cemetery and the funeral and the general way we trap our grief in ritual. And some sense of order would have tightened it up some. As it is the piece feels rambling and loose.

Similarly, while I like the language you used and the general tone, I donít think you went deep enough. Iíve said it before, but the more specific a poem is, the more universal. You kept everything so generic that itís almost bland. Like a Hallmark card. You canít write a proper love poem without putting the object of your love into it. Similarly, how do you write a poem about the gratitude we feel to a soldier without putting an actual solider in there.

Youíd have been better, I think, painting one scene. One day. One funeral. One soldier. And in telling us about him, you would have tapped into what it means to be a soldier and what it means to mourn one.

Itís a good piece, Szilard. A solid piece. I just wanted... more.


This was a god piece, Helgraf. One of your better ones in this contest, I think. You have just enough detail for me to get a sense of the story you want to tell and just enough ambiguity for me to fill in the blanks.

Iím not sold on the rhyme scheme. Rhyming couplets have a bad tendency to come off as sing-song. And I think that hurts the material here. But you stick to it. The rhymes are unforced and the rhythm natural and consistent.

The only thing I would have liked was a better description of the couple before she became a queen (or whatever). Iíd have liked a single scene, clearly drawn, that showed the two and the depth of their love. And then the rest would have had a lot more resonance.

But thatís mostly a nitpick. Nice work.


Both good pieces. Solid pieces. I just think that Helgraf went a little further and was more complete.

Elvaris vs. Devigod
Prompt: Indomitable


I donít think the stanza-on-each-margin thing ever works. I might be wrong. And Iíd be happy to be shown otherwise, but I think that poems are most comfortably read in a single column and any deviation from that is dangerous. Simply because, the harder it is to physically read the piece the harder it is to be a part of the experience. And so the split margins become a gimmick.

I mean, they work, as far as it goes. Two different streams of thought, both with the short lines so they look like buildings. Maybe if you had put the right-justified stanzas just to the right of the others? So they were closer? Maybe not even then. Might have been better just to italicize them and put the whole thing in one column.

The content is fine. Clever. But itís all just lead up to the final stanza, though, right? Thereís not really anything in the meat of the piece that communicates anything insightful or has any real edge. Itís just image-image-image until we end where we began. Which is cool, but in the absence of some manner of over-riding theses, it reads like a gimmick.

I sound really negative. I liked the piece. I did. Even assuming the annoying back and forth reading. I liked the way it ended were it started.

Just that, there wasnít enough here to make it really sing.


Took me a couple of read-throughs. But I got it. Change is the only constant. Nice. Clever enough.

Interesting rhyme scheme. Once I knew how it was supposed to sound, I found it much better on my second read-through. ABC, ABC is such an unusual scheme that it just didnít sound right in my head the first time. Iím not sure it helps, actually. The language of this piece is obscure enough that clarity of form might have helped some. Given it some forward motion.

I thought this one suffered from your tendency to over-complicate the language and construct seemingly deliberately obscure images. I know this is a line in the sand and different people have different views of how obscure is too obscure. But your job as the poet is to evoke the experience and thatís hard to do when weíre spending all our time working through the images to see what you might mean by them. I donít mind doing the heavy lifting, but at a certain point itís just work.

Thereís some good stuff here. The internal rhyme in stanza three is impressive. ďTime is the stiffest merchant...Ē is really cool. Iíll be quoting that off and on from now on. The opening stanza is really good.

But too much time spent hiding your meaning and not enough spent making it real and immediate.


Devigod. Neither piece blew my skirt up. And coming from such well-established poets, more so. But Deviís was the better effort, I felt.

2010-09-18, 12:08 PM
Ermm, we need a third judge to break the tie folks...

2010-09-18, 08:32 PM
Spoiler that, please. Not something the judges are gonna want to read.
Edit: Fair enough...

2010-09-20, 01:20 AM
There. Tres subtle.

2010-09-20, 02:50 AM
Zeb'll judge tomorrow night if none of the actual judges have shown up to say that they have intentions of still getting judgments in. That work for people?

2010-09-20, 01:43 PM
Judges are always welcome around here. :smallbiggrin:

2010-09-20, 02:02 PM
If no one minds, I could jump in.

Zeb The Troll
2010-09-20, 02:06 PM
If no one minds, I could jump in.Turns out that would probably be preferable for the contestants. I have an out of town guest that I haven't seen in a couple years so you'll probably get to it faster than I would.

If, when I get a good opportunity to spend some time evaluating and critiquing, it is still needed, then I'll post my thoughts on it. It just won't be until a little later this week.

2010-09-20, 02:10 PM
Yeah, all I'm doing is (ostensibly) studying.

Edit: And by studying I mean "studying." And judging people.

Elvaris vs. Devigod: Indomitable

Interesting piece. I really didnít get ďindomitableĒ from it, but a kind of deconstruction of the idea. That things are not indomitable, but transient, and that is their nature, even if they appear to be indomitable to us. I dunno, I hate saying that sort of thing about othersí poetry, but thatís what occurs to me when reading it.

You created something of a contrast between the two sides, and in general the right side seemed to consist of harsher sounds as well as harsher ideas. For example, compare verses 6 and 7. They start with, ďFailures escalateĒ and ďFixes multiplyĒ respectively, which sound similar and give the verses a sort of unification. But then compare what comes after. ďCompromising the framework./Confounding repairs.Ē and ďBracing against disaster./Patchwork of patches.Ē In verse 6, you start both of the latter lines with a hard C sound, and F is found in a couple of places, giving the lines a kind of harsh, sudden unification. Contrasted with the latter lines of verse 7, which are full of softer p/d/b sounds, and the lines have a flowiness to them, and, ďPatchwork of patches,Ē gives a stark image of the building, but in terms of structure and sound is a sort of whimsical, playful line. These sorts of contrasts are what make your poem work.

I donít think you did yourself any favors by putting it all in haiku. I donít see that the form did anything to help your poem, and may have hurt it. I just donít see any reason for it. It works for the first (and last) verse, which has a sort of haiku aesthetic, but the rest of it seemed to slave to that form, and it felt like you were trying to shoehorn it in just so your poem could have that form. You were trying to get out transitions and images so that the point of your poem would come across and the whole thing would make sense, but at the same time slaving to a form that really didnít facilitate those transitions and images. The sort of brief, constricted style works, but thereís no reason every verse needed to be a haiku, and they probably shouldnít have been.

But, yeah, liked it.

Some of your punctuation and word choice didnít make sense to me. In particular, ďlilting limbs...Ē in the second verse. To speak with a lilt is to speak in a lively, happy manner, and the inferences of the metaphor seem to contradict the other imagery in that verse in a way that makes me wonder if the word wasnít some kind of mistake. Iím also not sure about the colons throughout or the ellipsis in the first or fourth verses. There are other nitpicks, but broadly speaking Iím not quite sure about a lot of these things. They seem deliberate, but Iím not sure for what purpose theyíre there.

A lot of the verses just donít make sense to me, and to some degree the entire poem doesnít. You mention things like time, death, and transience, and those themes do run throughout, but they get overwhelmed by imagery that seems to be there mainly for its own sake. To some degree I would attribute this to the word and punctuation choice mentioned above, and also to the decision of form for each verse. You did well on a couple. The first verse captured the sort of stark halt of death very well, and the (interesting) verse structure facilitated this. I liked what you did with the third as well; the words in parentheses added another dimension to things. However, even in that verse, a lot of words stuck out as words you chose to maintain the verse structure. However you slice it, ďwith knowing final wheezeĒ is an awkward phrase, and it reads like you chose ďwheezeĒ (a word which seems bizarre and out of place) to facilitate the line structure. I donít know if this was the case, but when that happens itís typically better to just do it some other way.

Iím going to be straight, I didnít enjoy this one very much. I caught some glimpses of something really interesting and cool, but there was just too much that didnít make sense to me, and there was a lot of it I just didnít get.


Helgraf vs. Szilard: Revered
Alright, when one does a serious poem about something like love, and the form is like this, then the language had better be very strong. A series of rhymed couplets is in a lot of danger of sounding sing-songy, and worse, boring if your word choice doesnít really work. Itís a style that lends itself more to the description of silly things, which doesnít mean a poem like this has to be silly, but one should be careful if it isnít.

Some of your word choice was rather odd, and didnít quite work. For example, ďI could not reward you with trinkets of gold/Nor ply you with jewelry, fiery and bold.Ē This reads like, ďFiery and bold,Ē is just there to make it synch up with the previous line. Whatís fiery and bold about jewelry? Did he give her stuff with a lot of rubies in it? Is it bold to do that? So especially bold that itís worth mentioning? With this sort of poem you really have to think about little things like this, because if they slip by then the whole thing can easily come crashing down.

I thought, ďBut every word hollow, a prison of gilt.Ē was clever. There seems to be a guilt/gilt pun in there, which implies a lot about their relationship. At the same time, though, this line felt out of place, and in the scope of the poem Iím not really sure to what it refers or what itís supposed to mean. Through a lot of the poem Iím not sure whatís meant to be taken literally and what is imagery, and so Iím not entirely sure at any point whatís going on with these two lovers. Was she literally raised up as a queen or the wife of a rich man? Is the speaker having an affair with her? Did this set them apart? Did he discover that she was vain or materialistic, and did this make them grow apart emotionally? All of these occur to me from reading the poem, but Iím not sure which Iím supposed to think, or even whether the nature of their relationship was left intentionally vague and given room for interpretation. It was too overwhelmed by the praise given toward the poemís recipient (which I was never that interested in anyways) and the actual story of it got lost in the confusion.

Overall, your use of ďrevered,Ē was taken in a very straightforward, predictable way, and the poem ended up being a love poem with little more to it. If youíre telling a story about two peopleís love put in some twists or undertones. Sauce it up, pulp it up, make it somehow interesting. Unexpected is more interesting than straightforward, and focusing on problems is more interesting than focusing on the good bits.

This one felt a little schizophrenic. You captured the theme well, and you captured ďreverenceĒ well enough that you didnít even really need to use the word in the poem itself. However there were some lapses in this. Even at the start, ďItís big/Itís green,Ē sounds a bit silly, like the opening for an advertisement or a childrenís novel. Similarly, ďYet one of the few/One of the proud.Ē When writing a poem itís probably best to stay away from phrases used in recruitment commercials. It makes the poem sound a bit trite and clichť.

Even if I didnít always like what you wrote, I thought the form was appropriate for what you were trying to do. The sort of short and pithy lines gave the thing a feeling of weight and gravity, and one of respect. The lack of weird rhyme stuff gave it a serious tone, and the occasional use of the second person made it a bit more personal.

However, I have one huge problem with the thing. You talk about the reasons people go to war and then boil them down to one thing. The reason a person chooses to go to go fight and possibly die is something incredibly personal and dependant on the individual, and to put the whole issue to such a stark and frank bottom line, to me, oversimplifies the whole thing to an unacceptable degree. I know poems have length and style restraints, but this still should have been avoided. Itís something that the poem tends to do in general, summing up incredibly varied and individual feelings to some bottom line. I donít usually judge by the content of a poem, but this was an aspect of yours that I could not accept.


2010-09-21, 02:44 AM
Ok, that wraps it up, then.

Congratulations to Elvaris and Helgraf!

I'll post the new round momentarily.

2010-09-21, 11:32 AM
Congratz all! May you both find your muses for the final round.

2010-09-21, 02:57 PM
Iron Poet X: Round 4

Helgraf vs. Elvaris: Covenant

Deadline: Wednesday, September 29th 2010 at 11:59 pm (EST).

2010-09-29, 04:42 PM
Am I still judging this round?

2010-09-29, 04:53 PM
If you're able to, that would be great. I assume the judges who didn't show up last round will do so again this round.

6 hours remaining!

2010-09-29, 10:22 PM
If you're able to, that would be great. I assume the judges who didn't show up last round will do so again this round.

6 hours remaining!

I may not be able to make it in the 40 minutes I have left. We'll see. *grumbles*

2010-09-29, 10:40 PM
Prompt: Covenant

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day.
For Casey'd hit free agency and wanted to get paid.
Every team showed interest, a contract held in hand,
Sparing no expense for the hero of the land.

But Mudville's means were modest, their cash supply was tight.
Instead they offered surety, a comfortable sight.
The GM and the owner set out to make their case,
But Casey and his agent just laughed right in their face.

"Mudville's home," they offered, "A discount is implied."
"Home is where they pay me," the burly man replied.
"I can live in any city. Loyalty is dead.
You keep your lowball offer." "Strike one," his agent said.

"Greed!" cried the pundits, and their callers echoed "Greed!
How many millions does this dirty Casey need?"
On talk show after talk show opinion stayed the same:
Casey, greedy Casey, was a blight upon the game.

But Mudville knew their lineup sans Casey wasn't hot.
Flynn and Blake were aging, and Barrows' knees were shot.
So once again the brain trust swallowed down their pride,
And tried to talk the slugger into staying on their side.

"Would you take a shorter contract, if the money paid was near?
We could swing a three year deal, if that would keep you here."
With a simple gesture the offer was denied.
"I've earned my guarantees, and I have my pride."

"My peers have longer contracts, and their teams are doing fine.
Now I've paid my dues and it's time to get mine."
"We can't go where you're asking, what would you have us do?"
"Pay the market value," the agent said. "Strike two."

"My man's the greatest hitter playing at this game.
Opposing pitchers tremble at the mention of his name.
He's carried this poor franchise from the day he entered town.
And Mudville's getting small for a man of his renown."

Tired from the banter, the GM held his head.
"You're falling for your hype," the Mudville native said.
"You led the league in homers, and that's all well and good,
But you didn't do some things that the greatest player should."

"Your performance lacked some luster in your clutch at-bats.
And your defense was atrocious." The GM cited stats.
"You strike out way too often," the weary man opined.
"I've got a better offer, and they don't seem to mind."

Oh, somewhere in this favored land you can see the sun.
Games are pure somewhere, and somewhere sports are fun.
Somewhere children frolic, and somewhere men give thanks.
But there is no joy in Mudville, mighty Casey joined the Yanks.

2010-09-29, 11:02 PM
Prompt: Covenant


After the flood
Before Asgard

Lightís circle
Unbroken, often unseen

Endless as light
And water

The compact
And barrier

Midgard alone stands
Apocalypse past

Never again rise
The Niflheim waters

By Ymirís eyebrows
And Heimdallís charge

Man lives
After the godsí end

The rainbow circle
Eternal the new covenant

2010-09-30, 12:41 AM
gah, I hate it when I really like both the entries.
it's the finals, what did you expect?
I know but..I don't know which to pick
well, just write about them for a bit, one'll come out on top
Oh, good idea
but not tonight
Oh, no..not tonight
it's late and you have to work in the morning and have to clean the house and have an australian coming to visit.
That's true
besides, you could even wait until you're flying next week and you'd still probably beat the other judges in
Heh.... you're probably right

*wanders off to sleep* sorry for that inadvertant look inside my head :smallsmile:

2010-10-02, 02:28 AM
Tomorrow's 24 hour comic day. I should have judgments up by Sunday, though.

Okay, a day late. Close decision this time.

Helgraf vs. Elvaris: covenant

I must admit this one made me chuckle. Iím not a huge baseball fan myself, but dad is, and I know enough about it to have gotten most of the terms and in-jokes, so far as I can tell. A kind of modern, cynical version of, ďCasey at the Bat,Ē wasnít a bad idea, and you brought the themes to bear pretty well. Itís maybe a bit gimmicky for my tastes, but I do also enjoy parody, and you did this without taking a pedestal or moralizing. It was a reflection of the state of modern baseball, not a stance on how baseball should be, and the poem is stronger for it. I also like the take on ďcovenantĒ as having to do with contracts.

Structurally it was fine; your choice of verse and rhyme was rather inevitable, and the poem wouldnít have worked had you chosen differently. Thereís a few places where it feels like you phoned it in, unpleasantly sacrificing the line/verse structure where a little effort could have brought it more in line with the rest of the piece. Every single line doesnít need to be exactly X syllables or anything, and a little pushing the boundaries is fine, but there are some places that just look sloppy. A poem like this really does have to be pretty tight to work well. You did a lot of clever things with the wordplay and structure, but I feel that a little more effort on polish would have brought everything much more in line.

Short and sweet. I liked it. Iím not familiar enough with Norse myth to guarantee that I got everything, but Iím pretty sure I got all the bullet points. I liked the form you used considering the subject matter. Itís very easy to write about Ragnarok and fill it with glory and high-sounding stuff, but I found this brief, largely empty, style to be very good for expressing the time after everything has happened and things are going to start again. It had a very quiet, thoughtful sort of mood that helps draw one in and keep their attention.

The themes helped make the poem cohesive, and with this form you were in danger of making it all willy-nilly. The rather hopeful circles of light/rainbow, the after/before, lives/end, stands/past all tie together, as does the poem itself. You start after a big event, and you end with a new thing coming to be. It all comes together nicely, and was, I think, pretty cool.

This one was actually very close. This round had two very different, and in some ways incomparable, entries, and I thought both were pretty neat in their own ways. In the end, though, my vote goes to Helgraf.

2010-10-06, 05:48 PM
On vacation until late late Monday - so will have to read the judgements then.

2010-10-11, 09:50 PM
Hey folks. Poems read. Initial opinions forumlated. Decision made. I just need an hour to myself to write it all down. I'm hoping to have it done for you tomorrow night. If it doesn't happen then, it'll be Thursday for sure.

I know I'm always late with these things, but I'm usually good at keeping my word when I commit.

2010-10-11, 11:09 PM
Eep, sorry. I'm in Canadia and stuffs. I'll post judgments tomorrow.

2010-10-13, 02:45 PM
Eep, sorry. I'm in Canadia and stuffs. I'll post judgments tomorrow.

Canadia? I abide in Canadia! Where are you guys? Are there igloos?

2010-10-13, 05:06 PM
Well. We're not there any more. We're home now. We were in toronto, then port sydney, then toronto again. I don't recall seeing igloos, though it was really cold Saturday night.

Judgments tonight, promise.

2010-10-13, 10:21 PM

Elvaris: I really liked this. It was fun and clever and had a good message behind it, and having read 'Mighty Casey at the Bat', you really kept to the same flow and rhythm well. I like clever and interesting takes on prompts and I think this is. It flowed well off the tongue as well. I know I'm not giving as detailed a critique as some might, but I'm not sure what else to say.

Helgraf: I like how much impact, imagery and story you managed to convey in a very small number of words. It flowed well and was interesting and I think you used the prompt well. I liked the short lines and feel that the format added well to the overall feel of the poem.

Verdict: This was very hard. These poems are really difficult to compare to one another because they are so so so different and each are shining examples of their own style. I really loved them both. I think in the end, I'm going to go with Elvaris though, because looking back on the poems later, his was more memorable and struck a chord with me.

2010-10-15, 08:17 AM
Man. Tough round. Could we have two more dissimilar poets write two more dissimilar poems? Not even apples and oranges. Apples and back massages.

Anyway. Here we go. As soon as I post this I'll go look at the other two judgments and see what happened. Maybe I'm breaking a tie. Maybe it doesn't matter. Either way, here we are.


So. I actually did a little reading before I started this critique. Did a little research on Ragnarok and such and took a look at what the Edda looks like (it's been a while). Just to make sure that I was looking at what you've got here with all the necessary tools available.

And I think you hit the structure and the tone and flow of 'Old Norse' verse. Even if it's not dead on, it's what people think of when they think of 'Old Norse' I think. So on the surface it's a nifty little re-telling of one singular aspect of Ragnarok as suggested by the prompt. Which is nice.

But it's all surface. There's no angle here. No edge. The line 'Man lives/ After the gods' end' seems to hint at something beyond the words on the page (don't need gods anymore, age of reason, etc etc) but it isn't explored or developed. And other than that one phrase it's just a series of descriptors.

And the language, while resembling 'Old Norse' isn't particularly evocative or powerful. The rhythm should be heavier, almost pounding, with significant beats at the end of each line. There aren't really any images here for us to see or hear what you're talking about and so it just runs along until it's done.

It's a good piece. Simple, clear, effective. But it's got no depth, in either form or content.


Heh. Damn Yankees. It's almost hard to believe this has never been done before. Casey a Free Agent? Brilliant. Such an entertaining idea, contrasting as it does the difference between how we construct nostalgia in sports and compare it to how things are 'these days.'

I liked the way you hit all the points along the way. Barrows and Flynn and Blake and the Strike One, Strike Two progression. And the way you mirrored the reactions of the crowd with the pundits and the negotiations. And the mixture of modern words into the antiquated reference made me smile.

If I have notes for improvement, they're all on the rhythm, which falters here and there. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. I re-read Casey at the Bat before starting this and I noticed that the rhythm of that piece is actually pretty uneven too. So I guess I can't even fault you for that.

Also, the reference to striking out too often was priceless.

Nice piece. Clever, fun, Edgy. Among your Better efforts.


Tough one. But I think Elvaris takes it this time.

2010-10-16, 12:45 AM
Spoilered in case there are any more judges.

Ahh well. At least I made it to the final round this time. I'm glad the last poem worked as well as it did, even if in the end, it didn't go the distance.

I'm proud that it impressed as much as it did; it worked on a level I wasn't entirely sure it would.

Le sigh. I'm going to be busy coordinating Vampire IV over in structured games, so I'll probably have to give the next match or two a miss.

2010-10-18, 07:45 PM
Congratulations to Elvaris, our winner for the Iron Poet X competition!

New thread will be up shortly.

Anyone have thoughts on trophies? I think we need a way to congratulate the winners more effectively than the above.

2010-10-18, 11:36 PM
Oh yeah, I was going to make some once upon a time.

2010-10-18, 11:37 PM
I never know what to say at this point.
So thanks to everyone who makes Iron Poet worth coming back for: Competitors, Judges, Spectators, Spectators who become judges, and Vaynor who keeps us all on the rails.

2010-10-22, 02:12 AM
New thread is here, for those of you who are subscribed. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=172822)

Edit: Alarra: If you do, make a template for first and second place and I'll fill in the names/contest number to give them out retroactively.