14 December 2012

countdown to new year's: parlez-vous round two?

Countdown to New Year's: Parlez-Vous Round Two?
Next week will start Round Two of the Our Lost Jungle Countdown to New Year’s dead poet dates! Of the twenty-four poets who started the challenge, we are now down to twelve. I have to say, as the first round of dead poet dates went along, it started to get harder and harder to choose who the winner would be. In some cases the winners were obvious. In others, it really came down to the wire before I was able to settle on a winner. But the great thing about all the dates was the chance to "get to know" several poets I'd either studied but only halfheartedly, heard of but never really read, or never heard of at all. Getting to see where many of these great poets came from in their lives and personal histories was an eye opener for me ... I hope it was also eye-opening for you! (I also hope I wasn't the only one to blush a little with some of the more saucy poets on their dates...)

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Before we go any further, let’s see who took gold in yesterday’s dates:

Breakfast: Just like the strawberries at breakfast, William Butler Yeats’ “When You Are Oldbrought so much sweetness to the table.

Lunch: Claude McKay’s “After the Winter left me anything but cold; it warmed my heart like a tropical breeze.

Dinner: I hope I never forget Dylan Thomas’ “This Is Remembered … I know my heart won’t forget it!

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One of the hardest things about Round One was having to state the winner without going into much detail about why those particular poets won. Round Two will feature more looks at the poems presented, and will give you—that’s right, you out there—more of a chance to dig into the poems as well. Here’s some of what you can expect:

  • Rather than four days of dates, there will be three days of dating next week. Dates will be held on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; winners will be announced on Friday.
  • Rather than three dates on each day, there will be two dates. Rather than meals, we’ll be visiting locales! The boys and I are really excited about this. It’s one thing to sit at a restaurant and talk poetry. It’s another to try to do so on a Tilt-a-Whirl or in the midst of a safari or at a jazz cafĂ© or … well, let’s not let me get ahead of myself!
  • The poems will stay the same, but they’ll be engaged more. We’ll look at the best lines, best line breaks, and the specific lines or sections that scream “I love you” (and maybe whisper, “I love you and I’d love to give you an imaginary smooch on New Year’s”).
  • Reader engagement will change a bit. This is where I’m hoping you’ll jump in. First, there will be polls. That’s right … actual voting polls in which you get to say which poets you preferred on their dates. There will also be the same old “Your Turn” section, but instead of simply asking which poets you liked best there will be more room for you to say what about the poems you liked best, least, and everything in between.
  • This “competition” is going social! There’s already a bit of social media wrapped up in this countdown; the posts themselves count, I suppose, and each is automatically shared on my Facebook page, Twitter, and Google+. But with the addition of polls, there will also be poll questions on Facebook and the sharing of selections from the winning poets’ poems on Twitter. Because it really should just be Michael McDonald who gets to take things to the streets.

I hope to see you back here next week as we continue with Round Two! I’ll be posting the lineup for dates over the weekend.  In the meantime …

Your Turn: Which of the twelve contestants moving on to Round Two is/are the frontrunner(s) for you in this competition? Which poets would you like to see paired up? If you could take your favorite poet/writer on a date, where would you take her/him and what would you two do? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Re-read the Round One dates of the Our Lost Jungle Countdown to New Year's!

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