31 December 2013

countdown to new year's: round 4 – speak to me

Countdown to New Year's: Round 4 -- Speak to Me!
We're down to the wire, folks! The final three poets have been chosen by your votes, and now we are down to three. Out of 24 poets, only three come to you with the same hope twinkling in our own eyes: the hope of a new year, and, in their cases, a New Year's kiss. We've gone on dates, we've studied lines, and now comes one of my favorite parts of this challenge (besides the kiss, that is): Last year, this phase came sooner, but this year Round 4 is the moment in which I speak my love back to the remaining poets!

Here's how Round 4 will work: Below, you'll find three poems, written in response to or in the style of the poems written by each of the three poets who are advancing to this final round. Each poem is my own response to the work of those poets; it's not necessarily a statement on which I "liked" the most (though I think it would be hard to argue that my love of the poems didn't in some way impact the results). Read through each poem, and be sure to read the original poems they were inspired by. Then, cast your vote on which poet you would like to see win the New Year's kiss! Your vote does not need to be based on the poems below. It should, however, be based on the poets, and the poems they wrote. That said, once you've cast your vote for the winner, be sure to answer the "Your Turn" questions for more entries into the Grand Prize Book Drawing! Get your votes in before midnight!

Good luck ... to the poets, and you!

I Choose, I Choose
After “Believe, Believe” by Bob Kaufman

I choose you. The nectar of my plum,
Still rooted to the sky, singing the scent of earth,
The pull of you seasoned
To the blue sheet of sky stretching our horizons.

I choose the melody of sambas,
Thrumming our singular hearts to one rhythm
And back again, the somnambular dance
Taking us across a pillowed plane,
Leave behind the requiem
Of life before your timbre.

Sing in my grottoes, the hollows
Alive with the quiver of your tongue!
You! The gambol of centuries!
The swell of time!
The rise and fall of all this world devours.

This I’ve Known
After “You Know All This” by Kenneth Koch

From the very first dawn
    You held me like a spoon;
A curve within your palm
   A corner of your moon.

From then on in our diurnals
    The days harmonied, orchestras;
I say you fill me up like journals—
     You say, Thus spake Zarathustra.

Prophetess, I promise
     To take you as my one,
To line you as my sonnet,
     To taste you as my plum.

You laugh me like a river,
     Navigate my words again,
And whisper with a quiver,
    This I’ve known, both now and then.

After “Sleep”  by Jorge Luis Borges

You ask me once who I will be at night when whispers shadow
The dimness of our little room to paint the walls in silence
And now I answer: Once we are asleep, I will be science
That puzzles out the mysteries only sleep and darkness know—
I’ll wake inside a riddle drawing ripples on your spine
To reason out the half-forgotten fragments of your breaking:
To question you if you will still remember when we’re waking
That time in time of timelessness you promised to be mine.
For once upon a dawn you seemed a dream, merely envisioned
Hints of broken memoirs fighting to compose at morn,
And when you broke upon my eyes I swore that you were born
Of sleep, of love-in-idleness—but now sweet shade is fission.
How can we, if we can, re-fuse the marvels waking harms—
The tangoed love untangled when I wake beyond your arms?

Ready to vote? Let's go!

Which poet do you think deserves a New Year's kiss?
Bob Kaufman
Kenneth Koch
Jorge Luis Borges
I can't choose ... I like them all!
None of them :(
Poll Maker

Your Turn: For three more entries into the book drawing, answer the following questions:
1.) Which poet do you think was voted out before his time? Who should have made it further?
2.) Is there a poet you'd like to see in next year's challenge?
3.) If this was a Living Poets Countdown to New Year's, which poet(s) would you like to win a date with?


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Check out the previous Countdown to New Year's rounds!


  1. 1. Donne or Shakespeare

    2. Yeats or Frost

    3. William Preston, Walter J Wojtanik (Do they have to be single guys?

  2. I didn't realize there was another round, so am entering these after the fact, just for fun...

    At the risk of being boringly repetitive, Lawrence Ferlinghetti was gone far too soon! Next year? Frost and Pound. Hmm...if I had the nerve, Christian Bok (altho, I have shoelaces older than he is, so it would be embarassing) and/or Ron Silliman (although I'd have to bring my husband because he likes him too).


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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