In Round I, the poets were given titles from which they then had to create a work. Each pair-up received a different title, with each title chosen to be something the poets would not ordinarly pick for themselves.
Our first pair were EvaPrincessa and Bogbrush, given Come Dance with Kitty Stobling. Miss Princessa was understandably nervous about the ridiculous title, but she turned in a lovely piece on the freedom and grace of movement. Unfortunately, her competitor BogBrush never posted a piece, going the way of Anna's and chasing42 who both cited personal problems getting in the way of their poetical potential.
In the second match-up, Poetry Workshop manager ElzuWolfe went up against DuineBriste with the title Myself, Like the Wheels. Taking the wheels as an expression of time, Elzu juxtaposed the unforgiving aspects of space with the forward movement of humanity and thought. DuineBriste used the title as referring to the road of life, with the speaker describing the trials and graces leading down that road. In this pairing, Elzu passed into Round II.
Pairing last Tournament's winner, The_Lemon_Yellow_Donkey, against newcomer Gnashville, the third match-up was faced the with title The Bottecellian Trees. Both poets then researched the artist of their poem's namesake before writing their works. Tying Bottecelli's internal struggle with that of twin trees, one "flourished" and the other withered, Lemon Yellow brought his characteristic free verse to the judging table. Gnashville, giving a backstory on the artist, described the clashing ideaologies in the man's mind to present Bottecelli's poignant end. In a surprising outcome, Gnashville won over the Tournament winner to move on to the next round.
Given the title Pomegranate Flowers, aryst0krat and Ghina set out to create their works. Returning his work first among all competitors, aryst0krat twined love and petals together in his melodous piece. Ghina, meanwhile, created a work describing a dancing woman as a precious flower sweeping over the dancefloor. Aryst0krat went on to Round II after the judges' deliberation.
In the pair-up of Rac7hel vs. cassandra, there was some confusion. On the behalf of cassandra, Moonwalker contacted me saying Rac7hel's competitor would not be able to participate due to computer problems. When cassandra then posted a piece and withdrew it, Rac7hel's fate was again left up in the air. Since EvaPrincessa was also challenger-deficient, the two were paired together. Rac7hel's bitterly humorous poem Illusion Lost won against Eva's and she moved into the second round.
Given the title Year Without Light, both darkliquid and Bluejay entertained the idea of writing on the far Northern daylight before deciding on their topics. Bluejay turned in the experience of living in the cold without change, while darkliquid gave the title to the memories of one in a coma, the second left on the other side.
A title pulled from The Quintessential Phase of the Hitchhiker's Guide, Prophets and Losses, led Bucknuck and redhat towards a more religious path. Contrasting the "call of the Prophet" with faith, death, and greed, Bucknuck's work gave a darker tint to the already bloody wars of religion. Forming his poem into verses to be sung, redhat presented God as, in his own words, "an a-hole" leading his Prophets to death and, in Matthew's case, as close to taxes as the Bible cares to get. In this round, redhat won out.
Hideho Heights led Moonwalker and the Irish Pianist in distinct directions. While g2LaPianistaIrlandesa posted a work regailing the character of a place presented in sonnet form, Moonwalker read up on the fictious character of Hideho and left her instructive piece in the hands of the judges. The judges, after a split one to one, sent Moonwalker on to Round II.
Piano Bones, in this match-up, would send one poet not only to the next round but into her contemporaries' thoughts as Poets' Choice. Presenting the haunting image of a decrepit piano, Amberactuallyritu unfortunately failed to hit a sympathetic note with the judges. FogCat's sentimental, almost celebratorialy mourning piece placing an aged woman alonside her beloved instrument moved the judges and poets into voting her through and naming her Round I's Poets' Choice.
Given the simple title of For a Lady I Know, Tad_Winslow and Briony were faced with fleshing the title's personage out. Briony's portrait of a lady, perhaps dying for the stage or falling to unknown sin, went up against not one but two of Tad's works. In his original posting, Tad's work was substantially shorter and more succint. In a sudden fervor, he moved the piece to a separate story and posted a new work in its place. While this move sent him into the next round, it led to more detailed laying out of the rules of posting and time limits for the rounds to follow.
Pointing out that the Tournament leader had no business translating a language she doesn't understand, Bill_Hartzia and Eloosive still set their works forward under the name Lui et Elle [He and She] or [Him and Her]. This pairing was especially fascinating for those who knew of the two's history in collaboration and frequent poetical challenges. Bill presented the coupling of French paramours, smothering their love in the structure of work. Eloosive, contrastingly, submitted the faux love of a man trying everything to please his "Bunny" while she inevitably gives in for the money. All of Eloosive's challenges to Bill_Hartzia must have proved fruitful, because he passed on into Round II with Eloosive's blessing.
I'll type this one up next time. There's already almost a thousand words in this thing and I'm a little worn out by this point :P