With the Mystery and Fantasy/Science Fiction brackets in the books (yes, still using that pun-- no comments yet. Come on people, a little love here!), it is time to turn to Week Two, featuring a plethora of poets and a ton of thrillers. Here's a summary of the first round poetry pairings:
#1 Robert Frost vs. #8 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
One of the 20th century's most acclaimed writers, Robert Frost will forever be remember for his poem, The Road Not Taken with its classic opening "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood", but his performance in the first round of the Authors Show Down may register a close second in memorability. From the get go Frost's crisp passing and stifling defense had Longfellow on his heels and in a quick 5-1 hole. Longfellow, whose own iconic work Paul Revere's Ride contains the classic lines "Listen my children and you shall here of the midnight ride of Paul Revere," rallied briefly, closing to 5-3 on a pair of long range jumpers, but it was all Frost down the stretch. In the end, the #1 seed in the poetry bracket coasted to an 8-3 victory.
#4 Emily Dickinson vs. #5 Walt Whitman
With one of the best beards ever, Walt Whitman is widely regarded as the father of free-verse poetry, as well as a fine rebounder and good post player. His opponent, by contrast, is a perimeter player, known for her short lines of verse and a quick release on her jump shot. Usually in a match up of an inside player vs. an outside shooter, the odds favor the taller, inside presence, but in the first round Emily Dickinson was so good from outside that Whitman's rebounding prowess was of little use-- there were few missed shots to speak of. Dickinson scored early and often, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and coasting to an easy 9-2 decision, setting up a second round match up with Robert Frost-- an intriguing pairing given that both are New England natives who frequently wrote of rural life and nature in that region.
#3 Oscar Wilde vs. #6 T.S. Eliot
Slightly miscast in the poetry bracket (Wilde is best known for plays), Wilde was nonetheless a prominent poet, wicked satirist and also a superb all around basketball player. His opponent, T.S. Eliot, is best known for his book of verse Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which served as the inspiration for the wildly popular musical Cats, and for his cross-over dribble, which frequently leaves defenders standing flat-footed while Eliot drives past them for an easy dunk. In the first-round it was all Wilde, the Irishman jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead and then maintaining that margin for a convincing 8-3 victory and a second round match up with Carl Sandburg.
#2 Carl Sandburg vs. #7 John Keats
Had this competition been held in the early 19th century, Keats would have won easily-- and not just because Sandburg wasn't born until 1878. In his day, Keats was renowned for both his poetry and his rim-rocking slam dunks. Indeed, Keats was an influence on many of the other poets in this bracket as well as on dunk masters Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. But this competition wasn't held in the early 19th century, but instead in the early 21st century, and in our competition, Sandburg was able to limit Keats with some fine defense and some excellent long range marksmanship, enroute to an easy 9-2 victory.