Poster competitions can also be inspirations for Magnificent Poetic Achievement. Behold, below!

Duke Research Computing Symposium registration HERE and declaration of your intent to do a poster for the competition HERE. (The Prizes, of course, are massive, but the pale in comparison to the unshakable cultural work in the doggerel below.)

‘Twas the Night Before Deadline

Twas the night before deadline, when all through the lab
Our laptops lined up, sleeping, on the bench, a slate slab;
The pipettes hung quietly, work done for the day.
Dazed postdocs dozed silently, with no more to say
Than mutter a prayer that an experiment would work
So to earn an article in Science, even if by a quirk.

When down the hallway there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bench to see what was the matter.
Away to the poster printer I flew like a flash,
Switched on the light and saw it strike a deft bash
Against poster paper that now bled great blobs of ink.
All that work! Now near midnight! I felt my heart sink.

“The prizes?! Amazing!” yelled my Pea Eye at lab meeting.
“We will win them all!” she had said, “I allow no one us beating.
Shiny new node, a virtual machine, capacious storage —
all easy to covet,” she trilled. “We merely need courage!
We have abundance of brains!” I quaked in the memory.
My poster, now shreds, dimmed my hopes for such glory.

When what to my wondering eyes did appear
The deadline for PAPER posters was not even near!
No PAPER poster was required at this date, it said,
And I felt my fear waning as well as cold dread.
The Duke Research Computing Symposium session
Would still take, by email, my intended submission.

I knew in a moment just what I would do:
Shoot an email to Marnie, blind-copy my Pea Eye, too.
I’d give her the Authors, the Title, and Short Abstract,
And a few polite words — supplication, really, with tact.
“I need no crappy Epson printer!” I exclaimed with delight.
“I just need to send email and in my proposal be bright!”

I’d leave printer dysfunction for others to fix,
And get someone to print my poster just for kicks —
Or for money, like Kinkos. A Twenty-Second December
Deadline is for easy POSTER INTENTS, remember.
By that day, an email to Marnie will do just the trick.
And you can fiddle with your printer — or just give it a kick.

(Apologies to Clement Clark Moore –

Marnie Rhoads’ email is She’s waiting for your poster submission!