Hats off to the organizers! To approximate something Paul Muldoon said about the event's premise: it's sometimes fun to have fun, even with poetry! (Yes, baby elves are helping me write this.)
Aaanyway, some serious technology (as far as poetry readings go) channelled the muses last night at The Strand: two adjacent projectors were connected to two adjacent computers where Paul Muldoon and Brad Leithauser awaited the signal to start. With only ten minutes to summon a poem, prompted by "The Blessing of the Dog" by Alicia Ostriker, things developed quickly. I believe Muldoon struck his first letter of the competition 23 seconds in. You can follow the action in real time -- here for Muldoon and here for Leithauser. And do keep a close eye on the first letter of each line in Muldoon's poem.
Restraint may set your free!
And speaking of elves.