Friday, January 29, 2021

It's a New Year With My Poetry Sisters!

It's a new year with a new set of writing challenges with my poetry sisters. Even better than continuing on this writing journey is our commitment to writing together, over Zoom! I nearly wept when I saw their faces and heard their voices. We chatted about the challenge, wrote on our own, but together in virtual time, and then chatted about process and writing. We didn't share our poems, so I can't wait to read what they've written.

This month's challenge was to select words from a particular year in Merriam Webster’s Time Traveler. This site highlights when a word was first used in print. I was born in 1965 and had some interesting words to choose from. 

I ended up with two remarkably different poems, though both are focused on childhood memories. Neither one feels particularly finished, but I'm glad to have gotten something down. (Note that the words from Time Traveler that I used are highlighted.)

Not by Definition
a moniker casually tossed
but hand-me down clothes
fittingly unstylish, outdated
gave it legs
a tendency to choose books
over social interaction
made it stick

My game face was nerd
my lived experience more
smart than odd, more
curious than awkward

stoked not just by math, science,
Dr. Who, and Star Trek
but also the give-and-go,
alley-oop, and leg out

Driveway hoops, backyard ball,
winter hockey on a frozen pond
all precious moments when
there was acceptance
hard won in sweat, pumping legs,
and flying elbows

But there is little wiggle room
in a label that
damns us from the start
restricts how others see us
how we see ourselves
unless we take it back
embrace it, proclaim it
wave its banner high

Today my name tag reads
“Hello my name is  __.
I am a dork.

Diamond Days

We lived for the home stands
clutched knothole passes 
in clammy hands
excitedly took seats in
hard, hot bleachers

We cheered as batters legged out
hoped for theirs to ground out
held a collective breath
at the top of the 9th with
two outs, full count, bases loaded
watched our hurler
full-on game face
wait for a sign

Time slowed before the nod,
the wind up, the pitch
the crack of the bat
the agony of defeat

We left burned
in more ways than one
but more than ready
to return the next day
for another round
another glorious day
in the sun

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2021. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. 
Would you like to try the next challenge? Roll a set of metaphor dice and write a poem inspired by the metaphor. If you don’t have a set, try this online generator: Share your poem on February 26th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems!

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Jan Annino at Bookseedstudio. Happy poetry Friday friends!


  1. We left burned in more ways than one...Oh, I've been there with the Nats! Love the immediacy and detail of your baseball poem---it makes me long for the season to start and all to be "normal" again. Nodding and smiling through your Dork poem too...your early stanza with that clever phrase "gave it legs" was so gangly perfect, and yeah I loved sports as well as science so I hated labels, too. This was a great challenge. Thank you for finding it!

  2. I like both of these so much - they are wildly different indeed, but both bring a sense of times past. I was such a dork, too - but it wasn't as bad a word as nerd, when I was growing up. It was just gently eccentric - and tossed around with at least a little humor. But, no one wanted to be a nerd - something somehow, only boys could be nerds. I certainly don't miss a time when being smart was somehow wrong - at school, of all places! The 80's have so much to answer for...

  3. "Dork!"
    I heard that too & haven't thought of that word in so long. This time travel stuff is promptly working for the #PoetryPals this week; I enjoy what you've created with it. And not. one, but two poems ~~ creative you!

  4. I can remember my mom picking up the term "dork", as in "Is this outfit too dorky?" Ha Ha we thought she was too old to use our words. I like how your poem moves from the negative connotation of those labels to hard won banner waving. Poetry does this!

  5. Tricia, I adore how you claimed and defined dork for yourself, both in this poem and in real life. You are always running your own race, and I love that!

  6. Tricia, you led me down a definition path - Dork -what a word! Maybe be passionate about something other than popularity was enough to earn that title. The 1st poem had a flavor of the past while the 2nd poem was a more universal topic that had me in the moment with you. Nostalgia Lane...

  7. I know I'm older, but that word "dork" was around in my growing up, too, Tricia. Finding a way to embrace all that you are feels good to me, bookish and ball player, too. I think that first poem belongs to a young people's anthology. I know my mid-school students would have embraced it!

  8. I could so relate to your first poem--the choosing books over social interaction and the hand me down clothes. And even claiming the dork label with pride. All through high school, my cello-playing daughter proudly called herself an 'orch dork.' (not to be confused with the band geeks that I belonged to in high school)

  9. OH MY HEART. That first poem just absolutely slayed me. And the vivid action and love of sports whone through in both. Just lovely....