Friday, September 30, 2022

Poetry Sisters Write Definitos

The challenge this month was to write in the form of the definito. Head on over to Heidi Mordhorst's place, my juicy little universe, to learn more about the roots of this form. Essentially, this is a poem that focuses on the meaning of a "less common" word through word play. It is written in free verse and consists of 8-12 lines, with the last word of the poem the word being defined. These poems are aimed at readers ages 8-12, so getting this right was a challenge.

I spent some time perusing vocabulary lists for 4th- and 5th-grade students. I found a few words I liked, but none that really struck a chord. Then I pulled out the book L is for Lollygag: Quirky Words for a Clever Tongue, written by the Chronicle Books Staff. Within minutes I had a gaggle of words to write about.

The word that I ultimately settled on was betwixt. During our Zoom meeting Sara suggested I break the word and put the poem in between the word parts. I just couldn't get that out of my mind. I don't usually title my poems, but I thought I might try some variation of this suggestion. Here's what I came up with.

Be- (insert definition here) -twixt

not engine or caboose
     but railcar

not elementary or high school
     but middle

not once upon a time or happily ever after
     but the action in between

not Oreo chocolate
     but vanilla cream

not first base or second
     but playing a game of pickle

when you're stuck in the middle
     you're BETWIXT

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2022. 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? In October we are writing in the form of the Dansa. You can learn more about this form at Writer's Digest. We hope you'll join us. Are you in? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering with the rest of us on October 28th 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 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday friends!


    1. your definition of betwixt is bewitching ;-) I love your list!

    2. First, I need the Lollygag book - that sounds like a lot of fun for the word nerdist amongst us. Secondly, I love that you did more than one word - I think that's what I needed to do. I felt like I couldn't talk about one word for 8-12 lines, for some reason. I think I didn't have the right word

    3. What a clever definito and betwixt is a great word to use. I'm so curious about the Lollygag book--looks like a treasure!

    4. Wonderful from title to last stanza. You give the definition in images that really make sense to kids. Love it!

    5. This is such fun, Tricia! I didn't know what playing a game of pickle was--so I learned something new :>) Great examples, and clever title!

    6. Tricia, at first I thought you were going to use the lollygag-one of my favorite words. Then, you surprised me with your title and thoughts like not Oreo chocolate/but cream. I think students would love to use your poem as a mentor text to create their own definito. Have fun playing with words.

    7. Perfect in both form and content. LOVE your examples!!

    8. Hee hee hee! I love the way this one riddles and teases--the leaps to different images are very stretching!

    9. Like Carol, I thought 'lollygag', too, but no, something better & the way you presented will inspire those kids to write even more things "betwixt". Love it, Tricia!

    10. So fun! Great examples. Thanks also for pointing us to Lollygag.

    11. This is just so clever -- what a great word, and you made the most of it!

    12. I love the way you've arranged your words in this poem. Thanks for sharing!

    13. I'm betwixt words: fun or fabulous? Yay or Hooray? All of the above. :D I love the title, too!

    14. Betwixt is a terrific word and your definito really brings it to life in ways kids, in particular, will appreciate!