{pf: poetry peeps definito… definitively}

Poetry Peeps! You’re invited to our challenge in the month of October! Here’s the scoop: We’re doing a Dansa! Its opening quintrain (5 lines) is followed by quatrains (4 lines), with a quintrain rhyme scheme of AbbaA and the quatrain bbaA. You’ll note that A repeats because the opening line of the first stanza is the final line of every stanza, including the first. 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.

Definition poems are nothing new, but I like this Mordhorst Definito, because it’s not just defining a word, it’s playing with words, which is a singular joy. The rules are pretty simple, and while it’s supposed to be free verse, I felt, um, free to rhyme a tiny bit. Others of the Poetry Peeps felt free to do other, smarter things. Check out Sara’s poem here, and find Laura’s poem here, and Tricia’s is here, while Liz’s poem is here. Kelly’s poem is here, and Mary Lee’s is here. A delightful number of folx joined in the fun today, and all hail, Queen Heidi’s Mordhorst Definito is here! Molly’s definito is here, while Rose’s definito is here. The Lindas are in the house, with Linda M.’s nebulous definito here, and Linda B’s definito here. We welcome Carmela to the Peeps roundup with her definito. Margaret’s definito is here, and Carol V’s is here. Even more Peeps will check-in throughout the course of the weekend, so stay tuned for the roundup.

We joked in my critique group this month that it’s just the months that end in -ber that cause us so many scheduling problems… and it’s truer this year than many. With everyone jumping aboard the Obligation Bus, one has to be deliberate about making time for things, including poetry. Since I missed my scheduled hour this weekend, I was already behind in finding my words, and I wanted to do something less complicated than my brain usually chooses for me. I told it that no, I wasn’t going to try to define perspicacious or itinerary in poetic form. I even, regretfully, passed on panache, although I adore that word. I decided to go small. Really small…

Minus even a mite
Not a dab nor a dram
The next thing to nothing,
A nip’s all I am.
Not meal: morsel. Not cookie: crumb.
A last speck of bacon,
A wee shred of plum.
Think of a particle
Left in the fridge:
Place it on a plate…
Now you have a SMIDGE.

(I mostly amused myself with that one, especially because speck is also a ham derivative of some sort.)

I have to admit that somewhere out there someone may still not quite count “smidge” or “smidgen” as a word, so I went for something a bit more traditional which doesn’t speak its definition quite so onomatopoetically:

water, or perhaps
a lake:
Pure flowing,
Pristine, cool,
& free to take.
People come, parched
& piqued, peeling, sun-baked:
Find them a fountain! Then
their thirst
will slake.

Aaaand, that’s not technically a definito, because it’s not really defining the word either. I feel like I need to play with Definitos a lot more before I’m doing them right. My first attempts were basically regurgitating the thesaurus, and I still feel like there’s a bit of that going on, in my first one especially. Being more playful is difficult for those of us who are always looking at the rules and ONLY the rules; however, there are few enough rules here for this form to be something fun for students to attempt. I will have to try again…

There’s more poetry abroad this autumn-touched morning (friends: it is chilly. Since it was SO HOT in this state just weeks ago, this is still deeply delightful) at Tab’s place, The Opposite of Indifference. Take joy in warming up in layers of words this weekend.

31 Replies to “{pf: poetry peeps definito… definitively}”

  1. Oh my gosh, your Definito for “smidge” is so clever. I love the playfulness of these lines: A nip’s all I am.
    Not meal: morsel. Not cookie: crumb.

    1. @laurashovan222: Thank you! I had fun choosing, then defining one of the weirder sounding words I could. I think it’d be fun to do a handful just limiting myself to the oddest sounding words I can come up with that mean something wildly different than what they sound like… Hm, I may need to torture my poetry group with that! 🙂

  2. What a treat of a post Tanita!!! You’ve slaked all areas of my thoughts with both poems!
    And smidge comes from Gaelic origins so that’s why I love your poem and using that fun sounding word. Also interesting to hear about the title for my poem originally had a different title but I saw a few titled with the defining word and changed it…. Wonderful, thanks!

      1. Thanks Tanita, I’m hoping to continue with your challenges–I look forward to them, and especially to all of your poetry!

  3. Who would dare to not count “smidge” as a word?! Not only a word, but a word that inspired that delightful poem! Love both of these, Tanita. I could see myself getting carried away and too scrupulous about whether or not I was actually defining the word. I might make up some of my own rules, too, lol. Can’t wait to read the other contributions (I’m running very behind!) 🙂

  4. I’m still catching up on all the wonderful definitos. I love both these poems, Tanita. The rhyme adds another layer of fun. Well done!
    And thanks for linking to my definito post, and stopping by to comment. You’re completely right: She thought she owned the SIDEWALK!
    I have a line to that effect in the longer free verse poem I’m still playing with. 😉

  5. Late to the table and I hope there’s a ‘smidge’ of something left? I love that “left overs” poem a lot, feel like it is just a perfect definito & I guess you have Heidi’s blessing. And I like all those P’s in the water poem, guess it’s not a science definition but now we know about water (remember Helen Keller). Thanks, Tanita (I thought about ‘perspicacious’, too.)

  6. Cousin Tanita, you sell yourself not just a smidgen but a LOT too short. That first poem is just what I imagine for a definito, and no need either to be defensive about rhyming–it’s more that we should freely toss out all our devices in whatever order serves the central purpose, of creating not just the definition but a sense or emotional application of the word. And after my time in Germany, I too enjoyed the speck of bacon! Aaahhh. “Not meal: morsel. Not cookie: crumb.” Number two is no slouch either, and I think the discussion about titles is important. I think we don’t want to just title the poem with the same word we’re writing about, but putting a different adjacent word can be misleading. I think that’s why I felt relieved by the idea of the phonetic pronunciation.

    1. @Cousin Heidi: Oh, I’m so glad you liked them!! You have such a way with yours and I always feel like they perfectly match the word when I read them – this is such a fun form, thank you for sharing it with the world!

      And the phonetic title is perfection — THAT keeps me from using the word to define the word in exactly the same way.

    1. @Cousin MaryLee: Yeah – that’s exactly why the bacon thing came to mind. I’ll have you know I’ve been doing German on Duolingo for a month now! It’s a LOT like Dutch, but enough so that I’m kept on my toes by all the different spellings and very long words!

  7. Hahahaha–Yes to speck, shred, taste, lick…smidge! I say all of those frequently. I wasn’t trying to guess the word, and I don’t think that’s a requirement, anyway. I think SMIDGE works brilliantly, and this totally defines it. I don’t think you’re regurgitating the thesaurus at all. Just using other words kids might already know and examples to illustrate the meaning–I think your Leftovers is barely a smidge short of brilliance!

    1. @laurasalas: Smidge, or smidgen is influenced by the Scots Gaelic words smitching, or smitch… I thought you’d appreciate that. ☺ Thank you for your kind words. For some reason, this one was HARD for me (but not harder than the poem for our Deeper Dive group. GOOD GRIEF).

  8. Whoo hoo! I can comment. It’s just a few extra steps…but I seem to struggle with them. I’m all in favor of leftovers. Love them in any way, shape or form. And, I’m in favor or more poetry play…lots of it! Well done.

  9. Tanita, I am far from finished and will be really late for PF today. My husband had hip replacement this week and we got him comfortably home but life is hectic. I also love the poem Leftovers with its surprise ending. A smidge is a wonderful small word that I shall always relate to leftovers know. The word slake with new to me so off I went to the dictionary. I’ll work on definito but I would say that it will come very late because my little grandgirls are coming over to see their grandpa.

  10. I use the word smidge all the time. I even have a “weird sizes” set of measuring spoons and smidgen is in it! (In fasct, so are dash and pinch!) I adore this poem, and like Sara, didn’t guess the word, but I love how it all made sense in the end. And the rhyme? Divine.

    I think the second poem is a perfect example for slake, btw.

    1. @saralewisholmes: Smidge was another one of those instances where I needed to add subtraction – I couldn’t get to the point fast enough and should have limited myself to eight lines to make the word more clearly guessable, maybe. I will have to keep trying these.

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