Friday, September 30, 2022

Poetry Friday: The Definito (and related forms)

At Planet Word's photo booth, 
acting out the definitions of SAT words

Last month, I had to take a break due to travel, but for this month's challenge, I'm definito-ly here. 

        Oooh, that joke was...


Not filled with awe,
but the opposite,  
things that drain you

of delight, on the scale 
of bad to worse,
it's nearly dreadful--  
a dire expression of shared
pain:  awwwww, noooooo...


          ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

See how easy that was?  A definito (according to its creator, Heidi Mordhorst) is "a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.  You can see her full explanation and several wonderful examples here. 

I admit, this kind of poem is right up my alley. Definitions? Word play? Less common words?  Yes!  But it also got me thinking, as great poetry does:  What about the,..

In-definito??  Would that be....

A poem that vaguely
runs on and on and on...? 
Well....not exactly...

It's hard to say...
I can't pin it down...
Maybe it's just... 

not settled...

I didn't mean
to define an


          ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

Then there's the Imagin-ito.  

That's where you write a poem that defines an imaginary word---or as I call them "words that should be words."  I keep a list of such words on my phone. Not sure why-- maybe it's in honor of Frindle by Andrew Clements. Or to use in my own books one day.  In any case, here's one:


a person
who hides their
true smarts

behind a perky
attitude, appearing

until they skewer
you unexpectedly
with a dimpled smile.

            ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

So what word would you like to define, imaginary or real?  Drop your Definito, In-definito, or Imagin-ito in the comments.  

My poetry sisters Definitos can be found here:


Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabitha Yeatts.