Poem Tryouts: Define It

25 Jun

8:48 a.m. — San Antonio

Hullo, all. I hope you are well. Excuse me if I hurry. With nothing happening yesterday or tomorrow, today, when I am writing you, I have three other things happening. All happy things: new sheets — I love the cool crispness of new sheets; new eyeglasses — I forgot to have my annual check last year and have spent a few months peering at the computer screen; and happiest, lunch and an afternoon at a Rockwell exhibit with my poetry cyber-world friend, Paula W.

Today, let’s play with the dictionary. I have two ways for you to go about this. The first I have been saving since I first saw it many months, maybe years, ago. The form is the poem, to a large degree and an example is needed. The poem that grabbed me and which I saved is by Elizabeth C:

While reading this past week,
I found a new word:
It means:

1. (in ancient worship) a sacred place
that the public was forbidden to enter;
an inner shrine.

2. the most sacred or reserved part
of any place of worship.

And I know that I have found
another word for Soul.

Elizabeth Crawford 1/9/11 (and the Dictionary)

That’s the structure, but you have room to move around and to adapt. The thing is to incorporate the dictionary definition(s) as they are written.

The second possibility is a riff off of one of Barbara’s Miz Quickly prompts from April. She asked us to choose a concrete word (she gave a few to start), look it up, find a word on that page, look it up, find… thus building a short stack of about seven words to include in a poem. The best words, I found, were nouns that can be verbs.

My riff was that I chose a word, looked it up, and never left the page. I used six words that meant roughly the same as my key word, which was purse. It worked a treat. The poem has just been accepted by Waterways, which is why I can’t show it to you, but the exercise is not difficult.

I went to The Free Dictionary, my usual source because it gives more to play with. To go with purse, I chose: bag, pouch, wrinkle (yep, part of a definition), fold, pucker, and pod. I had almost as much fun looking through the definitions and synonyms as I did writing the poem. Writing the poem was fun because I worked at having the words not all be to do with their similar meaning.  Any topic, any form. It’s playtime.

I am not promising I’ll see you anytime but Tuesdays now. This Friday, I head to California. Maybe I’ll be settled enough there to go back to the Freeforall on Fridays. Although… next Tuesday I will be sporting in Napa, so I may try to calendar the next post, or write it early. Whichever way, you will have it.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 25/06/2013 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , ,

13 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Define It

  1. julespaige

    25/06/2013 at 10:06 am

    Rules, what rules…Difine it, just fits with this latest haibun:
    (that is really apf..but my finger slipped and I haven’t corrected it yet…)

    Just in from my being out of town, and finishing mowing the last third of our jungle (OK so technically it was the lawn).

    Hugs, Jules

  2. rosross

    26/06/2013 at 3:43 am

    What a gorgeous word. I just wanted to keep saying it – so I did.

  3. Misky

    26/06/2013 at 11:04 am

    Hope you’re enjoying your hols.

  4. purplepeninportland

    26/06/2013 at 8:36 pm

    Congrats on Waterways, Margo.
    My poem is up at:

  5. val dering rojas

    28/06/2013 at 9:01 pm

    First of all, congrats on your poem being published! Second, I love this prompt! And third, welcome to California! It’s in the 100’s in LA so I’m sure you’re feeling it in Napa as well…Hope you have a wonderful vacation!

    • margo roby

      02/07/2013 at 11:30 am

      Thank you! For all.

      Okay, so where is your poem?

      I’m actually staying in Walnut Creek, but we have the same temperatures. Heading up to Napa for two days. I’m not sure how much fun it’s going to be in the 100s.

      • val dering rojas

        03/07/2013 at 2:04 pm

        LOL. I did do the prompt– sort of….I’ve been obsessed with this group of poems I started working on last week, so everything kind of leads back to that. I drafted one for the group after looking up the etymology of the word that is driving these poems. So, I think that counts? Maybe? 🙂

        Yes, I’ve been to Walnut Creek as well. It gets hot all up in that whole area, which obviously, you know! I actually really miss lots of places up there, so it makes me happy to hear about other people being there, hot or not! Hope you have a wonderful time while visiting– inside the wineries it’s cool. Ha ha. 🙂 It’s supposed to be cooling down for the weekend here in L.A., but I’m not so sure yet!

        • margo roby

          16/07/2013 at 2:57 pm

          I’m catching up! Absolutely that counts :-). You said the word etymology. You’re in.

          I am smiling wryly as I look out at the marine layer and consider throwing a blanket over my legs. You’re a little warmer down there 😉

          • val dering rojas

            16/07/2013 at 5:52 pm

            Yes, it’s warmer, but cooling a bit. Typical L.A. — always up and down.

            The hands prompt turned into another poem for my series, so thanks again! Can’t wait to go read the new one I saw posted today too. 🙂

  6. Yousei Hime

    03/07/2013 at 7:25 pm


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