Poetry Friday: Trying Out a Definito

Thanks to poet, author, and friend Laura Purdie Salas, I played around with a new form this week, a definito poem. The definito was created by Heidi Mordhorst, who defines it as “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 read more about it here.

My first attempt (but not my first draft) was a poem I wrote for my poetry group, The Nevermores. The prompt was to write something spooky.


a creaky freaky feeling
is creeping up my spine—
sometimes kooky,
it fills my head with dread.
What’s around the corner
in this dark, deserted house?
I’m wary of this mystery—
it’s eerie!
Draft, 2022Rose Cappelli

Then for some reason the word “pristine” popped into my head. Dictionary definitions led me to words like “unspoiled, spotless, clean and fresh, new, in perfect condition.” I brainstormed things that might be considered pristine and thought of a lagoon, a white shirt, a well cared for garden, a field of snow, a white sandy beach. Combining words and images, this is what I came up with.


fresh and new
like morning dew
sparkling on perfect petals

only snow
by soot or foot

oh to roam
on a white sandy beach

Draft, 2022Rose Cappelli

Thanks, Heidi and Laura for pushing me to try something new. Tabatha has the Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference. You’ll find more definitos there from the Poetry Sisters (thanks for letting me join in, by the way).

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26 Responses to Poetry Friday: Trying Out a Definito

  1. lynnedorfman says:

    I really enjoyed both poems, Rosie. They have inspired me to try out this format. Love the internal rhyme and the choice of words to play with – particularly pristine. From untouched snow to a white sandy beach, and I loved that you included your brainstormed list and that you are continuing to write poetry!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    I love the definito form. They are such fun to write. You’ve captured the mystery of eerie and the neatness of pristine (with little hints of rhyme).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rose, these are both lovely! I love how each “fits” its subject matter… all those “ee” words, which do have an eerie feeling…and then the white space in your Pristine poem. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. janicescully says:

    Lovely definitos, I love how they “show” the word which is a wonderful way to teach it it seems to me. “Eerie” is perfect for this time of year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lindabaie says:

    Great work on both, Rose. You made me want to say “eek” after the first one and painted an alluring scene with the second. I love imagining the “unspoiled, untouched [snow], by soot or foot”.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. PRISTINE is beautiful, Rose. I was immersed in all of the images … and missed a white shirt (you know… you miss most what you don’t have? In my case a PRISTINE white shirt!). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. tee+d says:

    Eerie IS kooky sometimes, as your brain tries to convince you that you’ve heard or seen something out of the corner of your eye and it’s nothing at all. ::shudder:: That was horribly evocative!

    And OH, a pristine white beach is lovelier than snow, I think… people rarely think of a beach as pristine, only snow, so that was an especially nice touch!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These are wonderful, Rose! Such lovely wordplay in both. I extra love the spareness of the pristine one. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love how both of your poems gave the essence of a season, one in autumn and one winter. Now I’m inspired to try the Definito out!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gailaldousmsncom says:

    Rose, I enjoyed both of your definito poems! In Eerie, I love all sounds your rhymes make and this line, “What’s around the corner in this dark, deserted house?” That’s what I think of I sometimes after I’ve watched or read something scary. Many years ago, I remember reading Pet Cemetery by Stephen King and being scared. LOL! In Pristine, I love the beautiful images and the sounds your rhymes and alliteration make. This is my favorite line “sparkling on perfect petals.” Beautiful photo of pristine snow! Thank you for your inspiration.

    PS How is your poetry book that you were working on at Highlights coming along?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mitchell Linda says:

    Love these! You’ve done a great job with both. I’m especially in love with eerie. I see you have it marked “draft” but, I’d love to share it with my students. Is that OK with you?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. heidimordhorst says:

    Rose, your wordplay in each of these is very ear- and eye-catching–“wary, mystery, eerie”! Glad you had fun with the form.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Tricia Stohr-Hunt says:

    Rose, these are marvelous examples. I love all the long e sounds in eerie. The word choices really work. Your examples for pristine are terrific. Why is it we always associate things that are white with pristine (snow, sand, a shirt)?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Tabatha says:

    I especially enjoyed the sounds of “I’m wary of this mystery—
    it’s eerie!” and
    by soot or foot” Y’all are really making me want to try a definito!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. cvarsalona says:

    Rose, you had me with the pristine definite with its crisp clear images -Yes, a white sandy beach to roam right now sounds wonderful (it is cold and rainy here). Eek is one of my favorite Halloween words.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. maryleehahn says:

    Fantastic! Bonus points for the rhymes!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Liz Garton Scanlon says:

    You did beautifully with these — and rhyming no less!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Karen Edmisten says:

    Such fun, Rose! You’re all tempting me to try this form. Your first poem captures the fun spookiness of the season and your second one is conjures such lovely pictures of different ways to encounter a pristine landscape.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Laura Shovan says:

    The first two lines of your “eerie” poem had me goosebumpy along with you, Rose.

    Liked by 1 person

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