Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Poem #13--Definito

I never intended for my students to write a poem a day with me, but one student's idea took hold: we're writing a poem a day about each other.

Each day, we draw a name and everyone writes a poem about that person. That person writes a poem about me.

At the end of the year, we'll have a book of poems about all the members of the class. A collection of memories. Handmade heartfelt gifts to each other.

I've taught a few short forms so far: 15 Words or Less, Haiku, Limerick, Acrostic, Chain, and Free Verse. 6 forms; 6 tools in their poetry-writing toolbox. Today, after a discussion of line breaks in Free Verse, one student asked if he had to write in the form I taught. "Of course not!" I replied. "Pick the form that works for what you want to say!" And that student went off and wrote a fabulous acrostic that captured the essence of his friend.

Here's a new form for me, and one I might teach my students -- the Definito. Heidi Mordhorst invented this form back in November. It has 10 lines in 3 stanzas -- 4 lines, 4 lines, and 2 lines, ending in the word being defined.

I had blood drawn today, which is a tricky proposition since only one arm can be used, and the key vein in that arm endured chemotherapy 12 years (YAY!) ago. Only the best phlebotomists are successful drawing blood from me. Today's phlebotomist was a real pro, and this poem is his definition of what makes a true phlebotomist.

It's about the needle
and it's about the tourniquet.
It's about the alcohol
and it's about the tap-tap-tap on the vein.

It's the difference between
drawing blood as a PART of your job
and drawing blood
AS your job.



  1. Hi Mary,

    I love your poem-a-day idea. And also your phlebotomist poem!

    Going back to the tools in your tool box, we've tried all the forms you mention in the poetry-writing toolbox, except chain.

    Something new to try!

    from mala

  2. Ooh, I'm going to have to try this form.

    I love yours. Hard to make something as icky as giving blood into something strong and wonderful, but you did.

    And I love that your students are writing with you. I wish I could have sat in on the talk on line breaks in free verse because they confuse the heck out of me!

  3. What lucky students...this idea is beautiful, and I do hope you excerpt and post some of their work. Thank you for sharing this - I will pass it on in your name.

    Too, I agree - it is about the needle. I smiled through this whole thing, unlike when I have blood drawn. Thank you!


  4. Anonymous9:07 AM

    How fun. IS this month the best? Am going to have try this poem form.


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