NaPoWriMo Day 18: Neologisms

Today, I challenge you to write a poem that incorporates neologisms. What’s that? Well, it’s a made-up word! Your neologisms could be portmanteaus (basically, a word made from combining two existing words, like “motel” coming from “motor” and “hotel”) or they could be words invented entirely for their sound. Probably the most famous example of a poem incorporating neologisms is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, but neologisms don’t have to be funny or used in the service of humor. You can use them to try to get at something that you don’t have an exact word for, or to create a sense of sound and rhythm, or simply to make the poem feel strange and unworldly.

Don’t Touch That Dial

On that one desk in my home office
there’s this dingstbum that
runs that one floomdoom,
the one that flashes like
a most merry Christmas whizzberry
when the dingstbuml
writes a thing-noodle to the flamdoodle
Just don’t turn the humbob knob
Or the whole bizzle will go shnizzle

No no
not that one
That one’s OK
It’s the other one.


–Scott Rhoades

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