Nat’l Poetry Month: Let’s Play “Exquisite Corpse”

As part of National Poetry Month, we’re running a month-long project called Exquisite Corpse… though it’s not quite as gory and graphic as it may sound.

Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative poetry game (often carried out in rowdy classrooms and bawdy bars) where each person writes a phrase or word on a sheet of paper, folds it over to conceal what’s been written, and passes it on to the next player for his or her contribution. This game is believed to have started in Paris with the crazy dudes who made up the surrealist movement (like Andre Breton, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Tristan Tzara).

At any rate, we obviously can’t be passing around a sheet of paper in cyberspace, so here’s how this is going to work:

  • All of us at Novel Novice – contributors and readers alike – are welcome to play.
  • Each of us submits a word and/or phrase in the comments – no explanation necessary.
  • The poem will build upon itself throughout the month and when National Poetry Month is wrapping up, we’ll post the finished poem here… the poem written by all of you fine folks!

Confused? Let me try to put this into perspective – did you ever have one of those card games as a kid where you could change the head or middle or feet to create one funky-looking final character? That’s the goal here. We all contribute our own “head” and “middle” and “feet” to produce one Exquisite Corpse… the final poem.

The name of this game comes from a line of poetry created using the technique: “The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.” We’re not awarding any spirits here… just the spirit of good fun and poetic collaboration! Are you game? We hope so.

Begin by commenting on this post. We’ll post weekly reminders so that you can contribute as you are so inspired – as many times a day as you like.

18 thoughts on “Nat’l Poetry Month: Let’s Play “Exquisite Corpse”

Add yours

  1. reposting:

    heidi r kling, on April 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm Said: Edit Comment

    I hit the freezing water feet first. And that’s when I noticed the fins.

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