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Help the Teen Zone Write a Poem, one word at a time!

Contribute to our teen collaborative exquisite corpse poem! It’s easy to take part: stop by the Teen Zone and add an adjective, noun, or verb to the poem without seeing what others have submitted. We’ll do this all month long and post the final collective work on April 30th.

Poets.org explains: Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative poetry game that traces its roots to the Parisian Surrealist Movement. Exquisite Corpse is played by several people, each of whom writes a word on a sheet of paper, folds the paper to conceal it, and passes it on to the next player for his or her contribution.

In order to write a poem, participants should agree on a sentence structure beforehand. For example, each sentence in the poem could be structured “Adjective, Noun, Verb, Adjective, Noun.” Articles and verb tenses may be added later or adjusted after the poem has been written. The game was also adapted to drawing, where one participant would draw the head of a figure, the next the torso, etc. The name “Exquisite Corpse” comes from a line of poetry created using the technique: “The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine.”

The only hard and fast rule of Exquisite Corpse is that each participant is unaware of what the others have written, thus producing a surprising—sometimes absurd—yet often beautiful poem. Exquisite Corpse is a great way to collaborate with other poets, and to free oneself from imaginative constraints or habits. Remember, many of the most effective phrases or metaphors are those that are most surprising. So get a couple of friends and try writing an exquisite corpse.

 

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