Saturday, June 15, 2019

Weekend Mini-Challenge: Exquisite Corpse Poetry

Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative game played (traditionally) by several people. In the poetry version, each player writes a word on paper, conceals said word, and then gives the paper to the next player… so that she or he can add his or her contribution. 
borrowed from Wikipedia

For today’s prompt, I invite you to create a 3-to-13-line poem using the Exquisite Corpse Solitaire method. To play the game solo, we shall use 5 groups of 13 words (I’ve shared them at the end of this post), and List Randomizer (a form that allows users to arrange items in random order). Just follow this link to Random.Org.

Rules and Guidance, for Exquisite Corpse Poetry Solitaire:

1. Each line must contain the following (in the given order): adjective, noun, verb, adjective, noun.
2. You can change tense and number to help the found words fit your poem.
3. Use conjunctions, articles, and prepositions to connect your found words.
4. The found word groups must remain in their original lines (Don’t break your found groupings!).
5. Punctuation is a friend to the Exquisite Corpse Poetry Solitaire player.

Here is a wee example, using the words for this prompt:

the found words:
clean hand vex stocky year
dazzling month live long study
glamourous life arise plain place

the birthed poem:
Clean hands vex. Stocky years
dazzle months lived in the long study
of glamourous lives that arose in plain places.

13 Adjectives, group 1

13 Nouns, group 1

13 Verbs

13 Adjectives, group 2

13 Nouns, group 2

Do visit Poets.Org: Play Exquisite Corpse, for a much cooler example… and to read about how the game is played (with other people). I hope you have fun. I hope we can laugh and be surprised (pleasantly, I hope).

a wee note: I edited the guidance to add prepositions to 3.


  1. I hope everyone laughs (and finds as many surprises) as I did when crafting my poem for this prompt (which I shall share in a bit). Seriously, this one was a hoot (and a lot more work than I expected).

    Let me see your Exquisite Corpse of a poem, my dear Toads.

  2. I don't understand step 4. Are go to the list organizer and type in the 13 Adjectives. and then click on Randomizer. And we have to use them in that order. Like the #1 in the Adjectives has to go with the #1 in all the other groups and so on?

  3. @Margaret, You can copy and paste each 13 word group into the Randomizer form and then click "Randomize". Each line should go adjective, noun, verb, adjective, noun, like this:

    Line 1: adjective, noun, verb, adjective, noun
    Line 2: adjective, noun, verb, adjective, noun
    Line 3: adjective, noun, verb, adjective, noun

    and so on.

    Number 4, in the Rules and Guidance, means that we should not shuffle the groups or the words around, part of the fun is (or should be, lol) to see what we come up with and what we do with it.

    Does that make sense?

  4. LOL. I suspect I might become an Exquisite Corpse if I try this! But I might, later on, to see what results. It looks like a hoot.

  5. @Sherry, I had more fun than I expected. And was surprised by how insightful randomness can be. I hope you do give it a go...

  6. But if we cant brek up the word groups, how do we get adjective, noun, verb etc? Or do we pick one word from each group per line?

  7. I picked 1 word per group and then shuffled it in the Adjective noun verb adjective noun structure. It was a lot of fun. I hope my poem makes some sense though :P

  8. This poetry format reminds me of flarf.

  9. @Sherry, We should pick one word per group for each line and then repeat: one adjective from adj. group 1, one noun from n. group 1, one verb, one adjective from adj. group 2, one noun from n. group 2 (this is your first line). Then repeat for the other lines.

    Thank you, Samyuktha!

  10. @Toni, I just skimmed Flarf (that sounds sooo funny, lol), and you are correct, it sounds similar. I had never heard of it. Will most certainly try it.

    1. I have several poets I folow who have written flarf fir a few years. They are actuakkt serious abiut it and don't use randomuzers. Sime of ut us deeoly disturbing in the seriousness of it.

  11. @Toni, our use of Randomizer is just so that we can write a Exquisite Corpse poem on our own. I've written (and tried to draw) in Exquisite Corpse groups in the past and, like any other activity, it is as serious or silly as the artists allow it to be. Many times, things get ridiculous or rather serious grave without anyone trying.

    1. I understans totally. I will leave tou with this bitvof flarf:
      Orange jackanapes twirl
      Folderol fish glubglubs

      Written by a friend of mine as part of his take on, this is how the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper. I hipe my takevon this is full tilt funny as I desperately need a laugh today. Cheers chum 💜💛💚💙

  12. @Toni, it makes me think of Dumbledore's, from the Harry Potter books, favorite words: “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!”

    And, indeed, on the need for laughter.

  13. @Magaly; Bwahahahaha that was fun! I did the best I could to deliver a poem that makes sense.. Happy Weekend!❤️

  14. @Sanaa, I think that with this style sense is almost accidental, lol! Off to read.

  15. This seems fun. i'm bookmarking it to give it a go!!

  16. I need you to come to Bend Oregon and walk me through this, I am struggling. Thinking my brain is way too old. I randomized each group of words. Felt proud of myself and now I am lost.

  17. Feeling dumb.
    If you randomize and then pick one word from the list, how is it different from picking one word before randomizing? So clearly you must mean something else. But if we pick the words for a line and then randomize that, we might not get the order you have specified for parts of speech...
    I give up!

  18. Sitting at my desk giggling at Rosemary .....

  19. @Helen and Rosemary, Imagine you are in a circle playing Exquisite Corpse with other people. There are 5 people, including you. So the poem will have 1 adjective, 1 noun, 1 verb, 1 adjective, and 1 noun per line. Kept in that order.

    The randomizer takes the place of the other players. So, instead of passing the "paper" to the next person, you are randomizing the next group of words to get the next word in the sequence without "looking" at it.

    To do the first line, I would paste the 1st adjective list (randomize) and get the first word of the line. Copy the first noun list (randomize) and get the second word of the same line. Then do the same with the verb and the 2nd lists of adjectives and nouns for each line. It's pure repetition.

    Once you have your lines (as few as 3 or as many as 13) then you just play with words to make the poem yours, just like any other Exquisite Corpse game.

  20. Me too, Helen... my thought exactly "If you randomize and then pick a word from the list how is it different from picking one word before randomizing. So I think (maybe) we have to keep the words in their sequential order. If I pick "adjective #1, then I have to follow through with all the number 1's.... ? Off to give it a whirl...

  21. @Margaret, the point of randomizing again and again is that if we don't do it then we'll never get repeated words--repetition makes the whole thing a bit more fun (or ridiculous). Hence we should do it every single time.

    If you look at my poem, I got a lot of "flabby". Mostly because I randomized for every word in each line.

  22. OK, I know I was going to give myself a break this weekend, but I had to contribute my zaniness LOL, I kept it to the minimum of three lines though.

  23. This was fun.
    Mary (Cactus Haiku)

  24. If this helps any for the folks having trouble, my advice is JUST GO WITH WHtAT YOU GET.
    I dumped all my words, all the lists, into "Randomizer" at once. It ground them all up and said doing that might take a while. I'm not sure I got them all back. It told me I had 129 words and seemed to have stopped.
    I wanted it short, I've had a busy week, especially Friday when I was trying to teach a couple of ladies my Sunday School job, putting out a weekly class newsletter, making a monthly calendar, and an on-line rotating member photo album, and other off jobs for our web site and member and visitor helps. Adult retired ladies aren't like my college students who just took my word for things and dug in.
    The poem. So it spit out my words, or most of the 129. I didn't count them but pulled out from one group five adjectivess for the first word of each line. Then from another group five adjectives for the second word of these five lines, and the same process until I had all 25 words in order.
    Then I used punctuation, prepositions, and conjunctions to finish a somewhat meaningful write.
    BTW, Magaly and Rommy both thought in their comments that the students I wrote of were in Law School. They may have been. I graduated from Law School as a mid-life wild venture and then taught college Bussines Law and Entrepreneurship classes for 22 years until health problems forced my retirement. I retired 18 years ago but still keep my law license active.
    SO IT ISNT THAT HARD, it just won't end up being a poem exactly your styke..
    GO FOR IT!!!

  25. Well, I did something – and now have managed to label it as number 3, which is truly nonsense, as that's left over from a different post in a different place; sorry.

    Wish I'd read JIm's method first! I don't think it really duplicates Exquisite Corpse ... but then again, maybe it does, and it sounds a lot less tedious.

    On the other hand, it was supposed to be a challenge, and I probably wouldn't be feeling nearly so pleased with myself now if I hadn't risen to it.

  26. @Mary (Cactus Haiku), I'm so glad you've giving it a go. Can't wait to read it!

    @Jim, You are such a rebel, lol!

    @Rosemary, I'm so glad you took the challenge. And I'm even more pleased that you are pleased with yourself. That has made my day!

  27. @Sherry, I feel the same too. That I'd end up an Exquisite Corpse myself, if I dared to try...LOL! But it's lovely to see everyone having fun with this challenge...*smiles and runs away*

  28. @Khaya, You just made me laugh so hard. I can just see you running away from the horror, cackling with delight. You know, I had so much fun with this, that I totally plan to create a version for Instagram. I shall tempt you. Yes, I will.

  29. @Diane Puterbaugh, Your link is broken, it leads to the WP dashboard. So, I am deleting it. Please link.

  30. I don't think I truly understood how to do it - I randomized each list and then chose the words - but I never understood how to randomize it in the adj, noun, verb (etc) order. I just did each list separately - but then if we are choosing from each list - why randomize? Oh well, I am submitting what I go... and it still made me tear my hair out. :) Thanks for the exercise in experimenting in new territory.

  31. @Margaret, If you don't randomize for each line, you'll never get repeated words. Repeated words tend to add to the difficulty of the challenge.

  32. This was such an innovative prompt, Magaly. I'm sorry I took the weekend off, what with my birthday celebrations. But I must investigate further and maybe come up with a late entry for Tuesday.

  33. @Kerry, Happy (belated) Birthday! I am so glad you are going to give it go. As you can see (read?) the experience was... interesting, lol!

  34. @Magaly, I know you are wicked, and you know my weakness...LOL!

  35. The jabberwalkie nonsense thing looks interesting Magaly. Likes like you had fun with it. I really didn't understand the concept. But thanks Magaly for coming up with this, and for hosting!

    1. @Rob, I really like that you describe it as “jabberwalkie nonsense”. So very telling, the Jabberwocky.

  36. Well, I think I created an Exquisite Corpse, but not 100% certain Magaly. One way or the other — it’s posted!

  37. Thank you so much for playing everyone. I know it wasn't the easiest of prompts (the solitaire version needs some work *cough*). Still, I'm thinking about giving it another go (running yet? *giggles*).


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