Sunday, February 14, 2010

Community Poem: March

There is an old Surrealist parlor game called the Exquisite Corpse. It is a method of writing a story in which you write a paragraph, fold the paper so that the next person the paper is passed to only sees the last sentence of your paragraph. And so on...the story that emerges is one that is both surreal and beautiful, sometimes twisted, always interesting. Another method of playing is by making sure everyone follows a formula: The adjective noun adverb verb type sentence.

Of course, for babylosts parents, exquisite corpse might mean something different, but why not combine the two meaning to write our own babylost exquisite corpse?

But how does it work for us in our virtual parlor? Well, firstly, let's make it a poem, rather than a story. Each person is to contribute three lines. I thought it might make it best if we make it a Terza Rima. Terza rima is a verse form (rhyming, people!) that is composed of iambic tercets, or three line groupings. This is a bit more structured than I usually get, but I thought it would be interesting. It is set up in this rhyming scheme: ABA BCB CDC DED. Get it? The first and third lines rhyme, the second, fourth and sixth rhyme. There are some examples in the wikipedia link posted for terza rima. The first and third line of your terza rima is emailed to me at stilllife365days(at)gmail(dot)com, the second line is posted as a comment in the comment section of the blog post dated on February 14th. The next person can use that as the basis for their rhyming lines. Does that make sense? (You can post questions in the comment section, and I will clarify there.)

I will match the first and third lines to the second line upon compilation. I am sort of keeping my fingers crossed that we don't have too many overlaps in terms of posting comments, but I am confident this will be very cool, and a good exercise for me, a non-rhyming poet. I will add my line in the middle this time, so it is up to one of you amazing poets to kickstart this challenge.

Comments will be closed on February 28th at some point in the day, and the poem will be posted on March 1st. Good luck, and happy rhyming. A good resource is Rhyme Zone.


  1. so.. the first person needs to send you their two lines by email, which will be "B and B" as lines 4 and 6, and post in a comment their "B" as line 2? And you will make up the A and A? Am I getting that right?

    Then the next person is sending you C and C, and then posting their one line C to the comments?

  2. NO, the first person writes this together as one piece: ABA and send me via email A and A. Then B will get posted as a comment. I am not making up any part of your three lines, but I will collect them, and put them together. You can send me all three lines, but the MIDDLE LINE (the one that doesn't rhyme with the other two) will be posted as the comment. The second person then writes three lines. The first and third of their terza rima rhymes with the previous COMMENT, i.e. BCB. They then post their second line, which will NOT rhyme with the one before it. The third person will write three lines, the first and third line rhymes with the PREVIOUS commenter's second line, so their terza rima scheme is CDC. Does that make sense?

  3. yes it does.. after I asked the question I realized you probably wanted the previous commenter to inspire the next commenter by giving them the line they need to rhyme with. Thanks for clarifying!

  4. The traditional line length in English is a iambic pentameter. I was hoping someone would just be brave and start the poem. My daughter has the stomach virus redux, so I am sort of unable to sit and concentrate on rhyming.

  5. Thanks Angie I am learning about poetry. Sorry to hear that you have a sick little one.
    Here is my middle line

    Destination completely unknown

    I am emailing you my other lines.


  6. OK here is my middle line:

    'Although you will forever be so small'

    (So the next persons first and third lines have to rhyme with 'small' - sorry to state the obvious! Also just for reference, iambic pentameter has a rhythm like so:

    da dah/ da dah/ da dah/ da dah/ da dah

    Is that helpful? Or just patronizing? Sorry if it's the latter)

  7. Next middle:

    Your light gone to a place we cannot go.

  8. Next middle:

    A wound which places all past heartbreak to shame.

  9. Middle line:

    I stumble along, then see it, blurred

  10. Next Middle:

    Your life means more than most will ever know

  11. Here goes:

    me to the shore or I would drown beneath her weight --

  12. next middle:
    I stare in wonder at her tiny grace,