Exquisite Corpse

From SiteIPLTeenPoetryWiki

Get your literary twists and turns ready for these daily, all-IPL teen experiments!



Exquisite Corpse is an old, surreal parlor game played with friends and foes alike that was put to great use by the Dadaists. It's a fun and original way to create extraordinary and bizarre scenes and stories with your friends or fellow writers. One thing we can assure about the Exquisite Corpse poems is that they're never the same poem twice and always fun to read.

The game

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  1. First, somebody comes up with a line of poetry or prose, your choice (If nobody beats us to it, we'll come up with one to start the procession of language).
  2. The next person simply reads the line before them and adds on in any way they see fit. They could extend on the image or the thought announced in the previous line. They could take the previous line in a new direction by adding a character or an unexpected tangent. The next writer could inject humor into what they take to be an overly serious line or a sense of gravity into a line that is far too upbeat. They can always follow the groove and tone of the previous line, mimicking beats or sounds of words. It is truly up to the writer and their intuition and imagination!
  3. What follows, though, is where the real fun begins. Each succeeding writer will only look at the previous line from that month's EC poem when making their response- nobody knows where their line of poetry will go and in what story it will return, but we guarantee you it will be fun (if you want to participate more than once, just make sure you're not responding to your own line).

Note: It is not always necessary to come up with the weirdest line you can think of; Exquisite Corpse poems really do have a life of their own, no matter what you write. Sometimes the simplest line comes out sounding strange in the poem it is placed. Sometimes the weird, though, can push the poem in a whole new, exciting and fresh direction.


At the end of the month, we'll post the resulting poem here on the EC site and you can come back to check out all the exciting and unusual language, plot, and characters you have created. You can also check our Old Corpses (an EC archive) to see old Exquisite Corpse poems you or your friends and fellow writers have worked on. Good luck and have fun!

Sample Exquisite Corpse

This Month's Exquisite Corpse

Add a line to the poem here! Keep your posts ANONYMOUS!
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Old Corpses