Can you back-engineer my collaborative poem?
August 6, 2016 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Today in my archives I came across three poems on individual papers from the Sleeping Lady Lodge in Leavenworth, dated February 24, 2001. The poems are in my own handwriting, and I was on vacation with three friends at the time. Please help decipher the form so I can write more collaborative poems!

I think we wrote these poems collaboratively. I seem to recall we had read about a poetry writing game and were trying it out? They all seem to have the same specific structure. Two of them are 28 lines, and the other is 29 lines. But no common syllable count or meter. Seems like a good form for making free-association interesting. The three poems don't share words or lines between them. Based on my even handwriting, it appears as if I was transcribing from somewhere, rather than writing one line at a time and waiting for more. If there were four of us, should there have been four poems? Or did we just get tired of playing the game at three? If there is no answer, then I suppose it's possible I wrote them myself, (or was taking dictation) but I have a really hard time believing this. BTW, I am certain we were quite sober.

Here is one of the poems:

Orangutan Kingdom
ordered me
to dress
as enticingly
as an aroused
peacock. I tried
to gather 1500,
wayward powderpuffs in
rows of two and columns
of four. She scolded
me for collecting stinky
yardwaste. But I must
not digress. The
peacock feathers attached
to the hem
of my knickers.
Priscilla decided
she'd rather
use leafy
tattoos and
posted by oxisos to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Best answer: Is it possible you and your friends created them from a poetic version of exquisite corpse and that you have them all in your handwriting because you made fresh transcriptions of them?
posted by carrioncomfort at 1:12 PM on August 6, 2016

Can you post the other two poems? That'll greatly aid in my drawing commonalities among them.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:35 PM on August 6, 2016

Best answer: yea, you probably played exquisite corpse, and then transcribed the result because all the folding generally leaves the original paper a crumpled mess
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:36 PM on August 6, 2016

Best answer: My guess is that you just went around the room, each providing a one word line, then two, then three, then four (with one rule-breaker), then back on down to one. The number of lines with each word-count is the same as the number of people you had in the room, and the grammar's too clean for an exquisite corpse in which each player only sees the previous line. (Either way, taking turns per line suggests the same player wrote 'Priscilla' both times.)

(It could have been an exquisite corpse with each writing four lines at a time, but then it doesn't break into an equal number of turns per player.)
posted by nobody at 4:24 AM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

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