Sunday, May 16, 2010

Exquisite Corpse

I ran a game of Exquisite Corpse at the Contact Theatre yesterday as part of the Playeverything unconference. Named for a line that came from the first time it was played, by its creators, the Surrealists, "the exquisite corpse will drink the new wine", it's a version of the game you may have played as a kid, "consequences", where you write something down then pass it on, so that people can't see what you've written. Exquisite Corpse is a way to generate unexpected poetry. Although there were only three of us, we produced eight six line poems which were surprising, funny, and poignant. It was part of a session I was giving about experimental poetry, and so we did a version of the game where we took found lines from different pages of the same publication - but it can just as easily be created from scratch.

On Monday, I'll be speaking at Madlab at Interesting Monday, about the OuLiPo, and I think rather than just listen to me droning on, we'll play a game or two. All are welcome.


Sarah-Clare Conlon said...

Hello Adrian

The Exquisite Corpse technique was mentioned in the Angels & Anarchy show at the Art Gallery, and it reminded me that when I lived in Paris (ooh la la), my friends and I used to play this on cold boozy evenings when we didn't have enough money to go out. I'd forgotten it was called Consequences.

The Angels & Anarchy website also invited visitors to write a line of poetry, 50 characters or less, and the full poem was published after nine submissions. Poem 27, containing a line by yours truly, was recreated at the time on Words & Fixtures:

Just thought I'd share.

Best wishes, Clare

Sarah-Clare Conlon said...

OMG!! (As the kids say.)

I hadn't read as far as Oulipo! My thesis was on Georges Perec, one of the members of the group. I am so there.


Adrian Slatcher said...

Brilliant - though you'll maybe know more than me! I attended this unconference yesterday and suddenly thought of doing Exquisite Corpse - yes, it was the Angels of Anarchy show that prompted me to remember it.