Poetry Party Games

Most people have a few (too many) drinks and rag about sportsball to relax. But the cool kids write poetry. With friends.

You might think I’m kidding, but I’ve played or hosted all of the poetry games in this post several times with surprising success. Give them a try with some open-minded people. Just don’t get too crazy.

Middle-Meeter/Switch Poem
One person writes the first line of a poem. The other person writes the last line. Both of you switch positions, write the next line from each end, and then switch back and forth until you meet in the middle. This can be a helpful prompt if you have trouble getting away from the “triggering subject.”

(For a tritina variation, three writers would take an ordered stanza with the three-word set and make their own stanza. See where it takes you, and all work together to tie the final stand-alone line together. If you don’t know what a tritina is, lucky you. Phantasmagorium’s got you covered!)

Crinkle Poem
If you like real sportsball, then make a Crinkle Poem! You and your group (two or more) each start a poem. When you’ve whipped up a sizzling introduction, bundle the paper into a ball and throw it at someone else who’s still writing or looking to receive. If you are hit yourself, you must stop wherever you are, throw your poem to someone, and pick up your friend’s. Continue until the allotted time runs out (between one and five minutes, depending on the group).

Found Poem
One of the classics is a Found Poem, wherein particularly attractive sentences are copied from your favorite novels, chopped into bits, and then mixed together to make a new poem. While this can be done alone, it’s much cooler when each participant brings print-outs from their own favorite book. Everyone draws from the same pile, and creates unique poems from the same material.

Riddle Poem
This one is a little less about fun than the others. It’s really just a learning exercise. If you’d like to hone your skills in poetry you’re unfamiliar with, simply pick out something you struggle with–rhyming lines, sonnets, iambic pentameter (but only if you’re brave and mad)–and then tackle it as a group. Make it messy or silly, just get an inkling for how you could make something really cool out of it. Write some poetry.

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