[Note: The contents of this post may or may not make sense due to a 3-day migraine. Read at your own exquisite peril.]
Exquisite Corpse is an old parlor game a group of creative friends made popular in the 1930s. It involves several players who “write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.” The name of the game is a direct result of one such collaborative poetry effort:
“The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine”
I remember making art with my classmates in grade school in this manner too, and the game has been adapted to suit many surrealist art styles. Some early artistic creations can be found in a slide show filled with strange looking creatures and wild imaginations.
I can’t wait to do this with my local writers’ group! Several among us write poetry, and this would be a fun exercise, maybe even for the non-poets. Poets.org suggests that your group should come up with a sentence structure beforehand…like adjective/noun/adverb/verb/noun – and that everyone can contribute one word at a time, until you feel you have a poem of sufficient length. You can add articles, verb tenses, etc. later, when you’ve completed your own exquisite corpse of a collaborative poem.
I will go exquisitely nap now and dream of fabulous collaborations!