Collaborative Poetry

Poetry is often thought of as a solitary act; an art form we do alone. I understand this, as most of our poetry is rather personal and reflective. At the same time, workshop is a collaborative effort, in which we gather the thoughts and opinions of other people on our work.

Recently, I have been wondering what would happen if we made poetry even more collaborative. Some works of fiction have co-authors, but is this possible in poetry?

Yes, according to Wikipedia, (I apologize I know referencing Wikipedia is not ideal in an academic setting) there is such a thing as collaborative poetry. Japanese poetry is influenced by collaboration, as are some famous French Surrealist poets. Similarly, Charles Henri Ford created the “chain poem” in which each author writes a line and then sends it to the next author. This type of poetry was also relevant in feminist poetry. These are just a few of the sources of collaborative poetry; however, it is enough to pique my interest.

I think it would be very interesting to write poetry collectively, especially with my talented peers here at Geneseo. All the workshops I have attended offer such great feedback and produce such amazing results, I can’t imagine what madness we could create altogether.

Next writing exercise? Collaborative poetry?

One Reply to “Collaborative Poetry”

  1. I hear you in that collab poetry would be an interesting thing to try; I’m also a bit skeptical. The chain poem idea is an interesting one for a writing exercise, but how does one go from there? How do you edit a poem like that, with 16 people attempting to agree on punctuation, word choice, white space…? I mean, I suppose all poetry is collaborative since we’re getting all our shit workshopped all the time, but for all those people to finalize a poem? That seems nearly impossible.

    This is definitely influenced by my need for control over everything I do, btw.

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