Friday, May 15, 2009

Exquisite Corpse

Yesterday in my creative writing class we took a break from form poetry and dove into some French existentialism. We did a class activity called the "Exquisite Corpse" (don't ask me why it's called that; those French are crazy) in which we sat in a circle, each person with a piece of paper. Everyone would write a line of poetry, putting the last word of the line on the next line. Then we folded the paper so that only that last word was visible and passed it to the person next to us, who then had to use that word as the first word of the next line. (It sounds more complicated than it is.) My professor gave us prompts for each line, like "modify a noun using an unexpected adjective." It was fun. At the end, when everyone had their original papers back, we read the poems out loud and shook with riotous laughter. Mine, which I titled "Lady Macbeth, Uncut," is as follows:

Hope is the first snowflake of winter is the hottest season of the year that smells like nails on a chalkboard sounds like Steve Erwin in the jungle birds chirp when I cry at home is the best place to experience warm sunshine smile waiting to punch me in the mouth of Katty, which is clean to talk with springtime drawing near, fishermen are out gardening their gardens with buckets and hoes ga nihogonai, totemo utsukashi, but her Japanese had fallen out of use since high school hadn't done her well, off to college she will go, just go! walk into that fluffy door like a past time never let the sun rise again more work in less time is porous and deserves our contempt is what the chair felt when it yelled, get out! damned spot, it looks like mud

It sort of reminds me of Jack Kerouac, except it's not nearly as pretentious. Here's another poem I wrote for creative writing, one of those form poems we needed a break from. This form is called a villanelle, and it's sort of complicated to explain how the form works, but I don't think you really need to know how it works. The title, "Villain Nell," is a pun on the name of the form.

Villain Nell was just misunderstood
She didn't want to be so very bad
The thing she wanted most was to be good

She'd be a superhero if she could
But didn't want to disappoint her dad
Villain Nell was just misunderstood

She only did what anybody would
She wasn't really trying to be bad
The thing she wanted most was to be good

So when she led a man into the wood
To leave him there, she wasn't very glad
Villain Nell was just misunderstood

And when the forest floor was red with blood
Villain Nell was happy but a tad!
The thing she wanted most was to be good

So Villain Nell did everything she could
To be heroic, but it made her sad
Villain Nell was just misunderstood
The thing she wanted most was to be good

I know, it's kind of dark, but she's a villain!

1 comment:

Pa said...

I like that vanilla poem a lot.