About Hands on Stanzas

Hands on Stanzas, the educational outreach program of the Poetry Center of Chicago places professional, teaching Poets in residence at Chicago Public Schools across the city. Poets teach the reading, discussion, and writing of poetry to 3 classes over the course of 20 classroom visits, typically from October through April. Students improve their reading, writing, and public speaking skills, and participating teachers report improved motivation and academic confidence. You can contact Cassie Sparkman, Director of the Hands on Stanzas program, by phone: 312.629.1665 or by email: csparkman(at)poetrycenter.org for more information.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Exquisite Corpses

I used the Surrealist idea of the exquisite corpse game as a collaboration exercise and to show them that in poetry, even nonsense is allowed. The basic game is for one person to write a sentence on the top of the page and pass it to the next. The second person wrote the OPPOSITE of the first persons sentence. The second person folded the paper so the third person could only see what the second wrote and write the opposite of that sentence. Person three folded the paper so the next could only see what the third wrote and passed it to four and so on. Some interesting and wonderful things developed!

Grade 3

Cashmere, Alize and Luis

The monkey is small
the monkey is famous
the banana isn't famous, he is poor
The poor banana is homeless
The banana isn't homeless

Grade 6 and 7

Jose, Mario, Carlos, Bianca, Cierra

The dog was running in the park
The cat was not walking in the park
The horse was walking in the park
A horse was running in the big park
A dog was running outside

Tony, Silverio, Alondra, Ruth, Jessica

The small cat ran
The dumb dog ran
The smart cat sleeps
The big, horrific dog woke up
The small boy went to sleep

Grade 8

Lance, Jesse, Jorge, Jovany

The lion was so hungry it ate itself
The cat was not hungry cuz it ate the mouse
The dog is hungry cuz it did not eat the food
The Yorki is full of dog food
The pitbull was full of turkey meat

The big black bike fell off a cliff
The small white tricycle didn't fall off a cliff
the giant gray unicycle almost fell off the bridge
The small white motorcycle jumped a house
The big gray truck crashed the house

Marcelino, Ricardo, Alexis, Miguel, Angelina

The mean dog bit the old man
The ugly teacher jumped over the blue rock
The pretty teacher walked under the orange rock
The rock walked over the teacher
The teacher walked on the rock

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