Poetry Friday–Exquisite Corpse Poems

BeeWoman, Michelle Kogan, © 2014, watercolor and watercolor pencil.

Happy Poetry Friday!

Way back at the end of January, the Poetry Sisters invited us all to participate in another poem prompt. The focus for February would be to write an exquisite corpse poem, ah what fun this was, thank you, thank you, thank you Tanita, Laura, MaryLee, Liz, Sara, Tricia, and Andi! I’ve played this before but with drawing body parts. Lucky me, my daughter and her girlfriend were in for the weekend. I recruited them and my husband (although he only lasted for one or two rounds) and our process follows below… If you would like to find more posts with exquisite corpse themed poems look for #PoetryPals.

We wrote the words down on a piece of paper in this word order:
adjective, noun, verb, adjective, noun. Later we arranged an order for the lines.
After writing your word, you fold the paper over before passing it on to the next person so they can’t see what word you have written.

–The first group didn’t have a focus.


embarrassed child chases cold heaven

–For the next group I think we may have focused on nature and the weather.



Freckled Nights catapult Sparkling Wind
COLD Seoul spills stained CLOUD

–For this last group I think we focused on travel and animals.





Las Vegas

Feathery cats swing scaly FORESTS
Skittish tortoise galloped windswept poacher
striped Ostrich waddles pink Australia
hairy pelican gobbled mysterious Nemo
Violet Puffin marks extraordinary Las Vegas

All poems above © Olivia Comai, Rachel Dohner, Markus Dohner, and Michelle Kogan

Here’s a post on an instructor, Don Yorty and his students creating exquisite corpse poems.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt at her blog The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Tricia–Be sure to stop by to fill your palate with more poetry!

I’ve had my ear to my radio all day as the news has filled with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, my thoughts are with all the Ukrainians, and all people in our small world working for democracy.

About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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9 Responses to Poetry Friday–Exquisite Corpse Poems

  1. Elisabeth says:

    We think of writing, and poetry, as solitary, but this week in particular, it’s wonderful to be focused on the collaborative aspects of poetry. Thanks for sharing your collaborative poetic efforts with us!

  2. janicescully says:

    Before Covid my husband and I used to go to Club Coca-Cola when we were in New York and your video brought that back. I love Handy’s tune and the pairing of the Exquisite Corpse poetry with the graveyard scene is brilliant!

  3. lindabaie says:

    Oh my, at Woodlawn Cemetery! And I love each of the animal’s descriptions that came from your collaborators, Michelle. I need to read more about this! Yes, as I sit and enjoy poetry, the Ukrainians are fighting for their country. It is a tragic mess.

  4. tee+d says:

    Michelle you have the best family, EVER. I love that they played with you! And I pretty much spit my tea at the idea of a hairy pelican swallowing Nemo instead of FINDING him … That would indeed be a very different Pixar film!!!

    These poems can be a joy, and I’m glad you had fun and shared it.

  5. Liz Garton Scanlon says:

    This is just a FANTASTIC and joyful collaborative collection, Michelle. Thank you for throwing yourself into it, and thanks to your sweet family for playing along! (I’ll be thinking of those feathery cats for awhile!!)

  6. jama says:

    You had too much fun with this prompt!! How nice to have such creative collaborators. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. Janet F. says:

    I love that you played the exquisite corpse game with your family and created some poetry, but the video was superb. I did not know about this. My dad was a trumpet player and he loved Dixieland Jazz. So this really was wonderful to learn about.

  8. maryleehahn says:

    How fun to go word-by-word! This is my favorite:

    I’m in love with those “freckled nights!”

  9. cvarsalona says:

    I also liked the same wording Mary Lee did. It is a beautiful vision.
    Your game-like process seemed so much fun.
    I share your same sentiments about the Ukraine. Once again, the world will not be the same.

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