An Exquisite Corpse

corpse the center for book arts
Exquisite Corpse, folded, painted. Credit The Center for Book Arts

Morning light peeks through my bedroom window

dissolves on the floor as a golden square

and rises as a pristine sun

then remains for the first glow of a glorious moon

A moon that radiates light on selfless justice

A message for our past from our future

It did not have to be that way- you had a choice.

And in the choosing doors close, opportunities shift, fail

Magnificent failure, how fascinating!

Like a poem seeking rhythm and grace

My heart longs for you.


corpse 3

At the World Peace Poets and Whatcom Peace & Justice Center workshop on writing this last July, the instructor, Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor, used a group writing technique called Exquisite Corpse.

The 10 line poem above was written by 10 people in this way.  Each line created with only the previous line as an inspiration.  I wrote the first line, then passed to the left. What an interesting path the story takes!

corspe 1
Folded three times

The technique was invented by surrealists and is similar to an old parlor game called Consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution. Surrealism principal founder André Breton reported that it started in fun, but became playful and eventually enriching. Breton said the diversion started about 1925, but Pierre Reverdy wrote that it started much earlier, at least before 1918.


In a variant now known as picture consequences, instead of sentences, portions of a person are drawn.

Honolulu Museum of Art
Exquisite Corpse, credit Honolulu Museum of Art

Event: Peace Arts Workshops

You’re invited…
World Peace Poets and
Whatcom Peace & Justice Center presents~


The link to register for the FREE workshops is:
Register NOW. Everyone welcome!


Classes available:

July 20, 1-3 p.m., Songwriting (with Geof Morgan), 
July 27, 10 a.m.-noon, Writing – all types (with Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor)
August 3, 10 a.m.-noon, Poetry (with Susan Chase-Foster)
Also, there will be a call for Peace Arts poems, essays, posters, and comics for Peace. The call seeks works that update the message on the need for peace in this world at this time. Submission guidelines will be issued August 1, 2016 and the deadline for submissions August 31, 2016. All submissions will be presented and celebrated on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the annual World Peace Poets Read-in and through November.

“Culture is the space in our national consciousness filled by music, books, sports, movies, theater, visual arts, and media. It is the realm of ideas, images, and stories — the narrative in which we are immersed every day. It is where people make sense of the world, where ideas are introduced, values are inculcated, and emotions are attached to concrete change. Cultural change is often the dress rehearsal for political change. Or put in another way, political change is the final manifestation of cultural shifts that have already occurred.”

-Jeff Chang, WPJC