How can games be used to generate poetry? How can poetry be used as a basis for a game? Games designer Holly Gramazio talks about the different kinds of poetry games you can invent to play with your friends.
Holly explains how the form and content of poetry can be used to get people running around, ripping up newspapers, taking digital photos and competing to put together a new, original poem.
Poetry Game Challenge
Can you invent a game that can generate a poem? Tell us about it by commenting on this page or firstname.lastname@example.org. Stuck for ideas? Play Holly’s video or check out these recommended games.
5 Recommended Poetry Games from Holly
How to Renku Guide
This is a traditional collaborative poetry game, with each player adding a verse that builds on the one before, and it’s been played for hundreds of years, mostly in Japan.
London Poetry Game
This lovely video from Ross Sutherland tells the story of the London Poetry Game. Players were given a poem with lines in lots of different languages, and had to find people who spoke the languages, to translate as much of it as they could. The final poem is built from the collected translations of all the players.
Poets Versus Policemen
A real-world game where players are divided into poets and policemen, in a world where poetry is banned – the poets try to write poems secretly, and the policemen try to catch them in the act.
Beat Poetry Project
Here’s a drum you can play in order to create a poem. Hitting one drum pad gives you a new word; hitting the other starts a new line. Parrish also made a keyboard with no vowels except “e” and a ball with words on that you roll through ink, and then across a page, so that it prints words onto the paper.
Holly Gramazio is lead game designer at game studio Hide&Seek. Previously she worked on game projects for local councils and arts organisations, and did a PhD on online fiction. There’s more about her at Several Bees.