Poetry Games

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 [email protected]. 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.

How to Make a Dadaist Poem
A way to make poems, by cutting up words and recombining them, suggested by 1920s writer Tristan Tzara. This is a forerunner of today’s  Fridge Poetry Games

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.

Published May, 2011

6 thoughts on “Poetry Games

  1. How about a found poem? I just read a found poem book review. The poet takes parts of the book and rearranges them into poetry.

  2. Is the following a poetry game? If not, what kind of game you call it?
    Moshaere refers to a Persian Poetry rhyming game in which at least two human players participate. According to Milani (2008: 652), one player recites a line of a poetry, and a second player must then recite from memory another poem in which the first letter of its first word is the same as the last letter of the last word of the line recited by the previous player. Whoever fails to come up with a fitting line is eliminated

    1. Hello,

      Thanks for your comment – that does sound like a wonderful (and challenging) poetry game! Thanks for sharing that with us. We especially like that they specify two ‘human’ players have to participate…

      All best,

      Helen at Young Poets Network

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