Giant Fridge Poetry
On Saturday June 26th, at the Deiniol Centre in Bangor, North Wales, The Freewriter’s Companion was at large, encouraging people to use a random method of composition to make “poems” out of their environment…and have fun!
It was part of the Metamorffosis Festival, a week of free events supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and run in conjunction with Bangor University.
The event was a word-game called Giant Fridge Poetry.
The game was based on the magnetic fridge poetry sets that you can buy in which lots of separate words are printed on magnetic tiles, which you arrange into poems by sticking them to your fridge door.
My version of magnetic fridge poetry was bigger. It wasn’t on a fridge and it wasn’t magnetic!
Instead, I sent people out to collect words from Bangor High Street and make a note of them. I suggested collecting words and phrases from shop signs, overheard conversations or anywhere in the environment.
I then asked them to come back and arrange their random words into “poems” (meaning any sort of writing; it didn’t have to rhyme and it didn’t have to be “good”).
Watch the 30-second video below to see how I played the game and what I came out with!
You can easily play this game yourself by going out into any urban environment.
Here are the instructions:-
- Go out to a High Street or row of shops and look out for single words or very short phrases that attract you.
- These might be on shop signs, street signs, or menus in windows. Listen out for words spoken around you, too.
- Write down a list of these words on a piece of paper (or on your phone). Don’t think too hard about this and don’t worry about making a logical progression of words or meaning. Ten words or phrases are plenty, but this is entirely up to you.
- Return home (or find a quiet place to work), bringing your words with you.
Rearrange your individual words or phrases. You could tear them up if it helps (though obviously this is not possible if you’ve used your phone!).
Use your words as the basis for a poem-like composition on a new piece of paper, adding in only very short linking words such as “the” “of” “with” “and” etc. (You don’t have to use all your words.)
Some really wonderful poems were written on Saturday, even a haiku!
Here are some examples:-