A fun poetry writing game for beginners. This exercise highlights cliches — in this case writing about love and romance — and encourages students to be more daring and original in their work.
Prep and resources
Bring in a selection of Valentine’s cards or love poems, that can be cut up by students. (You’ll also need some pairs of scissors!)
Icebreaker: Poison Pen / Love Letter
Ask students to cut out individual words from a selection of Valentine’s cards or love poems. Then, scramble the cuttings in the middle of the table. Using a selection of random words, encourage students to piece together a new alternative verse.
Exercise: Bad Romance
First, ask students to compile a list of clichéd objects that they would expect to find in a typical Valentine’s card e.g. roses, hearts, teddy bears, puppies.
Next ask them to create a corresponding list of unusual and/or disgusting equivalents e.g. nettles, intestines, pebbles, headless dolls, eels.
Using the second list, ask each student to write the verse of a ‘bad’ Valentine’s card. For example, “My feelings for you are like the sting of a nettle / I love you with all the force of my intestines.’’
Feedback: ask if any students would like to read their pieces aloud. Are there any lines which stand out? Ask students to try and build on the imagery from their strongest lines.