The Masterpiece: a Chain Poetry Challenge
A Brief History of Collaborative, Collective, or Chain Poetry
Collaborative, collective, or chain poetry is an alternative and creative technique for writing poetry by more than one person. The principal aim of this type of poetry is to create poems through the collaboration of various authors/poets, trying to form a unified voice while still maintain their individual voices.
Examples of collaboration abound in Japanese poetry. Though the precise accounts and records of many such events are either lost or missing.
One of the most famous examples of collective poetry writing was the poem collection titled Ralentir Travaux by Surrealist French poets André Breton, Paul Éluard and René Char. These three poets collaborated to write the poems in this collection over just five days in 1930.
During the 1940s, Charles Henri Ford, an American poet, invented what he called the "chain poem", where each poet wrote a line and then sent the poem to another person (to continue) in another part of the world, by post.
In 2007 a collection of American collaborative poetry Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry was edited and published by Denise Duhamel, Maureen Seaton and David Trinidad.
Collaborative poetry writing has been used in schools and colleges to teach students teamwork and to discover ways in which they are connected.(source: Wikipedia)
The Aim of This Hub and How to Approach the Challenge
A few years back I wrote a hub called "Poem Without an End" which included a Christmas poem I had written that lent itself to being added to. I was amazed by the response as at that stage I only had a few followers here. Hubbers wrote a stanza of poetry each in "comments" on the hub to follow on from the previous commenter's stanza. It worked out very well and at the end I compiled all the contributions into a single poem as part of the hub.
Similar challenges have been issued since, including one by Frank Atanacio called "Spirits Sat as Mourners" that was also very successful. The difference being that in that instance contributors wrote their own hubs for their stanza of poetry and placed a link on Frank's original hub.
For this particular challenge I don't expect everyone to spend valuable time writing separate hubs for one stanza of poetry (unless you really want to). The main problem being that to make it effective you would have to copy the previously written parts of the poem onto your hub and would probably be hit with "duplication" by Hub Pages.
So, that being the case, and also to save having to leave links everywhere, I just ask that anyone who wants to take part just write their stanza here in "comments." Check the last comment before yours that is contributing to the challenge and follow on. If I see more than one following from the same stanza I will use my poetic licence to work them in as I deem best.
At some stage when I feel there has been enough stanzas added I will probably call an end to the challenge and then compile them all together as the completed poem as part of the hub (also giving credit to each contributor).
Now comes the interesting part. If you join this chain poetry challenge you have to try to keep the style and voice of the poem as close as possible to the preceding verses, so that to uninformed readers it will appear that only one author has written the entire poem.
Sounds easy, you say? Well maybe it would be if the poem had a traditional style, rhyme or meter. But this one doesn't! The poem you will be adding to was started by an acquaintance of mine Andriealphus as a "chain poem challenge" elsewhere. At the time of writing I was the only other person who had accepted the challenge, and because I loved the subject I thought it would be a great challenge for my fellow hubbers and decided to use it here and see if the response would be better. (I know of a few poets here whose writing would suit this style)
- Follow on from the previous stanza in comments
- Try to retain the voice and style of the poem
- Keep your stanza/verse to approximately the same length as those before
- Make the subject matter appropriate to the story
- If it inspires you, feel free to return and add another verse
Claude Monet was one of the most famous painters in the history of art and a leading figure in the Impressionist movement.
In 1883 Monet moved to Giverny. Here, he loved to paint outdoors in the gardens that he helped create. The water lilies found in the pond had a particular appeal, and he painted several series of them throughout the rest of his life; the Japanese-style bridge over the pond became the subject of several works, as well.
In 1912 Monet painted a series of 12 waterlily paintings commissioned by the Orangerie des Tuileries, a museum in Paris. He chose to make them on a very large scale, and to serve as a "haven of peaceful meditation." This project consumed much of Monet's later years. Monet once stated, "These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession for me. It is beyond my strength as an old man, and yet I want to render what I feel."
His health was now an obstacle, as well. Nearly blind, with both of his eyes seriously affected by cataracts, Monet finally agreed to undergo surgery for the ailment in 1923.
Monet's famous water lilies turned redder as his cataracts progressed. After getting corrective surgery he destroyed most of the "red lily" paintings, angry that no one really mentioned it to him. Ironically, these paintings were probably what made his impressionistic style so famous in that time -- artists started taking more risks with color and such during this point. (source: biography.com)
"The boy sitting behind you says you look like a masterpiece.
Ask him, has he ever seen a Monet up close?
Close enough to see nothing but muddled strokes of weedy lakeshore?
Close enough to dip his fingers into the ridges
where oil paints hardened under an artist's gaze?
Close enough to breathe onto the blood lilies?
Ask him, why did he paint them red?" (Andriealphus)
He grinned like Carroll's cheshire cat.
"Through clouded and bloodshot eyes I imagine.
Be my waterlilies!" he says,
"Feel my breath and let my fingers delve,
become my masterpiece instead.
A brush has never touched a canvas as fine as your fair skin.
Let the masters weep in jealousy,
and Van Gogh slice his ear in envy at the beauty of your nakedness." (Jodah)
Now it's your turn. Please write your response in the comments below, remembering to check those immediately before yours for the last written stanza of the poem. If you do decide to write a separate hub for your stanza of verse, make sure you leave a link here in comments.
The Finished Masterpiece
All contributions have been received and I have put the finished poem together with only some slight edits. I hope everyone is happy with the result. If you think I could improve the order of stanzas etc, feel free to let me know.
Please go to 'The Finished Masterpiece" to see the completed poem.
Thank you again to all who contributed.
Check-out the Real Giverny in a Hub by Bill De Giulio
- Paris Day Trip: Visiting Monet's Home and Gardens in Giverny
Looking for a day-trip from Paris that you can do on your own? For a wonderful experience head to Giverny and Claude Monet's Home and Gardens. What Monet created here is simply amazing.
More by this Author
Here are just some of my random thoughts and ramblings on how to write when your muse has gone on vacation and you just can't find inspiration or think of anything relevant to say.
This poem "The Masterpiece" was compiled and edited by me but it's writing is a collaboration of many talented poets. The story behind it is based on Claude Monet and his wonderful paintings.
Previously I wrote a poem called "If I Could Write a Love Poem." It was very well received and even selected to turn into a song that was recorded on an album by Tally Koren. This is the sequel.