What is an Exquisite Corpse Poem? The root of the exquisite corpse poem comes from the Parisian Surrealist Movement, and is a method by which a collection of words or phrases is assembled. Each collaborator adds to the composition. In our case; Professor Robin Greene, our writing instructor and coach, constructed this poem from lines that each of us contributed, taken from pieces we wrote during our five day Women’s Creative Writing Retreat.
Day of the Dead — Nine Women Writing
We are all made from mole
and the daily tortillas that hold us
to life. Hold us, that is until
mescal creates thunder
and all our clichés work.
But how much is a songbird worth?
And are birth and death only
an entrance and an exit,
or are they the constant cadence
of beginning, becoming, ending —
much like the stories we write?
We watch the shadowed Zapotec
mountains from the cemetery
tonight — Dia de los Muertos —
and want to understand
how the dead know where
their families live now? And what
will happen if everybody moves
to El Paso or Cincinnati? Will thunder
still roll across a purple sky,
or perhaps we’d have to take it
undercover until no one laughs
again, or we find ourselves
drinking Créme de Menthe
frappes, sickly green minty stuff,
poured over crushed ice
and diluted with vodka.
After Robin read this poem to open our last evening together, we each took turns reading a piece we had written which we chose to share. After the reading, we celebrated with dinner and a mescal toast!
Our next Women’s Creative Writing Retreat will be held December 15-21, 2021, again in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. During this winter holiday season, so magical here, we will delve into writing about holiday traditions, meaning, family gatherings, and anything else that celebrations conjure up. It’s a time to reflect and write about what was meaningful, disappointments, yearnings and relationships. Send me an email if you are interested in participating: firstname.lastname@example.org
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