Here is a very naughty gift for poets. These cards (essential apparatus for readings and festivals) will encourage completely the wrong sort of concentration, possibly even an inappropriate response (BINGO!).
The set of four different cards can also fulfil a useful slot in terms of entertaining postcards for poetry friends. A5 in size, they contain the key words on the back as well as plenty of space to scribble messages, poems or aphorisms.
In terms of extreme left-field writing, each card is a work of art. Leicestershire-based Maria Taylor is the brilliant author. Here are some of her notes on using the cards.
Poetry Bingo: The Game
Traditional bingo has a ‘caller’ who calls out numbers, and players hope to match them: the first person to complete their card and shout Bingo wins a prize.
‘Buzzword Bingo’ brought this game into a new forum. Designed to entertain people in boring meetings, it generated a whole new attitude to ‘management-speak’. Poetry is not immune from buzzwords. This time, the source of key words/phrases could be readings at an event.
Alternatively – along the fridge-magnet-poetry principle – you could create lines, images, couplets and/or haiku using the words on the cards. Who knows where this could lead you. Publication! Prizes!
A third option is to keep a Bingo card beside you as you read poems from magazines and anthologies. Reading groups can have fun with this. (All the words on the cards are sourced from recently published work.)
Please note some of the card items are flexible. For instance ‘An Epiphany of Birds’ covers the name of any bird. Bird types in poems are so numerous they merit a set of cards of their own. Some of the Bingo prompts are classifications, eg ‘Unexpected Collected Noun’, so phrases like ‘a parliament of owls’ or ‘a murder of poets’ would immediately qualify.
Finally, ‘Poetry Bingo’ cards make good postcards, art works (each one is a sort of poem in itself), or simply spaces to jot down your own inspirations.