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Photo of the Lime Walk at The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home

Weighing in at approximately 7,500 pounds and 600 square feet, help us create the -

World's (possibly) Largest Poem

The Mount & WordXWord Collaboration

Help us create and perform the world’s “largest poem” - everyone is invited, YOU ARE INVITED, no experience necessary. You will only need to write and perform a short poem. Be part of something BIG!

Sign me up! Question? Read the FAQ.

How it Works / Commitment

Using a variation of a surrealist* technique from the early 20th century, WordXWord is setting out to create the world’s largest poem. Note we said largest, not longest. In fact our poem will actually consist of 50 very short poems, created by 50 poets, and stitched together in a performance that ripples through the 50 poets, spread out over the length of the Lime Walk on the grounds of The Mount in Lenox.

Volunteers/poets will be given a random place in the sequence of 1-50. Each poet will be asked to create a short (30seconds or less) poem using the last word of the previous poet/poem in the sequence as the first word of their poem. Poets will NOT have knowledge of the poem ahead of them - or any poem in the sequence - they will only have a single word as their starting point.

Example / how the poem gets built

In the example below poet #1 writes 3-5 short lines and shares only the last word with the next poet in line. Poet #2 writes a short poem using the word (or a variation on it) as their first word. The poet #2 passes along only the last word to the next poet. And so on . . .

at the intersection
of misspent youth and modern lovers,
the sign said swipe right,
swipe right for the discriminating taste
of flesh eating dinosaurs

dinosaurs that haunt the bayous where
ancient blood and bone tarnish
a crimson dusk landscape with ashen dreams

dreams with legs unshackled,
no longer running from, but
marching only forward

The creation process will take approximately 50 days with each poet in the sequence having 24 hours to create their short poem and submit it to the project manager (aka Poet Wrangler!). The project manager will forward the last word to the next person in the sequence.

Sign me up!

Performance / how it gets stitched together

The finished, 50 stanza poem will be performed by the poets at The Mount, July 23 (rain date, tbd).

For the performance, poets will line up in assigned sequence along the pathways of The Mount.

The audience, in groups of 15, will walk along the course of the poem as the performance moves from poet to poet.

The piece will be performed numerous times as necessary to accommodate the audience size - i.e., each poet will perform their short poem numerous times with short breaks that allow for appropriate distance between audience groups.

* If you’re curious, you can google Exquisite Corpse for information about the origin, history, and variations of this technique.

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You've got questions, we've got answers

Who can play/participate?

Any age, teens through infinity, no experience necessary. Only requirement is to honor the commitment to create a 3-5 line poem, submit it in the time allotted, and to perform it as part of the world's largest poem at the scheduled date and time.

When will I need to write my short poem?

You will receive your "prompt" (the last word from the preceding poem) sometime between May 15 and July 15. You will receive an update approximately a week ahead of time to remind you that it's coming. You will have 24 hours to write and submit your very short poem (you can do it!).

Does my poem have to be about anything in particular? Follow any particular style? Any restrictions?

The short answer is no. Be serious or funny, flowery or pedestrian, full of meaning or simply about the sound of words. Whatever makes you happy. However, we do ask that you keep in mind that the audience will be comprised of all ages - children through great, great grandmothers . . .

How will I receive my prompt, submit my poem, etc?

Good question. In order to participate, you will need a valid email address that you check on a regular basis.

When and where will the Largest Poem be performed?

Outdoors at The Mount! in Lenox, MA.

What if my schedule changes between now and the performance event and I can no longer attend the performance?

We only ask that if you are unable to perform your piece as scheduled that you find a surrogate to stand in for you.

Is there a deadline for signing up to participate?

The registration deadline is when the list is full (50 poets).

Sign me up!

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