Home > Uncategorized > Poetry and Crowd Seeding a Sonnet

Poetry and Crowd Seeding a Sonnet

In the upcoming unit I’m planning I am encountering something that teachers everywhere fear. No, not just Shakespeare; poetry. Go ask a teacher if they would like to go impromptu substitute teach in a poetry class. Go ahead. I’ll wait. No volunteers? 

I’m one of those “weird” guys that actually likes poetry. Poetry has been a part of my life since before I was a teenager. Yes, for that long a time. But teaching poetry still gives one a sense of trepidation. So in the spirit of transparency I thought I would try a new approach in working with students writing poetry. 


The process is one that comes from the writer Chuck Palahniuk. I recently heard him speak at the Fitzgerald theater in St. Paul Minnesota. He brought up a process of writing that he has spoken about and written about before he calls it “crowd seeding“.


To develop his themes, Palahniuk also conducts experiments in what he calls “crowd-seeding”: At parties he tells people what he’s working on and freely hands out his phone number to generate ideas….

All of his books are packed with this group expertise “so that you feel like you’re learning,” he says. It’s the Google-era technique of novel writing: social composition. “I’m simultaneously testing my material or premise with people and tweaking it,” he says. “Plus, it’s a fun game and gives people a role to play.”

This brings to mind a different author, one that I’ll be seeing in the near future, Jane Mcgonigal. Here’s a bit about where she is coming at the whole technology/education interplay:

Given that Mcgonigal says in her book that

All games share four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation

So I’m thinking, why not crowd seed the writing of a sonnet? One could even make a game of it.

Hopefully more to come…

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