Playing the hippie poetry game for four cents per line

Raymond Chen

The party game goes by many names. Hippie poetry, Beat poetry, Dada poetry. To play, have a group of people sit in a circle and give each person a piece of paper and writing implement. To start, each person writes a single line of poetry and hands it to the person to his or her left or right. (The direction isn’t important, as long as it’s consistent.) At each round, you add one line to the growing poem, then fold over the top of the page so that only the line you added is visible. Pass the paper to the left (or right), and repeat. Popular stopping conditions are when the paper is full or when the page returns to the person who started the poem. Once the poem is complete, the paper is unfolded and everyone takes turns reading the results. They are usually quite absurd.

That was a long and ultimately unsatisfying set-up for the fact that you can make money playing this game. And you do it via the Internet from your home. The catch: You get paid four cents per line. Oh, and the poem is about sex.