A bunch of words printed on cheap plastic magnets that you shuffle around to make poems. Actually, most of the poems that I make are dirty - but that's probably just my adolescent mind. Although chance isn't the primary creative factor in it, it always reminds me of Oblique Strategies and/or the I-Ching, as well as found poetry.

The moves I
were nothing
above cartoons.

Hurricanes don't

Anatomy of a Girl
Life until over
Was always lovelier
Pray in their rain
I once made the mistake of purchasing something from petopia.com. They now send me junk mail constantly. The most recent mailing included a pet version of magnetic poetry. Ironically, not a single word could be rhymed to another. I still came up with what I consider to be very beautiful and moving poetry. Here it is, with a few html revisions:

soft fluffy fish baby
always sniffs her finicky ferret

he begs...
...princess is shaggy

cat spoiled my spunky

bird l i c k s the lil' prince

she stratches 1-877-petopia

shy frisky. dog sniffs.

big bunny    eats     friendly puppy

gentle sweet devil kitten sleeps

The University of Pennsylvania distributed a promotional magnetic poetry set in the Fall of 2000. The poorly chosen vocabulary made forming anything coherent something of a challenge. It was a 5" x 8" magnetic card which had to be separated into its constituent words. In the center was the horrible pun "STICK with PENN !!!", which is why STICK is all caps below.

Herewith, the collection of poetry which had survived on my fridge the entire academic year. The stanzas were arranged in three columns. Below, the triple line breaks indicate where the column breaks were. No, I don't know why they are mostly sexual in nature.

            Hey  you
         let's  go  do
        the  kiss  game 

         I  said  you
           and  me

how  friends  will  look  on  us

       can  we  do  it?

        all  college  girls
      want  professor  come  !!!

  see  fun  red  love  STICK  going  out

have  to  shop  for  what  they  eat  today

    she  like s  eat ing
    dorm  cook ed  guys
    at  a  fraternity
        house  party

loud  with  no  class
   he  did  her  Ivy  field

  money  can't  smile

If you have a car built like a tin can, try this. I had GOBS of magnetic poetry, and a beat up Volvo. The trunk, er, boot was shelfy enough to protect all the little magnets as I drove, and enough room for people to make wordy playgounds.

When I would get out of work, I would always have new passages and pieces sprawled across the back end, which I kept a record of in my notebook. Just another way of proving people make excellent pets.

There is another product quite like magenetic poetry. It is a package of temporary tatoos with the same kinds of words you find in your standard magnetic poetry pack. They are pretty tough to apply, but nothing beats having the phrase "My Crime Makes A Friend An Enemy" emblazoned across your forearm.

Dark fire blossoms in his green eyes
as he thinks of hot summer days,
humid nights...and you.

Run to him and experience the sweetness
of all he has to whisper, and the heat
of what you want to feel.

Passion writhes between taut flesh
as you come together, embracing
for the first time...again.

Enjoy the feeling of being wrapped
in life as the music fades
and the dance ends.

I assembled this poem using those wonderful poetry magnets for the refrigerator. There are many kinds out there ranging from simple poetry magnets to XXX word magnets. I've even seen Ebonics, Trailer Trash and Tabloid themed magnets. Combining them of course gives you a much larger vocabulary to draw on and makes for more interesting sentences and poems. You can purchase these magnets at most book stores and at some novelty shops.

Fun for the kids!

If you have a child struggling with reading these are a fun way to help them along. You can start with simple words like cat, dance, juggle or swamp. Once they have mastered the words you have available for them they can learn the differences between the words. Have them seperate the words into groupings: verbs, adjectives and nouns. Understanding the basic breakdown of the words will help them to form their own sentences. They will delight in making their words come alive on your refrigerator where everyone can see their accomplishments. Older kids can benefit from these magnets as well. If you have a large amount of magnets for them to choose from the likely hood of their vocabulary words being present in them will be greater. You can have them practice using their vocabulary words in sentences on your refrigerator before they have that big test on Friday!

Fun with loved ones!

There's nothing like coming home from work in the evenings and finding a romantic note on your freezer door from your loved one. You can leave romantic thoughts, ask your loved one out on a date (regardless of if you're married dating is still a romantic occurance some couples enjoy) or leave personal instructions for a fun evening such as "Wear the black slinky dress tonight." It's important that you have an area on your refrigerator designated for these messages ahead of time, so that he/she notices there's something new there when they wake up or get home.

Fun with friends!

You can make a game out of creating the naughtiest sentence with your house mates. There's nothing like coming home from class or work and finding an amusingly dirty sentence to relieve stress and lighten your mood. Challenge each other to a poetry or story contest. One of you can start the poem off with a singe line, when your house mate sees you've created your line they can assemble the next one, and so on until you have finished your master piece. Usually you will end up with some pretty amusing poems and stories using this method. Of course, to accomplish an actual story you will have to have quite an extensive amount of magnets as you will quickly run out of the smaller words such as the, and, as, and is.

Making your own magnetic poetry.

To buy magnetic poetry – no matter how fascinating and wonderful the stuff is - does end up pretty expensive. As Iseult mentioned above – making it is far, far cheaper. However, I use a different method, which I feel gives a result closer to the stuff you buy in the shops. I love Iseult’s method – and use that, but only with the off-cuts.



In a word processing program such as Microsoft word, type in all the words you could possibly imagine yourself requiring in order to create magnetic poetry masterpieces. I use Times New Roman (boring little me….) in size 18 font. Extend the margins out so you use as much of the page as you possibly can. Set the line spacing to 1.5.

You must remember to put two spaces between each word – not just one. Otherwise, your words will look cramped when you cut them out. Or of course, type it out with one space, and then do a replace-all (thankyou BlakJak).

Ensure you get all the most frequently used words in the language – I generally do at least three lots of the one hundred most used English words. There is a very long list (about 1000) here. Then – add all the words you want. Add your name, your SO’s name, your pets’ names. All the words that they never put in the magnetic poetry sets – you know….Lesbians! Monkeys! Soy! Ass-fuckingly! And so on.

Add symbols, numerals, spare letters, and lots of “ing” and “es” and “ed” and other useful suffixes and prefixes. Exclamation marks and question marks come in very handy. Also fun can be picking the good symbols out of something like the wingdings font. I go for themes – listing every animal I can think of, every gem, every type of fabric….All these words that just brim over with potential.

Then – when you’ve put in all the words and characters that you want – look at your pages on the screen. Over to the right hand side are all these gaps. Go down the screen and add small useful words in these gaps – I, we, you, sex, etc. Make sure you utilize every centimetre of space. Then – remember to spell check. Can’t have badly spelled magnetic poetry, now can we?

If you want – consider a test print run on a piece of paper. Then – the exciting bit. Print off your magpo onto the magnet backed paper. It often requires 24 hours to dry – leave it somewhere where not too much dust will settle on it, where the cat won’t tread on it, etc.

When it’s dry, cut out the words. I use the ruler and razor to separate every line of typing, then use the scissors to cut apart all the words. There will be little bits of magnet paper left over – keep them. With these left over bits – consider making ransom letter poetry – various different newspaper and magazine letters stuck onto them. Or tiny pictures that you draw yourself, or calligraphy letters, or anything else that comes to mind. A few blank bits of magpo are handy if you want to hide part of a word when composing your bullshit masterpiece.

And now, the good bit! One pack of the type of magnetic backed paper that I buy costs around US$7. That’s five pages, which gives enough to cover at least one fridge with words, almost two if you only cover the front. I recently made two packs worth of words, and have enough magnetic poetry to cover three fridges: mine, Nemosyn and BlakJak’s, and Huntsmaniac’s. We’ll have a big magnetic poetry distributing party on the weekend.

The magnetic poetry isn’t quite as user friendly as the real thing – it’s thinner, occasionally hops off the fridge when you don’t want it to, and can be a bugger to get off the fridge when (eg) you’re drunk and trying to play with it. But for $15 and a little time to cover three fridges with personalized magnetic poetry with crunchy good words on it – I say it’s worth it.

(This prose poem was written on my fridge with a "magnetic poetry" kit, this means that I was limited in my choice of words. I have left the words in the poem in their original case and tried to reproduce the layout on my fridge so as to replicate as best as possible the reading experience. )



trenchant delight

or             a fusillade of

                verbos ity


I form a language in beauty

                      when my idea ameliorate s the miscreant


character spurn ing            I endeavor to enervate

                                           and expunge through

                                          obscure temerity


never must you feel sanguine with

why     which     and      how


represent some herculean system

say the missive                           

ask me                                        

                             is that our nefarious pedagogue


if we question an opaque book

                 it will find no thought

                  to ursurp & influence


you would                                    

follow my word in time

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