Poetry Games


Come play games in the Cafe!

There’s a selection of physical and digital games.

Free. Anytime during Festival hours. 

Physical games including Poetry Jenga, cards, and a Ouija board. Digital works - one set in the Grand Theft Auto V universe, and a video game that writes poems! More about the games below. 

Playing Poetry champions playful and interactive literature, through exhibitions, workshops and events. From platformers that generate new poems as you jump, to poetic travelogues exploring digital worlds, this is work that explores the space where poetry and play meet.Our thanks to Playing Poetry for the loan of these works for Belfast, fresh from their stand-out exhibition at London’s Southbank Centre


Poetry Jenga by Astra Papachristodoulou

Poetry Jenga is an object poem that encourages audiences to explore the unpredictability of collaging by creating endless poetic sequences. Players take turns to take out wooden blocks from the tower, read the blocks’ inscriptions and place them on top of each other resulting in an ever-growing but unsteady tower.


Pyramid by Thomas Pearson

Pyramid is a version of Nine Men’s Morris, set within one of the dream-structures of the 1499 text Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. The pieces denote internal rooms, with lines of poetry on the counters giving details of their design. The layout and character of the building are continually reconfigured as the game progresses.


Adversary by Abigail Parry & Jon Stone

Adversary is a prototype card game in which players duel to complete couplets and quatrains in the most satisfying way. Each player is dealt six cards from the main deck, and uses these to compose one or two lines of poetry matching the metre of a prompt card. This set contains prompts/decks for composing the opening lines of a murder ballad and the first couplet of an aubade or serenade. 


Geohedron by Matt Martin

To read one of these polyhedral object poems, start on any of its twenty faces, then move any adjacent face, continuing around the surface, reading out words on the way. This procedure generates a quasi-grammatical, potentially endless sentence.


Phonetic Spiritboard by Luke Thompson

Using phonemes instead of letters, this Ouija board was developed for sound poetry games and performances. It works exactly like a normal Ouija and produces a text of sounds to be navigated or interpreted by the performers. The phonemes have been laser-printed into wood board.


Rock, Star, North. by Calum Rodger

Rock, Star, North. is a poetic travelogue set in the Grand Theft Auto V universe, influenced by Basho, Wordsworth and Nan Shepherd, and based on the poet’s idiosyncratic journey through the game-world in pursuit of the ‘virtual sublime’. 


Émile Et Moi by Philippe Grenon

Émile et Moi is a platforming video game that writes poems. The words that appear on the platforms are not chosen at random. In its original version, Émile et Moi compiles more than 200 old poems, all in French, from Quebec and uses generative grammar to choose possibilities among the vocabulary of the texts in memory. For the Belfast Book Festival, Phillippe has added a host of classic Irish poetry to the game. Any unique poems made through the game will be uploaded to the Émile Et Moi twitter feed across the festival. 


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