Collaboratory Main Desk

A Continuing Fairy Story

By Graham Tritt, 22 April 2005

In this exercise you should write a short story, up to three paragraphs, in the style of a fable or a folk tale. Imagine writing, for instance, “one more episode in the life of Phi”

The story should be a folk tale or fairy story. Some of the basic rules for this genre are:

  1. It starts with something like “Once upon a time” and finishes “and they lived happily ever after” or an equivalent.
  2. It is simple, interesting, exciting. It contains fanciful or fantastic beings and events, a touch of magic.
  3. It has a moral, it teaches a lesson.

Note that a fairy story does not have to have fairies in it.

I suggest that in your story, you build on the previous one, introduce only one event and maximum one new character. Or you could rewrite the previous one in a different style, for example “politically correct”.

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By Rudolf Ammann, 4 December 2003

Right. You knew this was coming: Limericks.

Rule, though: your piece must include a place near the place mentioned in the previous piece. ‘Near’ means that it has to be located in a neighbouring canton, province, prefecture, county, bundesland, state or country. Disregard oceans: it’s OK to jump from, say, Ireland to Iceland.

The place must also be hyperlinked to a map. As a reminder:

<a href="">Home</a>

will produce the following link:


Caution: make sure the quotation marks in your hyperlink are straight quotes (technically known as ‘double primes’); if you copy and paste the verse from a text processing application that automatically transforms quotation marks into typographically correct ‘curly quotes’ (that’s “ and ”), the link will break. If in doubt, use the Preview button before you post.

Update: To get a map of a particular place, go to MapQuest, select a country, enter the place name and hit ‘Get Map’. Then copy and paste the URL (yes, it’ll be a bit long, but never mind) from your browser’s address field into a link tag as above.

Here’s your starting point:

There was this geezer from Bern
Who thought he would earn
Some major credit
When he started to edit
The Ode on a Grecian Urn.

Link · Contributions (14 so far)


By Kevin Cameron, 30 November 2003

Renga, translated as “linked verse”, is a form of poetic game born in 15th century Japan. Usually composed by teams of three, each poet would take turns composing verses following traditional syllabic rules of 5-7-5; 7-7. (This structure was later made famous to us by renga’s offspring, haiku. In fact, one of the most prolific renga artists, Basho Matsuo, is well known as one of the most important figures in traditional haiku poetry.)

While similar to FAM’s Chain-Haikuing, renga follows a set of strictly (or loosely, depending on the poets) followed rules. Rules that were often followed include:


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Team Ghazal

By FAM, 14 July 2003

I recently spent a few days in a place called Harmonia in Slovakia in the stimulating presence of Anglo-Persian or Persian/English poet Mimi Kahlvati, who introduced us to the ghazal. The ghazal is a formal poem of Persian and Urdu origin. I really don’t want to get embroiled in a lot of theory here, or indeed issues of ethnic ownership, because I have found that there are considerable differences of opinion on issues like rigidity of form, the type and recurrence of rhymes, adaptation or appropriation of the poem into English, subject matter, even terminology.


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Little Kamuff

By Rudolf Ammann, 19 May 2003

An Illustrated Story for Children


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By FAM, 16 May 2003

This is a new collaborative poem or rather a series thereof. The idea is to create collaboratively a string of haikus that are linked to each other by the last word in the third line.

In case you can’t remember how haikus go, here’s a brief reminder: haikus have three lines with 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively. Traditionally they contain a reference to time or the seasons (we won’t bother with that) and a bug (as in “insect” but we won’t bother with that either).

Each new spring I hope

hayfever and sap rising

may decrease. Fat chance

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Add your own stanza!

By Rudolf Ammann, 8 October 2002

Weave a circle round him thrice

And close your eyes with holy dread,

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of paradise.

Link · Contributions (14 so far)

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