Playing With Fridge Poetry

One of my friends bought me a pack of fridge poetry for Christmas, so this evening I thought I’d take a break from my laptop and play with magnets instead. In case you haven’t come across them before, Fridge Poetry Magnets are little magnetic words and you can use them to make poetry, get some inspiration, or I suppose, write a funny message on your fridge.

So, here’s the set I used:

400 slightly random words ready to be turned into poetry! I used a magnetic whiteboard – I could have just ¬†used my desk but I didn’t want to lose any of the words, as they’re pretty small. So what I did was I separated all of the words, and turned them upside down on the board so that my choices would be completely random. I left a few of them the right way around – “by”, “if”, “a”, “the”, etc, so that these useful words were easy to find.
Then I picked a few words at random and started to think about how they could be connected. Eventually I did have to start turning over words to try to find a word I needed, and occasionally the word I wanted wasn’t in the pack (“be”, for example, wasn’t in there). There are some single letters or couples of letters so you can add “ing” or “ly” to the ends of words. Here are some of the poems I created:
I also found a few things that seemed to go together but that I hadn’t made into a poem. Beginnings of poems, perhaps.
Fridge poetry is really useful because when you pick out words randomly, or you’re restricted to the words that are in front of you, it forces you to say things in a way you wouldn’t normally say them. It makes you think of things in a different way, and make connections you hadn’t thought of before. For example, “She is as cool and silent / as secret loss” isn’t something I would ever normally say. Meanwhile when I write prose, I often find myself overusing certain words, such as “just” and “also”, or using the same devices to talk about characters when they interact – “she laughed”, “I shrugged”, “he grinned”. All the time. I mean, how much shrugging and grinning can a person do? And nodding. And shaking their head. And looking at each other. “I looked at her.” “She looked at me.” For goodness sake, give it a rest! Restricting the words that are available to you, and using only words that aren’t necessarily usually in your vocabulary (much less put together in a stanza), can really help if you’re stuck in a rut.

You can pick up your own set of magnets from Amazon, or maybe your local bookshop. I have this set of Fridge Poetry Magnets, but there are others to choose from, including funny and bad language ones, and sets from other companies.

Have you used fridge poetry before? Feel free to share any of your own gems in the comments!