Paired Poem

Zaid Hassan Posted by Zaid Hassan.

Zaid Hassan is the cofounder of Reos Partners, where he currently serves as Managing Partner of the Oxford office. Reos Partners is a social innovation consultancy that addresses complex, high-stakes challenges around the world.


It is a simple tool that works well at the end of a course, learning journey, or workshop, as it provides a final wrap-up and positive energy.

It is a simple tool that works well at the end of a course, learning journey, or workshop, as it provides a final wrap-up and positive energy. It can also be used as a warm-up for collective creative tasks such as initiative generation.

Have participants sit in a circle. Invite them to pair up with the person next to them. Have everyone take out a loose sheet of paper and draw the following configuration of lines on it (demonstrate on a flip chart): 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 line.

Directions: “In pairs, you will write two poems about this course/workshop/journey/topic. Each of you should write a word on the first blank line on your paper. Now pass your paper to your partner.

Fill in the next line of two blanks with two words connected with the first word. When you are done, exchange papers again. Now each of you will write three words on the corresponding lines, building on what was written previously. Keep passing your papers back and forth in the same fashion until you have completed your poems.”

After everyone is done, ask people to share their poems with the group. We have found that because the poems are created in partnership with someone else, participants find reading them aloud less risky than if it was just their own work and are generally happy to share.

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