Categories
Poetry

Cento

From the Latin word for “patchwork,” the cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form made up of lines from poems by other poets. Though poets often borrow lines from other writers and mix them in with their own, a true cento is composed entirely of lines from other sources. Early examples can be found in the work of Homer and Virgil. Quite good company, huh?!

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At our writing group we started to write a Cento. Lauren brought a great many poetry books by poets such as Eaven Boland, Dylan Thomas, John Fuller, Bob Dylan! Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Derek Walcott, Vikram Seth, WB Yeats and Tony Harrison. I have to admit I’ve only heard of a handful of these poets, which might explain why I formed my Cento from the Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas.

We randomly created page numbers from ideas like, the last 2 numbers of your mobile phone number (62), your house number (5), the month of your date of birth (3) etc. Then we turned to that page in the poetry book and chose a line from the poem on that page and put it in our Cento. I liked the idea very much as we were, as Lauren put it, deconstructing sculptures (I think…) or making sows’ ears out of silk purses perhaps!

My Cento is called “Cento 1” because it might be the first in a series from me. I think this one hangs together quite well.

“Hands have no tears sleepy man of winter
Let us summon death you boys of summer
From the first print of the unshodden foot
These boys of light are curdlers of their mothers
Let her inhale her dead with grave gipsy eyes
And drift or drown down by death’s features
Where no sun shines and burns the seeds of age”

 

 

By adewils

In 2008 I attended a couple of creative writing courses. Then I joined a writing group and wrote some more. Eventually I ended up with a lot of pieces of work scattered around in books and folders, as well as floating around the Internet. I bought a domain name and decided a blog would be a nice place to put my writing. This is my creative outlet and I hope you find something here you like.

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