NaPoWriMo 2016 Impromptu # 7 Cento: Only About Light



Today’s prompt at Found Poetry Review comes from Simone Muench, who wrote a favourite of mine, a collection titled Wolf Centos. Please click on the link to access the full post, and for more information about Simone, as well as to view other poems answering the challenge today.

The prompt:

“The Brazilian poet Manuel Bandeira created the cento “Anthology” (see below) using lines from his own poems, instead of employing the traditional method of cento-construction (in which you build a poem entirely out of lines from other people’s poems). Following his example, write a cento that is a self-portrait, or anthology of your life, utilizing lines and fragments from your own work.

Or, alternatively, create a “self-portrait” cento using lines and fragments from other people’s poems (the traditional method), or song lyrics, or prose (fiction and/or nonfiction)

*To see the basic stipulations for writing a traditional cento, see 

I decided to use my own poems as source material.  To keep it simple, I chose only from poems written in 2016.  My attempt is titled “Only About Light”

Only About Light

Sometimes I wake, not because there was music—
here the silence deafens as only silence can.

Suppose the world was only about light—
the ultra-sentient particles.

I convince myself each fear is a chimera
while we sleep the Earth rotates east

the song dog
lifts his muzzle to the wind

and desert dog song soars skyward in a moon moan
but he doesn’t understand the depth of sky.


Carol A. Stephen
April 7, 2016


*the phrase, song dog is quoted from Alice Notley’s Culture of One


For more centos also check out Newfoundland poet, Mary Dalton, who wrote Hooking.  Each of the poems in this collection used lines from a specific location in the source poems, for example a poem might consist of lines that were the 9th line of each source poem.  Her process is detailed at the back of the book. Hooking, from Vehicule Press

At this link, Mary discusses her book in an interview with The Malahat Review’s John Barton.



7 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo 2016 Impromptu # 7 Cento: Only About Light

  1. Wow, you only used poems written this year? Well done! And thanks for the heads-up re Hooking. Will be tracking that down. I’m really beginning to appreciate found poetry. Yes, still in Mex for another two weeks. Then it’s homeward bound and chapbook time!

    • I enjoyed Mary’s book very much. Had the chance to meet her when she was at Tree Reading Series where I purchased the book. I was a co-director at the time.

  2. I did not indicate which poems were used to source lines, but since I have had a person say they were going to go back to look, here is the list. All lines taken from my 2016 poems: Jan 6 small stone, Jan 7 small stone, Jan 19 Condensing the Astral, Jan 15 small stone, Jan 17 small stone, Jan 31 small stone, When It Is Truly Quiet Feb. 18, Gateway, Feb. 19

  3. Pingback: 2016 The Top 12 Viewed Quillfyre Poetry Posts | Quillfyre

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