Day 25 NaPoWriMo Write a cento

Day 25 NaPoWriMo On April 25, 2012 said: “Yesterday’s challenge was a bit of a brain-burner, so I’ve made today’s a bit easier. Back on Day Ten, I challenged you to start a poem with a line from another poem. Today, let’s go a bit further in our theft and write centos — poems made up entirely of lines from other poems. You could write a new sonnet out of lines from Shakespeare, or just troll about in an anthology for likely lines. Try to create a cento of at least ten lines. For inspiration, here’s an example. Happy writing!

Here is my attempt, with the poets noted below the cento:

Hungry Static, a cento

My breasts are withered gourds
my skin all over      stiffens
from stone to bronze, from bronze to steel

ospreys would fall like valkyries
for one carved instant as they flew
in sky milk and those soft murmurings

endlessly repeating something we cannot hear
a deeper note is sounding, heard in the mines
I hear a thousand miles of hungry static

and the old clear water eating rocks
outside, the articulate wind annotates this; I read carefully
I have spoken to it in a foreign tongue

I didn’t mean to mention the price of snowsuits.

Carol A. Stephen
April 25, 2012


Lines from:
(Dorothy Livesay) (EJ Pratt) (Earle Birney) (Al Purdy) (F.R. Scott) (Leonard Cohen)
(Gwendolyn MacEwen) (Bronwen Wallace)