Today’s prompt challenges us “to write a cento. This is a poem that is made up of lines taken from other poems. If you’d like to dig into an in-depth example, here’s John Ashbery’s cento “The Dong with the Luminous Nose,” and here it is again, fully annotated to show where every line originated. A cento might seem like a complex undertaking – and one that requires you to have umpteen poetry books at your fingertips for reference – but you don’t have to write a long one. And a good way to jump-start the process is to find an online curation of poems about a particular topic (or in a particular style), and then mine the poems for good lines to string together. You might look at the Poetry Foundation’s collection of love poems, or its collection of poems by British romantic poets, or even its surprisingly expansive collection of poems about (American) football.” (Full NaPoWriMo post available here.)
Thank you all for the wonderful birthdays wishes! I intend to respond to each and every one of you, as well as go back and read the poems I didn’t get to yesterday. My response to this last prompt is a persona poem from the point of view of the poem itself. I love reading centos and I love writing them. I love finding a bridge between the previous line and the one that follows and I get goosebumps when the patchwork of lines tells me something I didn’t know before: be it about myself, or life, or love, or grief, or memory, or the sheer beauty of our transience through this world.
I’m grateful for another month filled with poems. Thank you to Maureen Thorson and our NaPoWriMo fellowship for this journey. We got all the way to Mordor and discovered there was no Sauron waiting for us, no Mount Doom, no ring that needed to be destroyed. The journey together was the purpose of it all and reaching our destination, the reward. I’m so glad I joined this year. Have an amazing year of writing and living life to the fullest! See you in April 2023.
PS–The posted draft has expired, but here are some photos of Willow, who’s turning 10 today. Just yesterday she was a puppy, pointing at butterflies. So grateful for her presence in our lives.💜🐾🎂🎁🎈🙏💜