Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome, everyone! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
This month, Sara chose a cento as our Poetry Princess challenge. Not just a cento, but a cento collage, in which we would each choose one word from a set of lines Sara provided from poet Agha Shahid Ali and then find a bunch of other people’s poems who use that word, and then arrange some of those into a brand new poem. Why, Sara, why? Actually, see Sara’s post (linked below) to get a more thoughtful overview of the why and the how:>)
I hate to be whiny on the first week of school (for many of my northern teacher friends), but I HATED this. (But on the plus side, it forced me to write a poem that NEVER would have emerged from me without this exercise.)
Here’s what I did. First, I chose the word “glass.” I wondered why other Poetry Princesses were jumping on boring words like “like” and “under.”
Then, on poets.org, I searched on the word “glass,” and I copied poem lines into a Word document. I didn’t like most of the lines, because I really wanted to do a kid-accessible poem this month. This gave me probably 20 lines or so? I didn’t take all the lines, by a long shot!
Then, in Google, I did repeated searches of “glass” and “[insert name of a children’s poet I really like here]” and came up with about 20 more lines.
I printed out my document of lines and did NOT print the source poets’ names. I didn’t want who wrote it to influence whether I used a line or not.
Then I played around with the lines to try to create a poem. As I did this, the wisdom of choosing “boring” words like “like” or “under” became extremely clear. While those words can be repeated and create a rhythm, a rap, a song, or a list poem, more unique words are very hard to use in every single freaking line without making a mess of my poem. This surreal little number is what I finally came up with–kind of a bizarre daydream poem.
Huh. I hope you won’t let my own dissatisfaction with this poem stop you from reading the other poets’ works. They came up with some real beauties!
Oh, and here’s the only other cento (I think) I’ve ever written–a title cento from a challenge at Tricia’s Miss Rumphius Effect blog TEN years ago. I had a blast with that one.
Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations.
And for more poetry goodness, visit the Poetry Friday Roundup with educator/poet Carol Varsalona (she puts together all the wonderful seasonal poetry galleries) at Beyond Literacy Link.