My Two Centos’ Worth

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Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

Here’s a cento I wrote a while back (okay, okay, in 2008), in response to a challenge from poetry sister Tricia Stohr-Hunt. She challenged everyone to write a modified cento using titles of favorite books. I chose mostly from favorite poetry books and had a blast! Someone in the Poetry Friday community shared a cento recently and made me think of this one :>)



Why I’m Crazy

The trouble with poetry
is that it’s not just joyful noise;
it’s where I live–
my thoughts flicker flash
checking in to hotel deep
whirling in the spin of things

And I veer between faith and doubt
as something new begins–
a ten-second rainshower waters seeds that were
once upon ice
but now warm as we swing around the sun

I wish I could write simple poems in black and white
shape a rhyme in geometric perfection
but I’m tap-dancing on the roof instead
wondering what is goodbye?
do rabbits have Christmas?
what voices could we hear from a medieval village?
which would be worse: math curse or science verse?
are alphathoughts the leaders of the alphabet pack?

so this is just to say that
technically, it’s not my fault I’m insane
I’m busy reaching for sun and
listening for the song of the sparrow

—Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

Here’s the key to the books I’m referring to:

1) The Trouble with Poetry, by Billy Collins
2) Joyful Noise, by Paul Fleischman
3) Where I Live, by Eileen Spinelli
4) Flicker Flash, by Joan Bransfield Graham
5) Hotel Deep, by Kurt Cyrus
6) In the Spin of Things, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
7) Faith and Doubt, edited by Patrice Vecchione
8) Something New Begins, by Lilian Moore
9) Ten-Second Rainshower, edited by Sandford Lyne
10) Once Upon Ice, edited by Jane Yolen
11) Swing Around the Sun, by Barbara Juster Esbensen
12) Poems in Black and White, by Kate Miller
13) Shape Me a Rhyme, by Jane Yolen
14) Tap-Dancing on the Roof, by Linda Sue Park
15) What Is Goodbye, by Nikki Grimes
16) Do Rabbits Have Christmas, by Aileen Fisher
17) Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, by Laura Amy Schlitz
18) Science Verse, by Jon Scieszka
19) Alphathoughts, by Lee Bennett Hopkins
20) This Is Just to Say, by Joyce Sidman
21) Technically, It’s Not My Fault, by John Grandits
22) Reaching for Sun, by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
23) Song of the Sparrow, by Lisa Sandell

For more poetry joy, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup, hosted this week by the fabulous Catherine Flynn. She’s sharing a lovely poem sparked by Irene Latham’s beautiful new book!

21 Responses

    1. For some reason, I can’t comment on any Blogger posts. It won’t let me sign in with Google. Argh. Anyway, thanks for your poem. I love a good sewing metaphor, even though sewing is not my favorite thing. (I used to do a mean cross stitch, though :>) I’m surprised at how every couple of months, a sewing metaphor shows up in my own poems.

  1. “It’s where I live!” — such a perfect line to describe you, perhaps many of us? Really enjoyed this, and thanks for the great list of poetry books, too!

  2. Laura, thanks for sharing your title poem. My husband is sitting next to me, and we enjoyed reading it together. So clever and fun.

  3. Love this, Laura. And I will have to find some of the books you reference. Thanks a bunch!!!

  4. So much fun is exploding out of this poem— If this is crazy I’ll take it, especially the ending, thanks Laura!

  5. I love the first line! And there is so much in this poem. Thanks for also sharing the book titles.

  6. As a Cento kind of fellow, I enjoyed this energized example, Laura. And a number of poets I recognize all the way from Australia! Crazy was a good thing…

    1. Thanks, Alan–I *think* you’re the one who posted the cento that brought this back to memory :>D

  7. WOW! That’s so cool…all those poetry books working together like that. I love coming to your newly designed site. It’s so PURDY!

  8. Brilliant! And a good reminder that a cento can include words and phrases to tie all the lines/titles together so that they make good sense!

  9. Laura, I love this celebration of so many favorite poetry collections! I also love how you wove these titles into such a smooth narrative. Here’s to the joyful noise of poetry!

  10. Laura, thanks for your cento poem that holds such deep thoughts. These lines seems to haunt me lately:
    And I veer between faith and doubt
    as something new begins–
    May your days be filled with positive thoughts as you continue on your writing journey this year.

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