Oulipost #1: Quote Cento
When composing a cento, poets take lines from existing poems (traditionally without any alterations) and patch them together to form a new poem. Today, create a cento using only quotes referenced in newspaper articles. For example, if a newspaper article contained the line “It was a tragedy,” commented Detective Smith, the line, “It was a tragedy,” would be available for you to use in your poem. While you can’t change anything within the quotes themselves, you may choose to break a longer quote in half or use just part of a quote as needed.
- Purist? Challenge yourself to write your cento using only complete quotes (sentences) as they appear in your articles.
- Add an additional constraint by challenging yourself to use only quotes sourced from a single article, single newspaper page or single newspaper section.
Here is my stab at it. I actually enjoy this poem a great deal. I think it came out well for a first try. Now my MLA sourcing..yikes! Totally not alphabetized. That's an F++.
The weight of the evidence warrants
This dangerous armed felon clearly
Not moving as fast
People are still angry
You could not find someone more respected and beloved
For me it’s a walk down memory lane
I thought to myself, maybe I shouldn’t
I really wasn’t thinking
I didn’t really realize anything
I couldn’t believe how a consummate academic and collaborative pillar
Didn’t intimidate me
Fearing for his life
I backed off
I think we all have to take a deep breath and give him some time
I want to keep it going
Wallack, Todd. "Academy faults its former president." The Boston Globe 1 Apr. 2014: A1-A11.
Leung, Shirley; Casey Ross. "Unease over go-slow BRA." The Boston Globe 1 Apr. 2014: A1-A11.
Kahn, Joseph P. "With echoes of '91, Anita Hill back in spotlight." The Boston Globe 1 Apr. 2014: A1-A14.
Andersen, Travis; David Filipov. "Shots fly, cars swiped, crashed in long chase." The Boston Globe 1 Apr. 2014: A1-A7.