Monday, August 20, 2007


I was inspired to write the following poem by Tricia of The Miss Rumphius Effect. Every Monday she challenges blog readers to attempt writing a specific form of poem. Last week it was the cento. Here is my cento about students doing creative writing in school. I used just one punctuation mark because I was trying to capture the essence of someone writing a rough draft when the words come fast and furious and the writer doesn't stop to think about spelling or punctuation and just wants to get his/her thoughts down on paper as quickly as possible...before they slip away

(For an explanation of what a cento is click here.)

Lying in wait, set to pounce on the page (1)
While vowels open wide as waves in the noon-blue sea (2)
We sit and write (3)
I go to the land of words (4)
Snatch new words out of nowhere (5)
Invent words (6)
Grouping words into sentences (7)
The bright words and the dark words (8)
You know how the words slip out and you can’t believe it? (9)
Blur of words too fast too low (10)
So fast you can hardly keep up with them (11)
No more grammar (12)
I don’t know what will happen (13)
About what rhymes with what and how (14)
It is the duty of the student (15)
To sometimes split infinitives (16)

From The Joy of Writing by Wislawa Szymborska (1)
From Inside a Poem by Eve Merriam (2)
From Difference by Aileen Fisher (3)
From I Go to the Land by Eloise Greenfield (4)
From You Have to Write by Janet Wong (5)
From Letter to a Young Poet by Michael Dugan (6)
From Winged Words by Joyce Sidman (7)
From Metaphor by Eve Merriam (8)
From Fashion Sense by Joyce Sidman (9)
From Wind by Ralph Fletcher (10)
From Spring Is by Bobbi Katz (11)
From Free Writing by Kristine O’Connell George (12)
From Story by Eloise Greenfield (13)
From Just Not a Very Good Pantoum for Mom by Ron Koertge (14)
From Duty of the Student by Edward Anthony (15)
From Propper English by Alan F. G. Lewis (16)


Tricia said...

Oh Elaine, I bow to your poetic wisdom. This is a terrific cento! And yes, you have captured the essence of writing a rough draft. Thanks so much for tackling this challenge.

Terrell said...

Yes indeed, a terrific cento! I'm glad I stopped by.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks for stopping by...and for your kind words about my cento.


I went through dozens of poetry books to find lines for this poem. The poem actually changed focus from a poem about going to school to one about writing in school. The challenge of writing a cento was time consuming...but fun!

Anonymous said...

Well done, Elaine! I love it! I am amazed at how much work you must have put into it. Brilliant!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, Eisha! It was work--but I enjoyed the challenge.

Vivian Mahoney said...

What a great cento! I can only imagine how much time it took. Thanks for sharing.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, Vivian! It's funny that the cento turned out the way it did. I hadn't planned to write a cento about writing--but I decided to let the lines of poetry take me where they would.