Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sewing a cento poem

     Today, I have chosen to write a cento poem.  A cento poem is a patchwork of poetry lines borrowed from other poets.  Each line has to be from a different poem.  There is a lot of freedom within in a cento.  It can be as long as you want.  It can come from one poet or many.  The important thing is to give credit to the original sewer of the words you stitch together into a new quilted poem. I have been reading a lot of poetry this week as I have been on vacation from school.  I figured this type of poem would be a breeze...pulling lines from favorite funny poems to build a new original thought?  How easy is that?  Let me tell you...not very!  I have been sitting in my writer's chair for more than an hour and still I don't love my creation.  Here is what I came up with...

Rich Stitch
sewn by Melinda Harvey

Reach in your pocket.  You may find a secret
of sweetness tucked within
sweet and sour, tender, blue
In one freezing ocean two icebergs collide.


Amy Ludwig Vanderwater “Road Taken”
Michele Krueger “Marshmallow Survey”
Julie Krantz “Peaches, pears…and egos too”
Marina Sim “Icebergs”

     You see that I gave credit to the original poets underneath my cento.  All of these poets contributed to the March Madness Poetry Tournament over at  These poems were all written during round one of the competition.  If you haven't read any of the tournament poems, for poetry sake, get over there and do that now!  If you have enjoyed those poems, consider borrowing some lines from your favorite entries and try a cento poem of your own!


  1. Oh, Melinda! I am honored to have a line in your cento. I think this is lovely, and I also like how you wrote "sewn by." What a pretty quilt in photo and word. Are you going to share this with Michele, Julie, and Marina? They'd be tickled, I'm sure! Happy rest of the month! a.

    1. I had the same thoughts as Amy.Loved the photo and the title plus your creative use of "sewn by". Bravo. Hard work and CLEVER idea. A perfect spot to find poems to Cento from. Maybe it would be fun to ask the kids to collect interesting lines, put them in a jar and begin to pull out some, then "arrange". Maybe there is already (or we could "invent" a new one) a version of Cento where you can add your own lines say every other line or once in a quatrain etc. Bravo to you for persevering. This reminds me of one of my student's poems I will send your way. Now if ONLY I could write poetry and teach like AMY!!! That would really be something.