Associate Editor James Ellenberger: In celebration of the release of 14.2, we’re having another cento contest!

The cento is a collage form in which a poem is composed entirely of lines from other poems. It can be an homage to the originals, a subversive twist, or just a fun game. Contemporary examples of the form include “The Dong with the Luminous Nose” by John Ashbery and “Wolf Cento” by Simone Muench.

I’ve put together a cento based on work from our Issue 14.2, which can be read below, but we’re also interested in what you, our readers, can assemble from the wonderful work in our latest issue. We urge you to compose your own 14.2 cento and post it on our blog as a comment. We’ll give a free issue (as well as one of our subscription incentives, an adorable stress-ball hippo or a mobile device pocket) to the authors of the three centos we select as the strongest. Please make sure to acknowledge the authors whose lines you’re using in the poem! Tinkering a bit with punctuation is also totally acceptable.

To purchase a copy of 14.2 (including e-book versions for $5), visit our online store.


Collude with Me

cento, written with lines drawn from The Cincinnati Review, issue 14.2

Time dismantles our bodies to dust,
a tease. Slowly it reopens, resumes watch on this ocean,
trembles in its dark,
a temple torn into
that may never heal quite straight.
Once you’ve seen it—a kind of zen
in the wet soil outside,
gold and worth blossoming for—
on the morning of a dentist appointment,
I kiss you
where frozen ibis peck out their liminal messages
as though to hold that sweet water close.


[sources, in order: Leila Chatti (title), David Hernandez, Marianne Boruch, Elaine Terranova, James Henry Knippen, Rebecca Dunham, J. Allyn Rosser, Chelsea Dingman, Hannah Dow, Carl Watts, Shen Haobo, Erinn Batykefer, Thomas Reiter]


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