Since writing my Robert Lowell/Elizabeth Bishop centos last year, I’ve had a fondness for the form. Now, Danielle Pafunda is hosting a National Poetry Month Cento Contest! The top post lists the guidelines and has links to the poetry lines that are to be used in crafting your cento. Then the entrants’ centos follow, in individual posts of their own. If you read the sidebar on the right, you’ll find direct links to each entry. A wild array of choices! Some familiar names, too.

I think the different paths we took indicate the mode we generally work within as poets. Take my entry. While I’m not exactly someone who uses narrative, I seem to always have to impose some sort of implied story. When I worked on my own centos, I chose the lines myself. It was absorbing working with assigned lines, exploring how the parts might fit together.

Anyway, if you want to try your hand, you have until noon today to enter. In either case, you should wander over and read a while. You might find, as you read, that you itch to change things around…

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