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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cento

I found this cento I once wrote:
Among twenty snowy mountains, the only moving thing... An old pond -- a frog jumped in. Siempre la claridad viene del cielo. As I sd to my friend because I am always talking, John I sd, which was not his name. So much depends upon the apparition of these faces in the crowd, petals on a wet black bough. Nothing in that drawer. Verde que te quiere verde. Nothing in the drawer. Nothing in that drawer. Like cellophane tape on a schoolbook. Each joining a neighbor, as though speech were a still performance. Empieza el llanto de la guitarra. Nothing in the drawer. You were wearing... Snow has fallen into the bottle of eraser fluid.
I guess my point is that nobody confuses a cento with an original poem. Centos don't attempt to present themselves as anything but that. A plagiarist cannot fall back on the cento alibi.

[The authors are: Stevens, Basho, Rodríguez, Creeley, Williams, Pound, Padgett, Lorca, Ceravolo, Ashbery, Lorca, Koch, and David Shapiro.]

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