According to poets.org:
the cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form composed entirely of lines from poems by other poets.
You might think the name has something to do with the Latin for 100, and maybe it does, remotely, but it is actually a Latin word in its own right. According to my trusty Gepp & Haigh Latin dictionary, its first meaning is ‘a piece of patchwork, used for clothing, or as a fireproof curtain or blanket, or as a quilt, etc’.
Here’s a cento made, not from other poems, but from the program description of films I’ve got tickets for in this year’s Sydney Film Festival:
At the movies: a cento Impressed by Einstein, a Swiss businessman and a Russian oligarch are compelled to violence, incompetence and oppression. There are death threats, more direct and more stridently critical, a timely reminder of the role of individuals in an autocratic state. An uncommunicative young woman becomes increasingly desperate as she manoeuvres to keep slapstick humour and deep emotion with integrity and grit. They begin to make sense of life and death in the nuclear age.
Who knew there were so many forms of poetry. Loving this series of yours. And enjoyed this poem, and thinking about the blurbs/film descriptions they may have come from.
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