Book Review Cento
April 22, 2022
Book Review Cento: It Changes as the Day Does
Act 1, Scene 1/Enter woman,
With flowers standing on the balcony,
Heard a phoebe this morning—
You are in a beautiful language,
The subtle lilt in your speech,
A sound welling up through the throat,
Some flickers of nonsense remained,
Jewels in joy designed,
With all we’ve been taught to hope for.
A little turbulence just began…
I’m coming to find you
In flight from the land,
Where does the rainbow end,
in your soul or on the horizon?
Last Sunday (4.17.22), the entire New York Times Book Review was devoted to poetry. I created the cento above with lines quoted in various reviews and poems. The issue is a beautifully curated selection of new poetry, plus a few recently re-published older works.
The Poetry Friday roundup is at Margaret Simon's blog, Reflections on the Teche.
Cento Sources: The New York Times Book Review (April 17, 2022). Title from Vinegar Hill, by Colm Toibin; 1. Woman, Eat Me Whole, by Ama Asantewa Diaka; 2. “In that life I would have dwelt,” by Yuri Burjak (translated from the Ukrainian by Nikolai Scherbak and Fiona Sampson); 3. Rapture and Melancholy: The Diaries of Edna St. Vincent Millay (edited by Daniel Mark Epstein); 4. Best Barbarian, by Roger Reeves; 5. Madness, by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué; 6. Now Do You Know Where You Are, by Dana Levin; 7. Continuous Creation, by Les Murray; 8. “The Convergence of the Twain—Lines on the Loss of the Titanic,” by Thomas Hardy; 9. Canopy, by Linda Gregerson; 10. Venice, by Ange Mlinko; 11. Cicada, by Phoebe Giannisi (translated from the Greek by Brian Sneeden); 12. Flight and Metamorphosis, by Nelly Sachs (translated from the German by Joshua Weiner with Linda B. Parshall); 13-14. Book of Questions, by Pablo Neruda (translated from the Spanish by Sara Lissa Paulson)
Photo: A shout-out to "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, with a fish crow playing the part of the raven.
You do so many fun things to springboard yourself into poems! This is wonderful!
Posted by: Laura Purdie Salas | April 22, 2022 at 11:13 AM
Thanks so much, Laura! I really enjoyed that issue of the Book Review.
Posted by: Susan | April 22, 2022 at 01:44 PM
Oh, such pretty line you gathered for your cento. Like...
"Jewels in joy designed," and "You are in a beautiful language,"
Thanks for sharing the poetry book review.
Posted by: Denise Krebs | April 22, 2022 at 09:47 PM
Thanks for stopping by, Denise. The Hardy poem about the Titanic makes me want to read more of his poetry. I thought that was a beautiful line, too!
Posted by: Susan | April 23, 2022 at 10:08 AM
I like what you created from the Times-such a memorable array of quotes all fitting so well together.
Posted by: Carol Varsalona | April 23, 2022 at 11:03 AM
Thank you so much, Carol! I'm still reading this great issue of the NYTBR.
Posted by: Susan Thomsen | April 23, 2022 at 11:12 AM
I love how your cento creates an entirely new story from story. And how much we can read into the new piece (puns intended!)
Posted by: PATRICIA J FRANZ | April 23, 2022 at 11:24 AM
Patricia, doing these is so fun. With no preconceived notions of which lines I was going to choose, I was surprised that a bird theme flew through!
Posted by: Susan | April 23, 2022 at 11:59 AM
I did read the issue, though I only subscribe online. It was wonderful, as is your idea to craft special lines into your poem. You should send it to them!
Posted by: Linda Baie | April 23, 2022 at 03:27 PM
Linda, I have to confess. After posting it here, I thought, "What the heck," and emailed the NYTBR a copy of the poem. I do want to order, or request from the library, some of the books mentioned.
Posted by: Susan Thomsen | April 23, 2022 at 05:29 PM
What a fabulous idea! And, this cento is wonderful. Thank you!
Posted by: Linda Mitchell | April 24, 2022 at 06:40 AM
Merci, Linda. I have submitted another cento to a journal, and am waiting to hear its status!
Posted by: Susan Thomsen | April 24, 2022 at 11:46 AM
Powerful lines! I like how you started, setting the stage as a play, and then the woman and image of a phoebe–which is from the book on Edna St. Vincent Millay whom I admire, I'll have to check it our along with many others here. Good luck on your entry– nice pic too, thanks Susan!
Posted by: Michelle Kogan | April 25, 2022 at 12:41 AM
Phoebes must be on my mind! They have recently returned to our area after a winter's absence. I ordered the Edna St. Vincent Millay book for a friend who loves her poetry, which I like too but don't know very well. Thank you for stopping by, Michelle!
Posted by: Susan Thomsen | April 25, 2022 at 02:00 PM