CENTO BINGO

CENTO BINGO

Thursday, August 20, 2009

NEW CENTO BINGO POEMS!

Back in July, poet Kiki Petrosino played Cento Bingo with a class she was teaching. See the results, including her notes, below.

By the way, if you haven't checked it out yet, Kiki's book Fort Red Border is fantastic!

Thanks for reading. We hope you enjoy the new Centos.

--The Cento Bingo Eds.

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Cento Bingo via Kiki Petrosino


The five “won” lines from the Cento Bingo game we played were:

1. “Sitting in this chair.” (Mary Ruefle, “Darke Body of Clowdes”)
2. “And so, do you see? Do you see what I gave up to be with you?” (Jenny Boully, “Actually, she is telling about how a dwelling becomes empty when she moves in,” from One Love Affair)
3. “Look at my hoof in the muck.” (Kaethe Schwehn, “Below the Snow Line”)
4. “It took my mind a long time to accept what I saw.” (Brigit Pegeen Kelly, “Windfall”)
5. “Voyaging into the rotten ruby of the night became a contest of freedom and bad logic.” (Anne Carson, “Each,” Autobiography of Red)

Each student then received a non-poetry book and gathered five lines from this source, which were then added to the cento, making a 10-line poem.

I then selected the following lines to be the first and last lines of the poems-in-progress. Given this, I asked the students to reorganize the central 10-liner:

1. “What you have heard is true.” (Carolyn Forché, “The Colonel”)
2. “What you have heard is true.” (Carolyn Forché, “The Colonel”)

Two additional lines were randomly drawn to make the poems sonnet-length:

1. (crazily enough) “What you have heard is true.” (Carolyn Forché,
“The Colonel”)
2. “And empty grows every bed.” (John Berryman, “Dream Song 1”)


What follows are three new poems that resulted from this method.
Students were free to re-break the lines, so some of them are longer or shorter than 14.


*****


#1. By Adrienne Greenwald

What you have heard is true.
I will not date a man who
is married.
Murky. Not good.
Look at my hoof in the muck.
Just put your hands up to your
ears and go la la la la la.
Sitting in this chair.
Voyaging into the rotten ruby of
the night became a contest of freedom
and bad logic.
And empty grows every bed.
What you have heard is true.
It took my mind a long time to
accept what I saw.
If I ever get to Florida, I’ll kick his ass.
And so, do you see? Do you see what I
gave up to be with you?
A man has got to have his priorities.
What you have heard is true.

(Adrienne’s supplementary source was He’s Just Not that Into You, by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo)


*****


#2. By Denise Behrens

What you have heard is true:
Voyaging into the rotten ruby of the night
became a contest of freedom and bad logic.
What golden candlesticks!
“And so, do you see? Do you see what I gave up to be with you?
God’s icy wind will blow
and empty grows every bed.”

Sitting in this chair, it took my mind a long
time to accept what I saw.
“Leave me, Francis.
Leave me alone.
It is a bitter night, and I have no
fire here. Look at my hoof in the muck:
What you have heard is true!”


(Denise’s supplementary text was The Crucible by Arthur Miller.)


*****


#3. By Mike Noto

What you have heard is true.
She missed him terribly now.
She only thought of the name
on rare occasions.
“Look at my hoof in the muck…
Sitting in this chair
It took my mind a long time
To accept what it saw:
Voyaging into the rotten ruby
Of the night became a contest
Of freedom and bad logic
And empty grows every bed.
And so, do you see?
What you have heard is true.
Do you see what I gave up to be with you?
I never felt threatened
during my short stay.
I was eager to make
a good impression.”
She was very strong…
What you have heard is true.

(Mike’s supplementary text was Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake)

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