Here we go.
Oulipo 1 The Prompt:
‘When composing a cento, poets take lines from existing poems (traditionally without any alterations) and patch them together to form a new poem. Today, create a cento using only quotes referenced in newspaper articles. For example, if a newspaper article contained the line “It was a tragedy,” commented Detective Smith, the line, “It was a tragedy,” would be available for you to use in your poem. While you can’t change anything within the quotes themselves, you may choose to break a longer quote in half or use just part of a quote as needed.
• Purist? Challenge yourself to write your cento using only complete quotes (sentences) as they appear in your articles.
• Add an additional constraint by challenging yourself to use only quotes sourced from a single article, single newspaper page or single newspaper section.’
I’m Always a Dancer
There are lots of people
trying things —
we all keep trying.
This is not a race,
a West Coast storyline,
a woman weaving on a loom
on the Great Plains,
a photographic life
who secretly had
a great story to tell
This was one piece.
All we can do
is try to trace out patterns
and the potential for meaning.
Baker, Kenneth. ‘Big donations of American Indians works.’ San Francisco Chronicle. 1 April, 2014: E1
Carroll, Jon. There are indeed some worthy news sites.’ San Francisco Chronicle. 1 April, 2014: E6
Cole, James. Bloomberg Briefing.’ San Francisco Chronicle. 1 April, 2014: D1
Garchik, Leah. ‘Varon makes static on old boys’ network.’ San Francisco Chronicle. 1 April, 2014: E6
Hunt, Mary Ellen. ‘Obituary Marc Platt.’ San Francisco Chronicle. 1 April, 2014: C4
Whiting, Sam. ‘Turning page on secret life.’ San Francisco Chronicle. 1 April, 2014: E2