Make a Poem From Newspaper

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Imitation is the very best sort of flattery. All artistic folks, whether or not they be writers, artists, dancers, singers or actors, know that. Think concerning the performers on a TV present like “The Voice,” who typically carry out the music of a choose they’re focusing on. Sometimes, it’s imitation that will get them on the crew of their goals. It is identical with poetry.

Once you resolve to put in writing a poem, it typically feels as if you’re on a quest for the right phrase, the right picture, or the right concept. In some ways a poem is a treasure and the writing of a poem is a harmful treasure hunt. You by no means know what you may occur upon when you begin writing.

Let’s check out a sort of poem referred to as the cento. Cento is a 16th-century Latin phrase, which means “patchwork.” A cento is crafted from “stolen” or discovered sources. Each line in a cento is taken from a supply and placing these strains collectively weaves them right into a patchwork of strains.

Many folks consider the cento as a kind of “collage-poem.” A collage is made by combining photographs, texts and textures of various mediums and sizes. Similarly, a cento is created by patching collectively many discovered strains to create a poem.

Of course, stealing is horrible and each artist should give credit score the place credit score is due, so on the backside of each cento is a word the place the author lists the names of his or her supply texts within the order that they seem within the strains of the poem.

For your cento, you’ll be utilizing the At Home part to create a poem of 5 to seven strains. Your strains will be phrases from articles, headlines, quotes and even picture captions. To reduce and paste your cento, observe the steps beneath.

The hunt

Hunt, or skim by the paper for strains that talk to you. Maybe your eye will choose a sentence that makes use of fascinating language, like a vibrant verb or a compelling adjective; possibly you will see a sentence that features a description of a picture you admire, or possibly you will see a line that refers to one thing that resonates with you, like a point out of a season, a colour or an emotion. Keep searching in your treasured strains. You could have already got a subject in thoughts, or your matter could come to you upon getting your strains reduce out and you actually look at them.

Keep monitor

Though this poem might be your personal creation, the strains should not. Take out a chunk of paper, or you need to use a laptop computer or cellphone and write every line down after which write down the writer of the article that line got here from. You will want this later.

Thieve (or Cut)

If you’re working from the print newspaper, reduce out the strains you might have discovered and place them on a flat floor. Or copy them to a doc in your cellphone.


Look at your particular person strains and begin taking part in round with their order, as you stretch them out like snippets of yarn on a desk or ground. Could one line soar off one other? If so, put that pair to the facet. Keep discovering connections. Imagine these stolen strains to be threads you’re weaving collectively in which means, picture or emotion.


Once you might have laid out your strains, take into consideration find out how to put them collectively. If you’re nonetheless deciding what your poem is about, maybe concentrate on an emotion, a spot or a picture. Your matter is as much as you. Let these borrowed phrases spark one thing artistic inside you.

When you’re prepared, resolve what line you wish to begin with and what line you wish to finish with. Laying these strains out as a body will get you motivated. Then, begin laying out your different strains. If one thing appears incorrect, transfer it round, or reduce it. You could even wish to search for one other line to substitute for it.


Paste your strains on paper or on a doc, and you’ve got your cento. Make positive to fastidiously write out, or kind your sources.

Congratulations. You have now written a cento with the beneficiant assist of others!

Sources for Leah Umansky’s cento, drawn from the Nov. eight challenge of At Home: At Home cowl, Courtney Rubin, Anna Goldfarb, Tara Parker-Pope, Joseph Burns, Anna Goldfarb, Anna Goldfarb

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