Imitation is the best kind of flattery. All creative people, whether they be writers, artists, dancers, singers or actors, know that. Think about the performers on a TV show like “The Voice,” who sometimes perform the song of a judge they are targeting. Sometimes, it is imitation that gets them on the team of their dreams. It is the same with poetry.
Once you decide to write a poem, it often feels as if you are on a quest for the perfect word, the perfect image, or the perfect idea. In many ways a poem is a treasure and the writing of a poem is a dangerous treasure hunt. You never know what you might happen upon once you start writing.
Let’s take a look at a kind of poem called the cento. Cento is a 16th-century Latin word, meaning “patchwork.” A cento is crafted from “stolen” or found sources. Each line in a cento is taken from a source and putting these lines together weaves them into a patchwork of lines.
Many people think of the cento as a sort of “collage-poem.” A collage is made by combining images, texts and textures of different mediums and sizes. Similarly, a