The Brazilian poet Manuel Bandeira created the cento “Anthology” (see below) using lines from his own poems, instead of employing the traditional method of cento-construction (in which you build a poem entirely out of lines from other people’s poems). Following his example, write a cento that is a self-portrait, or anthology of your life, utilizing lines and fragments from your own work.

Or, alternatively, create a “self-portrait” cento using lines and fragments from

  1. other people’s poems (the traditional method), or
  2. song lyrics, or
  3. prose (fiction and/or nonfiction)

*To see the basic stipulations for writing a traditional cento, see





I think if one is ever going to approach their old works playfully, then the motto shouldn’t just be “Murder Your Darlings,” but “Then Eat Their Bloody Corpses!”



–Riverfront debris, driftwood and half-crushed cans, I’ve reached for you,

Rumbling undertone, thunder threatening

A bone-weary woman with calloused toes.

They can’t even eat, really. They fuck themselves to death.

The sign on the church: V O T E Y O U R V A L U E S. Irony, folks.

But I am somewhere else: a temple near Ephesus,

My tongue runs dry the day we are wed.

On a branch nearby, a cicada slips its skin,



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