Wednesday, July 17, 2019

In praise of the cento …

… Another Person’s Words: Poetry Is Always the Speaker — The Millions. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… few poetic forms are as honest about this as a forgotten Latin genre from late antiquity known as the cento. Rather than inheritance and consciousness, the originators of the cento preferred the metaphor of textiles. For them, all of poetry is like a massive patchwork garment, squares of fabric borrowed from disparate places and sewn together to create a new whole. Such a metaphor is an apt explanation of what exactly a cento is – a novel poem that is assembled entirely from rearranged lines written by other poets.

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