Write word-centos of poetry by Chris Martin,
Steven Reigns and John Burroughs. A word-cento
is one of my invented forms of poetry. It is a
rearrangement of the words of a poem by a single
author. I try to exhaust every single word of the
poem (though lately I’ve only been doing some).
I lose the structure of the original poem, do not
position any two unique words next to each other,
and the resulting poem is a response to or a
continuation of the original poem.
(a word-cento of Chris Martin’s
“Becoming Weather, 21” *)
I am apathetic and alone
becoming human in the clouds
looking for abundance,
heavy patches of sky,
a reef of silent streets
and city light.
* Original poem by Chris Martin
from Becoming Weather (Copper
Canyon Press). Republished on
(a word-cento of Steven Reigns’
“Gay Stars” *)
Our milky midnight constellation
divots in silence, sun stains,
scars a metallic morning
in milky light,
rivets an eclipse
of astrological sky.
* Original poem by Steven Reigns
from Jimmy the Zine.
(a word-cento of John Burroughs’
“John Cage Engaged and Uncaged” *)
Born torn, a sunken saint
dream ash, peaceniks elate
Fears factual exist pissed
we telepumpkin bumpkin myth
uncaged, aged clothing of
other, blind buried hater
timeless sublime fears
to our ears.
* Original poem by John Burroughs
from Rattle and Numb: Selected and
New Poems, 1992-2019 (Venetian
Spider Press, 2019).
NOTE: I used “elate” instead of “elated.”
Joshua Corwin, a Los Angeles native, is a neurodiverse, 2-time Pushcart Prize-nominated, Best of the Net-nominated poet and Winner of the 2021 Spillwords Press Award for Poetic Publication of Year. His poetry memoir Becoming Vulnerable (2020) details his experience with autism, addiction, sobriety and spirituality. His work has appeared in Winning Writers, The Somerville Times, Palisadian-Post, National Beat Poetry Foundation, Stanford University’s Life in Quarantine and more. He has lectured at UCLA, published alongside Lawrence Ferlinghetti and read with 2013 U.S. Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco. He hosts the poetry podcast “Assiduous Dust,” writes the weekly “Incentovise” column for Oddball Magazine and teaches poetry to neurodiverse individuals and autistic addicts in recovery at The Miracle Project, an autism nonprofit. Corwin is the editor and producer of Assiduous Dust: Home of the OTSCP, Vol. 1, featuring a collaboration with 36 award-winning poets demonstrating one of his invented forms of poetry. He is currently working on an existential novel about an alcoholic lawyer plagued with suicidal ideation.
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