Tag Archives: modernism

#438: Human Nature (a cento on April 30, 2022)


As it is the very last day of April, hence, the last day of National Poetry Writing Month, I kind of wanted to go out with a bang–to do something ambitious. That’s the worst way, FYI, to begin a writing thing. “Today I am going to do something great” is a path to abject failure. In reality, I let the morning go by feeling a total lack of ambition toward greatness and a bit of resistance welling up against any kind of writing whatsoever. I looked again at today’s prompt from Napowrimo to write a “cento.” You may well ask, what’s a “cento”? From the Academy of American Poets website: “a cento, from the Latin word for ‘patchwork,’ is a poetic form composed entirely of lines from poems by other poets. Okay. I’m in. I’m stealing from a gaggle of modernist poets found in a collection at the Poetry Foundation website. Turned out to be more “ambitious” than I anticipated. Win!

Human Nature: A Cento

Let us go then, you and I,
as freedom is a breakfastfood,
in long alleys
over a wide solitude.
It is human nature
to stand in the middle of a thing;
the imagination, the one reality
in this imagined world–[where]
the children learn to cipher and to sing.
For we can still love the world, who find
the ocean flowing backward,
heavy with shut-flower’s nightmares
as thought’s intricate polyphonic.
I was of three minds,
a kind in glass and a cousin.
Surely, the Second Coming is at hand.
As freedom is a breakfastfood
beneath the music from a farther room.

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The Magic Mountain (Reaction Vlog #3)

Welcome back, friends, to the third installment of my attempt at a literary reaction vlog. I approached it a little bit differently this time. Less text. Almost entirely vlog. I’ve created two parts. The first part is a kind of “previously, in The Magic Mountain” type of introductory video, designed to catch you up, albeit superficially, on what’s happening in the novel, 176 pages in. The second part is a new reading accompanied by my reaction in real time. I think I like this approach, except, wouldn’t you know it, technical difficulties resulted in a reaction video without audio–so, what you have here is a second take. I know, it’s kind of cheating. It was super frustrating, because most of the time, in keeping with the “reaction video” concept, the first take is the best and the one you want to keep. Oh well. Without further ado:

Part One: Previously, in The Magic Mountain . . .

Part Two: Chapter 5, Eternal Soup and Sudden Clarity . . .

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