Source: Look Away, Look Away by Leslie Turner Whit
Method: As a librarian, I often come across books that are crumbling or falling apart. I go into a lot of poems with a subject or theme in mind, but sometimes I just scan words until a phrase or word pops out at me.
Brandy Smith was born and raised in Virginia where she currently works as a librarian. Writing has always been a passion and you can often find her thinking about superheroes.
Sarah tried pills for her pain.
She tried stretching. She
tried yoga. She tried opiates.
She tried forgetting about it.
Pain patches and acupuncture.
Injections and prescriptions.
Opiates and physical therapy.
Heat and compresses. She
tried ignoring it again.
Sarah couldn’t sit. She
couldn’t stand up straight.
She couldn’t lie down
on her back. She was weak.
She had lost muscle tone. She
fainted on the subway. Sarah knew
she was falling apart.
One summer day, Sarah
doesn’t remember exactly when,
she fell. After surgery that September
pain seized hold of her again.
The surgeon said nothing more
could be done, leaving Sarah
to keep searching for other pain
Sarah tried massages.
She tried steroids. She
tried more narcotics. She
tried meditation. She
Source: “Treating Chronic Pain with Meditation” by Brian Steiner, Apr 1, 2014, The Atlantic
Method: As someone who lives with chronic pain, I was struck by how accurately this article portrayed the frustration of the cyclical efforts of finding some succor. It’s a relentless battle of seeking, hoping and discarding treatments/tools/therapies. I took primarily the first lines of the article to depict this almost ritualistic struggle of a chronic pain patient.
Monica Shah was born in London and grew up in various small towns in the UK, Africa, India and America. Her writing often explores identity, relationships, and culture. Her poetry has appeared in literary magazines including Chaya, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Edison Literary Review, and in the anthology Bolo Bolo!
A foggy translucence covers the world.
From fog to snow to frost to the crystals growing outward on threads of light,
the transcripts of fog
spill over my faint lines and anyone could cross me out,
like scrimshaw on the jawbones of whales.
Don’t listen to the chorus of fog, its unbearable
cumuli (their bulky white counter-
shadow on shadow. The cats, as usual
looking for somewhere to dissipate,
learn new songs of despair and delight,
green songs they could not unlearn
in which perspective invents itself
not; like fog no one can keep from disappearing.
Sources by Line
- J. Gallagher, “No Encores. No Autographs.”
- Cole Swensen, “Thoreau”
- Adrienne Rich, “Tattered Kaddish”
- Tom C. Hunley, “Self-Portrait as a Child’s Stick Figure Drawing on a Refrigerator”
- E. G. Burrows, “Coast Road”
- Yerra Sugarman, “One Body”
- Stephen Massimilla, “Love Like Rocks”
- Karin Gottshall, “Forecast”
- Charles Wright, “China Traces”
- Jill Alexander Essbaum, “Bird Advice”
- Paul Guest, “Questions for Silence”
- Elizabeth Onusko, “The Cave Painter”
- Lynne Knight, “Living with Fog”
METHOD: Each line of each cento comes from a different poem, as listed above after each cento, line by line. These are poems I’ve particularly been impressed by over the years, and I just mixed and matched lines to make the centos.
Jessica Goodfellow’s books are Whiteout, Mendeleev’s Mandala, and The Insomniac’s Weather Report. She was a writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve. Her work has appeared in Threepenny Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Awl, The Southern Review, Motionpoems, and Best New Poets, and is forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2018.
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Method: Source: Susanna Moore’s “The Life of Objects.” I had completed “Interrupted” and left it out to dry when my four-year-old scribbled on the page. Here is the ultimate work of motherhood and Dadaist art; chance, absurdity and interruption.
Natalie D-Napoleon is a writer, educator and singer-songwriter from Fremantle, Australia who now lives in California. IShe has an MA in Writing and currently works as a Coordinator at a Writing Center. Her work has appeared in Entropy, StylusLit, Poetry WTF?!, and The Found Poetry Review.