Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nobody's Fool - My Book Title Cento

The poetry stretch this week was to write a cento using book titles. Here's what I wrote while perusing some of the titles on my bookshelf.
Nobody's Fool
He waits in the secret garden while his
love is lost to the housekeeping.
He knows the name of the rose,
and all creatures great and small.
He meditates on beauty,
and walks where angels fear to tread.
He is the constant gardener,
tending the family orchard while
the sun also rises.
He lives in a brave new world,
without pride and prejudice,
by a thread of grace.
He dreams of Gilead,
the wide Sargasso Sea and
going to the lighthouse,
but dreams blow away
on the shadow of the wind.
He views the world through
an imperfect lens, and knows it's all
one big damn puzzler, but
he believes that life is a miracle and
that the Lord God made them all.
Here are the books that make up this cento.
  1. Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo
  2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  3. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
  4. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  5. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  6. On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  7. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
  8. The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
  9. The Family Orchard by Nomi Eve
  10. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  11. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  12. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  13. A Thread of Grace by Maria Doria Russell
  14. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  15. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  16. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  17. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  18. An Imperfect Lens by Anne Roiphe
  19. One Damn Big Puzzler by John Harding
  20. Life is a Miracle by Wendell Berry
  21. The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot
It's not too late if you still want to play. Read the directions here. Then leave a comment and I'll post links to all the centos later this week.


  1. Oh, this is gorgeous. The poem works all on its own. But it also makes me want to read some of these books, just because of their association with the poem. Lovely!

  2. Tricia,

    Great poem!

    I'm trying to write a cento using just the titles of children's poetry books. If I finish it, I'll post it for Poetry Friday at Wild Rose Reader.

  3. Hi Elaine,
    Great idea! Be sure to check out Laura Salas' poem. She did a great job with this and used lots of poetry titles.

  4. Tricia,

    I already read Laura's poem this morning. I think she may have used just poetry titles.

  5. Your poem is amazing! I tried last week but don't think I did it quite right.

  6. Ms. Mize,
    Your poem last week was great! You did a fine job capturing the picture. Each week I give readers a new challenge to try. I"m sure you could write a great cento! See what you can do.

  7. Trisha this is cool! I love how you blended the titles into a wonderful poem. I am wondering about the subject. If it is your bookshelf and your books who is the "he"?

  8. Hi Andi,
    I started this with Richard Russo's Straight Man, one of my favorite books. I wanted the poem to be about him, but the I didn't like the connotation of "straight" man, so I decided to make Sully, the character in Nobody's Fool the man in the poem.
    I suppose it could have been about me, but I never thought about it!

  9. "He waits in the secret garden while his
    love is lost to the housekeeping." LOVE this! Feel like I could write a short story based on this alone. Enjoyed the poem! Thank you.

  10. Didn't want to interrupt your 48 hours of reading this weekend, so am posting now a belated thank you for this fun poetry stretch. I saw the link over at The Drift Record. Your poem here is wonderful! I played, too, and another book- loving friend also jumped in. Thanks for the inspiration!