Heaven Cento

This week—alas!—we had our final classes. After returning the prior week’s poems, I said we were going to do something different—a class poem, or more specifically, a class cento. According to The Academy of American Poets, “From the Latin word for ‘patchwork,’ the cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form made up of lines from poems by other poets. Though poets often borrow lines from other writers and mix them in with their own, a true cento is composed entirely of lines from other sources.” With that in mind, in each classroom, I wrote Poetry is _____, Poetry is like _____, and Poetry is as _____ on the board, reminding students that similes and metaphors have been powerful tools for comparison in the poems they’ve written this year. They were then asked to think about how poetry has inspired them over the course of the residency, using those templates for figurative language (or replying however they wanted), writing as many individual lines in response as possible. Students then lined up, and chose their favorite line, which I recorded in random order. The results are below.

I had an incredible time this year at Skinner West, and want to thank the teachers for inviting me back into their classrooms; without their enthusiasm and support, I would be lost. And of course, kudos to the energetic, eccentric, honest, hilarious, and brilliant fourth graders who threw themselves wholeheartedly and unabashedly into poetry discussions and compositions.

Mrs. Brown, 4th Grade

Poetry is as delicate as a feather.
Poetry is the sky. We are the birds, flying to the limit.
Poetry is as free as balloons.
Poetry is as loud as me singing on the top of my lungs.
Poetry is as saccharine as 100 pounds of chocolate.
Poetry is…optimistic.
Poetry is as loud cats scratching on a blackboard.
Poetry is like a donut waiting to be eaten.
Poetry is anything.
Poetry is like a galloping horse.
Poetry is a big red apple, pleasant on the outside, juicy on the inside.
Poetry is like water on my face.
Poetry is as inspiring as a quote.
Poetry is like walking in a rainy park trying to find an umbrella that isn’t in sight.
Poetry is like a rainbow, no specific color.
Poetry is like a world of words, alluring me, it can be everything and nothing.
Poetry is as big as all of the planets combined.
Poetry is as sweet as honey that makes me want to read more of the poem.
Poetry is a bright summer day.
Poetry is like a bird in the air, it is free.
Poetry is like the dark and evil shadows that surround the deep and dark forest.
Poetry is like a mountain, so bleak and lonely, it’s black as are the clouds surrounding it.
Poetry is like my first unique.
Poetry is like the genes beneath our skin.
Poetry is like going through a different adventure with new beginnings.
Poetry is like god giving us the chance to express ourselves using a pen and paper.
Poetry is like birds gathered together in a nest.
Poetry is like a wall of rhyming at times.
Poetry is like reading a book.

Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade

Poetry is like writing a story.
Poetry is like eating a watermelon off Katie’s shirt.
Poetry is as fun as jumping on a trampoline.
Poetry is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.
Poetry is like everything.
Poetry has activities hidden through.
Poetry is like a shadow clone.
Poetry is like a walk, you never want to stop taking.
Poetry gives a mindset about life.
Poetry is life and death and love and hate.
Poetry is a sensation of fancy palaces made from confusion.
Poetry is as weird as…well, poetry.
Poetry is as beautiful as strawberry donuts.
Poetry is like a surprise waiting to be told.
Poetry is like jumping in cotton candy and rainbows.
Poetry is a fun place.
Poetry is food that feeds my head.
Poetry lets me clear my head and make fun poems.
Poetry is like a night sky pushing down on me.
Poetry makes me feel like eating ice cream in outer space.
Poetry is like 1,000,000 scoops of ice cream. 1/3 chocolate,1/3 vanilla, and 1/3 strawberry. With chocolate syrup, cookie crumbs (Oreo to be specific), cherries and marshmallows dyed rainbow on top. Delicious…
Poetry is a calm ocean wave.
Poetry is like dancing with the stars.
Poetry is as beautiful as a butterfly.
Poetry is as beautiful as a rose.
Poetry is as fun as eating ice cream.
Poetry is the art of beautiful work artist have passed through the ages.
Poetry is cool.
Poetry is like smooth clean water hitting dirt.

Mrs. Rupp, 4th Grade

Poetry is as comfortable as a bed after a bad day.
Poetry is really really squishy.
Poetry is as fun as having your choice of a superpower.
Poetry is like pouring your feelings on a sheet of paper.
Poetry is like a bird, you can write freely like a bird soaring free in the sky.
Poetry is as calm as a bag drifting in the wind.
Poetrie helpz wit speling.
Poetry is as different as a snowflake.
Poetry is like floating on a cloud.
Poetry is as beautiful as McDonald’s french fries and nuggets.
Poetry is like going to your imagination alone.
Poetry is like awesomeness.
Poetry is like dragons coming to fly you to Mars.
Poetry is the telescope to the emotional world.
Poetry is cool.
Poetry is like skiing on a candy mountain.
Poetry is as cool as being a mint-quality diamond.
Poetry is like a book with no pictures but with millions of words.
Poetry is lasagna.
Poetry is like eating the tastiest pie ever.
Poetry is as yummy as burgers.
Poetry is a thing.
Poetry is as awesome as eating the biggest ice cream cone in the universe.
Poetry is like talking to someone who speaks another language, there are so many metaphors and similes that you can’t understand it, but then you realize nobody else can, either. I like it!
Poetry is as poetry as poetry.
Poetry is is I don’t know what.
Poetry is yummy.
Poetry is an escape into a sophisticated world of words.
Poetry is spinning the globe and pointing your finger.
Poetry is a puzzle that can be solved with a muzzle.
Poetry is like a happy Saturday morning.
Poetry is like floating on the calming waves.

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

Poetry is like writing.
Poetry is like a bonding experience, you can make new friends with poetry.
Poetry is amazing.
Poetry makes you dream.
Poetry is having the guts to show who you are.
Poetry is the poetry.
Poetry is like planets being created.
Waiting for poetry is painful.
Poetry is like eating chicken.
Poetry is like playing an ocarina.
Poetry is as calm as a blooming water lily.
Poetry is like not being at school.
Poetry tastes like Sprite.
Poetry is as unique as a unicorn.
Poetry is as legendary as a mighty dragon, sword, bow, axe, or as special as a cat.
Poetry is brighter than the Boruto’s Chidori.
Poetry is fun, eating five donuts.
Poetry is as eating sushi.
Poetry is as delicate as a brick wall.
Poetry is as fun as watching flowers bloom.
Poetry is fun like sitting in a crazy water park.
Poetry is like whatever you want.
Poetry is like when you eat soup and bread, warm and calm.
Poetry is as cool and as crazy as a pack of hyenas in a hot tub.
Poetry is as crazy as a cat riding a horse.
Poetry is like eating an apple that gives you talent.
Poetry is like eating glue and poop while speaking Japanese puking.
Poetry is as spoopy as a spoopy scary story.
Poetry makes you creative.
Poetry is like all states mixed together.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.