Poem 15 Editing

I feel like I’m always qualifying my posts with: this one’s been edited before. To be fair, it hasn’t been the best representation of editing skills, but for the sake of sanity I will attempt to go in as much numerical order as possible…

Today, the lesson is in Pixels and Pages. Some call this far sighted and near sighted… others call this zooming techniques… either way it’s all the same. Idea, much like looking at a piece of design, is to look at the grey area and determine of the poem is valuable at any level, namely near and far. So for the Pixels, we look into words, their meaning, who the speaker is, what the prepositions do for the direction and movement of the piece, if the order makes the most sense… almost an analytical reading of one’s own work…

In the Page view, or zoom out, we look at the poem as a whole, as an author putting together rather than a potential reader picking apart. We gain a sort of regal standing with the poem… you get to play god in a larger scale sort of way… does this stanza work, are there pieces missing, what needs to be moved so that the flow is more relatible… think of plate tectonics and building a dam… both will obstruct the river, but on catastrophically separate scales…

It’s a little vague… in this poem I’ve demonstrated how I begin editing. This poem hasn’t been looked at too much… in all honestly I was unsure where to go with the ideas. So, moving as far back as possible, I look at each line one by one, and without making any small edits… don’t be too wrapped up in what the words say and how they say them and if there’s a better word for soul or remained or bones than the ones present. First and foremost assess where the poem is strong and relevant and where the poem is weak and needs to be looked into.

Resist the urge to tweak. It’s a tough urge to resist.

After that, you can see easily where things need some help. I have whole stanzas here that could be removed. Even though there might be good content, there could be some major restructuring of the piece as a whole…


In terms of the editing process, this is the FIRST step. There are many other layers of editing that should occur before a poem reaches a final stage. This is just how I happen to look at poems with a Page eye. There are other ways to look at a piece, with different mark-ups and separate emphasises. Think of some of your own but remember that without both the Page and the Pixel view, a poem might just be running circles around the ‘right word’ and not getting anywhere insightful…

Like my grandfather says you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse…

Please Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s