Poem 16 Editing

Ah this poem.

Another good example of why short poems are a mixed bag.

Short poems are great. They often pack a punch, have a high memorability rate, and can be easily recited or quoted. They are fun, light, universal and pristine, if done right.

Editing them is another issue. Because there isn’s much there to work with, the poem might feel finished as is. Don’t be fooled. Editing pertains to these poems MORE THAN EVER. This is a trap that even the best of us fall into (including those far better than me). The poem itself needs to be examined in all instances, from all angles before deemed finished by anyone.

For this poem, I use the same Sonnet Tactic from a previous posting. Remember, that a form can be a tool of editing as well as a structure for the piece. In this instance, the information was too long for a haiku, which was my first attempt, and it let me know that most of the poem was too important to remove. I did take a second look and took out the lines that seemed too overt.

What we are left with is a shorter, more informed piece. As a poet, everything feels important, especially in a poem of only 6 lines. As an editor, we know that there are always ways to change, and cutting might not be the right move, but it can still be done in a short poem.

Make it all count, don’t let flop lines hide in your poems.


By using the form-as-tool tactic, I was able to see the need to keep certain pieces of the poem. Though it may be short, a poem can always be more concice. Look for the places to revise, and make moves toward a more memorable, distinct short poem. If short poems are your specialty, pla with forms that accomodate that kind of writing and expand your style. If sort poems are not in your comfort zone, remember those cut aways from longer poems can be made into separate short ones…

As long as you edit edit edit!

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