Everyone please enjoy my beachy edits… emotocons and text speak were just about the best way I could express mysef there. It was glorious.
This poem was a little jaunt I wrote for a friend as a cute little pick-me-up. It is the very reason I move away from rhymes, since they are often sing songy… especially with that heavy, clumbsy end rhyme. I try to make my rhymes more subtle, but again they sneak in…
So the revised version has a little more bite. I have the same hopefulness, but less of the powdery sugar hearts one sees in these kind of poems. Also, I just had to be an adult about a fun trip, so EK this revised poem is for you!
There was that reality missing from the origional that I hope comes through in the second version. There are 1,000 poems about missing someone, the second version makes it more relevant, visual and crisp.
So today’s lesson is a quick fix for a bland poem.
Step 1 – Identify boring or generic lines
This one’s easy, just go through and look for lines that are basic. Is there an image, a place where this line takes you? A strong sense of content? If not, underline.
Step 2 – Search and Destroy
In the past we’ve talked about removing words, fixing issues with line breaks, revising enjambment etc… that is not what you do here… put on your big boy pants and cut some lines!
(this is important, because if the line is bland, fixing the value of the words won’t make it better)
Step 3 – Who’s Present
Pick a subject, establish and audience, clean up the party. There’s no reason to have any unnecessary people there for your crap poem. There’s got to be some continuity with subject and speaker.
Step 4 – Establish a Truth or Norm
Last time we talked about norms, which are sort of the opposite of capital T Truths… Remember a Norm is a status the reader will recognize as being challenged by the poem, and a Truth is auniversal reality that the reader will understand and relate to.
(cheat sheet: the norm here is that the speaker is stuck… we get that at the end with lies. The
Norm is that they never will get there… it might also be a Truth, but it is presented in such a way that it exists in the poem as the reader’s discovery rather than a nugget of greatness introduced to the reader… also I made up that term, so there might be a better way to say it…)
A poem doesn’t have to be stuck in its first version. If you are ready to take it up a notch very quickly I recommend looking into these steps. These are quick steps that can bump a poem up from knee level to shoulder level… it won’t perfect a poem, it won’t make you a genious, but it will take away some of those issues we deal with in a few quick swoops. If you find there are other ways, please share them, and remember through editing we can see new ideas, new styles and new selves.