Poem 10 Editing: Begin Phase 2!

So anyone who has been following my work will remember that there were a couple dozen poems that were skipped in the original editing project because of their special status. I am finally getting to the first section of those poems, the preferred poems. They were preferred at the time because they were either much better than the other poems or they were heavily edited for projects and would need much more consideration to edit them any further. This poem, among the other ones to come from this section, is a huge pain in the ass: because I love how it is now and also because there are lots of changes from the original in different places and bringing them all together would be tedious.


We all have that poem, lots of people have seen it, we have plenty of suggestions on all different drafts, we’ve made revisions for this project and that submissions, but they weren’t the same revisions and not on the same document. It’s a pain, especially if that poem was workshopped in a class and you now are sitting on a dozen hand-written revision-suggestion copies in all kinds of crazy illegible illogical handwriting. It’s a poetry nightmare, but you love the poem. So you piece together all the good ideas that came from its many phases and now have to deal with your Frankenstein.


Poem 10

This is my Frankenstein. Poem 10, formally known as Open to Interpretation {new name to come in next revision} is perhaps the hardest poem I will ever edit. (Though Cycles, it’s twin poem will be equally awful to unravel). Poem 10 was written in the back of a textbook about an abroad trip I took where I saw a way of life very different from my own. The idea behind the poem is to capture the duality in all of us, the capacity for a full experience or a sweet one, that are not always but often mutually exclusive.

I hate the ending and have written it 100 times over, with no luck. The use of pounds was really just to take the reader out of dollars, but it plays nicely with weight and I was deflated to see that it was not really used at all as a duality of language. I made some bigger changes but really just slimmed down the language and repetition. While I was originally going for trance-like winding verse and stacking repetitive ideas, the effect was clumsy and rather drawn out.

In fixing this poem I noticed two things about the poems in this second section that I am sure many other writers deal with:

1. The poems that I wrote with purpose are often locked into their original form.
Even now I was not particularly inspired to break away from the stanza sections or make something radically different of the structure. I just changed the words and added a little more imagery and less fluff. To get to the heart of this poem I will need to do a little more demolition.

2. The things I thought were clever before are rather ordinary.
It’s no secret that people change. We grow out of phases and gravitate toward other interests. The same rules apply to writers. That was a cornerstone of taking on a project like this, the idea that there were things in my poems I was no longer charmed with and it was time to upgrade them as a collection. I loved the way the poem was so frank about ice cream before but in this last read it made me curl my toes a little. We need to update the poems we are still working on every now and then so they don’t date themselves in time or stale in our collections. With the internet all is possible; don’t fret over cheesy work, it can be saved!

This poem needs more editing and a new title, but hopefully the changes are evident and you can see a little progress in the process!

 Poem 10 RevisedPoem 10 Original