Poem 52 Edited – Holy Holy

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! – Allen Ginsberg in his Footnote to Howl

aPoem 52

This poem needed some Holy. This poem needed a lot of everything, but instead of retiring it, like poor Poem 51, I decided to give it more power in reference to a poem far beyond my league.

Holy Holy.

The reference process is a little touch and go. I will not get onto my long drawn out soap box about the literary conversation and all the things that make every poem connected to everything else, bla bla bla… if you really want to hear all that comment below and I will be sure to bend your ear.

In this shorter commentary I will simply detail a few potholes about the poem world that are becoming issued as the new, less read generation, rises to their feet.

1. No one memorizes poems

No one. Not even the english majors. Now that everything is on the internet, we read more and dig a little less into our favorites. Not that we don’t have favorites, but there are more pressing things to do than memorize lines. We can just link them.

Instead there will be more power in referencing the more memorable bits of poems outright and footnoting those parts that are harder to know off hand. For this one, the Holy sort of spoke for itself. So I left it. Maybe later I will make it more visible, but for now I hope they stand.

2. Embrace markings

If you want your reader to take the extra step and see a reference, make it seem like a different piece of the poem. Repeat it. Italicize it. Mark it with a dash. Put it somewhere strangely on the page. The interested reader will take the time, but only if they sense that there is something else other than just your words. There will be so much power in your reference that gets lost when you don’t distinguish it from anything else.

3. Give Up the Struggle

So what if no one knows you referenced Keats’ little-known play in your sonnet about love and loss. The point is depth, the point is conversation, the point is reverence. Someday, someone will see that for what it is. Like letting a bottle message into the sea, your hope is that someone finds it and begins their own adventure. If you wanted someone to get the message right away you might as well have sent an email.



This poem was a mess. I needed much more change and freshness to come in and take out the stale. The heartline–that first line–stayed the same, so I feel the point is intact. However, these tactics are strong ways to give the poem an outside reference point. References can make or break a poem and a poet so read well and remember the changing landscape of the poet and reader will affect the way you write for the future.


Poem 52 RevisedPoem 52 Original

Poem 30 Editing: Second Person

This is a conversation I have with myself every once in a while that I thought would be good to share with you all.

aPoem 30

Second Person, what the hell are we supposed to do with that?

So my most common issue is when it’s best to use second person. I mean, there’s a reason that teachers brush over it in early writing classes (my mother had no idea what it was). Second person, or the use of you as the subject has long been an issue of mine. I love using it, and often I need to remove it from work because it is too aggressive. So for this post I want to make a little list about the pros and cons, and why it was actually better to add it into this poem:

Cons –

It’s aggressive maybe people don’t agree with or want to be part of that piece of writing

It accuses reader of doing or believing in the dogma of the piece

It limits the action to what the reader sees and knows of themselves, since they are subject

People don’t know how to deal with or edit for a subject that has fewer rules than the first or second persons’ that we are more familiar with


Pros –

Sets up a duality between the speaker and the reader, like a conversation or a monologue on stage

Makes the reader feel more present & involved, it is them after all

It feels more familiar like a party we are all going to, even you!

It cuts the character list by removing the need to introduce some random person, it’s already you, so now there can be more content.


Those aside (and I’m sure there are more for each list) I love using you. It feels present and pressing and casual. It makes the writing flow and gives me the room to make the conversation about us (the reader and I) rather than some third party person the reader may or may not get involved with.

For this poem the you was a natural change. The fever is already there, and the personal conflict felt more raw when it was a person, not just some body, and when that person was right here and now.


Second person is an amazing tool few feel comfortable using. With some pros and cons, the use of you as a subject instead of a third party or a first person, me, makes the poems more real and often more fun to read.

 Poem 30 Revised Poem 30 Editing