Poem 78 Editing

One of the greater joys of being a poet is using words in their many forms junxtaposed for greater meaning. It’s a bit of a thrill honestly. There are no greater hacks to language than the multiplicity of words (that’s the new buzz word these days, hacks, bit of a silly concept really).

Poem 78, Post, is a study in the three uses of post: to post, the object Post-It, and the past of a moment, post. There is also a sense of one’s post as in the space the narrator occupies in the room. That one is less obvious, but a bonus.
If this kind of poem tickles your fancy there are a few things to remember when writing a multiplicity poem:
1. Don’t make it cheesey. Pick a genuine subject and focus around a word second. If you are trying to write a poem about a word, it will be just that. This poem is made better by its use of the word post, but it is still about something else.
2. At least three. I like the number three, like a triangle it is the strongest geometric shape. If you have just two uses then you might want to reconsider the poem as a multiplicity. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of a pun, but there’s no reason to write a whole poem about it, limericks have fallen from favor and are rarely art.
3. It’s still a poem. It still needs Truth, a norm, a moment, a heartline, all of those things we’ve been talking about this whole time. If you aren’t including them, you might want to hold off and figure out what to write first. See bullet point 1.
Poetry is so much more than just words. But sometimes the multiplicity of a word can drive a little life into the piece. Remember to always make it meaningful, with a bigger picture, poetic conventions of some sort, and of course two uses of a word is hardly a revolution.
Be a master of language, in that way you will be a master of your own tongue, and your pen. Boyfriend bought me an old school dictionary and thesaurus and I highly recommend thumbing through a paper version, there are so much more inspiring connections to be made… and of course no advertisements.

Poem 7 Edited

Fun With Forms

Form poems have been around as long as poetry, in fact poetry would have hardly been considered an art without adhering to strict rules and guidelines for meter and rhyme… as poems took on the structure of conversation, and each following generation pulled farther and farther from the preceding norm, forms became an identity a poem could showcase rather than a requirement.

With that said, there are hundreds of variations of forms that you could try with your work. I will get into these more thoroughly as I revise sonnets and villanelles from my own collection. For now I will address the issue with all forms as they pertain to the editing process.

Writing a form poem is easy: just follow the directions.
Writing a good form poem is hard: make the directions more meaningful with your content.
Editing a form poem is grueling: with the limitations of a form imposed on a poem, it can be hard to see where changes could occur and even more difficult to enact those changes without compromising the structure.

When you come across a poem that you feel needs revising but are worried about breaking the pattern you can follow my quick guide to revisions:

1. Do all of the words work?
Fixing iffy words is like repainting a house, it freshens everything up and makes the message more meaningful. This can happen at any stage of the poem and should always be a part of your editing…

2. What are you saying?
Form poems can be tricky because the poem might end before the profound truth is revealed. Remember that poems are more than witty compilations of words, and that even in a poem with structure the message must bring something new to light… or else why are you writing?

3. Should this be a form poem?
After a few read through’s with fresh eyes, it will be clear whether this poem is enhanced by the form or if the poem depends on the form to be considered a complete piece… if you find yourself leaning on the poem’s structure, your poem needs some serious remodeling…

For this particular piece, which has seen its fair share of editing in poetry classes during my undergrad, question three is my main concern. I can spruce up the words, I can add more umph, but there are still some areas that need work. For example, the mother-daughter lines in the first stanza are a little bland… I wonder if they are just filling in the form or of there is something more there.


Forms are a fun way to challenge your poetry and expand your ability to control language. They can also be a sore spot in your collection if you don’t give them proper editing. With the three steps I have for editing poems, and maybe some of your own, you will be able to successfully tackle your more structured work without turning a blind eye to the form’s shortcomings. Who knows that Keats or Shakespeare might have written had they been allowed to open their structure. Who’s to say what Whitman or Pound or H.D. might have penned had they been forced to work with structure instead of poetic philosophies. As a Millennial writer you have the best of both words, so write and edit to the peak of your abilities, knowing that there are no walls around your work but the ones you create for yourself.


Poem 7 RevisedPoem 7 Original

Poem 3 Revised


Below letters
Beneath words
Seeking the mellow, yellow-green
Found softly fluttering
Southward through fields of cut grass.
bowed stocks of feathered dandelions
Words seek flight
Broad, taught sparrow wings
The wind whipping, fluttering flitting
Stripping worth, weight value
Voices seek words
Find letters. Deep puckered
Lips gumming nonsense
Hollow pockets of air
Sucking bubbles from seaweed bulbs
Floating up. up. up
Hush, the quiet comes
A breath across the bending stocks
All kneeling north with the
wind, under the weight of whim
Flightless feathered dandelions,
Only weeds.

Poem 3

On Finding Meaning

Beneath this there will be letters
And beneath letters, words
But words seek the mellow, yellow-green
Of meaning found softly
Fluttering southward to fields of cut grass
And chopped stocks of feathered dandelions

Words seek flight
In the broad, taught wing of a fresh sparrow
With the wind whipping, cutting, splicing
Through. Stripping meaning, worth, value

Voices seek words
But find only letters
The red, deep gashes in the flesh 
Of rippling limbs
Defeated and struggling
If only all the letters would bind to make a body
A fighting body, alas
Only a mamed carcus.

Above this there are letters, all letters
Maybe words to some ears, eyes
But no meaning. The lack of meaning
The lack of connections.
Flightless, castrated feathered dandelions.
Only weeds.


Poem 3 EditedPoem 3 Revised