Friday, May 04, 2012

Notes on composition.

My experiment--a couplet a day keeps the doctor away for the duration of National Poetry Month--turned out to be highly satisfactory. Today, I took the whole poem out and did the following:

  • revised, taking out stuff I didn't like, forging necessary new transitions.
  • admired it.
  • took a shower.
  • while in the shower, thought, "I hate that couplet structure."
  • got dressed, while keeping the above in mind.
  • abolished the couplet structure, taking more stuff out, forging more necessary new transitions.
  • printed it out.
  • took it to my writing group.
that's right. 
When it was my turn to read the poem aloud, I saw several more things I wanted to change. But overall, with a few more revisions and judicious excisings, I think the poem is in dang good shape. 

I like the way writing the poem over the course of a month allowed for new ideas to develop. There was a certain amount of circling back and reiteration, but there were new figures and new ideas that worked themselves out. At one point, I made a note to myself: "this isn't about x, it is about y"--a correction in course that gave the poem a through-line--but mostly, I would look at the previous couplet or two, pick up the thread, and try something new.

Today when I got up, I thought, ugh, I don't have a poem. But then I thought, WAIT. I have thirty-one couplets! And that, the people, that was a very good thought.

1 comment:

radagast said...

Th'art the once and future queen of poetry!

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