Saturday, February 19, 2005

Working the split shift

I'm thinking of moving some of my blogging activity over here, while still maintaining my livejournal account. Not so much to create a separation between my writing life and my "personal" life, because I think such separations are usually fallacious, but more to reinforce in my own mind the possibilities of this medium for actual, dare I say it, intellectual work. I'm not sure, though.

(I will keep the posting of unpublished, in-process poems over at livejournal and they will still be posted as friends-only posts. Anyone reading this is more than welcome to create a livejournal account, then comment on one of my posts over there and I will add you to my friends list so that you can read those. Not that they are deathlessly brilliant, but, you know. )

Have pretty much decided that I am going to go ahead and do D.A. Powell's workshop on "Vision and Revision" at the Fine Arts Work Center in June, rather than wait around to see whether I get accepted into Marie Howe's advanced workshop the following week. Mainly, I wouldn't find out until mid-May whether I got into Howe's workshop, and I need more lead time than that to make housing and travel plans. (There isn't really another workshop I'm interested in the same week as Howe's, unfortunately; also, that's 4th of July week, which -- while it would be fun to be in Provincetown that week, for sure! -- would complicate travel and housing.)

I do know that revision has been much on my mind lately. I feel like I don't understand the process well at all. I can tinker with poems, I can futz around with line breaks and change words here and there and try to take out tired language, but there's a revision process that goes much deeper than that -- re-visioning, re-seeing the poem -- and I don't quite understand how to get there. So Powell's workshop would probably be very good for me.

I've had quite a string of rejections lately without any acceptances, so although I still have a lot of poems out there to various journals, I'm teetering dangerously on the edge of a nasty bout of "who am I kidding, I'm not that good, why am I bothering with this." I can't force the acceptances to come (other than continuing to get stuff out there, and to write as well as I can & send out good poems) so I need to find some other way to counteract this little patch of self-doubt. Ideas?


Christine said...

Oh, hi! I read about your blog on LJ. One suggestion is that you go to my blog,, and copy the list of links on the left hand side and add them to your blog. They're the basic list of the poetry blogging world, and if you link to them, they'll link to you and you'll get readers.

Anne said...

Thanks, Christine! I just last night figured out how to add links to my template. Most of the ones you've got linked are ones I've had bookmarked & have been reading for a while. Addictive things, they are. Anyhow, I think I'll take some time in the next couple days to add a mess of links to my blog. Yay, more things to fiddle with when I'm procrastinating about actually writing!

tess said...

Hi! My lj account is slothyblondie - add me so I can add you back. I also have a blogspot ( if you want to have a look at random writings of mine. I look forward to reading some of your stuff!

jenni said...

Hi! Revision really is different from editing. For me, it takes months, I've worked on the same poem for three years--they're never finished for me--they're just in different stages, like people are in their lives. Who I read for direction in revision is Bishop and Lowell. They were both dedicated revisionists. Lowell--if you can get his collected poems--you'll actually see several versions of one poem that progresses over time. I've heard people say they liked his early drafts better and I've heard others say they liked the revisions better. With Bishop, her collected letters, "One Art" show her revision process better than the surface of her work. She'd never publish anything until it went through many, many drafts--but there's a little book that comes with "The Voice of the Poet" series (audio) and it has carbon copies of her drafts. Anyways, I'm rambling now!

I used to live in Bloomington! I may be back this summer for a week or so, not sure. I added you to my blog roll.

Take care,


Anne said...

Jenni, thanks for the note & the revision suggestions! Funny that both Bishop and Lowell are on my list of poets I want to go back to in the near future -- so many poets I just haven't paid enough attention to. And yes, revision is so different from editing. I understand editing, but revision is hard! I guess what I mean is that I can fix the poem I've got, but I don't always understand how to take the poem I've got and make it into the poem it wants to be. I'm signed up for a whole workshop on revision with D.A. Powell in Provincetown this summer, so maybe that will give me a bit of enlightenment.

I will say hello to Bloomington for you. :) If you do make it back, drop me a note and I'll buy you a beer or a coffee or whatever...