Monday, March 14, 2005

Revision's target

Today I went to Target for deodorant and paper towels, and of course left with a cart full of stuff, some of which I actually needed. I splurged on a new pillow, one of those "Memory Foam" ones. This is the super-duper premium comfy-cozy kind; the package says it has "Memory Clusters" in it.

I am highly amused by the idea of sleeping on memory clusters. I wonder whether I'll wake up and suddenly remember the name of that little blonde-haired girl I used to follow around in kindergarten, or the quadratic equation, or the names of all the saints?


Before Target, I went to Panera for a dutch apple/raisin bagel (toasted, with plain cream cheese), too much coffee, and some writing. I often go there to work, and take a book or two, my journal, and some poems to revise. I never know whether I'm going to use the time writing, journaling, reading, revising, or what -- but the time is almost always productive. There must be something in those dutch apple/raisin bagels, or in the view through those particular windows. Anyway, I wrote a page or so in my journal, then pulled out the poems and got to work. I didn't do anything major (no C. Dale Young-style syllabic squishification -- yet!) but I cut out a lot of fat and sharpened a lot of edges. I think overall I worked on ten or twelve poems, a couple of which feel more or less finished now. A good afternoon's work. And good timing, too -- got a batch of poems back rejected this morning, and between those and the newly-revised ones and maybe a few others, maybe I can get two batches shipped back out in the next couple of days.

I love my job, but I love my occasional days off even more.


Poems revised today (some more than others): Wing, Seeing the Crab, Interstellar Static, The Difference, Before the Snow, Blood, Deuce, Sugar Hits the Highway, Sugar Visits the Wine Bar, The Known Dangers, Winter Travel.


I've been debating whether to post unpublished poems in this blog. On my livejournal, I always post them as "locked" posts that only people on my friends list can read. I'm not so concerned about somebody plagiarizing me -- if they want to do that, there's better stuff out there they can steal! -- but more about the ongoing debate as to whether work that's posted publicly on the Web counts as having been published (self-published, obviously, but still). I notice that a number of poet-bloggers do post work-in-progress. I think that I may start posting them but then deleting them after a certain period of time, maybe a week or so. That gives people the chance to read & comment if they are so moved, and then once I decide the poem sucks and is in desperate need of revision, I can take it down and work on it and maybe send it out.

So. First up is one I originally drafted back in 2002. For the past couple of years I've pulled it out every so often, wanting to revise it, and have always ended up putting it away in frustration. Last night I got it out again, stared at it for a while, then made a big blue X through the original first section. It felt so satisfying. Then I took out a bunch of words from the other two sections, too. Now, of course, I don't know whether it makes sense without the first section, but I think even if it doesn't it's a stronger poem than it was. I'm taking this one to my poetry group on Sunday, too.

Two Houses

[poem deleted 04-06-2005; comment here if you didn't see it and want to]


Pamela said...

I really like this poem's divisions. The first section seems completely finished to me. Night's vernacular/fingers is really a fresh use of language and a line break that I admire.

I like the second section, too, but maybe just tweak a couple of the line breaks to get the quick tense energy the first section carries all the way through. I think this especially true for the end of the poem.

I am not sure about "Two Houses"--I don't think the title is carrying enough weight in what is otherwise a strong poem. (The reader would see two houses, anyway). It seems more like a duplex--you have the idea of two houses,and a separation, and also in terms of having direct and simultaneous communication...

Glad you decided to share your poem. It is definitely a keeper.

Pamela said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anne said...

Thanks, Pamela -- that is useful feedback. I think you're right about the title, although I think it worked better before I decapitated the poem by chopping off the original first section. Thanks for taking the time to respond!