Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Revising and Rewriting

Last night my small poetry group met and I took along half a dozen or so of my less abysmal efforts from NaPoWriMo. It was interesting to go through and re-read them. Some that I didn't like much at the time are growing on me. In some cases, I realise that small alterations have the potential to make a large difference to the quality. Some that I liked initially seem less interesting now.

One of them is essentially what Ted Kooser describes in his excellent book The Poetry Home Repair Manual as an anecdotal poem. He describes the form as
This happened first,
and then this
happened; then this
and this; this happened next, then this
and this and this,
and then - you won't believe it -

Well, mine isn't quite like that, but almost. But we all agreed that the poem had a good title -
The Blonde Ambassador's Daughter.
(Even the title needs changing, being a little ambiguous, so it will henceforth be the Ambassador's Blonde Daughter)

I have a whole new poem in mind to go with the title, using one or two elements from the original in their barest essentials only. Does that count as revision?

An extra treat this month - since one of the group's members couldn't come, we are having an extra meeting next week at her new flat (a New Zealand term for apartment). And then we have book plans to work on.


Dana said...

That sounds like a good meeting. I don't know if I've ever written an anecdotal poem.

Kay Cooke said...

I like that Ted Kooser quote. ( I still believe poetry isn't as free as prose - I have my reasons!) I probably didn't explain it very well in the post on the subject ... I was feeling too grumpy. :)