Revision, revision, revision. The mantra of poets worldwide. i’ve been doing my share of it lately. The unfinished manuscript hollering at me from my nightstand. With this in mind, i recently looked through some of my published work and i came across circular breathing, in a 2002 edition of The Comstock Review. Re-reading that version i realized i liked it better than the current, oft-revised one.
Sometimes we can be our worst editors, yet i still believe in revision. It’s a commitment to the language, to reaching higher for that more profound image, metaphor, word. At times it’s just that – one word – that will carry the piece – and your reader – right where you intended.
Which brings me to another thought. The reader and the poet. i recall a visual artist friend of mine being asked, at an exhibition of his work, about the meaning of a particular piece. He wouldn’t say, but instead encouraged the person to find their meaning in his work, to let it speak to them as it would, regardless of his, the artist’s, intent. i liked this.
There is always something in particular that hurtles me toward writing a poem, and i want my reader to be similarly moved. At the same time, everyone gleans something different from a poem. If that were not the case it wouldn’t be that one editor rejects a piece while another can’t wait to publish it. As poets we must allow that creative river to wash over us, spin us in its eddies, carry us to the sea. And with any luck, the results will speak to those who find our words.
10 oct 10