Some Advice On Editing Poems

Some wonderful thoughts on editing poetry. As always, I disagree with some of it (‘gate of the mind’ is in no way an inferior phrase to ‘the mind’s gate’, which has a completely different feel. But overall this is wonderful – I can’t wait to have a go at some of these ideas.

Kirsten Luckins

None of the advice below is written by me – it was given to me at last week’s Wolf At The Door retreat, by one of the retreat leaders. I have no idea if Vishvantara wrote these points herself, but if she did she’s a genius. I hope and trust that she won’t mind my sharing them on.

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Fifteen Ways Of Working On A Poem

  1. Take an unfinished poem of twenty-five to forty lines or more. Remove half of the lines (whichever hand-picked lines you choose). Now cut it in half again. Scream as loudly as you like.
  2. Take a poem of ten or twenty lines and make it forty or fifty. Stretch it, milk it, pad it, free-associate, spider-diagram it and repeat things in Spanish if you have to.
  3. Find the energetic points. Where are the ‘hot’ areas? Put one as your first line. Put another as your last…

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