Posts Tagged ‘Revision’

Slipstream & Other Notes

I got my contributor’s copy of Slipstream on Thursday and I haven’t had time to look at the contents.  But I’m sitting here on a rainy Saturday morning, skimming the pages, pleased to see that I am joined by spectacular poets Brent Goodman, Katie Cappello, Jim Daniels and Sean Thomas Dougherty. As always, the guys at Slipstream did a beautiful job, and I can’t wait to go to the release party in Buffalo in September.

I’ve been trying to gather up my work for the summer in order to revise.  I have been browsing the blogging world noticing that many poets have already dived in to the “Big Fall Submission” period.  Not me.  I will be lucky if I have 3 packets sent out in September. 

Still behind on my book reviews.  Sigh.  Don’t worry — if you sent me a review copy, a review you shall have!

Surviving Revision

I spent the weekend traveling and revising.  Mostly, I was revising while I was traveling.  I find both actions exhausting, but I wanted to work on the poems we went through last week during my Chautauqua workshop.  I was happy with four of them — happy enough, that is, to send them out today.  During the rest of this week, I will be attending another workshop at Chautauqua (with poet Rick Hilles) where I hope to get some new writing done.  After working on so much revision, I’m ready for some new stuff.

Chautauqua and Some Notes on the Workshop

Today marked the end of the first week at the Chautauqua Institution, a place where I take writing workshops every summer.  This past week, I worked under poet Neil Shepard in an advanced poetry workshop, and I have to say that it was the most invigorous  “poetic workout”  I have had in a long time.  I’ve been a bit down with my work, mostly because I can’t seem to really get some of my poems “just right.”  (And no, I don’t think that is because I am a perfectionist).  This workshop was geared towards advanced writers and we worked on everything from literary allusions to line/stanza breaks to content to imagery.  All in ONE WEEK!  I am walking away thinking about my own work in a variety of new and different ways.  I especially enjoyed the extra feedback about the form of my poems.  I know that I tend to go crazy with enjambment (Sharon Olds, anyone?), so what Neil and the members of my group had to say was very beneficial.

There was something that did happen this week, however, that left me thinking about the workshop/audience format.  I will not provide links to other sites about pros and cons of the workshop format — we all know what people are saying.  However, I am wondering, if we are the best judge of our own work.  In my experience, often what people say in a workshop setting simply echoes what I am thinking down deep inside about a particular piece of work.  Many times workshop members can articulate the questions and concerns about a specific line or image or conclusion.  This week, however, something different happened — I was going to take out a specific image in one of my poems that, to be honest, I didn’t really like.  However, every one in my group including Neil thought that it was a great image.  Am I being too critical about my work?  Should I be sending out more pieces than I do? (I tend to want to be 100 percent sure about a poem before I send it out — that takes a long time).  Should we always have readers for our poems before they get sent out?  These are some of the questions I have been thinking about this afternoon as I weed through my drafts in order to settle down to do some more revising.