Revision As Vision

My manuscript has been making its way out the door now and then, but I'm still working on it. For the past two months, it has sat fairly quiet in my study, but today I went back to it to do some nuts-and-bolts tightening. A few readers got back to me with feedback that I've incorporated into it, and I have found that unlike life, absence does not make my heart fonder of my poems. I'm able to slash-and-burn with less reserve.

One thing I'm noticing about my process is that it is much easier for me to revise individual poems in manuscript than I can when they are still just discrete entities. Does anyone else experience this? Sort of like sanding down all the joints so you can't feel the seams, I guess. It just makes more sense. I have a better perspective on the work as a whole and can identify the work each piece needs to do.

Some poems changed radically upon entering the manuscript. And others, on second or third glance, have vanished or been swallowed by other poems.

This is a sort of departure for me, too, I guess. In school I did pore over individual poems and revise the bejeezus out of them. What I ended up with in a thesis was what I considered to be a somewhat connected series of poems and a whole bunch of stand-alones.

So, this manuscript is more fluid, cleaner. I like it more. I enjoy it more.


  1. " . . . absence does not make my heart fonder of my poems." Don't you hate it when that happens?
    I agree, in manuscript, when poems are side by side, I sometimes see cutting/pruning or shaping/filling in that needs to be done. Sometimes a poem gets eliminated because it is repeating something another poem does better. Sometimes poems get combined. Eventually, you just have to let go of it and move on, or it drives you mad.
    Any news when your chapbook is coming out?

  2. This is really fascinating to me. I love reading about the process of putting a manuscript together -- not sure how close I am to that point yet (a full length one, that is, I've got a couple of chapbook mss. going around). My poems are starting to talk to each other a bit more now -- I have two that I was looking at last night and I said "ok, this one is the first one and this one is the last." Now I guess I need to write all the middle ones, or something. :) Anyway, I'm glad to hear the manuscripting process helps revision .. something to look forward to!

  3. It should be out in September, I think. :)