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Revise Your Poetry!

Revise Your Poetry!

The first completed draft of your poem is only the beginning. Poets often go through several drafts of a poem before considering the work “done.”

To revise:

Put your poem away for a few days, and then come back to it. When you re-read it, does anything seem confusing? Hard to follow? Do you see anything that needs improvement that you overlooked the first time?

Often, when you are in the act of writing, you may leave out important details because you are so familiar with the topic. Re-reading a poem helps you to see it from the “outsider’s perspective” of a reader.

Show your poem to others and ask for criticism. Don’t be content with a response like, “That’s a nice poem.” You won’t learn anything from that kind of response. Instead, find people who will tell you specific things you need to improve in your poem.

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greenHow is originality fostered?

1. By personal difficulties, particularly in childhood, that have been worked through. Analyse and meet these difficulties.

2. By unswerving self-honesty. Ask yourself: is this what you really hoped to write? Could you not dig deeper into the wellsprings of the poem?

3. By starting afresh, expanding your repertoire with new techniques and new themes.

4. By pacing yourselves, drawing up timetables of writing that extend and build on previous accomplishments.

5. By working in related fields: writing novels, short-stories, articles: particularly where these unlock new perspectives and energies.

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j0439466[1]Vocabularies not only reflect interests and fashions, but must be broadly effective in a contemporary setting.

1. That is the argument against poeticisms and out-of date words like thee, ’tis, maiden.

2. Words never possess wholly transparent meanings, but in the more affective poetry their latent associations, multiple meanings, textural suggestions and rhythmic power are naturally given freer rein.

3. The touchstone is always the intended audience. “Word too familiar, or too remote, defeat the purpose of a poet,” said Johnson, and that observation remains true, as much for traditionalists writing inside a poetic tradition as for others trying to kindle poetry out of naked experience.

4. Place your poems alongside others in magazines or anthologies in which you’d like to be included. If they don’t fit, one reason may be your word choice.

5. Perform your poems in workshops and readings. Pay attention to the reception and to comments afterwards.

6. If in doubt, err on the side of everyday usage, even if it means spoiling the odd line.

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Many Times

Guest Contributor: Walter William Safar

Many times, while escaping the real world, I used to find my sanctuary in the blissful chest of mother Art. With these poems, I am curing the hungry soul, and it hungers for compassion, love and faith, just like any human soul does.
Hungry and thirsty, I am staring into the very heart of the dark spirit of my own subconscious, and I would feel betrayed for who knows how many times, only to appease my thirsty soul with a torrent of tears, because poetry is like a tear on the face of mankind.
I don’t know much about victories, but I still believe that compassion itself is a victory, and if my poems can awaken compassion in people, than I can count myself as a victor.

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I am going!… I am leaving you, world!
How horrible this admission echoes
in the company of solitude.
And while the northern wind, like an invisible carpenter,
peels the bark off the old wooden cross,
an old homeless man, with his trembling hand,
leaves a red rose at a nameless grave,
my future home.
And while hyppocrites pretend to be compassionate,
I know that they won’t shed a tear for me.
There are wonderful people who can shed their tears,
but they won’t know where my grave is.
The old homeless man stares at the grave,
wondering whether death might come for him
before the black soil covers the body
of his brother in poverty.
It is sad to end up in a nameless grave,
but the world doesn’t care too much about sadness.
Perhaps a priest might come to the funeral by chance,
but not to hold a farewell speech,
no, rather to see if the nameless grave
takes up too much space,
and maybe a flower shall rise from the black soil tomorrow,
like a beautiful bride to the soul of the dead poet.
The time to leave is approaching… my tired body
is waiting for the blistered hands of the grave diggers
to be lowered into the nameless grave.
Oh, Lord, give me time enough
just to fill this white paper,
my sad testament to the cold world.
Above me, a turquoise butterfly is wistfully flapping its wings,
as if it came to his poet’s funeral.
It is so young and beautiful,
as if it arose from my poem back when I believed in the world.
There is nothing left for me apar from my imagination.
Yes, world, me and my imagination used to knock
on your thick door for days, months and years,
but you would always send us away like tramps.
I wanted to ransom your sin with my poems,
but you always crumple them and threw them into the bin.
You threw away your children… your conscience!…
It is time to leave!
You know, Lord, that I’m not one of those who give up
at the halfway point.
Now I am standing in the same place
where I took off into the world, followed by childish dreams,
and the reverberating echo of my mother’s wishes,
I am going, leaving behind imagination
which is feverishly clinging on to me…
I know it would like to go with its poet,
but there is no space for it down in the black soil.
Wise men say that the imagination
is the mother and father to every poet,
but I am just leaving…
leaving for a world without imagination.
I am taking all my life’s legacy with me,
a stack of white paper, a dry pen,
and ink as hard as flintstone,
because I haven’t immersed my pen in it in ages,
but what good is any of this without imagination?
Where I am heading, there is no place for imagination,
my faithful squire, is there?
Death is silently standing in its black cloak,
everything on it is black apart from… apart from…
Oh, Lord, can it be that death is crying…?
Never in my life did I see such a big pearly tear,
slowly sliding, silvering all the darkness surrounding death,
and in death,
how strange it is for death to cry because I’m leaving,
and the world… living people… they don’t even turn to see.
There is no fear in me, only sadness,
not because I am leaving this cold world,
but because I am leaving my imagination,
and it needs me so much,
because there are so many sheets of white paper left unfilled.
I am leaving!… Do not worry, my imagination!…
Just wait for me in the same spot!…
From our poems, a new soul shall arise
and enter a new mother’s womb
to bring a poet into this world
who will be luckier than I was.

©Walter William Safar

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Bottled Up Sentiments Blog
Bottled Up Sentiments

I would like to welcome Bottled Up Sentiments, our latest blog addition to our growing contributors.  Click on the image to visit this beautifully designed blog!

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Visit Bruce's Blog

Bruce Dobson

 

I would like to welcome Bruce Dobson to our group.  Bruce posts his poetry on his own blog.  Click on the image to visit his blog.  His blog is also listed on our Links Page under Poetry Blogs.

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