Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Poem Requests an Apology

What I'm reading--

HER HUSBAND by Diane Middlebrook a biography about the relationship between Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. So far, it's fascinating.

What I'm writing--

So yesterday morning I was lying in bed at 5:30 started revising a poem in my head. After debating whether it made sense to leave the great electric blanket to wander into my cold dark office to write, I realized I wasn't falling back to sleep and if I didn't get up, I'd be annoyed with myself for forgetting my revisions.

I revised the poem until about 7ish and felt good about what I had done.

Then last night before going to bed, I looked at my newly revised poem and it's revisions and realize that I basically inserted a brand new poem in the middle of an old poem. Rereading the revised poem, I could see all the tape and staples I used to make my new poem fit within with the old poem.

So last night, I reverted the revised poem back to its old self and created a new poem from the revision. I think this is the first time I've ever written a new poem this way.

I'm interested in why I was revising a poem that I had considered finished, it was a published poem even, a poem that was nominated for a Pushcart. It was as if I was trying to give a makeover to my old poem, a makeover that didn't fit like taking Shirley Maclaine and trying to make her Amy Winehouse. What was I thinking at 5 a.m.?

I guess the good news from this is that I have a new poem to work on. My old poem is feeling a little bad about itself. It says, "Why did you want to change me?" It says, "Aren't I good enough?" I'll be taking my old poem out for coffee and apologize for my manhandling of it. I know it will forgive me. I've revised incorrectly before, it knows it's not personal.

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