After reading A Broken Thing, I have come to learn that we must fall in love with each line we write in a poem. Each line requires the same whole-hearted devotion that the entire work needs; not just puppy love, but lasting love. It must endure the decision to be cut, wadded up, and thrown into the wastebasket with a million other unfinished lines. By surviving draft after draft, each line proves to the poet that it is worthy of its spot on the page.
Unfortunately, our peers do not always show the same adoration for every single line in our pieces. During workshop, some lines are met with “knocks,” while others are tossed to the side. While the critiquers always have the poem’s best interests in mind, they have not developed the same relationship with the line as its creator. Thus, facing the decision to either cut or keep a beloved line can be rather difficult.
When is it warranted to keep a line that others believe should be thrown away? Do you always go with “majority rules” and cut lines that are met with overwhelming disapproval? Do you start a new poem with the exiled line? Or do you edit it slightly, to keep the backbone of the line alive, rather than dismissing it completely?