Help me, please

Okay, so first of all I apologize for being so solipsistic, but I am going to use this blog post as a way to directly ask for help on a poem that I’m completely stuck on when it comes to revisions. The poem is Post-Transplant, which I submitted for workshop a few weeks ago. I know you’ve already spent time with this poem and offered me a lot of awesome feedback, but I’m still stuck. I’m not happy with the poem the way it is, but I don’t know how to change it to make it work! There are a few things I’d really like to preserve: First, the original prompt was to write about something that was displaced or moved somewhere else with unexpected consequences. I’d really like that to come across in the poem. Second, I’m pretty set on the use of couplets here, particularly because I’m generally happy with the way the first couplet is functioning. But here’s where it gets tricky—the acrostic. The reason I’d like to try to make it work is that there’s something important to me about the word lymphoma being in the poem, without it really being in the poem. Right now, though, I feel like the acrostic just looks like a big hunk of words with forced line breaks in the middle of a bunch of couplets. Also, I’m worried the acrostic is too showy or tricky, like it might cheapen the poem. I honestly don’t know what to do with it. I’m thinking maybe I’ll allow the acrostic to be there, but break it into couplets and mess around a lot with the language and line breaks of that stanza (which will then become six couplets—another problem, what do I do with the last letter?!?!). If I do this, the acrostic will become basically unrecognizable to the reader, but something about its presence, even though unrecognizable, is comforting to me I guess… I think… I don’t know. I need help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

One Reply to “Help me, please”

  1. I think it’s important to think about what needs to be in the poem for the poem. I think lymphoma is important to that particular poem because it’s a name for the displacement, and it allows the reader to know more of the narrative behind the poem. That being said, it seems like you’re at a point where the word isn’t there for the reader (not too many of us noticed the acrostic even in workshop, if I remember correctly), but you’re attached to the word as a choice, and you might just have to let it go in order for the poem to grow out of its initial stage. If you love something, let it go–that’s what they say, right?

    I think my advice would be to de-lineate the whole poem, and go back through the prose and put in breaks where you think they’re appropriate. If the acrostic is still there, it’s meant to be there–if not, it’s cut up in the poem, but it was sacrificed for the greater good (the greater goooood).

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