The inevitable revision blog post….

So I started really trying to put my portfolio together this week… meaning REVISIONS, REVISIONS, REVISIONS. I know we have talked a lot about revisions both in class and on the blog, but I can’t help making a post about the process, as its been on my mind a lot this week.

I don’t really have a “process.” I just kind of dive in and start changing stuff up. I re-read a poem (usually end up thinking, eww did I actually write this?) and start messing with word order, images, searching through google for new words and sources of inspiration, destroying line breaks, the whole shebang. But there are a few things I noticed myself doing differently this semester.

Last semester, putting my portfolio together felt like creating some sort of visual, hands-on art. I worked on it little by little, everyday adding something, changing something. The process wasn’t easy, but for the most part, it was neat, even organized. This semester, it feels so messy. Like I’m sculpting with meat and finger painting the final product. There are a few reasons for this. First, I have A LOT more poems to go through this semester. Last semester, I mostly only had the poems I had been writing for the weekly exercises. This semester, I have the weekly exercise poems, plus all the little projects I started in between weekly exercises– poems I had jotted down in notebooks in class, lines I heard around me and love and typed up into miscellaneous word docs and tossed into the “poetry” folder on my computer. Sifting is a difficult thing, and proves to be a messy one, too. Not only do I have a lot more poems to go through, I also feel like I’m having more trouble getting these poems to a point where I can say I’m satisfied with them.

Anyone else having the last-minute revision blues?


2 Replies to “The inevitable revision blog post….”

  1. Hey Chloe!
    I think revision blues are perpetual–even after they are done they aren’t really done. But this is certainly something I love about writing–there’s always space for improvement!
    I’m almost done revising my portfolio and I have to agree, I had a lot more poems to work with than last time I made my portfolio. Heck, I even added a poem that I wrote like 2 days ago! I think sometimes our best work happens when we don’t realize it!
    I’ve finally reached satisfaction with most of my poems–but that doesn’t mean I’ll never work on them again. I think it’s ok if you aren’t 100% satisfied with some of them–then you know you’ll go back and have something to do when you lose touch with the poetry world.
    Just something to think about!

  2. Chloe,

    First off, please use “it feels so messy, like sculpting with meat” in a poem at some point. It’s so gross and perfect.

    Second, revisions are really daunting. This is my first actual poetry portfolio and I feel like screaming in the quiet section of the library because how the hell am I supposed to do this? There are poems that I really loved and thought were “finished,” but looking back I just cringe and don’t know how to move forward with it. I know I need to get to a point where they’re satisfying, but I’m not sure how. I think that’s the main problem we all have with poetry; We want it to be 100% done, finished, satisfying, and that’s not going to happen. Even one of the poets in Fishouse revised his (published) poem when recording it, to show that a poet is never completely satisfied with their work. All I can really say, is keep on keeping on and do your best.

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