Publishing’s Effect on the Reader’s Review

I have always been in awe of my peers’ writing abilities. Poem after poem, I stumble on lines that I want to emulate or techniques that I want to try out in my own work. Despite my admiration of these poems, I have taken enough workshops that I am now engineered to add suggestions and cuts as I peruse the poems. Personally, when writing poems I never feel like I can carve out the final edition; I feel as if there is always room for improvement.

I have a different mindset when reading published poems. I think that simply being published adds a sense of inaccessibility to the poems. No one is willing to take a red pen to Robert Frost or Walt Whitman. I think it would be interesting to workshop poems that are already considered untouchable because of their longevity in the canon.

I think that workshopping some of the classics would help us polish our own editing process. I think that reading some of these poets whether they are similar to our own writing style or very different and then trying to workshop them would be very beneficial.

Overall, I think that workshopping or taking a red pen to already published works would make them more accessible and let us appreciate them even more.


One Reply to “Publishing’s Effect on the Reader’s Review”

  1. Hey Rachel!

    One of the most heart-wrenching realizations as a writer and editor is that I can never read a work without wanting to improve it. I totally feel you in that regard. But, we have to remember that even authors that are already published may not be a “final” edition. Yeats went back to a few of his poems in his later years to revise and publish them (which is wild since they were already published. Like, is that okay to do???). Authors like Stephen King say they would want to go back and change aspects of their stories if they could.

    I find myself reading pieces of literature and wanting to edit them – a line shift here, a break there, where’s the white space?? I’ve actually done exercises like this with published poems in Creative Writing Club in the past and I think it helps to realize we’re all on the same playing field, regardless of whether or not we’re published. In the end, we’re all just writing and trying to come up with something cool.

    Take pen to paper. Why not? Go edit a poem you like and see how you can change up the message/feel of the poem. No work is untouchable. They’re just…good enough.

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