Monday, May 19, 2008

Thought for the Day


“Revision is the poet’s most difficult, demanding, and dangerous work. Difficult because it’s hard to let go of our original inspirations or ideas or our best lines, as we may have to do in service to the poem. Demanding because it calls for us to reach deeper or further than we may want to, or feel we know how to. Dangerous because we feel we might, in the act of trying to make a good poem better, lose touch with the raw energy that drove the poem into its fullness to begin with and destroy what we have so joyously created. But revision is necessary work for poets who care about their craft. Richard Tillinghast, in an essay titled ‘Notes on Revision,’ says, ‘The willingness, the ardent desire even, to revise, separates the poet from the person who sees poetry as therapy or self-expression.’ Ardent desire may be a bit more than we can hope for, but certainly willingness is important.”

-Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux, “The Energy of
Revision,” in The Poet’s Companion (W. W. Norton, 1997)

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