You have a poem that has some interesting ideas or rhythms, but it’s just not making it? Here are some things I do when I revise a poem to work:
Take some of your lines, split them down the middle, and regroup them e.g.:
Here are the shelves of unread books
An immigrant who stands on the edge of the forest
becomes: Here are the shelves on the edge of the forest
An immigrant who stands on unread books.
Or try to take a poem and erase words, e.g.
In first grade
We learned the names of dandelions and birch trees?
Forgot them & relearned them.
They didn’t make much sense to us,
because we were in New York City
where there weren’t many flowers or trees.
Trilliums, sweetgum trees,
New York City,
No flowers or trees.
Try rewriting your poem from a different viewpoint:
Two brothers planted a sequoia in the orchard one afternoon
becomes: All afternoon my brother and I worked in the orchard planting a sequoia.
When I wrote my new book, Touch My Head Softly, I went through many revises:
What do you do to revise?
I will be posting on Thursdays, and on Tuesdays, if I have an announcement.
My new poetry collection can be viewed here:
Here is the link to my book on Goodreads: