Monday, February 28, 2011


this weekend was a blur and though i try not to be exhausted this opening after a week of closing schedule takes its toll. not much can be done about that, but i've slept a bit and feel human again.

considering a lot of revisions on my work and that is taxing in itself. it's not that the revisions are so major, many of them i even agree with and accept, it's just the poem that is slated for a major overhaul is one that i am deeply connected to. i am told to change it for the program and do what i want later. would it were so simple for me.

the thing about poetry is, it's not prose. so when i'm told to strengthen my verb (which is a phrase i am borrowing from a past critique) and then in the space of the same poem told that i am relying too heavily on verbs i wonder which words to focus on. fewer strong verbs is i guess the answer, but again, were it that simple i'd have done it.

there is a redundancy that i use, a way i reiterate. nothing. nada. zilch. like that. i say the same thing in a different way. when someone asks me to cut the nada and zilch, i flinch a bit because while the words may be the same, in the same vein, it is the repetition i'm after. i am told that a prosaic consideration is not to use unnecessary words, but this is poetry. is poetry bound to the same rules as prose? i believe not. that is my dilemma. if i'm doing something for a sound device, as i notice when i alter a verb in a line from dangling to dangle, the sound of the line changes. the cadence changes. i try to explain this, but i talk mostly with prose writers and they look at me.

just as when the fonts on the page are not doing what they could, i balk. i have this one word with accents and the accents in the chosen font disrupt the visual impact of the word. slightly mauling the word, so, to me, this is a font issue and cause for concern. a new font considered. if i use a sanserif i can fit an entire poem on a page in this particular font. however, if i go with my mainstay serif, the poem extends a foot on a second page. in a thesis when page count rules, this seems to be an easy solution, go with the sanserif to get in the pages. to preserve the layout of the poem, because when a poem kicks onto a second page, i prefer to lay it out on facing pages, so the poem is still on one visual field. (i know, i'm such a dork)

poetry, my friends, is art. we use words and negative space to create the visual impact.

so, the issue remains, preserve the page number though the sanserif font alters the look of an accented word or keep searching for a serif font that works.

i am going to first try a different font for the accented passage in question. fortunately, it is an epigraph and can be set in a separate font, though i do not go for any more than three fonts in a book, this would be my third font.

all i want is a clean poetic line. an image that is presented on the page the way i see it. and a font that lends itself to the poem.

these are the nerdy considerations on my mind of late. they are pressing. i had a flash of insight last night, as i had put together my poetry collection in a particular way the best i could. the final three poems were remnants and i wasn't sure how to exit the book. so last night i get this flash and had to jump out of bed to see if it is what i did with those poems, how i ordered them because the overall theme of the book is addressed, summed up, if you will, in these concluding poems. lightning strike, if i can pull it off (and if it passes my prof's muster), and sure enough, i had them in that order. sigh of relief, off to bed.

my dreams were troubling, stress dreams a friend calls them.

though i have very little to stress about, she laughs as the line falls from her fingers, i am still having stress dreams.

i'm awake now, the day is new, the task at hand will resolve itself.
and the poems will grow from revision.

one thing i said to my prof is, i don't want to end up around the corner and down the street with these poems in revision. because that is not revising, that's mining a poem for new work. if i'm going to revise this poem, let it remain true to the spirit of this poem and improve, not evolve. there is a time and place for evolution, under the guise of revision is not it.


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