Revision: A Work In Progress

I have an incredible amount of people who want to know about my revision process. I've decided to publish a growing-hub (One that I add to as the mood strikes me.) that specifically deals with one poem and its revision process. Hopefully, this will help the curious out and provide some food for thought. In this case, I'll go ahead and set down the rough draft of a poem I jotted down not thirty minutes ago to use for this hub. It's as yet untitled.


Suppose, for a moment

You are one of those who find art navigable

Who can immerse themselves indefinitely

In the smatterings of a bygone age, and just suppose

I am the artist, with the mooncalf idea

That others will appreciate my artfulness.


Suppose I only find honesty

When it's buried deep inside me,

The Bracchiosaurus fossil in the room

Everyone (including me) is ignoring,

The click-clack choo-choo that never

Quite manages to pull into the station.


When I suppose, logically,

The white carpet in my foyer is my god,

Second only to the wax-job on my husband's beemer,

My morning coffee with its costly creamer.


Just supposing, a faceless voice intervenes

(sounding a little like Charles Heston)

In my sopoforic stupor, postcard life,

The demon Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa

"It could happen to you" becomes it did,

The morphine Drip of certainty is gone,

And the party becomes a sad pageantry, and then

Suppose it all away...


Now, I'm going to leave it alone for a bit so I can come back to it tomorrow fresh and decide how I want to start.

First Revision

Do you suppose I could use any more suppositions in this poem? Not sure if I like them yet or not, so I'll leave them for now. The next problem I see is the stanzas. In free verse, there is no set stanza or line length, but I don't really like how I set this one up. For this revision, I'll condense it down a bit, and trim some of the fat. for example: In the third stanza, I don't like the beemer/creamer rhyme. (I didn't even realize I did that) So I'm going to toss both those lines out and see what happens. I can always add some version of them later if I feel it needs it.

Next, I don't particularly like the line, "I only find honesty when it's buried deep inside me," but I feel I need the word "buried" in there to go along with the "brachiosaurus" comment. So, I'll just see if I can work it over.

Now I'll merge the third and fourth stanzas and toss out the line "the demon Ravana shaking Mount Kalaisa" because that adds nothing to the poem, really and was basically just my self-important attempt to illustrate how well-read I am. This, fortunately, is not that kind of poem.

Voila, I have my first revision!

Now it reads:

Suppose, for a moment

You are one of those who find art navigable

Who can immerse themselves indefinitely

In the smatterings of a bygone age, and just suppose

I am the artist, with the mooncalf idea

That others will appreciate my artfulness.


Suppose deeply buried honesty,

The Brachiosaurus fossil in the room

Everyone (including me) is ignoring,

The click-clack choo-choo that never

Quite manages to pull into the station.


When I suppose, logically,

The white carpet in my foyer is my god,

a faceless voice intervenes

(sounding a little like Charles Heston)

In my sopoforic stupor, postcard life,

"It could happen to you" becomes it did,

The morphine Drip of certainty is gone,

And the party becomes a sad pageantry, and then

Suppose it all away...



Second Revision


I'm still not happy with certain lines throughout my poem, but i think I'll just focus on the last stanza first, as it's in the worst shape. I'm cutting the line (Sounding a little like Charles Heston) for now, as it doesn't really add anything but a touch of humor. (Also I actually meant Charleton Heston.) I can put it back in later if I decide it is needed, but I'm thinking it just slows me down. The word stupor is coming out. It does add sussenance to the line, but it feels like a reituration on sopoforic and that way, I can take out the comma. Generally speaking, I try to minimize puncuation and use the enjambent (the way the poem is broken up into lines) to do it for me. I'm cutting "The" off of "morphine drip of certainty is gone" and changing up that line a little so that it doesn't slow down a punchy stanza break, and tossing "Suppose it all away..." This means "and the party becomes a sad pageantry, and then," is my last line so it needs a little revamping as well.

My new last stanza:

When I suppose, logically,

The white carpet in my foyer is my god,

A faceless voice intervenes

In my sopoforic postcard life

Certainty's morphine drip is gone

The party becomes a sad pageantry.

Third Revision


This time I'm going to focus on the first two stanzas. I don't care for them being two stanzas, particularly, so I'm going to cut away the fat and try them as one stanza. It's not anything I can't undo later if I choose, and it's worth trying. Now I have:


Suppose, you are one of those who find art navigable

Who can immerse themselves indefinitely

In the smatterings of a bygone age

And that I am the artist, with the mooncalf idea

That others will appreciate my artfulness.

Truth, the Brachiosaurus in the room that we are all ignoring

A click-clack choo-choo that never pulls into its station.


When I suppose, logically,

The white carpet in my foyer is my god,

A faceless voice intervenes

In my sopoforic postcard life

Certainty's morphine drip is gone

The party becomes a sad pageantry.

As you can see, the first stanza now has longer lines. I've sped the poem up. This requires more revamping of the second stanza. In fact, I believe I may make the entire thing one stanza. If it stands alone at that point, I'll leave it, but I may choose to introduce more images and verse to it. Now I have:

Suppose, you are one of those who find art navigable

Who can immerse themselves indefinitely

In the smatterings of a bygone age

And that I am the artist, with the mooncalf idea

That others will appreciate my artfulness.

Truth, the Brachiosaurus in the room that we are all ignoring

A click-clack choo-choo that never pulls into its station.

Logically, the white carpet in my foyer is my god,

Until a faceless voice intervenes in my sopoforic postcard life

Then certainty's morphine drip is gone

And the party becomes a sad pageantry.


Fourth Revision

I'm not entirely happy with my poem, yet. This isn't so much a revision as an addition. I feel it needs more, so I've written another stanza.


On a clear day, heaven can be viewed from my porch

The sun, yellow yolk, waits to be splattered

Across the bareboned hills to set

Daubing frantically my seed-pearls on canvas

It's doubtful any of the posthumous talebearers of the Louvre

Match the pregnancy of the moments they capture

Through art, we are mortified, glorified, and immortalized

Through art, we are made whole.

Fifth Revision

You guessed it; time to trim more fat.

First Stanza: I'm going to get rid of "A click-clack choo-choo that never pulls into its station" because I feel like the line prior to it already states the same idea so it's unnecessary. I also don't like "sopoforific postcard life" so I'll get rid of the word "life" and see if that fixes the problem. I'm also going to combine the last two lines into one.

Second Stanza: I'm actually going to add a line on this one, even as I combine two of the other lines. I want more clarity in this stanza as now is not the time to be getting obscure. I'm also going to add some punctuation for a bit more punch to a few of the lines.

Suppose, you are one of those who find art navigable

Who can immerse themselves indefinitely

In the smatterings of a bygone age

And that I am the artist, with the mooncalf idea

That others will appreciate my artfulness.

Truth, the Brachiosaurus in the room that we are all ignoring

Logically, the white carpet in my foyer is my god,

Until a faceless voice intervenes in my sopoforic postcard

Then, certainty's morphine drip becomes sad pageantry.


On a clear day, heaven can be viewed from my porch

The sun, yellow yolk, waits to be splattered across bareboned hills

While fleecy godlets gambol tirelessly, in whatever form they please

Daubing frantically, I lay my seed-pearls on canvas.

It's doubtful any of the posthumous talebearers of the Louvre

Match the pregnancy of the moments they capture.

Through art, we are mortified, glorified, and immortalized

Through our art, we are made whole.

Sixth Revision

I've decided I don't like the pace of this poem after all so I'm going to break it up into four stanzas of four lines each. This requires me to get rid of a line and after careful reflection I've decided to do that in the current second and third lines. I still don't like "sopoforic postcard." It feels redundant so I'll just get rid of it altogether. The "fleecy godlets" line needs some work and I need something different at the end. The current ending seems too general.

It's also time to think about a title for this poem. So I'll try one out. A title is tough because your poem is often judged by the title alone and you want it to add something to the poem and not be another redundancy. I'll try one out and see what I think of it in a while.

Poet's Creed


Suppose, you are one of those who find art navigable

immersing yourself in the smatterings of a bygone age

And that I am the artist, with the mooncalf idea

That others will appreciate my artfulness.


Truth, the Brachiosaurus in the room that we are all ignoring

Logically, the white carpet in my foyer is my god,

Until a faceless voice intervenes

certainty's morphine drip becomes sad pageantry.


On a clear day, heaven can be viewed from my porch

The sun, yellow yolk, waits to be splattered across bareboned hills

While fleecy godlets gambol formlessly about

Daubing frantically, I lay my seed-pearls on canvas.


It's doubtful any of the posthumous talebearers of the Louvre

Match the pregnancy of the moments they capture.

Through our art, we are mortified and immortalized

Veracity germinating across the page.

7th Revision

I have a problem in my second stanza. I don't care for the flow of the last two lines. I don't think they have good imagery and they feel cliche to me. I walked away for a couple of months and now I feel like I've gained some perspective. The title feels pompous. I'll try reducing it. It's time to address the issue of the meaning behind the poem and the driving force behind its creation. Basically, this poem is about my creative process. It's a poem about writing poetry and the creation of a poem. It certainly didn't begin that way but that is what it turned out to be and I really like it. This is going to be my final draft of it... unless I decide to tweak it down the line a few years from now. I began this thinking I'd write about death and ended up writing about life. They really are two sides of the same coin. The point I'm trying to make here is that you can't be afraid to play with your creations. Sometimes you can take something good and make it wonderful. My first draft of this one turned out well. This 7th draft, much better. See what you think. It's all open to interpretation. It's poetry.

POET


Suppose, you are one of those who find art navigable

immersing yourself in the smatterings of a bygone age

and that I am the artist, with the mooncalf idea

that others will appreciate my artfulness


Truth, the Brachiosaurus in the room that we are all ignoring

Logically, the white carpet in my foyer is my god,

then faceless, a voice interrupts certainty's morphine drip

no more scurrying anthills of mights and maybes.


On a clear day, heaven can be viewed from my porch

The sun, yellow yolk, waits to be splattered across bareboned hills

While fleecy godlets gambol formlessly about it.

Daubing frantically, I lay my seed-pearls on canvas.


It's doubtful any of the posthumous talebearers of the Louvre

Match the pregnancy of the moments they capture.

Through our art, we are mortified and immortalized

Veracity germinating across the page.




How many times do you revise your work before feeling like it's done?

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Comments 21 comments

gguy profile image

gguy 5 years ago from new jersey usa

I like your whole concept!!


northweststarr profile image

northweststarr 5 years ago from Washington State Author

TY gguy! I'll take any suggestions as well! (Yes, I know it's spelled brachiosaurus. It'll be fixed. lol)


gguy profile image

gguy 5 years ago from new jersey usa

OK, us Reptiles and amphibians stick together!!! LOL


Plarson profile image

Plarson 5 years ago from Alabama

Starr- This sounds like a novel concept, the sharing of the birth and developement of a poem. How will we be notified, or will we be notified everytime you update the poem? -Paul


gguy profile image

gguy 5 years ago from new jersey usa

Starr, a lot of people don't realize that the creative process is one of ongoing refinement, I have studied the work of Walt Disney, and so many people think you just have a great idea and it is an instant sucess, so they give up when it does not pan out, it just does not work that way!! keep up the good work!!


northweststarr profile image

northweststarr 5 years ago from Washington State Author

Plarson, if you are following the hub, you should be notified every time I update the hub. I will attempt to work on it every day or two. (Got busy and didn't get the chance yesterday) TY for your interest! I like your description of my hub... "birth and development" that is essentially what this is. You hit the nail right on the head. gguy, totally agree with you that most people don't realize the kind of revision that goes into (or should go into) poetry and/or fiction. TY!


Plarson profile image

Plarson 5 years ago from Alabama

Starr- ty for the clarification. -Paul


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 5 years ago from Louisiana

I liked the first one better. I dont really revise my work, I look over it a few times for errors, and change certain words or the way I wrote a sentence to make it sound better, if it doesnt sound right in the first place, but I usually do that as I am writing it, so once it is all done its still the first "version" of the poem, and the only version. which is usually better than to keep changing it, I understand if you arent happy with it, but maybe you are just being overly critical of yourself. because, like I said, I think the first one of this was the best. :)


northweststarr profile image

northweststarr 5 years ago from Washington State Author

TY for your opinion Nikki_gurl!

Everyone's different of course! I think you'll find that the finished product will be better than the initial rough draft, though... Got lots more kinks to iron out.


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 5 years ago from Louisiana

yep, everyone is. but so far, the first is the best to me. I will try to be on the look out for the final one, you should post it in a seperate hub so we will know when you publish it.


northweststarr profile image

northweststarr 5 years ago from Washington State Author

Not sure when that will happen.This one has a ways to go. That's a good idea Nikki_gurl, tell you what, I'll be happy to message you when it's completed as I don't really want a seperate hub for this. (The idea is to watch the revision process.)


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 5 years ago from Louisiana

yea i get that, just be sure to comment or something that its done so we will get notified and check it out. :)


northweststarr profile image

northweststarr 5 years ago from Washington State Author

Will do Nikki_gurl!


Aarisa profile image

Aarisa 5 years ago from Cleveland, Oh

I teach English and would love to share your revisions with my classes. This is an excellent example on analyzing your own work. Do yo mind if i share this? Btw...I'm never done revising. With every read-through I see changes that could be made.


northweststarr profile image

northweststarr 5 years ago from Washington State Author

I know what you mean about never done revising... At least it feels that way most of the time! What age group do you teach?


Aarisa profile image

Aarisa 5 years ago from Cleveland, Oh

I teach middle school in an urban district. Revising is like pulling teeth for many of my students. I love my job and have developed a system to make Standard English relevant to them. Check out some of my hubs... or visit www.aarisa.webs.com to see. Thanks for allowing me to use this with my classes. They don't believe me that good writers are never done making changes; that's why they need a publisher to put a deadline on their work.


northweststarr profile image

northweststarr 5 years ago from Washington State Author

Excellent! Glad someone found a good use for this hub! Are you going to wait until it's finished or use it now? It's got a few revisions to go!


Aarisa 5 years ago

School doesn't start up again until the end of Aug. I'll wait until September, most likely.


northweststarr profile image

northweststarr 5 years ago from Washington State Author

Forget I asked that...


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 5 years ago from Colorado

Lovely concept here starr. I also teach middle school and this is great for modeling to the kids what real writing is about. They so often see only the finished product and they think it is "birthed" that way--not by a long shot.

For myself, I liked revision three most. The first version had interesting ideas, but lacked clarity. The second got sharper, but, as you observed, still had some fat to trim. The third version was succinct and had clarity in its direction. I do agree that it needed something more, but the stanza added in the fourth version seemed to move in a very different direction, confusing me.

In any case, it will be interesting to follow your thoughts as they evolve on this.

One question: In this hub you talk a great deal about shaping words and trimming fat, but you don't talk much about where you actually feel the poem is going. That is, you don't talk much about what you are actually trying to accomplish with the poem. I'm just curious if this enters your thought process, or if you prefer to stay within the "organic" evolution of meaning from the words.

Best,

wayseeker


northweststarr profile image

northweststarr 5 years ago from Washington State Author

Hey Seeker, I never try to accomplish anything with a poem right away. My poems always evolve from their original state and I don't quite know the meaning of them myself until I'm about finished. Yes, I'm going in a new direction with the addition of the second stanza, but i felt it needed it and I'll still attempt to form it into a cohesive whole at the end. I always feel my stanzas should stand on their own or what would be the point of making them into stanzas? There are of course a few exceptions to this rule. (Like form poems)

Hope you like the finished product!

--Starr

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