PDA

View Full Version : Editing of poems



alaktas
07-29-2015, 12:04 AM
Hello,

This might sound a bit like a silly question, but when someone finishes writing a poem, does the poem need to be edited? Much like an author who writes a novel has his/her novel edited..

If the answer is yes, who do you send your poem to for editing? I'm guessing some kind of literary professional who specifically handles poetry?

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 12:27 AM
http://i457.photobucket.com/albums/qq291/whaskins/jerqctlovn70rfplqtut_zpsbrbpapxp.gif

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 01:16 AM
Someone really needs to teach Jesus how to eat popcorn.

:popcorn:

Every poet needs a Virgil. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9025194/The-mystery-of-poetry-editing-from-TS-Eliot-to-John-Burnside.html)


Wordsworth had Coleridge; Tennyson had Arthur Hallam; and Edward Thomas had Robert Frost. However, the best-preserved example of one poet editing another is Ezra Pound’s work on TS Eliot’s The Waste Land. The poem’s manuscript, first published in 1971 and now available on a snazzy iPad app (http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-waste-land/id427434046?mt=8), shows Pound’s boldness. On the first page of the second part, “A Game of Chess”, he wrote disapprovingly: “Too tum-pum at a stretch”; further down he complains a line is “too penty” – too regular a pentameter. Eliot redrafted the lines until he got an “OK” in the margin. Eliot acknowledged his friend’s role when he dedicated the 1925 edition to Pound, calling him Il miglior fabbro or “the better craftsman” – a phrase from Dante.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 01:21 AM
Someone really needs to teach Jesus how to eat popcorn.



it keeps falling through the hole in his hand.

Magdalen
07-29-2015, 01:23 AM
Someone really needs to teach Jesus how to eat popcorn.


it keeps falling through the hole in his hand.

Maybe if the kernels were wafer thin?


And then there's the Poetry Critique Forum, right here on AW!!!

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?85-Poetry-Critique

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 01:30 AM
yep. they'll edit you up something fierce...

alaktas
07-29-2015, 01:49 AM
http://i457.photobucket.com/albums/qq291/whaskins/jerqctlovn70rfplqtut_zpsbrbpapxp.gif


Such shattering insight. This forum has become pathetic. So much for newbies looking to acquire helpful information on writing. Might as well go to another writer's forum where they don't belittle others looking to learn the ins and outs of professional writing.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 01:55 AM
Hmmm. Has anyone here had a publisher suggest changes to a poem, or just make changes without asking?

Stew21
07-29-2015, 01:58 AM
Hmm.

Well. Yes. Poems do need editing, like any other writing. Just as a novelist would revise and edit a manuscript several times before submitting to a publisher or agent.

Most poets edit their poems for themselves, or share them here in the critique forum, but I suppose you already knew that.

If you want a professional to edit for you, I'd say good luck with that. I have not ever heard of someone who made a career out of editing poetry unless the editor is involved in the publication, so already under contract, and not before, to ready it for submission.

so there's your answer.

As for William's picture. It had more to do with what he thought of the posts that followed would be, and less to do with your question. No need to bend out of shape. But of course if you'd like to ask in other web communities about professional poetry editors, be my guest.I imagine you'll get the same (or similar) answers.

The popcorn eating didn't really start until you took offense to it, so I'd say that was an insightful prediction.

I happen to think Kyla's input was extra interesting. and Magdalen's is what I was going to say. You want editing, post your poems in the crit forum. You'll get suggestions for improvement.



But whatever. Now I want popcorn.

Stew21
07-29-2015, 02:00 AM
Hmmm. Has anyone here had a publisher suggest changes to a poem, or just make changes without asking?

I've only heard of suggested changes, when a publisher has already contracted the work. The actual edits are usually the poet's to make, AFAIK.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 02:04 AM
Such shattering insight. This forum has become pathetic. So much for newbies looking to acquire helpful information on writing. Might as well go to another writer's forum where they don't belittle others looking to learn the ins and outs of professional writing.

it wasn't in any way seeking to belittle you.

it was an implied "this oughta be good" sentiment. while i realize it wasn't very helpful, others better than me have weighed in and have already contributed valuable insights with, no doubt, more to come.

just because i'm pathetic doesn't mean the forum is, so please don't judge it by my behavior.

welcome to the forum and best wishes on your development as a poet.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 02:06 AM
^ +1.

alaktas, you have to make allowances for (some of) us poets. We tend to play in unexpected directions. Like William responding to future posts in advance, f'rinstance.

:greenie

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 02:06 AM
Such shattering insight. This forum has become pathetic. So much for newbies looking to acquire helpful information on writing. Might as well go to another writer's forum where they don't belittle others looking to learn the ins and outs of professional writing.

Your first mistake was coming to a poetry forum to talk about professional writing. Oops.

You have twenty-five posts since you joined in May. What do you know about "what this forum has become"? Either you used to be here under another name (and why a different one now?), you've been lurking (and haven't picked up anything about how lucrative poetry is), or you don't have any idea of the forum's evolution.

Your question did sound silly at first. That's okay - questions are great. On reflection, I thought it raised a valuable discussion topic, hence my earlier post.

But the drama is probably unmerited. I hope you stick around and continue to get involved, but go or stay as you wish.

Stew21
07-29-2015, 02:07 AM
it was in fun, William. It's fine.

Alaktas, we have fun here, but sometimes our general discussions get rather interesting.

alaktas
07-29-2015, 02:19 AM
it wasn't in any way seeking to belittle you.

it was an implied "this oughta be good" sentiment. while i realize it wasn't very helpful, others better than me have weighed in and have already contributed valuable insights with, no doubt, more to come.

just because i'm pathetic doesn't mean the forum is, so please don't judge it by my behavior.

welcome to the forum and best wishes on your development as a poet.

Fair enough. I'll take your word for it and let bygones be bygones.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 02:26 AM
super. you're a peach.

Lillith1991
07-29-2015, 02:27 AM
Hello,

This might sound a bit like a silly question, but when someone finishes writing a poem, does the poem need to be edited? Much like an author who writes a novel has his/her novel edited..

If the answer is yes, who do you send your poem to for editing? I'm guessing some kind of literary professional who specifically handles poetry?

Why wouldn't a poem need editing in order to shine it's best? Poetry is a craft, just like writing short stories and novels is a craft.

If you're asking if their freelance editiors that edit poetry? Then I'm again going to say, sure there's freelance editors who take poetry. But most novelists and short story writers edit their work themselves with the help of betas and agents instead of paying for someone to make the edits for them. Which isn't what an editor of any sort with professional integrety does. They tend to make notes, telling the writer what needs to be changed, but they don't choose the how it is changed. That is up to the wroter to do and not the editor. And as I mentioned before, poetry isn't much different in that respect. The person editing suggests something needs changing and the writer is the one to decide how.

Are you perhapse talking about copy editing and not content enditing?

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 02:41 AM
i will acknowledge i am in the minority, but i believe poems should only be edited by the poet, if then.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 02:46 AM
I agree, even though I posted that article link (which I found extremely interesting by the way.)

MacAllister
07-29-2015, 03:05 AM
i will acknowledge i am in the minority, but i believe poems should only be edited by the poet, if then.

It's an interesting situation. Certainly, Eliot's The Wasteland (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176735) wouldn't be what it is without Ezra Pound's tampering (http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/eliot/composition.htm).

Sarita
07-29-2015, 03:31 AM
i will acknowledge i am in the minority, but i believe poems should only be edited by the poet, if then.


It's an interesting situation. Certainly, Eliot's The Wasteland (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176735) wouldn't be what it is without Ezra Pound's tampering (http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/eliot/composition.htm).

I think there's quite a difference between a trusted fellow poet, giving advice about a volume of poetry and allowing an editor to red-pen your beauties. Though, I wouldn't argue that iron sharpened iron, in the case of Pound & Eliot, and we are all the better for it. I'm sure Eliot had a soft spot for Pound's advice, given the success it yielded.

But in general, I'm with William.

Steppe
07-29-2015, 03:45 AM
So the question arises, is the edited poem still the original poets? Shouldn't the one editing be considered a co-poet? Pointing out obvious errors of grammar (yuk?) or spelling is one thing, offering new ways to say a thing is another.

When does the poem cease to be the original poets?

CassandraW
07-29-2015, 03:47 AM
Such shattering insight. This forum has become pathetic. So much for newbies looking to acquire helpful information on writing. Might as well go to another writer's forum where they don't belittle others looking to learn the ins and outs of professional writing.

Now you've gone and hurt William's feelings.



I'm with William on the editing thing. I appreciate suggestions, and have incorporated some on occasion, but I really don't think someone else could "edit" my poems.

Eta:

Personally, I'd far rather my poem go unpublished than make changes to it that I didn't feel were exactly right. I select every word with a great deal of thought -- it is rare that I feel someone else hit it on the nose better than I did. When I'm on the fence about something specific, I'll usually ask for input on that specific issue.

That said, I'm not looking to make money on my poetry. I'm looking to capture an emotion, image, or experience as closely as I can, and it is quite personal. As usual, YMMV.

skelly
07-29-2015, 03:53 AM
Hmmm. Has anyone here had a publisher suggest changes to a poem, or just make changes without asking?

Without asking, yes. Usually typos but I've had some problems with titles. Back in the 90's Mark Rich or Rodger Dutcher managed to change "Eleven Years After the Fall of the Astronomers" to "Eleven Years After the Fall of the Astronauts." In Star*Line "This Prophet Speaks the Rhythm" became "This Prophet Speaks Rhythm." You grit your teeth and move on.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 04:02 AM
It's an interesting situation. Certainly, Eliot's The Wasteland (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176735) wouldn't be what it is without Ezra Pound's tampering (http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/eliot/composition.htm).


of course, but then eliot's the wasteland wouldn't be what it is without ezra pound's tampering, if you get what i'm saying.

i am certainly not disputing the validity (if not outright necessity) of editing prose, especially for publication.

but i come from a hardheaded perspective on poetry, which i consider to be a highly personal art form with a singular vision, like a painting.... which is to say, many painters create sketches and studies in preparation and may even create multiple versions. but (by and large), painters don't turn their canvases over to others to add, subtract or revise.

i know that my position may come off as arrogant or short-sighted, and could even be to the detriment of my standing or legacy as a poet, but it's an honest principle.

skelly
07-29-2015, 04:17 AM
i know that my position may come off as arrogant or short-sided, and could even be to the detriment of my standing or legacy as a poet, but it's an honest principle.

Nothing arrogant about it. My idol ee cummings couldn't edit my poetry. As Steppe points out that would make it "our" poem, and more likely his. That doesn't mean I wouldn't take a long hard listen to his advice and opinions, though.

Stew21
07-29-2015, 04:18 AM
I agree. I will always consider suggestions and love feedback for improvement, but in all, I'm the only one who changes my words.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 04:21 AM
protracted suicide letters should not be written by committee.

Stew21
07-29-2015, 04:23 AM
And I believe the original post was about having poetry edited by a "pro" prior to submission to a poetry publisher. And that's a different thing.
Not many pro poetry editors out there.
Not many poetry publishers.


I could be wrong and the discussion is interesting regardless.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 04:25 AM
it's an important distinction, and i have the luxury of a "hands-off" approach because i don't seek publication.

for those in the game, the rules may vary.

skelly
07-29-2015, 04:31 AM
And I believe the original post was about having poetry edited by a "pro" prior to submission to a poetry publisher. And that's a different thing.
Not many pro poetry editors out there.
Not many poetry publishers.


I could be wrong and the discussion is interesting regardless.

I've published a fair amount of poetry and not counting the flubs I mention earlier I've never been asked by an editor to make any changes. Granted, I don't publish in "literary" venues, but I don't write for those tight asses anyway. My poetry seems to fall into two well defined categories: shit people like and shit they don't.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 04:33 AM
Why wouldn't a poem need editing in order to shine it's best? Poetry is a craft, just like writing short stories and novels is a craft.

If you're asking if their freelance editiors that edit poetry? Then I'm again going to say, sure there's freelance editors who take poetry. But most novelists and short story writers edit their work themselves with the help of betas and agents instead of paying for someone to make the edits for them. Which isn't what an editor of any sort with professional integrety does. They tend to make notes, telling the writer what needs to be changed, but they don't choose the how it is changed. That is up to the wroter to do and not the editor. And as I mentioned before, poetry isn't much different in that respect. The person editing suggests something needs changing and the writer is the one to decide how.

Are you perhapse talking about copy editing and not content enditing?

Oh, well played! Game, set, match: Lillith

Stew21
07-29-2015, 04:33 AM
I don't have skin in that game and never will, but even if I did, my poems will always just be mine.

Suggestions, feedback, praise for good, understanding intent and offering even the slightest indication of something not working, reading other's poetry and discovering what works for me is the "committee" part and a wonderful one.
I change my words alone.

So far, this is the best place I've found to make that possible.
It has nothing to do with publication and everything to do with a labor of love.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 04:34 AM
Oh, well played! Game, set, match: Lillith

before we fold up the net and head to the bar, is 'enditing' specific editing of the ending?

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 04:35 AM
super. you're a peach.

I'd just like to say that I had my user title long before this post.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 04:36 AM
before we fold up the net and head to the bar, is 'enditing' specific editing of the ending?
Yes, if theirs professional editiors with integrety.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 04:36 AM
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by William Haskins http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9505838#post9505838)

super. you're a peach.



I'd just like to say that I had my user title long before this post.

perhaps i subconsciously appropriated it in my quest to avoid posting "fuck yourself" up there.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 04:38 AM
That's pretty much the zeitgeist anyway, hey?

Stew21
07-29-2015, 04:39 AM
Worst thing about Santa Clara. All the fucking vampires.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 04:48 AM
I'm inclined to imagine poetry editors being of the same ilk as music producers. You might choose one that can help achieve a certain aim or a particular quality. That quality might be commercial success, or some sort of haunting quality, or lush strings. And maybe you (or your agent) would choose an editor/producer like you'd choose a guitar (eta: for example,Stratocaster twang/bite vs Les Paul growl/wail vs Ovation 12-string jingle/sparkle), knowing what it would do for you.

So, if you wanted your poem to sell, you'd look up the editors of the Billboard Top 40 Poems, right?

Stew21
07-29-2015, 04:57 AM
perhaps i subconsciously appropriated it in my quest to avoid posting "fuck yourself" up there.

Now If you ever call me a peach , you can anticipate my response.

CassandraW
07-29-2015, 05:09 AM
I'll be calling a lot of people peaches in P&CE from now on. It'll be super.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 05:14 AM
protracted suicide letters should not be written by committee.
"We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 05:14 AM
Some people are peaches, some are the pits.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 05:18 AM
Well then, I'm movin' to the country.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 05:20 AM
If you don't want my peaches, don't shake my tree.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 05:24 AM
If you want to remove peaches, does that mean you're in de-pÍche mode?

Stew21
07-29-2015, 05:26 AM
"We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
Choose well who you hang with because that might be who you hang with.
My mother was right.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 05:27 AM
Where'd that popcorn-eating Jesus get to? I bet peaches wouldn't fall through them holes.

I shall wear my trousers rolled.

CassandraW
07-29-2015, 05:27 AM
If you want to remove peaches, does that mean you're in de-pÍche mode?

Your logic is unimpeachable.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 05:28 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO7OLE_OK1s&noredirect=1

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 05:31 AM
*unmutes*

CassandraW
07-29-2015, 05:31 AM
Does your mother know you post links like that, young man?

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 05:33 AM
a more kid-friendly version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2jb3mKp7Ek

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 05:33 AM
I shall wear my trousers rolled.
25% of Bunnymen agree.

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g133/poetinahat/echo_zpsf9ca5fky.jpg

Stew21
07-29-2015, 05:33 AM
Aw man. I thought you were going here.https://youtu.be/wvAnQqVJ3XQ

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 05:36 AM
spare us the cutter, rob.

- - - Updated - - -


Does your mother know you post links like that, young man?

that is my mother.

Magdalen
07-29-2015, 05:36 AM
Hmmm. Has anyone here had a publisher suggest changes to a poem, or just make changes without asking?

Now that you asked, Yes. At an online venue, certain "recommendations" about poems I'd submitted were made. I really wasn't expecting that - not that it wasn't going to be accepted if I didn't change it, but I did end up changing a few words.


So the question arises, is the edited poem still the original poets? Shouldn't the one editing be considered a co-poet? Pointing out obvious errors of grammar (yuk?) or spelling is one thing, offering new ways to say a thing is another.

When does the poem cease to be the original poets?

That's a good point - also along the lines of William's POV, as it were. To be honest, I've made & received a lot of private suggestions on specific poems with several AW poets and I feel the exchanges have improved my work.


of course, but then eliot's the wasteland wouldn't be what it is without ezra pound's tampering, if you get what i'm saying.

i am certainly not disputing the validity (if not outright necessity) of editing prose, especially for publication.

but i come from a hardheaded perspective on poetry, which i consider to be a highly personal art form with a singular vision, like a painting.... which is to say, many painters create sketches and studies in preparation and may even create multiple versions. but (by and large), painters don't turn their canvases over to others to add, subtract or revise.

i know that my position may come off as arrogant or short-sighted, and could even be to the detriment of my standing or legacy as a poet, but it's an honest principle.

I strongly agree with you - while I might not be as stubborn about it since I'm also very soft-hearted - and your comments reminded me of an artist friend I had who worked it colored pencil and ink (laid down via rapidiograph pen - there's little room to err, much less re-do or edit).

I don't think "edit" is the right word here, at all. I think there's (obiviously)

room (& time) for "a hundred visions and revisions before the taking of a toast and tea."

!

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 05:37 AM
Aw man. I thought you were going here.https://youtu.be/wvAnQqVJ3XQ

didn't meet the titty quota.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 05:37 AM
My theory is that Miss Piggy improves anything.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 05:39 AM
Mags wins the thread.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 05:40 AM
To be honest, I've made & received a lot of private suggestions on specific poems with several AW poets and I feel the exchanges have improved my work.

this is an important distinction, so thank you for saying this. i can recall instances i have revised based on feedback here, including folks involved in this thread.

CassandraW
07-29-2015, 05:41 AM
that is my mother.

This explains so much.

Stew21
07-29-2015, 05:41 AM
didn't meet the titty quota.
Noted.
Amended.

https://youtu.be/SgyeshD8RJY

Stew21
07-29-2015, 05:44 AM
this is an important distinction, so thank you for saying this. i can recall instances i have revised based on feedback here, including folks involved in this thread.
Mag, you are so right.
No doubt.
Suggestions make us better.
But they are suggestions. I am still the one who puts the pen to it.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 05:45 AM
This explains so much.

It does.

Magdalen
07-29-2015, 05:54 AM
I agree. I will always consider suggestions and love feedback for improvement, but in all, I'm the only one who changes my words.

I think I missed this while I was typing mine - reminded me to "use my words" which is a surefire way to find a poem on my pillow soon!!! Totally agree!

Magdalen
07-29-2015, 05:57 AM
Hmmm. Has anyone here had a publisher suggest changes to a poem, or just make changes without asking?




protracted suicide letters should not be written by committee.

If folks would just learn to write suicide poems individually, and use a compass, the moon would be far less blue if and when they tried to shoot for it. In my opinion.

C.bronco
07-29-2015, 06:03 AM
I edit as I go. I look at it and see if it is doing what I wanted. I will scrap poems and write new ones until I get the one that says what I intended.

There are many who workshop poems. They work and rework them with criticism from groups.

I know if something is working and needs tweaking, and if something needs to be scrapped until I find a better way.

There is much to be said for both strategies, but I am more likely to scrap something until I hit on it. I won't feel upset if the initial effort is a dud.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 06:05 AM
the thought of workshopping just makes me think of piles of bloody limbs.

C.bronco
07-29-2015, 06:12 AM
I was lucky to be in poetry groups with people who reacted instead of dissected. Thank you Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation!!!!

I wrote several pieces before I finally got the one I wanted about a particular topic. It wasn't from analyzing every comma or pronoun.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 06:13 AM
the thought of workshopping just makes me think of piles of bloody limbs.
Hence the expression "trunk novel"?

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 06:13 AM
i completely acknowledge it's me, not them.

i'm sure it can be a healthy and illuminating exercise for those whose process can sustain it.

for better or worse, mine cannot.

Magdalen
07-29-2015, 06:19 AM
the thought of workshopping just makes me think of piles of bloody limbs.


Hence the expression "trunk novel"?

double L double O double L!!!

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 06:23 AM
This, I think, is the crux of the matter. The OP related to readying a poem for submission to publish. Most of the discussion is around the poet's aim of perfecting the work for its own sake, from a personal standpoint.

Fitness for publication, to most in this thread, appears to be incidental: if it happens, fine, but it's not the primary goal. In terms of this discussion, it's more art for art's sake: personal expression, and reaching the reader in some fashion.

Stew21
07-29-2015, 06:26 AM
I find that i rarely take full suggestions.
So i have to agree.
I am not after a Franken-poem.
Legit crit gets me.
Readers' choice is peaches.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 06:26 AM
yeppers.

to go back to the OP and address the question directly. yes, there are people who will take your money and tell you how your poem could be better. far preferable, if you don't completely trust your work is "ready" for whatever secondary purpose you have in mind, is to buddy up to a poet who knows their shit and ask for some honest advice.

C.bronco
07-29-2015, 06:30 AM
This, I think, is the crux of the matter. The OP related to readying a poem for submission to publish. Most of the discussion is around the poet's aim of perfecting the work for its own sake, from a personal standpoint.

Fitness for publication, to most in this thread, appears to be incidental: if it happens, fine, but it's not the primary goal. In terms of this discussion, it's more art for art's sake: personal expression, and reaching the reader in some fashion.

I know an amazing poet who "workshops" a poem until satisfied. She's really good. I can't function that way. I'd rather start anew.

I am 100% with you about writing for the integrity of the piece rather than marketability. Substance is the only thing that survives. I hope I have it.

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 06:31 AM
it'll all be ashes and misremembered fragments soon enough for us all.

C.bronco
07-29-2015, 06:35 AM
The Pulitzer only pays a million. Adrienne Rich is the only poet I know of with an agent. Most of our living major poets work as college professors.

All poets keep their day jobs.

MacAllister
07-29-2015, 06:36 AM
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

(Medievalist reminds me that Shelley was a wanker (http://www.shmoop.com/ozymandias/poem-text.html), though.)

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 06:37 AM
All poets keep their day jobs.

i work as both a shoe-shine boy and a cigarette girl. i'm also a milkman and policewoman.

C.bronco
07-29-2015, 06:39 AM
Rep. You would look saucy in either vocation.

Magdalen
07-29-2015, 06:39 AM
I'm inclined to imagine poetry editors being of the same ilk as music producers. You might choose one that can help achieve a certain aim or a particular quality. That quality might be commercial success, or some sort of haunting quality, or lush strings. And maybe you (or your agent) would choose an editor/producer like you'd choose a guitar, knowing what it would do for you.

So, if you wanted your poem to sell, you'd look up the editors of the Billboard Top 40 Poems, right?


Unless when you got there, they had a really crappy studio & it was dusty & empty while they kept saying they wanted to make "poetry" together, FYI, cause there is no fucking Billboard for Poetry, goddamit!!!


Excuse the fenrch and play no violins. Your guitar analogy is true.

AW Admin
07-29-2015, 06:41 AM
I know that this isn't what most of you mean by "editor," but speaking as someone who has done scholarly editing, what we do is attempt to preserve the poet's work.

If it weren't for my colleagues:

You'd have Coleridge's versions of what Shakespeare and Donne wrote, not what they wrote.
You'd have the 18th century sanitized versions of Shakespeare in which Hamlet marries Ophelia and Cordelia survives.
You'd have the bastard versions of Emily Dickinson's poems, not what she wrote.

C.bronco
07-29-2015, 06:43 AM
I tried to rep Mac for Ozymandias, and it said I already did.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 06:44 AM
And most especially in the case of Dickinson I am deeply grateful!

MacAllister
07-29-2015, 06:45 AM
No worries, C.bronco. I got it. :)

I just read between the non-existent characters, cuz that's what one DOES with poetry...

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 06:45 AM
This is one hell of a silk purse, this thread.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 06:46 AM
Thank Miss Piggy.

Magdalen
07-29-2015, 06:49 AM
This is one hell of a silk purse, this thread.


Thank Miss Piggy.

No shit! The other ear's a football!

C.bronco
07-29-2015, 06:53 AM
Poetry is an amazing and emotional aspect of our experience, and it makes me sad that it lives on the fringes. A poem is like a postcard from our lives, that we can relive and rethink. It can make us gasp in recognition, or see truths in a new light. It can reverberate through our own lives, or haunt us. It can show us things we would not have otherwise understood or recognized. That it is commercially irrelevant confounds me.

Magdalen
07-29-2015, 07:02 AM
Poetry is an amazing and emotional aspect of our experience, and it makes me sad that it lives on the fringes. A poem is like a postcard from our lives, that we can relive and rethink. It can make us gasp in recognition, or see truths in a new light. It can reverberate through our own lives, or haunt us. It can show us things we would not have otherwise understood or recognized. That it is commercially irrelevant confounds me.

QFT.

If there was a church of poetry, I would be there every Sunday - assuming it started after noon, of course.

Steppe
07-29-2015, 07:04 AM
I doubt that there is a editor out there who reads a poem and does not want to rewrite it to suite him/her self. I write a small poem and most who read it would write it differently. Write a long poem with the same results.

Poetry inspirers the reader and they want to change it or write one of there own.

If I were going to submit my poems to someone for review and suggestions, it would have to be someone that I thought understood what I was trying to do with my poems, understood my poetics.

Kylabelle
07-29-2015, 07:09 AM
On the fringe...... C Bronco, maybe that's where it has to live, given what's in the middle.

Ah, a church of poetry. I just discovered there is a book of letters exchanged between Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder over the years.....they're both pretty religious dudes in different ways, and they go there. It's on my list to get.

poetinahat
07-29-2015, 05:28 PM
Unless when you got there, they had a really crappy studio & it was dusty & empty while they kept saying they wanted to make "poetry" together, FYI, cause there is no fucking Billboard for Poetry, goddamit!!!

Let's make it happen.

The Poetry Top 40, I mean.

And if a crappy studio turns up, who knows?

Stew21
07-29-2015, 07:05 PM
It's interesting to me, that the dynamic of a poetry community like this one is reliant on readers and poets, who are, in many cases, the exact same people. The readers are also the writers. (not in every case, but in many of them), so the people we trust to provide feedback on our work, so we can improve, are also the people we are writing to - they are our audience (or at the very least, a large part of our audience).
Extensive feedback and revision (by committee) then sort of becomes the audience informing us how and what we should write. that feedback shapes us as poets, but also changes the face of our poetry to a degree, from what my trusted peers suggested, to what my audience wants to read.
In that way, I am inclined to prefer not to have the extensive suggestions, even when they are provided with the best intentions. It has become a readers' preference critic in some ways, and I don't necessarily think that's a good thing.

don't get me wrong, I love feedback and depend on several poets here to give me insight, thoughtful comments and ideas and suggestions for improvement, but I don't post my work in the critique room anymore, and I do think this is why.

If we all throw our laundry in the same machine, won't it all come out pink? Not that I don't enjoy other people's colors, I just don't necessarily want the bleed of your black or someone else's red on my white shirt. And I don't think you want your black or red to fade away onto someone's beige. (For ten years now, AW has been my poetry's primary home. It is what it is because of this place. I'm probably more tie-dyed than solid these days, but it is dyed in my design and it has become a bit of a brand - We all develop one when we write long enough.)


We give and get a lot as a group here, and that's one of my very favorite things about this place, but our individual instincts as writers and poets need to inform our choices (and our voices). Suggestions and comments, and critiques are helpful and can nudge a direction, but I think (perhaps it sounds arrogant), that I should be the only one who takes a red pen to any of my poems. I feel like that is the only way we can preserve our own voices, and we want to preserve them. I want to always be able to see your brands and colors and not a sea of pinks and grays.

jst5150
07-29-2015, 07:17 PM
A good editor is a godsend. That doesn't mean having or hiring an editor of screenwriting to edit poetry, nor does it mean someone who edits books should edit screenplays. The relationship between a writer and an editor is one of trust, I should think. It's a relationship. That relationship forms over time. I think if the poet believes his/her work should be edited, then it's time to start a relationship with a kindred spirit who may have the right background to do this.

So, yes. Good editors can make for great writing.

Stew21
07-29-2015, 07:43 PM
Good to see you here, JST!

Absolutely editors make good writers. I also think though, that the key is, at least with poetry, "trusted, kindred spirit" and it is very much a relationship.

Stew21
07-29-2015, 07:49 PM
And in light of Lisa's comment, I think what an editor does (and doesn't) has everything to do with poetry maintaining its integrity:


know that this isn't what most of you mean by "editor," but speaking as someone who has done scholarly editing, what we do is attempt to preserve the poet's work.

If it weren't for my colleagues:

You'd have Coleridge's versions of what Shakespeare and Donne wrote, not what they wrote.
You'd have the 18th century sanitized versions of Shakespeare in which Hamlet marries Ophelia and Cordelia survives.
You'd have the bastard versions of Emily Dickinson's poems, not what she wrote.

Ambrosia
07-29-2015, 07:51 PM
yeppers.

to go back to the OP and address the question directly. yes, there are people who will take your money and tell you how your poem could be better. far preferable, if you don't completely trust your work is "ready" for whatever secondary purpose you have in mind, is to buddy up to a poet who knows their shit and ask for some honest advice.

Far preferable indeed.

I believe Trish has a point about bleeding colors. Any writer, regardless genre, has to be leery of taking on another writer's style.

That said, I love the crit forum for the differing viewpoints given on a poem. The obvious things of misspelled words and such being brought to the poet's notice are small in comparison to different ways to think about how to approach an area in a poem that is causing the poet concern. It is always the poet's decision whether to take the advice or discard it--or use it as a spring board to dive into deeper waters. Having other poets crit my poems hasn't changed my voice, only honed it, because of learning when to take advice and when to discard it. Whether I agree with the advice or not, it is always invaluable to me because it requires me to think. And thinking is never a bad thing, in my experience.


I am also interested in the Church of Poetry. It would probably pay better than poetry does now, for one thing.

This thread is indeed a silk purse, Rob. Well caught. :)

poetinahat
07-30-2015, 04:43 AM
And in light of Lisa's comment, I think what an editor does (and doesn't) has everything to do with poetry maintaining its integrity:
Well said. In a way, it was well-meaning editors who did those things that needed undoing. I'm fascinated by the notion of forensic editing; what a world words are.

It wasn't until I got to AW that I saw the word "redact" used. Previously, I'd only seen it on posters I bought as a student on a trip to the USSR. I remember seeing the word "redactor" on the small print (I made it out phonetically from the Cyrillic), and I'd assumed from the context that it meant "editor". And maybe it does, in Russian. But the parallel, when I realised it, amused me.

Trust Allah, but tie your camel, y'know?

jst5150
07-30-2015, 07:46 PM
Redact is a great word. Remediate. Vetting is meant for cattle but the US government loves it some vetting.

Still on topic, I wonder if its because we (poets) are much more intimate with the poetry than we would be with, say, a long form novel. Novelists have little trepidation about being edited because that's an inherent part of the workflow and part of how a novel reaches a bookstore (self-publishing somewhat excluded here). I buy that intimacy, sure, but I have posted a few things here and the things people see that I don't have opened up my eyes in many ways -- structure, form, understanding.

I suppose my point still is salient: the right editor can help conjure more magic in your work.

KTC
07-30-2015, 08:41 PM
I am trying to think of an instance where my words were changed or edited post acquisition pre-publication. I don't think it has ever happened. But I could very well be misremembering.

I do my first edit by READING OUT LOUD. That is the biggest staple in the poet's toolbox. The only one you should have outside of the musicality of words, knowledge of form and non-form and respect for both the sacred and the absurd. And you must respect also the divinity of the benign.

READ OUT LOUD. Poetry is the music and the non-music of words. You line them up for a different kind of battle as a poet than as you do as a prose writer. The poet should be more concerned with synchronicity of sound than with the meaning and accuracy of the message. Because message is obviously important, they should indeed get it right...don't get me wrong. Clarity of meaning is just as important in poetry as in prose. But I think it's also more open to the interpretation of the reader. The reader comes to a poem with a notion that he is about to jump. The poet's job is to give him something to relate to in his fall. But relate to in melody as well as in tone and message.

I think I might be high. Damn office supplies!

After you read your poem aloud ad nauseum, read it aloud again. And then gather together with your poetic brethren and break bread...using the words of your poems for the soup and the imperfection of your knowledge and wisdom as the bread. Sop up those words. Weigh them each, and measure their girth. Toss them back and forth. Do the hokey pokey with them.

Then...take turns reading the poem aloud to each other. Hear it from the lips of another. Take note of the sharp edges and file them down.

When you are finished doing these things, you will have crystal vision. Der. And you will also have something ready to submit for publication consideration.

Don't forget to kiss your poems. They too have feelings.

Sarita
07-30-2015, 09:01 PM
And then gather together with your poetic brethren and break bread...using the words of your poems for the soup and the imperfection of your knowledge and wisdom as the bread. Sop up those words. Weigh them each, and measure their girth. Toss them back and forth. Do the hokey pokey with them. It's cute that you think this introverted extrovert has poetic brethren... IRL.

But more to your point, yes. I read my poetry aloud. To myself. And the cat.

KTC
07-30-2015, 09:08 PM
It's cute that you think this introverted extrovert has poetic brethren... IRL.

But more to your point, yes. I read my poetry aloud. To myself. And the cat.

The Cat always knows.

Stew21
07-30-2015, 09:13 PM
I always read them aloud. :)

KTC
07-30-2015, 09:21 PM
I always read them aloud. :)

I know you do, puddin'. :Sun:

Stew21
07-30-2015, 09:29 PM
and sometimes I record them.

KTC
07-30-2015, 09:57 PM
Ack! I hate the sound of my voice so much. I just listen to for the bad. I would hate to hear myself read them on a recorded device. This would involve alcohol and possible suicide. No.

Stew21
07-30-2015, 10:15 PM
It's not so bad. You get used to it. I re-record several times before I'm happy with them usually.

https://soundcloud.com/trish-stewart-4/mississippi-churning

https://soundcloud.com/trish-stewart-4/interview-with-a-dead-poet-a

:)
Don't be afraid.

Magdalen
07-30-2015, 11:43 PM
Ack! I hate the sound of my voice so much. I just listen to for the bad. I would hate to hear myself read them on a recorded device. This would involve alcohol and possible suicide. No.

Excellent Post #104 and I totally agree along with practicing the methods of your recommendations!!! Also dislike my vocal recordings, though I do have one up at soundcloud (I keep meaning to re-record it - had a cold when I did it 1st time).

!

CassandraW
07-31-2015, 05:06 AM
I don't mind hearing my recorded voice, though it sounds a bit higher-pitched and somehow smaller than it sounds in my head while I'm speaking.

alaktas
08-01-2015, 01:51 AM
Wow, I would have never guessed that my original post would garner more than 100 replies.
In any case, I seem to have found the answer I was looking for by reading the replies here. Thanks

William Haskins
08-01-2015, 02:38 AM
all's well that ends well.

CassandraW
08-01-2015, 04:44 AM
You mean that's it? We're done?

Sarita
08-01-2015, 06:17 AM
all's well that ends well.


You mean that's it? We're done?

There's no way we're taking Haskins' word for it.

Wonderful article about poets and editors. Now, I'm wondering whose Pound I can be. Or who can be the Wordsworth to my Coleridge.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9025194/The-mystery-of-poetry-editing-from-TS-Eliot-to-John-Burnside.html

Sarita
08-01-2015, 06:21 AM
Love this quote: "I say I edit Longley, but I don’t really,” says Robertson, “I just pat him on the back.”"

AW Admin
08-01-2015, 06:38 AM
Wordsworth and Coleridge were wretched, dismal, terrible editors; they both re-wrote. That's not editing.

And in the case of the two poets and their mutual works, Wordsworth was a jealous so-and-so and plagiarized his sister; Coleridge plagiarized to a degree that scholars are really only coming to terms with in the last ten or fifteen years.

Editing poetry or prose is about enhancing the author's voice, not drowning it, and comes with the author's STET as an operating assumption.

KTC
08-01-2015, 08:26 AM
Ezra is in for a penny, in for a pound. I approve of this message.

Magdalen
08-01-2015, 06:03 PM
... Now, I'm wondering whose Pound I can be. ...

You can be my Yoko Ono!

William Haskins
08-01-2015, 08:13 PM
Wordsworth and Coleridge were wretched, dismal, terrible editors; they both re-wrote. That's not editing.

And in the case of the two poets and their mutual works, Wordsworth was a jealous so-and-so and plagiarized his sister; Coleridge plagiarized to a degree that scholars are really only coming to terms with in the last ten or fifteen years.

Editing poetry or prose is about enhancing the author's voice, not drowning it, and comes with the author's STET as an operating assumption.

i absolutely love it when you get fire in the belly like this.

Steppe
08-01-2015, 09:55 PM
Why shouldn't I continue to use my head's inside, to read my poetry? I like it in there! So does my poetry! I don't have a Western drawl in my mind. It's reads beautifully in there!

Madelyn
08-01-2015, 11:05 PM
So the question arises, is the edited poem still the original poets? Shouldn't the one editing be considered a co-poet? Pointing out obvious errors of grammar (yuk?) or spelling is one thing, offering new ways to say a thing is another.

When does the poem cease to be the original poets?

I think there may be a difference between directly editing someone's poem, and reading it over/offering advice on a poem.
Kylabelle provided the example of Pound and Eliot. By pointing out that a line was "too penty", Ezra Pound was not directly changing the poem, but showing Eliot where a weakness was lying.

In this way, I say most definitely poetry needs to be revised/edited. A lot of poetry is trying to convey a moment of sensation in the most accurate or potent way possible. Because of this, and because the boundaries of literary technique is constantly being pushed, it's really important to make sure the heart of the piece isn't getting lost or confused by a reader who doesn't know what the writer is thinking.

Having someone read over your poetry, even if they never edit, and even if you never take their advice, it is always very helpful.

kborsden
08-02-2015, 05:38 PM
Edited without permission? Spelling, yes. Layout, syntax, word choice, no.
Suggested changes, yes. On many occasions, but ultimately always my choice to commit to those.

I'm in agreement with william in an earlier post. Only the poet should make the final edits, suggestions and critique along the way should always be accounted for and viewed such that they provide insight, not carbon copy material.