Tuesday, June 07, 2005


editing work is lacking in some serious satisfaction. i always want the trick treat, the sudden deja vu of returning a re-envisioned revision. as if the perfect poem were written already but i just need dig back around the roots to give it back its life. no such luck. putting pressure on self doesn't help. not to be self-absorbed, but i can't help but think how universal this is. politics, in particular, the lack of space for one-to-one work, where we meet one another face-to-face, dream-to-dream and speak and listen. space. at an organizing conference this weekend past, i heard so many people say things that were intended to be said just to be said, not even heard. how does that work? can we even be responsible for that? where is room for that in communication? i don't condemn it, i am curious about it. at lunch at an indian buffet, a friend writing his thesis asked how the poetry career develops. he is a sociologist, and he mentioned that in order to edit his work with a clear and non-dreading mind, his partner suggested that he think of a canvas. of painting! it was a great analogy, very additive (instead of the subtractive we tend to accuse editing of being) and yet it made me laugh - to use another art outside his art in order to understand his art. we do it all the time.
i am doing it
right now
in fact.

tricky to be responsible for that. responsible art. responsible parents, partners, houses.


  1. the editing part... I often fail to return to a vison, sometimes I can. Though, often what I try to do is - reimagine the poem from my current mindset. If It doesn't stand by me now, it might not stand by me ever again! In effect it can be a collaboration between the past and the present...

    saying things just to be said, proving that we know how to say it...

  2. collaboration between the past and the present. hmm. i like that. "see revision as re-envisioning" - natalie goldberg. indeed. i just split one poem into two. it was a long tortuous mitosis, but in the end, both speak better to where i started...