On revision

January 23rd, 2013

As I cull poem after poem from my chapbook, I’m drawing strength from these lines by Annie Dillard (in The Writing Life).

The part you must jettison is not only the best-written part; it is also, oddly, that part which was to have been the very point. It is the original key passage, the passage on which the rest was to hang, and from which you yourself drew the courage to begin.

I had thought my chapbook was about an event in the narrator’s life, but it’s not. It’s about the aftermath, and all the poems about the event are just background in my head. Only the aftermath poems matter.

2 Responses to “On revision”

  1. Andrea Beltran on February 1, 2013 4:54 pm

    Thanks for this post, Jennifer. I needed to read this!

  2. Jennifer on February 6, 2013 9:06 am

    Yes, I’ve reached that stage where writing is really all about revision. The Dillard book is a comfort read I fall back on again and again.

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