A Surge of Language

a surge of language

Teaching Poetry Day By Day
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
2000; reprinted Heinemann, 2004


In this sense, I feel the process of revision is a real gift to students. They are used to writing a paper, getting a grade, and filing the paper in the circular file. End of process. When I put them through multiple drafts of a poem, they have to take more time and consider what might be there. The process is, in part, about honoring themselves. A first draft is an impulse and impulses matter powerfully. I would never deny that. I always begin any look at a poem with praise. There is always a word or two that deserves that praise and usually there’s a lot more than a word or two. But there’s more to writing than impulse. Consider that every time one starts a new sentence in a poem one has made a decision that affects where the rest of the poem is going. What if the poet reconsiders those decisions? What does sentence two have to do with sentence one? Does sentence two honor what is there in sentence one or just go off on its own? And what about sentence three?

© Baron Wormser