Revising Poetry-a Demonstration Part Eight: Revise, Get Feedback, Revise Again

Revise

After looking at all my redrafts, I made a few more changes to my poem and was about to upload it to Scribophile, when I saw that in this version the poem read in couplets. Here is the version I uploaded to Scribophile for critique:

Cleaning All the Dirty Dishes

An impression arrests fruit flies in kitchen sinks full of ideas
frozen mid-irritation, like tinnitus introducing dizzying, swirling vertigo

after the ground falls away, my arms and my dress fly above my head
my pinky toe the stoical point, stepping out of the spiral my view telescopes

to his sweat on her body behind the bale
as if finally finding the source of wafting, permeating decay

Contentment empties glue of flavor and steals scissors of artistry
but constant irritation and itching desire keep me in motion

juggling stomach stones, insatiable hunger clacks and clicks
what indelible marks will topple to the tongue?

With nothing I’ve left, clean of any sticky coating
the bridge burner can’t choose to turn around

Refreshment wriggles among the moles under the tent of solitude
having vacated the house with ideas, but left the kitchen sink to fruit flies

fleeing obscures crackling and smoke, suffering the charred frame
his erasable touches won’t last past the first rain

the dark, fresh-earth tunnels adumbrate curious spaces for thought
where scraping, not smoothing, may nourish new understanding

The Feedback

The first two critiques I received said I should work on the punctuation in the poem. Though I disagreed with the example suggestions, I did find the suggestion interesting. So playing with some more punctuation is a note for the next revision.

I was also offered an interesting word replacement. A reader suggested using “inducing” instead of “introducing” vertigo. My original idea was that tinnitus is like the arresting impression because it acts like an announcer, an MC at an event introducing the next act, announcing the star entertainer, Vertigo, hushing, stilling the crowd in expectation and respect. Though I like the word “inducing,” tinnitus doesn’t exactly “induce” vertigo, they are both separate symptoms. Maybe I want to play around with MC Tennitus and capitalize Vertigo, or look for a different word than “introducing” to clarify my idea.

One critique suggested that the flow from the kitchen to the tent of solitude is unclear which opened my eyes to re-arranging stanzas. And another critique mentioned the distance of the point of view at the beginning not drawing the reader in.

Revise Again

Based on the encouraging and constructive feedback I received from readers on Scribophile, my revision plan is:

  1. Read aloud, paying close attention to pauses and breaks thinking about punctuation
  2. weigh each word and ask if there’s a better one
  3. try the stanzas in different orders for narrative flow
  4. Try more intimate, closer opening

The Final Comparison

Original / Final (revised after critique)

Conclusions

This series of posts on revising poetry has been a great experience for me. I finally got my head around meter and its vocabulary after trying many times before. I love the tools and resources I collected and all of the poems and poets I discovered along the way.

Exploring my poetry revision process with you has opened my eyes to the endless possibilities for redrafts. One of the important revision steps after reviewing a poem is to decide which redrafting techniques will most improve the poem.

I found this great article by Suzanne Langlois: Poetry Revision Bingo, and designed a bingo card for myself with my redrafting techniques in the squares.

Next Steps

Inspired by The Practicing Poet: Writing Beyond the Basics edited by Diane Lockward, I have turned my attention to creating a poetry collection. I hope you will join me on my adventure as I explore my themes, and share what I learn, as I put together and submit a poetry manuscript.

Fungi poetry: such a great prompt!

A circle of mushrooms on the end of a felled tree
photo by Maria L. Berg

Today’s Tuesday Poetics prompt at the dVerse Poets Pub is all about fungi. Mushroom poems–and I was just looking at Alice in Wonderland images. I had so many ideas while reading the prompt poems. Here goes:

Fungous Circle

My Swedish Mom took me mushroom hunting
specifically for chanterelles, small orange ruffles hiding
among the stones and birch one would think obvious
but for a tween too elusive.

I thought fungus was gross as was all food
but she caught my attention as she pointed out
the important signs of poison.

Like the beautiful little wild flowers that
sprung through the forest floor after the winter waned
I had been kept ignorant, though a curious child.

Now, it is understandable that I hadn’t been guided
to see, to hunt, to appreciate
each unique cap, each frill of a delicate gill,
each stalk and ring.

When our mushrooms grow from septic or near run-off
my wild palate wasn’t encouraged
free food can be dangerous
I was already known to eat flowers.

Taught the circle of life, I saw
the little trees growing from the fallen as
I traipsed across the canyon.

I told my parents I would be buried there.
They denied me. Said it couldn’t be done.
But now, it’s clear, I was not the only one.

To be put in a sack, made of mushroom spores
And planted, it’s happening, possible.
Then I read people are making mushroom sneakers.
Do I want to be stinky feet? That run comfortably and well.

I want to be a tree.


October 31: Happy Halloween!! #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

OctPoWriMo

It’s the last day of OctPoWriMo. Thank you, Morgan Dragonwillow, for hosting and for your inspiring prompts. Thank you to everyone who participated for your camaraderie and sharing your poetry.

It was a productive and creative month. I’m very excited about finally making the step in my exploration of klecksography to draw on my inkblots and write my poems on the inkblot page. I’ve wanted to get to that point for a long time. I’m also excited to continue exploring my new poetry form Tappswave and see where it takes me.

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Two poems by Ocean Vuong

Online journal: the Paris American

Poetry prompt The final OctPoWriMo prompt this year is light, dark, and shadow–pretty much my favorite topic.

Forms Parallelogram de Crystalline or Florette #2

For my final poem, I’m going to try an idea I had over a year ago. When I read (amazon associate link) Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, I was intrigued by his numbered poems in which the top half of the page had numbers typed in space as if notes or labels to the unseen and then those numbers were footnoted. The spacing of the numbers made me think of markers at a crime scene which led me to create my own crime scene photos with the intent to make poems that go with. I hope you will see what I mean below.

Into the Night by Maria L. Berg 2019

Into the Night
1. howling and yowling pull me from my bed into the moonlight
2. tufts of fur, ripped and torn bring worries of death
3. Don’t look up. I hold my breath as my ankle painfully turns
4. rustling leaves bare nerves aware I am not alone
5. on high alert, I do not turn around, but hurry, limping into the shadows

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this apocalyptic image

micro-story : When TV preacher Pat Robertson made his prediction I laughed and laughed. Watching Cthulhu rise from the waves in the light of a nuclear explosion, I have to ask myself: Whose laughing now?

NaNo Prep

Here we are. The insanity begins tomorrow. The time has flown by and though I am probably more prepared than I have ever been, I still don’t feel ready at all.

Tonight, my region is doing a costumed countdown to midnight. Since I doubt I’ll have any trick-or-treaters, and I’m not going anywhere, it’ll be nice to have an online Halloween with fellow writers.

For my final prep, I mowed the lawns and went to the Grocery Outlet where I stocked up on Amy’s frozen meals and a huge bag of coffee beans. This evening I plan to clean the bathrooms and vacuum, so I can start with a cleaner house.

One thing I learned throughout Nano Prep this month is putting my plans in these posts really helps me get things done, so here are my goals for the first week of NaNoWrimo:

  • Wake up early and go straight to my notebook for morning pages
  • meditate
  • butt in seat in office by 9:30 a.m.
  • take daily walks
  • read

I still haven’t decided what I’ll do here on this site during NaNoWriMo. I don’t plan on doing intensive daily posts like I have in the past. I want to get to my draft and write, but I also want to check in here.

What would you like to see on Experience Writing during NaNoWriMo?

I was thinking a daily photograph and something I find inspiring, motivational, or surprising while I’m writing. Other ideas?

Here’s hoping we all write great novels and have a lot of fun doing it.

October 30: I am . . . #OctPoWriMo #Writober

In One Ear and Out the Other by Maria L. Berg 2020

Last night, I framed one of my fabricglass pieces. It was so nice to wake up to the sun shining through it.

OctPoWriMo

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 29

I enjoyed the imagery in Rallentanda’s poem

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is I am . . .

Layered

I am a filter
a sponge, a sea cucumber
transforming the discarded

I am a creator
a silkworm, an orb weaver
stitching new dimensions

I am a canvas
a cuttlefish, a chameleon
changing hues and patterns with each discovery

I am a seer
an eagle, a hawk
watching patiently for movement

I am a tome
an elephant, a whale
heavy with memory and wonder


My fabricglass piece from outside

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image by Jakub Rozalski

micro-story : When the war ended, the meka warriors were left wandering the toxic borderlands. Always on alert, they were avoided by all but the suicidal and insane.

October 29: Exploring the Tracks #OctPoWriMo #Writober

Along the Tracks on a Bright Sunny Day by Maria L. Berg 2020

Today’s prompt inspired a new bokeh filter and photography project. I used wire and tape to create “tracks” on a square-cut bokeh filter. Then I put lights over paintings in my office to put those tracks into and through spaces where no tracks had been before.

OctPoWriMo

The New North/South Line by Maria L. Berg 2020

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 28

Sci-Fi Fable by Mark Jones

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Exploring the Tracks

Forms Puente or Octain Refrain

When Concept Comes to Form

straight to work
her hands hurry
with nervous impatience
each step clear
she feels the possibilities

~when concept comes to form~

she sees the intolerable
specks of dust inside the lens
glaring in the light
but they are her signature
they are evidence of honesty

Out of the Blue by Maria L. Berg 2020

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose Critical Mass by Photocosma

micro-story : When he began his experiments with black holes, the excitement of small discoveries, publishing and proving his theories, may have blinded him to the big picture. Now, staring into the powerful void of his creation, he knew the heart-wrenching horror of playing God.

October 28: Choices Along the Journey #OctPoWriMo #Writober

The Golden Path by Maria L. Berg 2020

OctPoWriMo

Read for inspiration and craft

Today I received my copy of Emporium by Aditi Machado (amazon associate link) Winner of the 2019 James Laughlin Award, so I thought I would recommend reading some of her poems.

Recommended poem: Four poems by Aditi Machado

Online journal: Conjunctions

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 27

Magic Spells by M.K. Vecchitto

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is choices or journey

Forms Fable or Lannet

Choices Along the Journey

She faces threats with effort and courage
defends creative space from distraction
two choices arrive of equal value

Wishing balance, she refuses to act
until a unique solution guides her
as waters rise, she leaves comfort behind

Instinct, an ally, leads toward challenges
this new world is not as she imagined
unpredictable and tempestuous

but pushing through rewards with abundance
the journey back is restful and quiet
resurrected the fool, wide-eyed, renewed

beginning fresh, energized with passion
facing hope with a lucky, shiny coin

The Greener Path by Maria L. Berg 2020

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image of a woman on a cliff by a mausoleum

micro-story : When I had insomnia, I would often climb the hill just before sunrise. I enjoyed the creepy lone mausoleum on the outcropping, slowly emerging from the morning mist, otherworldly, full of mystery. These chilly daybreaks had become my ritual, so her first appearance was jarring, a trespass. At first, I believed my sleeplessness and the slanted light played tricks on me, but she lingered and I realized the trespass was mine.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror fiction story The Voice Within by Steven K. Beattie

Online magazine Aphelion

October 27: A Magical Night #OctPoWriMo #Writober

OctPoWriMo

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Magical Halloween

Forms Terzanelle or Decuain

When the veil is thinnest

yearning for power
over fear of the unknown
chant into the night

ancient recipes
to command earth’s forces
and fight the unseen

something from nothing
symbols of knowledge reveal
the boundary torn

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image by Anton Semenov

micro-story : Mikey had tricked the guardian into opening the portal to the depths of nightmares. He was starting to regret trapping his little brother down there. If he couldn’t bring him back, Mom was going to kill him.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story An Advocate for Nearly Any Situation by Hayley Ilso

Speculative online magazine Asymmetry

October 26: Tappswave Poetry Form #OctPoWriMo #Writober

Tappswave by Maria L. Berg 2020

OctPoWriMo

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Five Poems by Carolyn Forché

Online journal: World Literature Today

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is What makes me different?

Forms Yesterday, we were challenged to create our own form. I got a start on it, but needed more time to play around with my ideas. I knew I wanted to incorporate internal rhyme and repetition with slight variation.

I wanted the form to reflect my daily interaction with my environment, so here it is, the Tappswave form:

The Tappswave is made of one or more eight line stanzas. The eight lines are couplets of sensation then reaction that repeat with variation. Each couplet has its own rules of rhyme and rhythm.

Lines one and two: Observation and attention like light shining on the water.

Line one: specifically describe a sensory experience
my example An odd sharp chirp came from my plum tree
Line two: memory or emotional response
my example making me think of children shooting laser-guns

Lines three and four: Choppy, all one and two syllable words, like a cluster of small waves.

Line three: Expand on the sensory experience of line one, include internal perfect and familial rhyme to the last word of line one.
I believed the tease or plea was a bird high on a branch unseen
Line four: memory or emotional response to line three with internal perfect and familial rhyme to the last word of line two.
the alarm bell rung, damage done when I was young

Lines five and six: Show what’s underneath the surface. Use words that rhyme with fish or types of fish for the internal rhymes.

Line five: Reveal a revelation about the sensory detail in line one.
At last my search reveals the perp on his perch
Line six: memory or emotional response to line five.
and I’ll pass on the sass of this non-bird’s wrath

Lines seven and eight: Reflection and refraction/ ebb and flow

Line seven: Line two slightly changed to show reflection
That laser-gun battle rages on
Line eight: Line one with a slight change
An odd sharp chirp from my plum tree

If I chose to write another stanza, I would start with a related but different specific sensory detail and explore it through the pattern of the eight lines.

My first Tappswave poem

Searching Out the New Sound

An odd sharp chirp came from my plum tree
making me think of children shooting laser-guns
I believed the tease or plea was a bird on a high branch unseen
but the sound an alarm bell rung, damage done when I was young
At last my search reveals the perp on his perch
and I’ll pass on the sass of this non-bird’s wrath
The nerve-shredding laser-gun battle rages on
as an odd sharp chirp from my plum tree

Plum Tree Laser-guns by Maria L. Berg 2020

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image that was hanging on my friend’s wall.

micro-story : She had always been told she had statuesque beauty. Once she had a fully integrated neural implant, she spent all of her time in the virtual world. Feeling no attachment to her gangly limbs any longer, she decided to fully embrace that beauty.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story “Shedding” by Deborah Sheldon

Horror online magazine AntipodeanSF

October 25: Breaking the Rules #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

Since I finally got started drawing on my inkblots, I continued and made this two-headed gator creature.

OctPoWriMo

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: An Approach by Roger Lewinter

Online journal: BOMB Magazine

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 24

Anxiety by cie
I liked how the two Joseph’s stars fit together to tell the challenge of facing fear.

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Breaking the Rules

Forms Create your own poetry form

A sprig of parsley

I bite into a parsley sprig and as its slightly bitter flavor reaches my tongue
I remember a time full of possibility
of juice bars and homemade fashions
utopian ideals of altruism
heady philosophies, discourse and exchange
I nibble at tasty lacy leaves and remember easier beliefs

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this epic fantasy landscape

micro-story : As his canoe rounded the bend, he gasped and pulled his oar to slow his approach. The recent earthquake must have caused a mudslide, revealing that what he had always believed to be large white stones was actually a giant skull. He heard a rumble and his canoe rocked. He couldn’t help but personify the quaking of the earth.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story Autumn Leaves by Paul Kindlon

Horror online magazine Mystery Tribune

NaNo Prep

This certificate may say I’m prepared for writing my novel, but I’m not feeling it. Luckily, I still have time.

My main goal for this week is to read. I’m going to read as many of the novels and stories I’ve selected as comps as I can. I also want to finish up my futurist thinking classwork.

October 24: Daring #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

OctPoWriMo

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: In the Dark Times by Andres Rojas

Online journal: Diode Poetry

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 23

I Still Believe in Magic by Esther Jones

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is doing something you’ve always wanted to do

Forms Joseph’s Star or LaJemme

Ever since I started playing with klecksography, I intended to draw on my inkblots and put poems on them, but I couldn’t get myself to do it. I even made photocopies of a lot of my inkblots, but still couldn’t get myself to draw on them. So to go along with today’s theme, I grabbed one of my inkblots, drew this happy creature on it and wrote my poem on it. I dared to try a poem form I’ve been wanting to try as well: a grid in which the poem can be read in rows, columns, and/or diagonally.

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this still from The Double by Richard Ayoade

micro-story : She was tired of running up the stairs only to stare into an empty room. What did she think she would do if she saw the source of the banging, the footsteps? Her nerves were quickly fraying. What could she do?

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror fiction story each thing i show you is a piece of my death by Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer
An entertaining epistolary work.

Horror online magazine Apex magazine

NaNo Prep

Today I have a regional prep workshop. I’m excited to see what they have to say and to get to know the participants in my region better.