The Poetry Workshop


In three hours poetic gems are rendered
worthless in the whole. Here and there

a word or phrase survives, but most
lie shredded, cut away by a rapier pen.

Consider your first efforts to be no more
than a draft, she said, organize your thoughts,

then you draft, redraft, and draft again.
Remember, your poem is never finished.

Rebuilding begins — excess is cleaved,
adjectives cut away, similes expunged

without remorse — for the trash bin.
The new efforts elicit fresh thoughts, words

from the mind’s deep reserve, not quick or easy,
too clever or too cute, weighty words,

yielded by a special self. Poems reemerge,
stories better told, unique, alive with meaning,

heart intact — but, with work left to do,
as expected, with work left to do.

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Poetry edited in a workshop.