Sunday, January 29, 2006


I’ve been reading Rob’s Mackenzie’s ‘How (not) to Write a Poem’ instalments on his blog, which has got me thinking about my own writing process and looking at revisions of my own poems.

Looking at the number of revisions various pieces have had (although, for me, this is misleading because I only make a new version when I’m making substantial changes – tinkering doesn’t count!), it seems that the longer I write, the more I revise. I’m sure this must be a very good thing. ‘The gypsy’s devoted son’ is now on version number 10 and, reading it this morning after not looking at it for a few months, I confess that I’m still quite happy with it. However, that may well change a few months down the line – that is one of the most unsettling things about poetry writing to me – the frequency of feeling dissatisfaction with work that I have been previously pleased with. The effect of this (for me) is that although I’m always writing new things, my ‘collection’ is constantly decreasing rather than expanding!

I’m now on version 7 of ‘After Carl. Sunday in Dad’s Car’ and it feels to me like its in its teenage gawky phase – all awkward angles and unsteady plodding:

After Carl. Sunday in Dad’s Car

Deleted for revision


Dick Jones said...

There's a nice sense of domestic detail as observed by a child here. A tricky feat, well achieved.

Messalina said...

Hi Dick,

Thanks very much for the feedback. :o)