On April 18, 2018
Welcome back, everyone, for the 18th day of Na/GloPoWriMo.
Today we have a new craft resource for you, in the form of this collection of images of poets’ first drafts of their poems, complete with their crossings-out/notes. I find these particularly interesting in how they show a poet’s own evaluation of their initial thoughts – what works, what doesn’t work, what is too discursive, what is too confusing, and how certain lines/ideas can move from where they originally sat to new places to heighten the overall rhetorical effect of the poem.
Our prompt for the day (optional as always). Find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.
left to their own devices
slices like you
all left he first
no one left to save
footsteps of salvation no
see unfettered silver
shards of moonlight
wall to wall
(From After-Words by Kathy Giannini, published in Offshoots 14,
Writing from Geneva, Geneva Writers’ Group, Switzerland)