Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Art of Editing

Self-editing is an art in itself, and as an art, it helps me to perform in front of an audience.  So here's a look into how I edit.  Taking the Snow White poem from a few days ago, I'll add my notes and adjustments.  Commentary is welcome.

I lie snow-
sleeping, my black hair brittle
branches, mirroring roots,  [can't be both branches and roots]
in winter.  Glass
surrounds me, my productive fingers  [too abstract?]
still.  I have swallowed last summer's
bitter apple and  [cliche?]
died.  But inside, my hands
still work away, sewing,
coaxing; drawing from the deep
and dark, dreams unfold.  A prince  [needs more]
arrives to kiss me, tell me
Wake up!  The spring
has come.

artist unknown

And a second draft.

I am porcelain
encased in glass.  Snow-
sleeping I lie, twisted hair dark
as roots, fertile fingers limp
and robbed of rose-buds.
I have swallowed last summer's
green and acrid apple.

But inside, ghost hands
still work, sewing, furrowing,
coaxing, and drawing from the deep
and dark.  Dreams unravel, until
inside this case, I am
teeming and ripe.  The bitter seed
died, and I grew
a golden orchard.

A prince arrives to kiss, to
prune, to tell me
Wake up!  Spring
has come.

Which version do you like better?  Why?  What would you suggest as a title?

Constructive criticism?  Please and thank you.


  1. The second one. "Fertile fingers" still doesn't work for me.

    I thought of twisted, drumming, thrumming .. ?

    A very good poem, BTW. Keep at at.

  2. Thank you so much for your help and encouragement.


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