I managed to get through a first draft of the book over the last couple of days, whittling it down from 380 pages to 241 (including table of content, no front or back matter). I think that was probably the easy part of the editing – the ‘no-brainer’ cutting of poems that simply didn’t make the grade according to my gut.
Now for the second run through. My gut exhausted, I am now forced to use my brain (and anyone who has read the poems I’ve written about my brains knows that, on any given day, it’s entirely likely that there are squirrels in charge up there.) So what criteria should I use? My estimable partner, Bill, suggested that the poems that garnered positive response from readers should definitely stay in, and I agree. Thank you all for that feedback!
I’m going to leave in the ones that make me cry; the ones I still have trouble reading out loud. These seem to contain a fragment of soul and so should be given precedence.
There are vers libre, haiku, form poems (a couple of forms that I’m pretty sure I invented along the way). I don’t think form should be a deciding factor.
Unfortunately, cost of printing may end up becoming a factor, as the price obviously goes up with the page count. But I’m thinking perhaps I can turn this into a positive thing, a spur to be more ruthless, to pare the content down into a lean collection that will stand on its own merit.
Round two (boxing ring bell sound fx) of editing coming up…
Hope you all are enjoying holidays – or if you don’t observe any of the many holidays that seem to collide at this time of year – hope you are simply having a lovely day!
Linda (the poet at the bottom of the well)