Behind the scenes

What we start with and what we choose has an impact on what we end up with but there’s a lot of manoeuvring room in between.

In Toward a Blacker Ardour (Beautiful Outlaw, 2021) Phil Hall said, “I perk up as if revision were my only remaining trusted evidence of a future.”

Conceiving of a poem is 1%, composing another 10%, editing 80% and the rest publishing and finding people to read it. Percentages may vary.

Here’s an edited version of a poplar instagram post, second most likes of the first 50 posts followed by over 200 now.

as on Instagram

And here’s where the image started,

Or rather, that’s where it started recently, re-staging the radish in the fridge, circa 2011, that became the title poem of the collection the pet radish, shrunken.

The closer you get, with fewer distractions, the more you have a chance to isolate the key elements. What’s verbal vignette? Repetition? Is it repetition?

As with photography, finding the right vantage point for a poem is the art, not the information. The why behind the information matters. And the how.

Some people could narrate paint drying and I’d pay them. (But probably only once.)

Audience and writer overlap, the Venn diagram of viewpoints, inform who can hear whom. Maybe coming from a comparable place or headed towards a comparable place.

Who is the audience is less key than what is necessary to say and move past? And stay and hover around.