Friday, May 13, 2005


Revision is not a skill. It's just what we do. Like Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and his pile of mashed potatos mumbling "No, that's not quite right". So we stumble outside and start tossing the back yard into our living room. So we revise. And we keep at it. And if we don't look at the mountain for a while, it might seem like we've forgotten all about its shape, the thickness of one side, the way another gullies, or doesn't gully. But nothing has changed. The moment the thing comes into view, even though we might be driving down blacktop in the middle of nowhere, our mind starts working it - a little here, less there, scrap it all, grab it back, move it, call it, push it - that's revision.

And it's not compulsive! Some poems actually survive.


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