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The Deep Dive: Revision as Discovery, an Online Poetry Workshop

July 26, 2020 @ 12:30 pm 4:30 pm UTC

Sometimes the poem arrives fully realized, but most of the time we revise our way toward what the poem is striving to say. Sometimes a poem might be giving the poet a “hard time,” that is leaving the poet with an intuition that something is not exactly right with the work. The poem may feel too long or too short or tangled up in the middle. The cadences may sound “off” in certain places, or the diction might seem too drab, a metaphor too exotic. Or all of the above. In the process of revising that poem, the poet might sometimes discover a new or unexpected or otherwise surprising dimension of the poem. The revision effort will have surfaced something that was only latent in the earlier draft, something brought up from the depths of the writer’s poetic imagination.

Our virtual workshop on this topic will meet for four hours. I will begin with a craft talk on some ideas and methods about how to do a “deep dive” into your poems. How, for example, might a “problem” point you toward the sometimes hidden energies stirring in your poem? We will also investigate how to liberate, harness, or otherwise use those energies.  We will examine writings by other poets for guidance in this regard, but the primary focus of our day will be on your poems. I would like each of you to make available to our group sufficient copies of one of your poems that you sense is not yet fully realized. Our goal in the discussion will be not only to consider new possibilities for the poem you share, but also to develop together a repertoire of revision strategies that might be of use in the future.

NB: This class will be taught via Zoom and is capped at 15. Sign up right away to guarantee a spot in this class.


Jennifer Franklin

Hudson Valley Writers Center Online

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