Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Revising BabyGirl

Yesterday, I received an email from one of my recommenders who is also a former poetry instructor about the poems I sent her to review. I sent her a copy of "Baby Girl", "I Don't Know Why", "Willing Back My Grandmother", and "Firsts", two of which, "Baby Girl" and "Firsts", are available somewhere on this blog (check the archives tab under August). The two already on this blog are the ones I am going to revise publicly. (This is going to be quite embarrassing. The inner workings of revision is normally done in private, it's like changing clothes, the fanfare of technique and skill are stripped to rawness and every amatuer or paltry verbiage is exposed. These lines mock so-called talent and skill before you finally, short of breath, exhausted unearth right fits, form, style.)

Of all the poems, she believed the one that was most interesting was "Baby Girl" which details a young girl lost. It is a rather awkward poem that I wrote haphazardly and rather quickly. She says, "Of all the poems, this one is the strongest. What I like about it is your use of language, which is very alive and jumpy and inventive. I also like the specificity of the imagery—you’re really showing me the action here, as opposed to telling me, which is a trap you fall into in some of the earlier poems. " She suggests adding four more lines to the poem, so two more couplets. She also suggests changing the title which I agree with. I hated it when I wrote it but I figured I needed something to catalogue it with. In the meantime, the following lines are ones I'm considering. Possible titles to come.

let's say the bulbousness below my breasts smells of hot sugar
cane you'd hand me, the length of your arm, veiny & crude;

let's say i tell time by the number of bowls i've stirred, dusty cornmeal
& milk residue living in the ionisphere about my salty fore arms (like skin);

let's say i forgot where to find the planets you say give ablution
of typhus, & words like your name & the color of your hallowed dog.

let's say i stopped lying about the scrapes i got sliding into bases being stigmata,
& my hair is almost like a peach i saw you bite into when you were here.

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