Saturday, September 5, 2009

Revising Firsts

"Firsts" is about a young couple coming together for a night. My recommender noted that while the poem is alive with good imagery, there is still a lot left unsaid with regard to what is ultimately at stake for the characters, specifically the young girl in the story and her fascination with the "he" involved. She asks, "Who is the 'he,' and why is this interaction with him significant to the speaker? Can this poem become more than just the description of an evening tryst?"

What is at stake for both characters? Romeo and Juliet have their fueding families, Janie and Teacake have their community, Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester have their past looming like the present. But what do my characters have in the way of their love? While the beginning of the poem begins as though this is somewhat of an illicit meeting with the girl sneaking out of her house, it doesn't continue that momentum, the pressure of being caught, if that in fact is what is at stake, is not kept up through out; the two meander through the town without a care. So perhaps what is at stake is not them being caught but what effect this particular night will have on the lives of both of them, or maybe just the girl, since she's the speaker.

In the original version of this poem, the girl wanted "his innocence in her memory forever" though because these were the last few lines, I was blasted for it. Too abstract, especially for the last lines. It seems in this current and past version that my concentration on images over what needs to be explained...Explanation I stumble here. I've been taught not to do it, let the images speak for the scene. Perhaps the images I'm giving aren't explaining what I want them to explain.

All this considered, to begin revision I 'll do a stream-of-consciousness write in the persona of the speaker, to get to the core of her feelings towards the guy in the poem.

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