I was blessed to participate in a Kelsey Street Press reading last night ('twas part of a series curated by Mg Roberts for Intersection of the Arts--an Event Report HERE). At that reading, I read a new long poem which I described to be a poem I would be "inflicting" on the audience. I used "inflicting" because part of editing a poem sometimes involves reading it out loud, preferably to an audience, and so the poem I shared necessarily was unfinished (yes, poems are never finished but that's another story). I read "The Secret Lives of Punctuations" (working title) from my HIRAETH manuscript; as a result of the reading, here are some adjustments:
--deletion of two "The"s from two lines (in a poem, each word must be necessary)
--deleted the word "its" from a line as the possessive was already obvious
--deletion of last three words in the line "Waiting out the ash in one's mouth until morning dawns"; "until morning dawns" diluted the desired rhythmic pace and is clichetic
--adjusted the order of a line to move it above what had been a preceding line
--changed the word "sea" to "ocean" as reading it out loud made me realize the "sea" rhymed with "see" in an unwanted way
--deleted the line "Wave of grasshoppers blocking the view of a headless Buddha" because the image suddenly seemed a cliche (the definition of cliche can be subjective--this may be one--but it seemed such to me)
I hope the audience wasn't tortured ...