28 March 2011

Blogging about Revision

I am asking my students to blog about revision, as if it were interesting or important. I wonder if they think it is. I admire people who believe, with Ginsburg, "First thought, best thought," but I've very rarely seen it in a student (though several have tried to adhere to it) and never in myself. For me, the first thought is the beginning. From there, the next thought, and the edit, and another thought, another edit, and so on.

It can be dangerous.

On the other hand (oh yes!) I believe the first concept is the crucial concept. If something is awry with the initial impetus, no edit or revision will turn that dreck to gold. Here, I go with T. E. Lawrence:

All the revision in the world will not save a bad first draft: for the architecture of the thing comes, or fails to come, in the first conception, and revision only affects the detail and ornament, alas!

And you? How do you see it?

23 March 2011

Revision Pointer from a Pro

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

--Anton Chekhov

07 March 2011

The amazing human and poet Frank O'Hara

Thanks to Selina for posting one O'Hara poem, which reminded me of this one which I love sharing with friends:

Autobiographia Literaria

When I was a child
I played by myself in a
corner of the schoolyard
all alone.

I hated dolls and I
hated games, animals were
not friendly and birds
flew away.

If anyone was looking
for me I hid behind a
tree and cried out "I am
an orphan."

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poems!

from the Armory Art Fair 2011