Resting poetry

When you write a story, a poem, a novel, it’s always best to let it breathe for a little while afterwards. You write it. You edit it. Then – you put it away in a drawer and you let it be. You let it rest.

Sleeping Beauty... Henry Meynell Rheam (1859–1920)

Sleeping Beauty… Henry Meynell Rheam (1859–1920)

I thought I’d done that with my manuscript last year. I left it for weeks, no months, but still, over a year later, as soon as I read it, I immediately spotted things I wanted to change. Why didn’t I see these before? Well, I was too close to it, despite my resting period. I had lived in the story so much that, well, much longer was needed before I should have been doing the ‘final’ editing.

I’ve now rejigged the first three chapters and I intend to do the same with the other, er, 40-odd, but I think I’ll take my time…

With short stories and with poetry it’s the same and, as an admittedly quite impatient person, I have to remind myself to letPicture 1 my words rest for long enough before I say, ‘I’m done’.

My reflection for this post tonight was inspired by my former creative writing tutor, Damian Gorman (right). A writer with many hats, in his latest project he has recorded a series of poems – courtesy of the independent UK-based record label, El Foreigners – which he has lived with for some time and which he both reads and reflects upon in what will be a nine-part video series. I love the idea of this and I’ve already enjoyed listening to the first instalment – a poem which evokes vivid imagery of childhood memories and which is well worth a look.

Interested? Check out Considerations#1 The Giant Basket…




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