Monday, January 24, 2005

Rewrite, rewrite

Sunday evening, Vivek Narayanan went through a few of my poems. This was the first time someone formally grounded in the discipline of poetry was looking at my poems with a critical eye. The experience threw me over bit but also made me look at them again - as written not merely for myself but for a wider public - double take - and showed me things I had not seen (both good and bad), what I was actually doing when writing.

I'm looking forward to more sessions. Suddenly, there is another level of seriousness I have to apply myself to. When there is someone taking apart your poems scrupulously, you better do a very good job or let your ego mortify! So the next few days will find me revising and rewriting extensively, and the poems already posted on this blog might appear again in a brand new avatar.


Ubermensch said...

Phase two ...!

Monica said...

you bet.

Anonymous said...

Apart from the necessary task of revision etc, some other things I find useful to improve the work:

1) Reading more poetry - I attempt to find and read one new poet a week.
2) Memorizing poetry - "the music of what happens" (as Seamus Heaney called it) is better heard when engraved in one's head.
3) Reading, or attempting to read, books on craft (forms, prosody,history,ideas to jump start writing etc) and criticisim, along with essays on related subjects (about poets, aesthetics, history etc)
4) Putting aside a day in the week to the exclusive task of reading and writing.
5) Walking around.
6) Updating lists of subjects I want to write about/on, but for which I don't have the words yet.
7) Finally getting hard hitting or what I term "slash & burn" criticism (The Chinese say, to become a master, one has to eat bitter. Also more recently there was this evocative passage in Marquez's memoir about the music he faced when he unveiled his first short story - his critic friend burnt it in an ash tray. How nice!) is always a good idea.

Enjoy writing.

Monica said...

Hey Sashi, thanks - the most important task is of course to not let the relentlessness of daily life get you down. I hope I can count on you for the slash and burn!

Anand said...

you haven't updated poems for a while.
no revision happening?

Monica said...

No, and you might know.