Revision: “To See Again”

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It’s time to put on your “glasses” and see your lyric poem anew! Just as everything we see is filtered through a lens — the lens of our actual eye, and perhaps additionally the lens of our contacts or glasses — when we revise, we revise in layers, looking at our work from different angles. As you revise your lyric poems, try using one of the following approaches. Then take a break. Then come back, with fresh eyes, and try a different approach on the list.

  1. Cut out extra, “weak” words — and, of, for, because, so, it… — and ONLY include the key parts of the image
  2. Add similes (short comparisons with like or as)
  3. SHOW don’t TELL, so close your eyes and write what you see.
  4. Have someone read your poem aloud to you and notice where they read fast and smooth, where they stumble, where they slow down
  5. Make individual words more specific — “creature” versus “bear”
  6. Revise or remove sections of the poem that don’t fit with the overall mood/message
  7. Rewrite your poem by hand. See what you notice — like, dislike, love, could do without — as you physically rewrite your own words.
  8. Do a spelling and grammar check, make sure your verb tense is consistent…
  9. Add or take away punctuation
  10. Change your line breaks, considering the so-called “common errors”:

Don’t end on a, an, any, the those (articles)
Don’t end on prepositions (in, with, by, from to…)
Don’t end on me, I we, us
DO contain SOME enjambments
DO vary the length of lines

Enjoy! Your FINAL draft is still a DRAFT!

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