Monday, September 14, 2009

This Week in Poetry

Hey You! Out there! Is your last name different than mine? Are you a good writer? You are? Then you should consider submitting your work to Gulf Stream Magazine. It's submission season again, and we're always looking for quality work. Is your last name the same as mine? Just submit it under a pseudonym! Hooray!

In other news, not that there's been much news, my time is mostly dedicated these days to working on my manuscript (yes, say "manuscript" (or that whole sentence, for that matter) in the most obnoxious tone of voice that you can imagine). Which doesn't bear much conversation (not on the blog, anyway), but, given that it mostly involves me obsessively revising the output of my first two years of graduate school, reminded me today of a particular insight brought up several times on various commentary tracks of episodes of The Simpsons on DVD:

due to the nature of their writing process, apparently, jokes written for the Simpsons (at least back when they were funny, anyway; for all I know manatees are writing everything on Fox nowadays (not just Family Guy)) had to be funny upwards of thirty times to make it into an episode. Even if jokes got uproarious laughter for weeks and weeks, if they started to fall flat, they would oftentimes be replaced.

I thought of this because I've read my own poetry, not thirty times through yet, but a bunch of damn times, but then last night, while tweaking Version 3.3 of said manuscript, I suddenly decided that a poem that I hadn't even considered cutting up to this point just wasn't good enough and I took it out. And it almost certainly won't ever get back in there; it just feels like a very final decision, as though it's strange that I hadn't noticed by now that it shouldn't be in there.

And maybe it's a fine poem; it seems well-constructed enough, but just, like, it isn't good enough. Which is perhaps interesting additionally so because of other poems that are still in the manuscript that aren't as finished-looking and will still be substantially revised--they will eventually be better, and even though this other poem was "finished" it just isn't good enough, or just doesn't fit. Interesting (at least mildly so).


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