2015 ShowMe Writers Masterclass in Poetry Editing

Wordhound Editing Basics

Poetry editing's a different beast than bread-and-butter document editing. I have 20 years of switch-hitting between the two to back that claim. The above link has a nice canned lecture about the virtues of self-editing and offers some great resources. But where poetry's concerned, all that information has a more limited function. Editing in poetry, to be fair, editing in any literary context, is more about being able to reimagine the possibilities of the text at hand than it is about truing the document up against a given set of standards.

That's the case whether you're editing your own work or someone else's. However, when it's your own work, the sky's the limit. Editing can range from tweaking a word or two so that a long vowel sound gets to bounce around like a pinball in the poem or to rewriting the thing whole cloth from the a line or the seed of an idea. What a poetry editor really needs is fluency and flexibility. A poetry editor needs to know how to playfully engage with a poem. And that takes practice. Exercise, in fact. So today's class will be all poetry exercises. Because I'm eyeball deep in my own all-sonnet manuscript, they'll be exercises in poetic form. See me at the Wordhound Writing & Editing, LLC table for more general exercises throughout the conference.



Form and syllabics from Kowit

Rhyme and rules from Addonizio and Laux

Group Poem



Poetry Writing Exercises

Addonizio and Laux. The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.

Behn and Twitchell. The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach. HarperCollins, 1992.

Finch, Annie. A Poet's Craft: A Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry. University of Michigan Press, 2012.

Kowit, Steve. In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop. Tilbury House, 1995.

Lockward, Diane. The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop. Wind Publications, 2013.

Minar, Scott. 75 Writing Exercises and a Poetry Anthology. Autumn House, 2009.

Polonsky, Marc. The Poetry Reader's Toolkit: A Guide to Reading and Understanding Poetry. McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Thiel, Diane. Open Roads: Exercises in Writing Poetry. Longman, 2004.

Wooldridge, Susan. poemcrazy. Random House, 1996.

Form-Specific Exercises and Info

Baer, William. Writing Metrical Poetry. Writer's Digest Books, 2006.

Finch, Annie. A Poet's Ear: A Handbook of Meter and Form. University of Michigan Press, 2013.

Fussell, Paul. Poetic Meter & Poetic Form, Revised Edition. McGraw-Hill, 1979.

Gilbert, Dan. The Poet's Cookbook. Kindle platform, 2015.

Kinzie, Mary. A Poet's Guide to Poetry, 2nd Edition. University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Oliver, Mary. Rules for the Dance. Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Padgett, Ron. The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms. Teachers and Writers Collaborative, 2000.

Preminger and Brogan. The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton University Press, 1993.

Turco, Lewis. The New Book of Forms, Revised and Expanded Edition. University Press of New England, 2011.

General Writing Exercises

Joselow, Beth Baruch. Writing Without the Muse. Story Line Press, 1995.

Kitely, Brian. The 3 A.M. Epiphany. Writer's Digest Books, 2005.

Kitely, Brian. The 4 A.M. Breakthrough. Writer's Digest Books, 2008.

Lee, John. Writing from the Body. St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Rosenfeld, Jordan E. Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time. Writer's Digest Books, 2008.

Scofield, Sandra. The Scene Book. Penguin Books, 2007.

Inspiration for the Journey

Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down the Bones. Shambala Publications, 1986.

Janeczko, Paul. Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets. Candlewick Press, 2002.

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Random House, 1994.

Oliver, Mary. A Poetry Handbook. Harcourt, Brace, & Co., 1994.

Shaughnessy, Susan. Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers. HarperCollins, 1993.