Intensive Editing

Winter has finally come to Sydney. It’s bright outside, from the quality of air has changed. Basically, it’s colder!

I’ve started editing the poetry manuscript with my editor. He’s suggested the method of doing two poems at a time, and when they’re finished, starting on another two. One of the first poems needed only a minor edit, the other one was much more intensive. It’s exciting to have an editor to work with so closely. I thought that S, the editor for my last book, was smart and good at what he does, but it will be nothing in comparison to my work with J, who is willing to really live with each poem, one at a time, to see whether it works.

Of course this brings up other issues. He’s prodding me to make the poems the best they can be – and will sometimes suggest words that I wouldn’t use (or am even unfamiliar with, I don’t believe I’ve ever used the word “ghosted” in a sentence!). But, as he explains, if I don’t use them, at least they’ll encourage me to think in more vivid images, less flat language. I’ve always been good at being edited, and open to suggestions, but I have the feeling this time will be more challenging, as he’s a more aggressive editor. So, the aim is to make sure that I still “own” my poems, and yet am willing to work hard, and not be precious. This manuscript really needs that, since the poems haven’t been through the processes of my earlier ones, where I’d be sending them out to magazines, grabbing ahold of any comments I could get, workshopping them with friends. I’d obsess over them much more. These days, I don’t have the time, or perhaps the inclination, which does make for worse poetry.

Publication is due for November, so we have lots of time – though of course, if we spend a few days of each poem, that time will go very quickly.

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