Another Kind of Demon

I guess I’ve been thinking about demons a lot lately. Having a big mouth is one kind of demon. Today, I decided that arrogance is another.

There are many species of arrogance, but the one I talking about has to do with how I perceive my own work. Or rather, how I perceive my works-in-progress. Immediately after I’ve written the first satisfying draft of a poem, it’s impossible for me to envision the poem any other way. The poem looks perfect and so I walk away, humming. Or I pat myself on the back and start writing another poem. As far as I’m concerned, in these instances I’m dealing with a demon.

This demon likes to convince me that there’s no more work to be done with the poem. This demon prevents me from putting in the work necessary to make good lines into classic lines & strong images into masterpieces. This demon keeps me from revising my drafts.

So, this is what I’m starting to learn: Revising a poem is like sculpting a body out of a giant block of marble. If I want to stick with that giant block and leave it as is, fine. If , however, I want to sculpt that marble into a piece of art so beautiful people will mistake it for the love of their lives, then I better keep working.

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4 responses to “Another Kind of Demon

  1. i don’t know about the big mouth thing, but Catholics call it ‘pride’ – it’s one of the 7 deadly sins… guess the Bible does have *some* insights 😛

  2. that’s an awesome illustration btw, who’s the artist?

  3. going through an MFA program was probably the best thing for me and thinking about revision. when i was an undergrad i never revised poetry unless it was required which is funny cause i would never have thought of writing an essay without revising!

    come to love revision. yeah. i’m still working to love it!

  4. What a great illustration combined with an interesting take on revision! I just found your blog, and I will keep checking back. You have intriguing ideas and very stimulating images — each one is like its own writing prompt.

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