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Deeply Revising Poems: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff with Regan Good
Oct 15, 2016 | 11:30 am - 2:00 pm
Elizabeth Bishop’s famous villanelle “One Art” went through 17 drafts and was written over two weeks. To read the drafts is to see the poem start as a mass of lines recurring around a common theme. Eventually, structure and refrains develop, rhymes present themselves, and finally the most difficult poetic form distills into her famous villanelle. What are your drafts trying to tell you? Students will bring three of their own poems in early drafts to be worked on and polished throughout the six-week course. These poems will go through craft, technique and form critiques until the poems pass the Wallace Stevens test of “sufficing” for what the writer/or poem, means to say. Revision is not simply putting the “finishing touches” on what was conjured up during a first crack at composition; often revision is really the first step in making the poem bend more gracefully toward its true meaning.
Regan Good is the author of The Atlantic House, a book written in what critic Stephen Bert referred to as “traditional pentameters.” Her poems have been published in many magazines including The Paris Review, The Literary Review, Ladowich Journal and Fence; poems are forthcoming from her manuscripts “The Needle” and “The Withy” in Boston Review, Bennington Review, Denver Quarterly. As a poet, Regan is influenced by Nature, the Romantic and Modernist poets, and currently, neolithic and Bronze Age rock art of the British Isles. She has taught poetry writing at Barnard College and the Poets House. She currently teaches poetry at the Fashion Institute of Technology.