Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing.
Bernard Malamud

I recently completed a massive revision of the second half of my graduate thesis. The second half of the thesis is a novella, currently titled "I'm Hoping This Will Work." This arduous, and ultimately rewarding, process obviously caused me to think about the nature of revision itself. It is much like how a child views school: you certainly don't enjoy it while you're doing it, but after it's done, you enjoy the results and see how necessary it was.
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I will be the first person to tell you that I am not a poet. I dabbled a bit in poetry during my undergraduate years, as all writers do, but I soon gravitated towards fiction and essays, where my interests in writings still lie. I know many astounding poets, and I have read wonderful works from these and other people. I read it on occasion and am always envious of their ability to parse and expand the language, to imbue an entire world, emotion, and theory in the briefest, most efficient use of language. I wish I could write that concisely. (I wish I could think that concisely, actually, but that's a separate neurological issue.)

I recently attended the AWP conference in Denver. While preparing for the conference I pored over the schedule of events and narrowed down the seminars, workshops, and lectures I would attend before I arrived. There were many attending that were poetry oriented. In my effort to whittle the hundreds of lectures per day down to a handful, before I later pared that list, I ignored anything that had poetry in the title, or anything that had to do with poetry. This makes it seem like I am anti-poetry. I am not. I just did not have a need for it during the conference. That is until the last lecture of the week. I was convinced to attend this last lecture, which concerned the digital copyrights of poetry and music, and the changing and emerging legal issues concerning digital copyrights and the use of other persons' words. (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/foundation/poetryinstitute.html) While at this lecture, I began to wonder why I had so abdicated poetry over the years, why I had stopped any of it, why I had stopped taking an interest. Even though I had stopped writing it years earlier, why had I abandoned any interest in poetry with such fervor, as if it had nothing to teach me?
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While conceiving of the idea for a quick blog post about revision, I realized that some of my undergraduate attempts at poetry weren't entirely awful. They weren't entirely good, either, which is why I write fiction and essays still, and not poetry. One of these less embarrassing forays into poetry went through many revisions, and I kept every version, including the original longhand scribbles. I kept each copy as a means of showing myself, and possibly other people, how revision is necessary, how much a poem, a story, an essay, etc. changes from its original incarnation to its final state.
 



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