Creative Rewriting and Recontextualisation: Fluid and shape-shifting literary works

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Most creative writers strive to produce finished versions of their works, whether these are poems, short stories, plays or novels. Drafts are often discarded, and ‘final’ versions are, as it were, authorised by publication. However, in some cases, individual works, or parts of works, even those considered ‘finished’, are able to be repurposed and rewritten for inclusion in new works or contexts – as poets such as Walt Whitman and William Shakespeare demonstrate. Such revision and recontextualisation shifts the meanings of works, sometimes significantly, and suggests that literature may be more fluid than is often assumed. But what does the redrafting and recontextualising of work tell us about creative writing? Are there sometimes other works embedded in the fabric of those that appear to be completed; and how does one understand and approach the process of (re- )making new writing from existing work? The consideration of such issues emphasises the protean nature of creative writing, suggesting that writers may sometimes make of their writing more than they anticipate. In the case of poems and prose poems, in particular, where works are often brief, the re-use and re-configuring of existing works may be part of the opening up of creative horizons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
JournalNew Writing: the international journal for the practice and theory of creative writing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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