'Poetry Reloaded: revision as practice and art'

Paul HETHERINGTON, Paul MUNDEN

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

Abstract

When preparing previously published work for a new collection, poets are faced with a basic yet complicated choice: to leave things as they are or give them a makeover – small or large. As writers such as Wordsworth and Auden have famously demonstrated, there is often a temptation to tidy up, to avoid some newly-perceived awkwardness or repetition, and to clarify. It is relatively easy to find flaws, slight banalities or longeurs even in poems of real merit, but the risks of addressing these once poems have established their place in the world – sometimes with a loyal readership – are considerable. If making more radical ‘corrections’ in search of new power or purpose, then the stakes are raised even higher. The essential enigma or mystery of the original poem may begin to dissolve. How then do we recognise when the time for redrafting has passed? Are poets best advised to honour the integrity of previous work, rather than attempt to ‘improve’ it? Is a better plan to write a wholly new poem and let the other be? Two poets here reflect on the various merits of other poets’ ‘selective redrafting’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWriting the Ghost Train: Rewriting, Remaking, Rediscovering Papers- The refereed proceedings of the 20th Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs
EditorsEugen Bacon, Dominique Hecq, Amelia Walker
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherThe Australiasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP)
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780980757392
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event20th annual Conference, Writing the Ghost Train | Rewriting, Remaking, Rediscovering? - Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 29 Nov 20151 Dec 2015

Conference

Conference20th annual Conference, Writing the Ghost Train | Rewriting, Remaking, Rediscovering?
CountryAustralia
CityMelbourne
Period29/11/151/12/15

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HETHERINGTON, P., & MUNDEN, P. (2015). 'Poetry Reloaded: revision as practice and art'. In E. Bacon, D. Hecq, & A. Walker (Eds.), Writing the Ghost Train: Rewriting, Remaking, Rediscovering Papers- The refereed proceedings of the 20th Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (pp. 1-12). Australia: The Australiasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP).