For some, revision can feel like an impossible task. If you look at a poem you wrote two years ago, perhaps you’ll immediately notice some things that need to change. But what if you look at a poem you wrote yesterday? You might feel like a poem is “not done,” but how do you make it better instead of just different? In this class, we’ll consider several approaches to revision, specific and practical strategies one can apply right away to help you revise more confidently, moving forward in ways that can be both bold and effective. The hope is that this process can not only be useful, but also fun and full of discoveries as it leads us toward making poems we hadn’t previously imagined. We’ll spend the first day discussing some of these approaches. For the rest of the week, we’ll workshop poems with these approaches in mind.
Matthew Olzmann is the author of two collections of poems, Mezzanines, which was selected for the 2011 Kundiman Prize, and Contradictions in the Design. His third book, Constellation Route, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in January 2022. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Kundiman, MacDowell, and the Kresge Arts Foundation, Olzmann’s work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prize XLV, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Southern Review, and elsewhere. He is now a Senior Lecturer of Creative Writing at Dartmouth College and also teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
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