Theme: The Self. Personal Narratives. Bildungsroman.
Exercise: Editing/ cutting down.
Start by writing a poem of 40 lines. In this first draft, don’t worry about perfection. This part of the exercise should be rather stream-of-consciousness.
Then in a second draft, cut that in half to 20 lines. For the third draft, cut that in half again to 10 lines. You'll have to "kill your babies" for this-- it isn’t supposed to be easy!
At the end, you’ll have 3 drafts culminating in a poem culled down to your strongest lines that are most evocative of the essence you wished to convey in the original, long poem. This forces you to see what is truly necessary to get to the crux of what you’re trying to say, and cut out the "fat."
If you have a partner to work on this together with, even better! Have them make the first cut for your second draft, and vice-versa.
This month’s writing theme is brought to you by:
Originally from Boston, MA, and currently living in Long Beach, CA, Amelie holds a BA in creative writing with a minor in comparative world literature. She is the co-creator of Two Girl Book Party, an online monthly book club and will be launching her website, Fête Lit, soon!
She is a plant lady, dog mama, book polyamorist, and writer of poems and stories. Check her out on Instagram @florenceandthebookparty