Work in Progress

Revising bunnyThis week Holly Wren Spaulding posted a picture of a draft from T.S. Eliot. She asked, Have you ever received feedback like this? Well, yes I have–from Holly. Last Spring I took a long anticipated class with Holly, and she critiqued four or five pieces that I wrote during the workshop. I don’t write long poems, and Holly’s comments were often longer than the originals! I have to admit, it was very hard to see all that was wrong with these zero drafts, fragments, and beginnings. I knew that for the most part, Holly was right. Her suggestions would make these poems stronger. Still, I wasn’t ready to move on the suggested changes. I put her notes in the pile of loose leaf poem drafts.

I’ve been going through papers all week–recycling, gathering like with like. I hope all this shuffling is a prelude to actually doing the taxes. I found Holly’s notes again last night. Her changes still made a lot of sense to me. And there was one piece that had some promise, one piece that seemed somehow connected to lines I had written earlier this week at the coast. I am working on a few poems to submit to Hummingbird Poetry, and I think this poem belongs with them.

Holly says that “most writers spend the majority of their time in a process of revision. This is where you attempt to re-see your own words, your raw efforts, with fresh eyes.” Like I said I’ve got a ream of yellow paper that’s a few years of drafts. Drafts that have been cooling off, words to return to. Learning revision is a crucial next step in my Homeschool MFA. I am pleased to have such fine teachers and companions along the way.


  1. Hi, Kortney.

    Great to meet you at AWP/Portland this past week. I’d welcome you sharing the book I gave you with your local library.
    If you could pass my info on to your Read Aloud Revival community, I’d appreciate it. I am attempting to share my creative writing
    adventure books with more homeschooling communities and any nudge in that direction is oh so helpful.

    With warm thoughts!


    If Read Aloud Revival would like to feature my books, I’m happy to have my Publisher send review copies.

    1. Thanks so much, Karen! It was wonderful to meet you! I will be in touch later this year as we firm up plans for our 2020 schedule!

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