I can't remember if I've blogged about the eight foot conference table my brilliant husband bought several years ago or not. (Today was the first day of classes and my brain is a bit muzzy.) In any case, this past weekend, I spent five hours shuffling poems around on said eight foot table. Said table is cumbersome. Most days it lurks, propped up behind the door to the laundry room, something for the dust bunnies to hide behind. However, when needed, it is the perfect location for laying out the individual poems in a 50-60 page manuscript.
[This weekend of revision was based on the careful comments from two close poet-friends, to whom I am indebted.]
I'm not sure why or how, but it looks like I'll end up with three sections in this book, the same as the last. The table is perfect for making three rows of poems (of about 20 poems each) and still being able to read each poem. I discovered with Blood Almanac that I need to see the entire book at once during its construction. I need to be able to let my eye float over the pages and to let my brain see the connections between the poems (or not). As I weighed the comments and made my decisions, I plucked poems from here & there and placed them in a new location or tossed them on the floor. What I found most interesting was the domino effect that began almost immediately. Yes, I agreed that the first poem in the first section wasn't doing its job and needed to be moved. But, wait, now the next poem isn't working to launch the section, either .... Drat .... chaos and shuffling begin.
In the end, after five hours and three separate printouts, I felt a sense of wholeness about the book that hadn't been there before. I've added a few newer poems that have been in the pipeline and I've taken out a few of the weaklings from the first draft. I'm also happier with the arc of the book now. Who knows how long the satisfaction will last, but it's a good feeling for now.