Postcard from the Poetry Bus--definitely my favorite one so far. I once had a bad ostrich run-in myself, after taking my sister to a petting zoo. I was wearing a shirt that had a glittered design across the chest, and guess what? Ostriches peck at anything shiny. Anything. Didn't even buy me dinner first.
I was complaining to a fellow writer today about how casual we are in being perpetually exhausted and stressed--too comfortable, as if we either lack the discipline or desire to make things change. Then I ran across this guest entry on The Happy Booker, "Work More, Sleep Less (And Take Good Care of Yourself)," which at least assures me it is not a DC-centric phenomenon.
For a variety of reasons I have been reading multiple poetry manuscripts recently, and I find myself internalizing a few questions that come up again and again--things to check for myself in future drafts, little ways I interrogate the strength of the manuscript. They include:
-If your last line is distinctly longer or shorter than the median length of those previous, is this an intentional move, or a sign the poem hasn't "settled" into its optimal lineation?
-Is the use of the confessional second person a shortcut of drawing the reader into the poem, or does it genuinely communicate information that would not be available in the first or third person?
-Is the "you" a displaced "I"? If this is being done over and over in a manuscript, why?
-Do the poems derive dramatic thrust using both rhetorical gestures (hyperbole, negation) and figurative gestures (metaphor, simile)? Are grammatical marks (ellipses, exclamation marks) being used to compensate for an emotive lack?
-Do you find yourself using the same rhythms and syntactical patterns, over and over, to create a sense of closure in each poem? Is this a conscious, formal choice? What are the consequences?
-What would you describe as the most unusual coherent aspect--the hook--of this MS?
...just a few ideas, from one editor. I'd be intrigued to hear from others.