This exercise asks you to look at a poem that really bothers you. You know, one of those poems you look at and say, “How did this get published?”
After you found your poem, I want you to first write down you initial thoughts about the poem itself and its theme or message.
Then, go line by line through the poem and start taking out words and phrases you feel muddle up the poem or take the reader out of the piece.
Next, you want to look at words that remain. Look at the theme or message you found in the poem. Do the remaining words reflect that message? If not, you want to start filling in the gaps to convey the message you feel the author’s intention was in this poem.
Does this poem sound better to you now?
Keep in mind, when we read, we bring our own baggage to a piece. We have our experiences, our morals, and our ideas. All of this filters into the poem we read and comes back to us. When you find a poem that really bothers you, most likely the problem is you see a different theme than the author wanted to express and you also feel there is a better way to showcase the theme. That is the purpose of this prompt.