Ted Kooser, former United States Poet Laureate (2004-2006) sugest in his book The Poetry Repair Manual (p.30) he mentions that he sometimes turns his poems upside down so that the opening lines are the last. He suggests that sometimes he likes this better, that it changes the flow of the information. I have found that shuffling poem stanzas in a different order than originally written also can have very interesting effects and inform the creation of the poem.
During the process of cleaning and reworking poems for Owl Light I recently used this technique for a challenging poem. The second stanza wasn’t working out well and so I flipped it on it’s head. When I did this I ended up seeing things i could rearrange and rework, this then led me to change a few choice words and work with the line length and eventually encapsulate the previous fragmented poem into one cohesive poem sans stanzas. The result is the poem ache, which now has added nuances and a more open relation to the reader and the readers interpretation, reception and companionship.
little red flower beating in it’s phony, bony cage
stalk it a sunbeam, and what little water it cries for
put it to bed, soft and warm . . . [more]
~ David Anthony Martin
This poem is part of my current work in progress Owl Light, a manuscript nearly ready to submit. I have a manuscript, Deepening the Map being considered for publication, and am well on my way with this next notebook toward another manuscript in the works.
If you like this poem, consider reading a few of my new poems on my blog and checking out my book Span (Rhizome Publishing 2011, 2012) which will soon be out of print, but currently can still be purchased as an eBook and read on most devices or as a beautiful paperback to be held in your hands and taken with you on your day. The cover art by Mathias Valdez of Last Leaf Printing takes the book as object” concept to a lovely level. Span also makes a great, inexpensive gift for the book or nature lover on your list.
If you are unable to find a distributor with available copies, I do have a few copies left at home, contact me to purchase them via my blogsite and PayPal.