It's been a minute, but here's the fifth entry in my video series sharing tips, tools, and tactics for aspiring spoken word artists and writers of all kinds. This video is sharing the questions that I ask when I'm revising a poem. Here they are:
- What is the poem's thesis? What, specifically, do I want the poem to say?
- Is every line necessary? Are there parts of the poem that are redundant?
- Are my opening and closing lines as powerful/memorable/engaging as they could be?
- Are there moments when I’m being abstract when I could be concrete?
- Can I push my imagery further? Can I avoid "level one" imagery and make this poem "more mine?"
- When I read the poem out loud, does it feel right? Does the poem "move" in a compelling way? Is there a some kind of intentional structure to it?
- Have I gotten feedback from anyone else?
- Bigger picture questions: What is the work that I want this poem to do? Who is this poem for? Who do I want to hear it, and who is most likely to hear it? Am I offering something to the larger conversation? Am I telling my own story and not trying to speak for someone else? Can I turn the lens of the poem more on myself? Can I be more present in this writing?
As always, I hope some of this stuff can be useful to any writers out there. Feel free to share. Also, here's my consolidated list of resources for spoken word poets.