The poet Luisa Igloria has recently Twittered, “It’s time to bring tough revision back as the new sexy, over glibness.”
I am with this in a big way. A cursory look over my blog entries will tell you I am a fan of tough revision and editing. I wonder about the “glibness” part of Luisa’s statement. I’ve described in the past a trend I’ve noticed — poets being flippant in discussions of poetry and the work of poetry, which confuses me, and which I find off-putting. The flippancy, the glibness come from where, and for what purpose?
In my own experience, I am frequently approached (in person and online) by earnest, eager, well-meaning students and emerging poets. They ask me questions about how I got started writing and publishing (presumably so that they can figure out a way in for themselves), how I come up with an idea for a poem and a book, how to submit poems and manuscripts for publication, what/who to read, whether they should apply to MFA programs. I have been asked to read and comment on entire book manuscripts. I think the best thing I can do is to be as helpful as I can and earnestly engage their questions, given my own time and energy limitations.