I just sent out a pile of submissions and feel like I’ve been spring-cleaning. Looking askance at the ones that were nominally in the submission pile, but somehow always got left behind. Some of them have been out on numerous occasions and just keep coming back, I might add.
I’ve pretty much stopped workshopping as a way of gauging a piece’s “readiness,” but workshops are a good place to reality-check those pieces you thought were ready, but somehow just keep coming back.
Some ways I’ve found useful to get a fresh look at an old poem I can’t “feel” any more:
- Switch all the genders. Making a “she” do what you had initially written out as actions of a “he” and vice versa is often illuminating.
- Switch “I” to “he/she” or vice versa.
- Switch tenses. If your original piece is written in the past, put it in the future. Or get really daring and play with mood: use the subjunctive.
- Cut out the first stanza and either replace it or amend the poem to do without it completely.
Any other ‘get a fresh look’ ideas out there?