Why thin books of poetry are expensive

Standard

(I’m guessing here.)

It takes two minutes to write the first four lines.

It takes an hour and a half to write the next five and a half lines.

It takes three hours to revise the nine and a half lines.

It takes three days to find the correct epithet for line 7.

It requires a currently indefinite period to decide what to do about the half line.  Options:

  • Rewrite it to become a whole line (but will that weaken it)
  • Take a half line out somewhere else and join up the two remaining halves
  • If so, which half line should be axed and how can the disjointed be conjoined?
  • Think of some extra statement and incorporate the half line into it so that there is an even number – say twelve lines
  • … but what’s wrong with odd numbers and anyway I like asymmetry
  • Say sod it and keep the half line to give it prominence and clunk
  • Put the nine and a half lines in the bin

Since I really like three of the lines and the half line this debate may take some time.  Indeed, six months on I am still searching for a vital word in another short poem.  No Complete Works to be published any time soon, I think.  And then it may only have eleven pages.

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6 responses »

    • I think I belong to the Winnie the Pooh school of poetry:
      “Do you like it, Piglet?” “All except the shillings,” said Piglet. “I don’t think they ought to be there.” “They wanted to come in after the pounds,” explained Pooh, “so I let them.”

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