How do you know when a poem is finished?
No idea whatsoever. I am a hoarder, and a slow worker, and I somewhat compulsively return to old work to steal and/or revise. It took a decade to produce Book of Annotations, and given the absurdly small word count of the book, that timeline is a bit ridiculous. For the book, I know they’re “finished” because the book is on shelves now. If I hadn’t submitted the manuscript, or if it hadn’t been accepted, I would undoubtedly still be fiddling with them. I rarely send out work to magazines, and even if I did so more, I would still be tinkering with the poems after publication. I’ m going to try to let the work in Book of Annotations sit for a few years to see how it settles. In the past I’ve been guilty of publishing too much too quickly, and I always know it is too quickly because I regret the work almost right away (often in the gap between submission and publication). I rarely look at chapbook publications prior to the trade book for this reason. If I can still stomach looking at a poem after six months, that’s a good step. After two or three years, I’m thrilled. I want to see how the book holds for me personally up in a decade or two.