Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Arden Hunter : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

This is going to be different depending on who you ask, but what it really comes down to is I think it is finished when I’m happy with it. If I read it, whispering under my breath, and at the end find myself giving a little nod of satisfaction, then I’m finished. If something is still niggling at me, it’s not. I know that’s not very helpful, but poetry is so subjective and there is no wrong way to write it, so you can’t say, ‘oh when there are X amount of words,’ or ‘when there are X amount of metaphors.’ It’s a gut feeling, I think. Part of it is, ‘Does this say what I wanted to say?’ From a more pragmatic point of view, I do spend a lot of time over the endings. Those last lines are often the ones that linger in other people’s minds, so though of course I take care over the whole poem, once the last line is crafted to my satisfaction I’m usually done. 

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