Backwards Revision Strategy

This exercise may help you to complete that poem you thought you couldn’t complete, or perfect…

Here’s what to do:
Choose a poem you have written that you want to work on more (or even a very old poem, from years ago!).
Choose a substantive poem (not too short, and long ones work quite well).

1. Write out (I recommend by hand) the entire poem backwards.
Either write each word backwards or each line backwards.

2. Check out this new “draft”–
Next, work on the poem some more, perhaps in your usual way (by intuition, a certain form–that is up to you).
If this seems to work for you, try it with other poems!

3. Think about your process. What happened? What did you learn here?
How do your versions compare? How/why are they different? Why does this style work for you (in some cases, or also perhaps not in others). And so on.
Have fun with this!!!

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