Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Reflection on "A Reflection on..."

First, a few links and bits; A Writer's Life and Women Who Get PMS (the more useful one, at least for guys; be enlightened!); Does the Audience Matter? 4; and Banning Wikipedia as a Research Source (an appropriate step). Also, I realize that I missed the March "month" entry; that will be next entry. This week has been saturated with orchestral activity, and the task simply slipped my mind. Either that, or I think February has 31 days. Ha!

Now, "A Reflection on Conversing Mirrors". I'd like to look at this poem twice, in its first (and rather old) draft and its final draft:


A Reflection on Conversing Mirrors

Conversing mirrors are upon themselves,
Intangible glass within intangible glass,
Endless discussion of meaningless nothings
Posing as distant untouchable somethings.
All encompassed multiply greatly
Like incomplete lies, defining infinity,
A false parade of endlessness.
Perfect, instant forgery, seen without substance,
Like dreams that reflect the dreamer,
the mirror reflects the mirror.

By Neil Hester


Bad, terrible, awful poem. Clunky rhythm, way too much wordy abstract stuff going on. Later on, I read this while sifting through my work, and thought, "It's a good concept, actually; it's just poorly wrought". I scrapped everything but the first two lines and the title, wrote from scratch besides that, omitted the first line later and changed up a couple wordings after receiving critique from Jessica Schneider, and...


A Reflection on Conversing Mirrors

Intangible glass in tangible glass. They stand
And talk of love which we only touch
The beginning of, and of such
We cannot hope to see the end.

Inbetween, the doppelgangers
Grace their crystal-set creators,
Each as real as next, each
Farther off, smaller
Than that before,
Until there is

I dreamt last night
I almost touched
The end,

By Neil Hester


Now it's a rather strong poem. Very little to none as far as superfluous words go, and a good shape and hanging ending. Thing is, if I had just looked to rework the first draft piece by piece, it would have taken a while to reach these sorts of results (and the style would probably have to change anyhow). I left out one draft of this poem; it only had three. Sometimes it's best to just scrap the whole blessed thing and salvage the concept, plus a few phrases/lines here and there. Don't get attached; if it's really bad, it'd probably be more effective to trash and rewrite most of it, or, in cases of prolixity, merely cutting extraneous words, lines, even stanzas from the poem, then splicing together the rest with a little shuffle'n'weld, a la This Old Poem.

"Shuffle'n'weld"... that's a strange phrase.

Take Care,


Blogger Jessica Schneider said...

Nothing like the writer of his own work being the harshest critic.

I don't know if you know, but Dan put you and Anthony on the front page of Cosmo under 'Quality Links'. So maybe you might get a bit more clicks.

8:06 AM  
Blogger LAEvanesce said...

Hey, if I'm the first person to tear me apart, it saves other people the trouble of doing it~

Also, my regards to Dan for putting my blog under Quality Links; it's definitely appreciated.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Interesting to see an earlier draft & how the poem evolved...most of the time you don't get to see that kind of thing. The "intangible glass in tangible glass" part was a smart revision--an intriguing line that draws you back to the poem.

And...thanks for thinking I'm a quality link!

10:15 PM  
Blogger Jessica Schneider said...


You'll see that some of those links are more quality than others!

11:31 AM  

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