Kenneth Anderson, one of our Pushcart Prize nominees for his poem “Bastille Day Sale,” admits that he goes through little editing in his poems.
However, for his poem “Postcard from a Man Whose Heart Is on Fire for You,” he submitted one of his only Pieces of Slag: an old broadside, printed by himself as “The Slipshod Press” and a friend a few years ago for an art/poetry collaborative. The collage artwork was also made by Mr. Anderson.
Below is the edited version, much of which Anderson rejected in final drafts. When I asked him about his editing process, especially for this poem, he had this to share:
“My problem is that I tend to treat poetry like life. Nothing is settled. There is always room for improvement, bold change, or subtle alteration. This I balance with a natural laziness and the desire to preserve, in the language of its arrival, that spark or animus that makes the poem breathe. Also, as I get older, the years of practice and a hard-won trust of my own instincts conspire to create a kind of confidence that I prefer to leave mostly unexamined.”