Fourteen Steps for Revising Poetry
By Allen Ginsberg
- Review it through several people's eyes
- Review it with eye to idiomatic speech
- Review it with eye to the condensation of syntax (blue pencil and transpose)
- Check out all articles and prepositions: are they necessary and functional?
- Review it for abstraction and substitute particular facts for reference (for example: 'walking down the avenues' to 'walking down 2nd Avenue')
- Date the composition
- Take a phrase from it and make up a title that's unique or curious or interesting sounding but realistic
- Put quotations around speeches or referential slang "so to speak" phrases
- Review it for weak spots you really don't like, but just left there for inertial reasons.
- Check for active versus inactive verbs (for example: "after the subway ride" instead of "after we rode the subway")
- Chop it up in lines according to breath phrasing / ideas or units of thought within one breath, if any
From Ginsberg's Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays 1952-1995.