Revision means re-seeing — looking again with fresh vision at what you've previously made. And since we're talking poetry, we might also consider "re-auditing" — re-hearing — the words.

To revise well, you must be a perceptive and imaginative reader of your own draft, a reader who can anticipate another reader's response and see new ways the poem might evolve.

Knowing you'll revise, you can relax and speak your mind early in your writing process. Since your words can be changed later, you won't worry about writing the perfect first draft.

If you spot a problem in your first draft, you can change it. With writing you get a second chance, or a third or a fourth. And each time you revise, you find new potential in the changing poem. Too often, inexperienced poets don't see this potential. They are too careful and self-critical at the start of the writing process and too easily satisfied toward the end. Having agonized through a first draft, they quickly check for errors and consider the poem.

More experienced poets usually do just the reverse. Early on, they trust the muse--writing quickly, accepting chance discoveries, trusting hunches and gut-feelings, willingly making mistakes. Later, often as a result of feedback gained from sharing, they reconsider their work, asking whether it affects readers as they would like. Thus begins the process of revision. .

Spotting mechanical problems is only a minor concern here. Much more important is the need to see the big picture, the overall effect. Step back and imagine you're another person coming to this poem for the first time. Consider the structure, the level of complexity. Read for fluency and precision. Then focus in on individual sentences and words:

How does this poem sound when I read it aloud?

Should I change any line or stanza breaks to improve the rhythm and tempo?

What could be cut or deleted?

What could be added, expanded, or moved?

Are the opening and closing strong?

Revising well means asking and answering such questions about your own poems. It requires keeping an open mind about your work and going back over it again and again (and even again)--until you get it just right.

Using your Blog, you can do multiple revisions before publishing your poem, perhaps first in a workshop group. Then when you are ready, you can accept comments and make further revisions if you choose before publishing it for a wider audience.