Poetry Process

Written by Kristine Daniels


A process is a series of steps taken in order to achieve an end. For some, completing a poem is thought of as painfully slow sessions of editing and rewriting, and for others, a feverish outpour of raw emotions. A poem begins in the same way — a beginning breath or a weak whisper that grows stronger the longer the idea stays in the mind. By weaving crisp and unassuming words together, eventually, the poem is finished and no more alterations are needed. But this is only true in some sense. A poem is truly never finished, rather temporarily left behind. Throughout time it gathers dust, it creates a shell, and it settles down. The poet might revisit it, like an old friend, and congratulate it for how timeless it looks. After all, a poem can be an expression of its time, a capsule that seals a moment of history.


Much like poems, people are processes. Beginning as empty receptacles, we are continually evolving and become different versions of ourselves. Arguably, with so much time we have no choice but to grow toward our highest potential. Through mishaps and success, bouts of happiness and sadness, and a steady perseverance, we change all the time. We learn to acquire knowledge, or we choose to remain ignorant. We strive to attain a certain image, or we leave appearances unaltered for the moment. We are both gratified and disappointed in who we are.


The comforting part is that we are strengthened in our decision to change. Being works in progress, our mistakes are validated and our efforts, appreciated. We live in our own poems, editing and rewriting slowly, or feverishly releasing our emotions. We might admire how we managed to weave certain events together, or cringe at a time gone sour. But we learn from these experiences and we add more to the story until we can look at the whole piece at the end, and leave it alone.