After far too long I have finally completed the first draft of a long sonnet sequence which has been rumbling along, largely as a background task, since March 2019. If not before. Having consciously given the project a degree of focus over the last few months, I have been able to cover the last of the 154 sonnets a little more quickly than I had the first hundred or so..!
With them now printed out, the next stage of the process – on-the-page editing – can begin. It threatens to be a numbing task.
There are a small number of the poems which have already seen the light of day: in The Myths of Native Trees or Selected Poems (1976-2022), as well as in readings at poetry groups and open mics. For obvious reasons I consider these more or less ‘finished’. But there are many more which require ‘tweaking’ – and probably a disconcerting number need open-heart surgery.
Which isn’t surprising. I have learned an awful lot over the last three-plus years, not only about sonnet-writing but my poetry in general. There can be no doubt that if I were to write number one again now, it would be different from the version first drafted in 2019.
All of which inevitably makes the next stage of the process daunting. And which also implies that it is something not to be rushed – though let’s hope I don’t need another three years to get through it!