Poetry Advice from Mary Oliver

Blake Draft
“What you are first able to write on the page, whether the writing comes easily or with difficulty, is not likely to be close to a finished poem…. What matters is that you consider what you have on the page as an unfinished piece of work that now requires your best conscious and patient appraisal.”

“In my own work, I usually revise through forty or fifty drafts of a poem before I begin to feel content with it. Other poets take longer. Have some lines come to you, a few times, nearly perfect, as easily as a dream arranges itself during sleep? That’s luck. That’s grace. But this is the usual way: hard work, hard work, hard work. This is the way it is done.”

From A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
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