I've just returned from the Monday Night Poetry reading at the Pasadena library and I don't know what it was about tonight, but the reading was electrifying. There was a very light crowd, but everyone who got up to read was fantastic! There were no bad poems tonight. It was as though only "the real poets" were willing to brave the rain and show up. (It's not supposed to rain in Southern California... when it does, no one knows what to do!)
We ran the full range of human emotions tonight, from hilarity to grief. I read one poem, this uncharacteristically long sf poem I've been working on for the past five days called "Siren's Song," just to gauge the audience reaction. They seemed spellbound and the applause was encouraging. So, I might actually be ready to send this thing out in the near future and move on to something else.
This is why I don't write long poems very often - I'm currently at the "the" stage, i.e. the editing process where I go through every "the" and ask, "Do I want an 'a'? Do I want an adjective? If I have two "the's" in a row, then I need to get rid of one, etc, etc, etc. Basically, I question every single word choice & it's painful and takes forever. Sometimes, I'm lazy and just don't bother, but when a poem really matters to me, I take the time and in the end, it's usually worth it.
Am I the only one who does this?
It's so much easier with haiku, where there's only six to twelve words in the entire poem to dice up and analyze when I'm in this sort of hyper-critical self-editing mood.