Group: Writing Exercises


In 1802 William Wordsworth wrote that 'all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’. At a later date he uses the same phrase only this time leaving off the first two words. 'Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings'. We may not think that this is a significant difference but the presumption is that the emotion is examined in retrospection. Writing poetry in the heat of the moment is raw and can be therapeutic. It is also valid poetry but rewriting poetry in retrospect refines the art of poetry and brings about a deeper understanding of the evolution of the emotion.

Many poet used the tool of rewriting their poetry in retrospect before a final published piece. Not losing the emotion but refining the emotion for many different reasons. Some reasons to consider would be changing the tone, word choice, flow or rhythm just to name a few.

You can either use a poem already written that brought about an emotion and rewrite it in retrospection or write a fresh poem about a current emotion you are experiencing and revisit the poem at a later time (usually 1 day to a week) and then rewrite it in retrospection.

The emotion can come from anyplace photograph, argument, life event, nature, solitude, crowd etc...

Deborah Boydston

19th August 2015

One of my examples. Symphonies move me emotionally and spiritually.


The sound of music
Occupies my mind
I sit here quietly
Each movement exotic
Making the whole

The graceful strings
Dance with the artist hands
And the woodwinds weave as
Brass and percussion entwine
To the Master's wand


Many sounds
invade my senses,
as I sit
the movements are exotic
the whole is divine.

Graceful strings
dance with the artist,
woodwinds weave
brass and percussion entwine
to the Master’s wand.

Deborah Boydston

19th August 2015

First draft:

The life and love that they share
crescendos with great care,

While her fingers dance with grace
in an ivory and ebony embrace.

Adagio soft and slow
the romance seemed to flow,

As this was the overture
played sweetly with allure.

The harmony of a poet's dream
adds beauty to the theme,

Not with words but music notes
such beauty to promote.

In the sonata she derives
the love on which she thrives,

Between the keys and loving hands
no other lover stands.

Third revision and final:

It started with an overture
Played sweetly with allure,
As her fingers dance with grace
In an ivory, ebony embrace.
Adagio soft and slow
The romance seemed to flow.
Not with words but music notes
Such splendor to promote.
Harmony weaved as a dream
Adds beauty to the theme,
As the passion that they share
Crescendos with great care.
In the sonata she derives
A flame on which she thrives.
Between the keys and loving hands
No other lover stands.

Deborah Boydston

22nd August 2015

It is often the re-writing that separates the GREAT poetry from the MEDIOCRE poetry.

My problem is that I always think of my poetry as being GREAT as soon as I finish it, and seldom re-write it. That, I suppose, is why I am a MEDIOCRE poet.

Don Yarber

3rd September 2015

I do not think you are a mediocre poet. I enjoy all of your work Don. It's great to hear from you. Hope all is going well.

Deborah Boydston

3rd September 2015

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