Recently I was working on a revision of poetry collection/cycle. It started out as 23 poems. An editor liked it but wanted more characterization, more depth. She didn’t say anything about more poems, exactly, but somehow as I revised and freewrote, I ended up with a total of 106 poems! Here are some of them early on in the process. I printed out the initial poems on index cards and spread them out in a horseshoe shape on the bed in the order they belonged in. Then I tried figuring out where the new poems should fit in. By the time I got to 106 poems, my bed looked like it had a comforter made of a giant gull wing with poemfeathers.
23 poems to 106 poems! My crit groups and my agent have the collection now, and I’m waiting to hear what people think. Maybe I’ve just gone insane. Maybe I only needed 40 poems. I just can’t say, with any confidence, that this (or this or this) is the right shape/form/number of poems to tell this story.
Anybody else struggling with form/structure right now?