Student Research Projects

Craft as Necessity: Poetic Creation through Revision

Student Eric Webb
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department English
Course English 398: Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop


Find your voice. Write from experience. Imagine the smells, tastes, touches, sounds and sights important to you; write about them concretely. Here is a picture; imaginatively describe in verse what you see. Each of these is a common prompt for undergraduate writers. Published poets use prompts as well, and their inclusion in such texts as The Poet’s Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux is further validation. If many poets are using similar prompts, what separates published poets from struggling poets? Experience is one answer to this question, so more specifically, what does experience bring with it that makes these more seasoned poets produce memorable poems?

I have come to believe that the process of revision is one of the primary keys to bringing about the birth of a poem. It is that process which enables the poet to carefully apply the techniques of craft resulting in publishable poetry. I propose to explore the revision process by presenting and then examining the evolution of two of my poems, the sonnet “Metronome,” and the free-verse “Wealth,” from conception to completion. Through close attention and the application of craft to a poem by revision, the poet manipulates the text into the realm of the artistic. By following the revision process through these two poems, I hope to elucidate the necessity of revision as a part of poetic creativity: with each revision, the subtleties of craft become more finely honed, until the creative process is complete and the poem realized. Both “Metronome” and “Wealth” have undergone numerous and extensive revisions; each has become a strong poem; I believe each has attained that poetic quality.


National Conference on Undergraduate Research


Eric Webb, 2010, "Craft as Necessity: Poetic Creation through Revision", Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research