When I wrote the first poem for my creative writing tutorial at the beginning of October, I didn’t think it would take me a full two months to get a final draft.
I was still under the impression that my tutorials would be similar to the American school system. I expected to turn in the poem, receive a few comments for correction, and perhaps revise it once.
I had vastly underestimated the power of the British tutorial.
During that first session, my tutor had me read the poem out loud, and then spent the next 40 minutes going through it line by line—sometimes even word by word—and telling me what he thought was good or bad, elegant or corny, original or cliché. He made me defend my writing: why did I choose the word “cackle” to describe a fire? Would a word like “tease” or “boil” create a better mental image? He made me realize that I needed to think carefully about each and every word I chose. After thoroughly decimating the poem I had thought was so clever, he gave me a new assignment along with instructions to revise the first.
This same pattern has repeated throughout the term. By the end of my third class session, my assignment consisted of revising three poems and writing a fourth. I was still tinkering with the first poem I had written.
The careful consideration my work has received this term has helped me to become a more careful writer. It has reminded me of just how fulfilling it can be when I get it right, and just how frustrating when I don’t.
At long last, my first poem of the term is finished. Here it is, for your consideration.Reading at Christmas The only sounds that break the sacred hush Creep cautiously in corners of the room: The purring of a cat’s throat, deep and lush; The clock announcing time with muted boom. The fire teases merrily behind, Perpetually snacking on a log. His breath is diabolically inclined And hisses out a constant monologue. Upon the lips, redolent tea sings tales Of blooming gardens, damp and richly hued. And chocolate—handsome suitor—never fails In making love with taste buds, softly wooed.