Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Gem-Tactics" and the Art of Revision

In 1861, Emily Dickinson wrote a poem with no name, only the numeric title 320. In it, she speaks of the gradual metamorphosis of sand into a gem such as the pearl. I have long believed her poem mirrors the journey of the writer through the revision process.

Poem 320

We play at Paste—

Till qualified, for Pearl—
Then, drop the Paste—
And deem ourself a fool—

The Shapes—though—were similar—
And our new Hands
Learned Gem-Tactics—
Practicing Sands—

Work Cited:
Dickinson, Emily (1961). Poem 320. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ed. Thomas H. Johnson. New York: Little, Brown and Company.


  1. Your banner is not entirely true! You are too published!

  2. A couple of poems, yes, a novel . . . hopefully the stars and syllables will align before I need bifocals!