where the writers are
Poetry and White-Out

For the last few years now, I've brought in white-out pens to my poetry classes.  I offer them to my undergrads, grads, and carry them in my suitcase to my workshop in France.   I find that some people feel a freedom to edit with white-out that they hadn't experienced before with the usual editing techniques.  I encourage the poets to take a copy of one of their poems with which they are not satisfied, and to white out a significant portion of the poem.  

Some poets will take away the whole right margin.  Some with fracture the narrative thread and cut to the rhythmic core.  The poems seem to dance on the page, words play in a wild way, taking risks.  There's more freedom, laughter, air.  Some poets never turn back to the solid blocks of text that sit heavily on the page.  For others, the white-out play date is just one day of tasting experimentation.  

It's a start!