Writing a Golden Shovel Poem: Day 5

[You can read Days 1, 2, 3, and 4 by clicking, if you like.]

Well, you guys, I feel like sharing my process makes it sound like I have put hours and hours into this poem! But, really, it was just a stolen 15 minutes here and there. I have spent more time writing the blog posts than writing the poem–which explains why I don’t share my process as often as I would like to!

At this point, I liked the basic scene. I also liked that the scene is a complete contrast with Hopkins’ original poem praising all the beauty in the world. I am all for praising beauty! But I can’t be blind to the horror and heartache. So I am glad that I took the line from Hopkins’ poem and gave those words a whole different world to live in and yet, somehow, I think, skirted along the same theme of looking at the world, of opening our eyes. After having the poem basically in a place I liked, I wanted to work on the sounds.

So, for Day 5, I typed my latest draft in and used highlighting to show matching sounds. This is called a sound diagram, and I don’t do this all the time, but I should! Here’s a post explaining sound diagrams.

Golden Shovel Sound Diagram
In draft 6, I had 35 units of sound that echoed nearby sounds. By playing around a little bit, I ended up with 44 in draft 7. Most of the changes were in the first two lines.

Next up, I want to make this an image poem, and I’ll share the final result on this Poetry Friday!




7 Responses

  1. I’ve seen sound diagrams like this on poem analyses, but never thought to actually use them in my writing — I just go by my ear. I’ll have to try this sometime!

    1. I rarely do it, but every time I do, I think, Hey, I should do this more often. Did it recently on a pb ms and it really strengthened it.

  2. I love that you do this. I read aloud a lot and sometimes use a metronome for meter, but I haven’t done this. I may need to try it one day.

    Thank you for sharing all these process posts. I’ve so loved this behind the scenes peak.

  3. It’s not a program specific to poetry that you’ve used to mark sounds, right? That’s just you and the highlighter function, yes? I always feel like I’m so out of the loop in terms of tools for whatever; people sing the praises of Scrivener, etc. etc., but I fear I will always only be able to draft first with paper and pen, then type out my draft to play with it in Notepad, then do something interesting like play with the imagery or line breaks. I am determinedly old school.

  4. Wow.…you are so purposeful! I love the golden shovel form. I’ll be sharing one for PF tomorrow. You will laugh at my process.

    1. Start on a power point screen with 2 text boxes
    2. Text box on the right are the words of the golden “line”
    3. Text box on the left are the words leading to the golden “word” but left justified.
    4. Then, I work on one line at a time.…taking breaks between because it’s more intense than other forms…a sudouko of sorts!

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