I thought the first draft, “On Aloneness,” had a lot of emotional punch and some good one-liners, but I ultimately thought the sections weren’t working, that it lacked cohesiveness, that the shift between the “I” and “you” voices was sloppy, and that it was a bit too rant-like. There’s a tension between the more elevated language (i.e. “Blessed are the desperate for they shall inherit the sky”) and the everyday (i.e. “maybe a glow-stick’s stuffed in your cleavage”) in the first draft that I wanted to keep playing with but didn’t think was fully successful yet. For the second draft, I tried to strip it down to what I thought were some of the best individual lines (although, I am still trying to figure out how to add “when you need a machete or a macaroon” back into some other poem in the future). However, once I cut it down, I thought it seemed too much like a collection of witticisms and not enough like a poem with things to touch and experience. I think the third draft, “Recent Convert,” is much more grounded in place than the earlier drafts. I also found myself wanting to transition out of the anger in the first draft. Often, I think the more I look around myself, the more I ground poems in the physical world -- which has the potential to be as miraculous as it is mundane or terrible -- the more I am able to move myself out of negative emotions. I’m not saying this always works. Some things just suck. But this started out as a jilted poem about feeling dejected and transitioned toward more of a poem about finding grace in solitude, which is a poem I need more than I need the earlier draft. Also, for reasons I cannot entirely explain here, during the six or so months between drafts of this poem, I went from pretty staunchly believing that God was a version of Santa Claus for adults (which was a belief I held for many years) to being more open to the possibility of a higher power existing. I think that fairly major change in my personal beliefs inherently changed the point of view for this poem.
Stevie Edwards is a poet, editor, educator, and an advocate for mental health awareness. She is currently Editor-in-Chief at Muzzle Magazine, Acquisitions Editor at YesYes Books, and a Lecturer at Cornell University. Her first book, GOOD GRIEF (Write Bloody 2012), won an open manuscript contest and received two post-publication awards, the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil's Kitchen Reading Award from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale. Her second book, HUMANLY, was recently release by Small Doggies Press. Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Devil's Lake, Indiana Review, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Cornell University and a BA from Albion College.