Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Andrew Terhune, "Changes to a Poem"

Andrew Terhune

Changes to a Poem

I removed “she dyed red with Kool-Aid” from the first line. I felt that it could have worked with it, but it wasn’t completely necessary. I wanted to remove red, because we see red again in the next line and later on in the poem. Then just taking out red would leave “she dyed with Kool-Aid” which wouldn’t work.

I removed “Ashley” from the second line. “Ashley” wasn’t needed, because the speaker was speaking to her as the “you” in the rest of the poem.

I removed “That was the day” from the fourth line. I didn’t think it needed to be said that that was the day.

I removed “Yankees” from the fourth line. I thought it would better to emphasize that it was a blue cap more than blue Yankees cap, because “Blue was truly midnight.”

I removed “at The Barns” from the fifth line. Deleting it pulls the attention back to Robert and the reception.

I removed “shooting” and left it as “A star fell…” I thought “a star fell” made it more somber or solemn than a “shooting star fell.” I liked the phrasing of the line without the “shooting.”

I removed “at the center of the Wesleyan Hills” from the seventh line for the same reasons I removed “at The Barns” from the fifth line. “A star fell and I wished for TJ and the green pond.”

I removed “over Henry” from the eighth line. It is a very specific thing to be crying over, and I hesitated for a moment before I removed it because of the way its phrased, because if that is the only thing that Tova’s mom cried about too much, then it was important to know.

I removed “Bush on” before “the black boombox” in line 9. I liked seeing “the black boombox,/remember? I liked seeing “the black boombox” by itself without anything in front of it.

I removed “was” from the tenth line. This was the first thing I removed.


Andrew Terhune is a proud representative of the displaced South in Chicago, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. His poems can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, Glass, O Sweet Flowery Roses, and online at

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