How do you make poetry a cappella?


Me and my NYC writer’s group, Writeous, have long wanted to jointly write a piece. We picked New York City as our common denominator to encourage and inspire individual creative thoughts on the metropolitan life in a poetry format. Finally this past April we accomplished the draft via the 30/30 challenge commemorating National Poetry Month in the US. At first the outcome felt great as having so many raw yet beautiful words at hand to work with–each of us took on the task of turning it into a cohesive piece so we could present it together. Imagine how cool will it be to have a poets band?

After reading 8 pages of heart-wrenching poetic lines from 3 vastly diverse writers, the reality gradually kicked in. Right now I am having a hard time tossing and sautéing these words into a delicious dish. Pick and choose, cut and stay, they have become a daunting task. By the way our work is fittingly titled “A Slice of Apple”.

Is it my being precious/self indulgent with my own words when it comes to merging and trimming? Is it my being sensitive to other fellow writers’ creations because their focus and weight on each line may be different than mine? Is it simply un-combinable for singular writings to make a harmonious poetry a cappella?

It started as a tag game but now it lacks the tagging as movement but overflowing discarded tags.

What’s your experience in merging and revising (not only editing) your own and other people’s words simultaneously? Would you be very self-conscious and overthinking about the process?

If the piece were indeed settled for the apple title, what would Adam, Eve, and snake do?


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