I sent a poem to an editor once at 7am before leaving the house for my 7:52am train.
As I boarded the train, my smartphone dinged, it was the editor. He accepted my poem for publication. He loved the piece and he said something to me that I will always remember:
“It’s a good piece, it needs some editing, just a sprinkle of punctuation and cut out some of the word flab and it will be good to go” he said.
I have been cutting word flab out of my poetry ever since.
In a earlier post, I talked about how I write poetry and then I place the work on the shelf for weeks at a time. Well, the first thing I do when I pull my work off the shelf is cut out the word flab.
After weeks of letting the work sit, I spot that word flab right away. It stands out like a wart in a verse, an abnormal growth
in a stanza. So I cut, cut, cut and after I’m done cutting I put it back on the shelf for weeks again.
One published piece of mine went back and forth to the shelf for an entire year. It
went from 3 pages to one page —approximately 34 lines. The word flab was nearly gone. The editors of anthology asked me to cut just 2 more words. I did so —gladly! Out with the
word flab, out with the word flab!