Case Study: Editing & Revision

Amanda Gorman

Lesson time 13:30 min

In this in-depth lesson, Amanda demonstrates poetry editing and revision with an on-set revision of a student’s poem.

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Topics include: Case Study: Editing & Revision


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I'm here with a young writer, Arielle. And together, we were going to look at one of her beautiful pieces and see what we can do together to revise and edit it. Would you mind telling us a bit more about yourself and what you were thinking about when you wrote this composition? - I originally started writing poetry, like, way back in fifth grade, elementary schools. And as far as my poetry background, I originally-- I started actually at WriteGirl. So-- - Go WriteGirl! So WriteGirl is an organization we were both part of. I had incredible mentors thanks to WriteGirl, and so I'm always a proud alumna. Yeah, it's very, very fun and very creative. - Well, I definitely think you're making WriteGirl proud. - Thank you. - Okay. So let's start with "Woman's Composition." I read this and I really loved it. I mean, one, the topic matter, I think there's something that's so powerful about discussing woman through poetry. - When I wrote "Woman's Composition," I was trying to find something that encapsulated all of womanhood. And it was a little difficult, right? Because we vary in sizes and shapes and personalities. And this was written more as like an anthem more so for Women's History Month. And so I just wanted a relatable experience for anyone who was listening or reading the poem. So that was mainly what I was trying to go for. - Awesome. Awesome. So anthemic is a really good word for me to try to keep in mind. Would you do something for me, and would you read the first two verses aloud? - Yes. "Our hearts beat in time with the rhythm of a woman. Since the moment we felt our mother's warmth, heard her voice, touched skin to skin, we were nothing but a beautiful percussion in the looping record of life. Passed through the hands of a woman, our brothers and sisters have been improvised and harmonized by the inspiration of poets, scientists, and musicians." - Right. Love that. I always ask students when I'm working with them to read their poems aloud, because it gives me a feel for where your natural breath is. Sometimes just by listening to you, I can hear where there's line breaks, where there's not. I think something to think about with this poem is the shape of how it might look on the page. Also is how it sounds when you're reading it aloud. So here, you have split, like, "heard her voice" from "touched skin to skin." When you were actually reading it aloud to me, it felt like these two ideas kind of rolled together into one, meaning I think there's a way to think about maybe bringing this up to the same line. It depends on what you want to do or thinking about if the placement of having them so separate. - Well, I think it's a similar idea, because I wanted to talk about those sensory feelings. The image I was trying to invoke here was the synchronization of a baby's heart to the mother's heart. I mean, we could bump that up. - Ok...

About the Instructor

Bestselling author. Electrifying performer. The youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Amanda Gorman has revitalized poetry as a unifying form of expression and catalyst for social justice. Now she’s teaching you her deeply personal approach to writing. She’ll help you find your poetic purpose, fight through revisions, and prepare for performance. Discover poetry’s transcendent power to open minds and create change.

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Amanda Gorman

Award-winning Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman teaches you how to harness the power of poetry to become a more thoughtful, compassionate person.

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