Cut, cut, then cut some more. Helen Vendler read this paean to the editing process in this year’s Robert B. Silvers Lecture.

I bless thee, Lord, because I GROW
Among thy trees, which in a ROW
To thee both fruit and order OW.
What open force, or hidden CHARM
Can blast my fruit, or bring me HARM,
While the inclosure is thine ARM.
Inclose me still for fear I START.
Be to me rather sharp and TART,
Than let me want thy hand and ART.
When thou dost greater judgments SPARE,
And with thy knife but prune and PARE,
Ev’n fruitful trees more fruitful ARE.
Such sharpness shows the sweetest FREND:
Such cuttings rather heal than REND:
And such beginnings touch their END.
GEORGE HERBERT (1593-1633)








(The periods between stanzas are not there in the original. I had to add them to force my template to accept a line space.)