Level One

1. Select your best draft of each poem in your "Work in Progress" file and circle the words or lines that contain your epiphany. On a separate sheet of paper, type the title of your draft, the first line, the line(s) containing your epiphany, and the last line. Example:

Title: The Brevity and Permanence of Snow

First Line: All night, as I lay in the spare room

Epiphanies: I want to whisper, we are alive. We feel the same

Love for the other. . . . Last line: Or melt like beauty and be gone

The first, last and epiphany line(s) are the key elements of any poem. Meaning should somehow be reflected or enhanced by the title. In the outline above, the first words of the first line —"All night" — play off the title, and the rest of the line grounds the reader as it should with a suspense title. The lines conveying the epiphanies enhance the poem with a love theme whose message, again, is love can be as cold or as fleeting as snow. The final line echoes that truth. In sum, the title succeeds.

Of course, the epiphany and truth of each poem will differ. But analyze these key elements and apply lessons learned in this chapter until you are satisfied with your descriptive, suspense or label title.

2. Select three ideas from your "Idea File" and do a first draft for each according to these methods:

• Write the final title first and then the draft.

• Create a working title first and then the draft.

• Compose the draft first and then the title.

In your journal, discuss which method was the most/least effective for you.

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