poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:042
Mercedes Webb-Pullman : A Writer's Autobiography
Mercedes Webb-Pullman : Publishing Credits. Books
MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : Revision - my process
for your reading pleasure, verse
from new and established poets
poetry requires a mature audieance,
if you are under 18 years of age, click here Big Fish

Mercedes Webb-Pullman
A Writer's Autobiography

I was born in Kaitaia, almost as far up the North Island of New Zealand as you can go, third child of six. We grew together like a litter of puppies, spent the endless summer holidays each year at the beach-side farm where my father was born. Then we moved to Napier, a better place to educate children so we were told. I lost my first language, went through classes quickly, and left school, and home, at the age of sixteen. I had qualified for University Entrance but was considered too young to attend, so I started work.

My love of poetry was encouraged by one particular teacher, Miss Hilda Timms, and I’m still fired by her passion for words. I worked school holidays in the Napier Library, and read my way through their selection of literature.

I worked, mainly in clerical jobs, in Christchurch and Wellington, then headed off to Australia. For the next five years I worked in NSW Ski resorts, in bars, restaurants and ski hires, staying year-round for the sailing, swimming, water-skiing and horse- riding in summer. I learned to use a spinning wheel, and opened a shop selling home-spun and hand-dyed garments, knitted for me by a group of workers spread over the district. I worked for a legal firm as trust account book keeper, for an accountant preparing income tax returns, for a motel as house-keeper, then travelled to the States to learn more about stained glass construction.

My first husband was American - we divorced a year later, and I married an Australian I’d met in California. With him I worked track-side at horse races in Sydney for a licensed bookmaker for five years - I was a penciller, he was a bagman. We bought some land near the ski- fields where I’d worked, and spent as much time there as we could. One year he went back to the city and I stayed on. I lived, totally alone for the first time in my life, in the house we’d built in the bush, as close to self-sufficiency as possible. I read a lot about Zen, studied haiku, gradually lost the city shell.

After I’d lost three cars to the river crossing I had the house moved into the small village down the river, Numeralla, and lived there happily for 20 years with my new partner, reading, gardening, making home brews and wine, and designing and building stained glass panels. 8 years ago I broke my left leg in a drunken scramble through a wire fence, taking a shortcut, and spend hours of agony trying to crawl home, not understanding why each time I tried to stand, I fell. Eventually I was rescued.

My recuperation involved taking long walks daily. I found I was coming home with a head full of words, seemingly inspired by the pace of my footsteps, and I started writing them down. For the first time since I’d left high school, 40 years before, I wrote poetry. I joined an online poetry site and started learning, particularly about revision (always needed!). I was lucky to be mentored by a poet who took care with his explanations. I spent much happy time working on glass with my hands while my mind played with words. You can see some work here: Flicker.com

Two years later I moved back to New Zealand, to help care for my mother who had dementia. My siblings were scattered over the world. I joined an online class in Creative Writing from Whitireia College, attended a poetry workshop at Victoria University Wellington, run by the International Institute of Modern Letters.

My first poem, To the Tuhoe, was published in Oct/Nov 2008 edition of the New Zealand magazine Mana. I graduated with Diploma in Creative Writing from Whitireia 2009, and applied to study for MA in Creative Writing with IIML, was accepted, and graduated in 2011. By then I had had some 20 poems published and had won the 2010 Wellington Cafe Poetry competition. I also attended two six week workshops at Victoria University run by Iowa graduates, one by Lucas Bernhardt, one by Alan Felsenthal. They showed me directions in American poetry that helped me see my own direction.

I currently live on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand. I have five books of poetry and two of non-fiction available through Amazon, and more than 100 poems in various journals, anthologies and collections. I edit an online poetry blog and have started my own press, Bench Press, with eight titles out so far. I write every day, still read as much as I can, still vastly enjoy this voyage through word to mind.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:042

All the fine arts are species of poetry--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

poetry repairs your heart
even as it splits it open.
The Art of Reading

Our Dancing Poet Logo!

Mercedes Webb-Pullman
Publishing Credits. Books 
Numeralla Dreaming 978-0473198602 Bench Press 26 January 2012 Food 4 Thought ISBN 978-1479316212 Createspace Independent Publishing Platform 12 September 2012 After the Dance ISBN 978-1494997151 Stonesthrow Poetry / Lazarus Media LLC 27 October 2012 Looking for Kerouac ISBN 978-1494988845 Hammer and Anvil Books 27 August 2013 Ono ISBN 978-1495230462 Hammer and Anvil Books 24 October 2013 Bravo Charlie Foxtrot ISBN 978-1495231308 Bench Press 21 January 2014

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:042

I have many things to write unto you but
I will not write with pen and ink
--JOHN the theologian

No state organ: POETRYREPAIRS
accepts NO money from federal,
state, or local governments.
READERS maintain poetryrepairs.

free counters


Revision - my process

New Zealand poet Dinah Hawken, answering a question at an open mic, said “I put my new poem away in a drawer, for a while - up to six months - to let it gel.” I too think of a newly-written poem as something delicate, that needs to be left alone for a while. I don't agree entirely with the left brain/right brain creativity/logic concept, but it works as a way to explain the difference between the creative process, and the editing/revision process.

When I write a poem, I let all the words come, without stopping to think, choose or question. I now trust letting the flow happen, as I know I'll get back to trim its exuberance later.

When I fish the poem out again, I read it twice, straight through, no pauses, then once very slowly, aloud, noting where I “stumble” or try to substitute words for what is there, and note these.

Then I go through, focusing on 'filler” words - words that carry no meaning in themselves, eliminating or changing them, seeing how these changes affect the poem as a whole, trying to ensure that each word is a necessary part of the “machine” as William Carlos William described poems. I start looking for “first-out-of-the-drawer” words - a concept shown me by tutor Chris Price during my MA studies, those words that come first to mind but may not be the best for their purpose in this poem. A fresher way, a different way to present the image may be needed. Often, this can causes great changes in the whole structure. I try them, choose what fits by an intuitive process that I really can't explain further.

I work through the poem again, looking for the opportunity to play with rhyme; slant rhyme, sight rhyme, internal or line end, as well as sounds: assonance, dissonance, alliteration, all the tools of poetic device, including meter, rhythm and mood. Sometimes forms change - a sonnet may become free verse, free verse may insist on being a villanelle. I go where they take me.

I put it away again. Sometimes I wake up with a phrase, or a line, that needs to go in. I usually retype the whole poem finally, and again this process can suggest further edits.

Throughout the revision process I am conscious of what I am doing, and why I am doing it, although explaining to a reader why I did this, rather than that, would be difficult. I'd probably mumble something about “killing all my darlings” (William Faulkner) and add an admonition from Henry Green to remember that “the more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.”

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:042

Poetry endangers the established order
of the soul - Plato

REPAIR: resort, frequent or habitual going; concourse or confluence of people at or in a place; making one's way; to go, betake oneself, to arrive; return to a place; to dwell; to recover, heal, or cure; to renew; to fix to original condition.
-- Oxford English Dictionary


Mercedes Webb-Pullman : A Writer's Autobiography
Mercedes Webb-Pullman : Publishing Credits. Books
MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : Revision - my process

thank you for reading poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:042
link to poetryrepairs
please link to http://www.poetryrepairs.com/v14/042.html