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The Poet's Work: The John Holmes Collection

Writing Poetry: Biographies of poems

Holmes was both a poet and a teacher of poetry. Teaching students about the craft of poetry was an important part of his life and work. Part of that process was to allow students to view the evolution of a poem through multiple drafts, from first notes to finished product. Holmes included a chapter entitled "Biographies of Five Poems" in his book, Writing Poetry, which has been reproduced here in part, alonsgside scanned images of manuscript versions of the poems concerned. The remaining biographies have been reconstructed from multiple drafts in the collection and paired with correspondence, where available, discussing the poems as they were written.