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Drafts of a poem

Spread from a piece featuring 21 drafts of Suji Kwok Kim’s poem “Generation” from Esopus 6: Process. Photo by Tod Lippy 

Suji Kwok Kim
Esopus 6 (Spring 2006)

"This is from [our] process issue. I asked people to surrender their documents of the creative process. [Poet Suji Kwok Kim] was so brave, and so amazing. She gave us every draft of this very well-known poem of hers ["Generation”], starting with her very first one all the way through to the final draft. She really worked, and reworked and reworked and reworked this. It’s a wonderful window into how difficult it is to write a good poem. It’s not, 'Oh, it’ll just sit and flow out of me in perfect form.' It was really torturous. I mean this is 20-some drafts over the period of six months. I was so thrilled that she was willing to reveal all of this to readers because it’s a real testament to how hard you have to work to make something beautiful and important."