Ching-In Chen on revision


I don't think I realized it [The Heart's Traffic] was a novel-in-poems until after I had written the first set of poems. Slowly, as each poem of that first thirty unfolded, I realized that the protagonist voice wasn't me (because previously, I had never written in persona before), it was Xiaomei. After I figured that out, it was a matter of getting to know her better and the world around her and the people she comes across. Because this was a very different way of working for me than before (when I was just making poems from making sense of my daily life), I found that using poetic forms helped me contain my imagination to this one girl's story.