Well, it’s too long for one thing
and very repetitive.
Remove half the fields.
Then there are far too many fences
interrupting the narrative flow.
Get some cattlemen to cut down those fences.
There’s not enough incident either,
the story is very flat.
Can’t you write in a mountain
or at least a decent-sized hill?
And why set it in winter
as if the prairie can grow nothing
but snow? I like the pubic bush
but there’s too much even of that,
and the empty sky filling all the silences
between paragraphs is really boring.
I think on due consideration
we’ll have to return your prairie.
Try us again in a year
with a mountain or a sea or a city.
- According to the poem, what are some complaints about the prairie?
- The poem uses an extended metaphor to compare the prairie to a written story. List four specific story terms used and explain how they relate to the prairie.
- What would be the outcome if the editing suggestions were made? Why?
- Do you agree or disagree with any of the suggestions? Explain.
- Try reading this poem aloud using a helpful tone. Now try reading it aloud with a sarcastic tone. Which one increases the irony? Why?
The last suggestion in the poem is to “try a mountain, a sea, or a city.” Select one of these and write a similar editing poem highlighting six aspects that don’t work, concluding with something that does.
The Prairies: Flat-Out Beautiful: https://youtu.be/FMaQz3wlk4Q
Don Kerr, "Editing the Prairie" from the Wascana Anthology. Copyright © 1996 by Don Kerr. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Source: Wascana Anthology (Canadian Plains Research Center, 1996)