Abstract Language! When I revise I look at what sections of my poem are too abstract and try to come up with some way to replace the section with figurative language without losing to much of the meaning. You don’t want your poem to be predictable, but you don’t want it to be indecipherable either. This is especially important with a spoken word piece. Your audience needs to be able to understand what you are talking about. It’s a fine line to walk.
Abstractions are not always evil, just mostly evil. If you are using the abstraction in a new and unique way it probably is fine to keep it the way it is. In some ways poetry is a way of viewing abstractions in new and unique ways. A love poem helps us see love in a new and personal light. The same is true with poems about death etc. So maybe the abstraction works. Use your best judgment, if you can’t decide err on scratching the abstraction. Lets look at a bad poem I am working on:
Mother’s milk laps upon the sheets
While we are all greeted by infinities <—- this looks like an abstraction that needs to be removed and explored through concrete language.
Hear the call of primordial streets
Our places of learning are factories,
I a product without purpose
An order lying on a shelf
All my metaphors commodify
Reduce my worth to wealth <—- I think this abstraction is a keeper. Maybe its cliché. What do you think?
We yoked ourselves to agriculture, <—– I think this one is OK as well.
Multiplied and made peace with the sword
Civilization is a vulture,
That shits pop rocks, pizza, and soft porn. <—– This last part is just bad and I will rewrite it till I like it
Check out this link for more info on abstract language