No one can be with you in your life

by Jari Chevalier

Journal of Compressed 2

Jari Chevalier is a creative artist working in poetry, visual art, and independent journalism. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Literary Review, Barrow Street, Boulevard, Cimarron Review, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, Spillway and many other literary journals. She holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from CCNY where she studied with the late William Matthews and a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Literature and Writing from Columbia University. She served as a contributing editor to the poetry journal Barrow Street for its first five years. Visit http://jarichevalier.com.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “No one can be with you in your life”?

    The first version of this poem came as a quick spontaneous expression one morning. The piece was very spare but it had the spark of life.

    The poem underwent only two more drafts, which is very unusual for me. Most of my poems take at least ten drafts to be finished, or many more.

    That skeletal draft had all the elements: the sense of a person’s inner life and presence, some sights and sounds, meanings that worked in more ways than one, the bees, some of the rhythms, the feeling.

    One day I revisited the first draft and spent time fleshing it out, amplifying sensations and feeling, opening up white space, attending more keenly to the music.

    Then, earlier the same night that I included it in a submission for the Journal for Compressed Creative Arts, the word “friends” got its quotation marks and the word “satellite” became the final word. When I reread the piece from the beginning, I got that very specific pleasure that tells me a poem is finished, complete.

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