On the Revision Process for "Missouri River, Great Falls, Montana, February 1929"
by Leland Seese
From the moment I read Jason's initial response to this poem I knew it was in the hands of a gifted reader and editor. I was confident in his assessment that it was a good poem that was not quite living up to its potential. The thing that really struck me was Jason's highly-associative response to the original title of the poem, and his willingness to be straight-up about how another title could work better. His response to the title I had originally used (“Heirloom”) had the effect of opening the whole poem up for me; I saw new possibilities that never would have occurred to me. But then Jason shifted from associative and abstract responses to very perceptive line edits, word choices, and narrative links. It was like looking at an out-of-focus photo that suddenly comes into focus. From there, as if writing the poem for the first time, I followed the pieces into their final form. I am grateful to Jason for his balance of sincere affirmation and rigorous coaching. And it means a great deal to me that this homage to my courageous mother (may she rest in peace) is included in Gordon Square Review.