I want to thank you for the comments you sent me about the poem draft I posted a few days ago. They were helpful, but they also uniformly agreed with what I had already guessed would probably need to happen, which is both reassuring and, paradoxically, why I rarely ask anyone anything about work in progress. I've never belonged to a writers' group, and I don't go to workshops anymore because they so often become competitions, excoriations, back patting, praise parties, or hand holding, none of which I want. During the two years I worked with Baron Wormser as a private student, I relied heavily on his suggestions; but one of the wonders of Baron's teaching is his ability to wean his students from dependency on advice. He taught me, as much anything, how to use my own resources to become my own teacher.
This isn't to say that my poems can't benefit from an outside eye, but, after all, the work must come from me, from beginning to end. Regarding the draft you saw, there are elements I don't care to excise but that require excision. Probably those excisions will lead to additions. The piece will change, perhaps radically. What I like best about the draft is, I think, the tone; and I believe that undertaking a faux-translation allowed me to ride the fluidity of that voice as I composed the narrative. Probably the Italian has done its work. I should imagine it as a bread casing, the sort that one makes to envelope a ham for baking but that is not intended to be eaten. Why does all the food need to go into the same mouths? It's not a waste to feed the scraps to the hens.