Pierre Lenfant, Study of Hands ca. 1700s. The Cleveland Museum of Art

Back Draft is an ongoing interview series focused on the revision process. Founded and edited by Ben Purkert, the series provides a window into how early work is transformed into a finished product.


Carl Phillips: “Proof by Morning” / “Is It True All Legends Once Were Rumors”

Victoria Chang: “Obit” / “Obit”

Heather Christle: “Untitled” / “The Spider”

Cynthia Cruz: “Hollywood” / “Nature Mort”

Cedar Sigo: “Man Sitting with Yellow Flowers” / “Man Drowning with Flowers”

Catherine Barnett: “En Route” / “En Route”

Natasha Trethewey: “Pentimento” / “Repentance”

Edward Hirsch: “How Memory Works” / “Stranger by Night”

Martín Espada: “The Bard Shakes the Snow From the Trees” / “The Bard Shakes the Snow From the Trees”

John Murillo: “Mercy, Mercy Me” / “Mercy, Mercy Me”

Emily Wilson: The Odyssey

Miranda Popkey: Topics of Conversation

Rachel Eliza Griffiths: “Mirror

Emma McMillan: Susanna and the Elders

Danez Smith: “waiting on you to die so I can be myself”

Clint Smith: How the Word Is Passed

Ben Purkert

Ben Purkert is the author of For the Love of Endings. His work appears or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Nation, Tin House Online, Poetry, Kenyon Review, AGNI, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. He teaches at Rutgers University.

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