‘…carefully removing word after word until he had something that looked like a poem.’-Iain M. Banks

He always took a small notebook with him on his walks, and made a point of writing down anything interesting. He tried to describe the feel of the grasses in his fingers, the way the trees sounded, the visual diversity of the flowers, the way the animals and birds moved and reacted, the color of the rocks and the sky. He kept a proper journal in a larger book, back in his room at the old couple’s cottage. He wrote his notes up in that each evening, as though filling out a report for some higher authority.


In another large journal book, he wrote his notes out again, along with further notes on the notes, and then started to cross words out of the completed, annotated notes, carefully removing word after word until he had something that looked like a poem. This was how he imagined poetry to be made.


It’s definitely a technique for writing poems. I chose to write more at length about the other quote from Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks because it discusses the relationships between two of the characters. This passage, though, maybe it speaks more to the soldier character and his nature as a curious person who doesn’t have the imaginative skill to write a poem. Only problem is that such a character doesn’t resemble the one whom it allegedly describes.