I'm in the process of putting together the manuscript for my third collection. Pretty much everything's written, although plenty of the poems will get further revision over the next few weeks, but it's at the stage where the individual pieces are starting to coalesce and form little clusters.
It's got me thinking about the process of editing. I have spoken to one or two poets in the past who aren't keen on the whole thing, which I can understand up to a point. It is difficult surrendering control of what you've written, even if you'll probably have done the same in submitting work to magazines, webzines, anthologies, etc, and even though you're unlikely to have to surrender ALL control.
The important thing, I suppose, is to remember that the editor must like many aspects of your work, or they wouldn't be offering to publish it. When they're suggesting changes, they're more often than not honing your strengths a little bit, making them leaner and, yes, stronger.
There's also the way in which being edited makes you consider your own work afresh, and argue for the merits of individual pieces of work. There's a tendency, especially when you first start getting published in magazines, to assume that anything that has been accepted is worth putting in a book, without much regard to how it fits with other work. A good editor will make you make the argument for each poem, sometimes for each line.
Which is all a long way of saying that I enjoy the process - I'm not sure whether that's partly because I don't routinely get feedback on poems as I'm writing them, although I do sometimes send them to friends. I like having to think that bit harder about poems that have often been sitting around for years at a time. More often than not, the collection turns into something rather different from what you first envisaged, rather in the same way poems themselves do.