Teachers have cut apart poems and moved lines around, or simply cut lines, or cut everything but one line and told me to start over.
And the thing is, I generally have taken teachers' advice. Not all of it, and not every time--but often enough that I stopped myself recently and asked about one poem: this is good, but am I the reason for that?
It seems that the MFA is a time specifically designed for learning what advice to take and what advice to reject, but there are few strictures about how much is too much. After all, if one of the young artist's first concerns is finding a voice, and then no one wants to compromise his or her "voice," taking advice might be a matter of trying to understand what that voice is. But most of us are young enough that, even if we already thought we knew or are discovering what the voice is, it's still mutating, even if only a little at a time.
Which leads to my questions. One: how much advice is too much advice? Two: is advice better served focusing on the individual poems/stories or the writer in general?