Requested Revisions: Where is the Line?

An editor responded to my submission favorably a few months back with one of my literary firsts.  She asked me to revise each poem she chose for possible publication. 
At first, I didn't really know how to respond.  While the days of being egotistical about my work have left me, I still really didn't know what she desired.  So, I took out a clean copy of each poem and made the changes to see how they would play on the page.  This, I believe, is one of the real advantages of being a poet as you can spot if changes are working faster than a novelist.

Two of the three poems I had no problem with editing since the changes either strengthened the pieces in my eyes or didn't alter them much.  However, one I had a problem with.  She only wanted one word put in a single line but, I felt, the word changed everything about the stanza and I couldn't do it.  I could have just said, "whatever gets my name out there" and had her do what she wanted but I can't do that.  It may sound stupid, but I felt the change it brought was big enough to stand up for it.  So, I told her how I felt.

I haven't heard from her since but I am sure she's working very hard to get the summer issue out.  She seemed very reasonable and polite but I am wondering if I offended her.  I hope not but I also hope she sees what I was trying to do and understands the intent would have been altered.  I HAD to say something.

Have you ever been in that situation?  What did you do when you absolutely COULDN'T say "yes" to a change?  Would you let someone change your work around for publication? 
Did I do something totally foolish, or brave?  I can't tell.


  1. I think you made the right decision. At least it's a choice you can live with. And I have fought to keep things in my work before and so far have been happy with the decision.

  2. Nice post! Like it! Yes, revision is not easy, but so very necessary. Thanks for the creative encouragement!

  3. I have not, because I no longer submit to agents or publishers. I agree with you. One word can so change our works. I wouldn't have done it either.