The Novice Forum
Because it seems that very few people read the forum rules before posting in Novice, I've pasted them here for discussion.

Quote:Due to poets being overly eager to post poetry (too many poems at once)
A new rule exists; One Poem Per Day in one of the following: Novice Forum, Mild Critique Forum, and the Serious Critique Forum.

This cannot be stressed enough. Workshops thrive on feedback and there's no chance that people are going to be able (or willing) to comment if you dump a whole bunch of poems at once.

Quote:Post here if:
- you are prepared to accept advice and suggestions to edit your poem
- you intend to spend time commenting -- in as much detail as you are able -- on the posts of other members
- you have left at least one piece of feedback on someone else's poem for every poem you post

This forum is intended to assist new poets to improve. It is not a showcase. It is not the place to pour your heart out and then get upset when nobody gets your in-jokes. Do not post here, or indeed anywhere else on The Pig Pen, if you have no intention of listening to advice, editing where necessary, accepting that other opinions are valid and most of all, accepting that you don't know everything and you didn't get it right the first time.

There is a reason for the feedback requirement. It is not, as has been suggested by some disgruntled (or just plain selfish/lazy) folk, to do the work that "moderators should be doing". A moderator's job is not to comment on every post, it is to ensure that the comments around the site are relevant and appropriate. So who gives the feedback? Fellow poets. Learning to comment thoughtfully on poems is a valuable and very much under-developed skill. Being a good reader invariably makes you a better writer.

Quote:This is the Novice Forum, please ensure that comments provides valuable feedback to the poet, even if it's all positive. A simple "I like this" is not appropriate. Please comment to the best of your ability.

If you don't think you can read a poem and leave a comment that critiques at least one aspect of it, you probably shouldn't be writing poetry in the first place. Remember: "critique" and "criticism" are not negative. To criticise is to weigh up, evaluate and then decide what aspects work or don't work. You may leave all positive criticism, provided it is not empty praise. If you read a poem in the Novice forum and leave a comment like "this is the most awesome poem I've ever read", you're either lying or you haven't read enough poetry to be writing it.

Quote:All posts should be directly related to criticism/analysis/improvement of the original post, the poem. From time to time it is expected that a discussion will arise from a point made in a comment. If it becomes apparent that comments are addressing other comments rather than the original post, a moderator will either move these posts to a new discussion thread in Poetry Discussion -- or for more robust discussion, to The Pig's Arse -- or, if necessary, the moderator will ask that further comments cease altogether. If, as the originator of a thread, you feel that your poem has been "hijacked" or that discussion has moved in a direction you are uncomfortable with, please send a PM to one of the moderators of this forum. It is not appropriate to engage in argument in a Critique forum.

This is standard across all the Critique forums (Novice, Mild and Serious). Comments such as "I disagree with xxx about xxx" are rarely appropriate, unless they are correcting a misconception about a particular poetic tool -- in which case they're still better off in a discussion forum. It is disrespectful to all concerned to hijack a poem thread for your own amusement, or to show off. The ideal critic is one who reads only the poem before commenting, and doesn't look at what others have said. This might not always be possible, but you could at least pretend that's what you've done.

Quote:Not all poets will have the same amount of knowledge or experience. Be as supportive and encouraging as you can without giving only empty praise.

Should be self-explanatory but doesn't seem to be. Good critique should be balanced. Try highlighting positives first, but especially in novice there's always going to be at least one thing that can be improved. If you can't find it... think harder. You are writing poetry (or should be) because you have some knowledge of words and the way poems work, so use it. Don't be afraid to offend someone. If you're offering a balanced critique and they get offended, that's their problem.

Quote:Don't take any negative feedback personally -- use it to improve.

Nobody in the history of poetry has written absolute perfection every time pen has hit paper. Nobody ever will. Own your mistakes. Accept what your audience is telling you. What makes you so special that you don't have to listen to a reader's perspective? We write to be read, and the reader's feedback is invaluable. If you don't write to be read, what are you doing here?

Quote:If you are writing a comment, please ensure that it shows you've read the poem by mentioning something specific, even if it's only "I like this line/ metaphor/ rhyme because..." A generic "I like this poem" or "wow that's amazing" really isn't helpful and will be pointed out as such by a mod.

This has been discussed ad nauseum but still doesn't seem to sink in. The mods have all been put on alert to address the rash of generic comments popping up these days. This is not the forum for empty praise and sycophancy. Telling us you love our poem because it's the most amazing thing you've ever read doesn't make us love you more and want to tell you the same thing in return -- it tells us that you haven't really read and engaged with our poem, but you still want our time and praise.

There are many, many other sites around the internet for that sort of thing. Please find them.
It could be worse
2nd'ed 3rded and 4orthed.

there's not anything up there i can disagree with. we understand not everyone is a great critic, the same as not everyone is a great poet. but how hard is it to try.

seriously, if we write a shite poem do we really want it to be fawned over? i know i don't. it can be daunting getting your first lot of non wowser feedback. at the end of the day we all deserve at least some truths but more so we deserve reasons for those truths. great post Leanne.
how in the world do you post to a forum. Frustration has diminished my interest to post.

I have allowed this post in order to reply to it openly, so that others who may have the same question will see the reply and take heed.  When you join The Pig Pen and log in for the first time, there is a welcome letter in your inbox.  I just tried joining as a new member again myself to make sure that this system is still working, and found that indeed it is.  That welcome letter says, among other things:

Quote:"New members posts will be moderated for a short while. You have to first leave three pieces of reasonable feedback on other people's poems before you can post your own work in the poetry forums."

"Moderated" means that until a moderator views your post and approves it, you will not be able to see it.  This is to avoid people attempting to circumvent the three-pieces-of-feedback rule with the quick cut-and-paste one liners that are endemic to other sites.  The Pig Pen is a workshop and it is only successful if members understand the concept of give and take.

I hope this answers your question and relieves your frustration somewhat/ Admin
I respect the rules and regulations and am prepared to give feedback objectively and without malice or agenda.
As a Newbie ..... I have made my very first comment today on someone's poem, I have to admit that I didn't find it easy!  It's not that I am unable to express an opinion on an individuals written's works, it's just that in my head, their poem  expresses their thoughts, their emotion, how they feel and the way that they feel it, therefore it is written in that manner so me recommending how to change the format or the phraseology doesn't feel right.  I think I need personally to first learn how to constructively encourage people whilst still expressing their own individuality in writing without pushing my own written style.  If that makes sense.  i think its a case of learning from those with more experience & am looking forward to doing so both in regards to this & how I write my own Poetry which can be a little haphazard at times!
Hi Claire -- your critiques in Basic are quite good examples of choosing at least one thing you like and one you don't, and explaining why. You'll find that the more you read with an eye to critique, the more details will leap out at you and you'll be able to write more in-depth feedback.

Quote:I think I need personally to first learn how to constructively encourage people whilst still expressing their own individuality in writing without pushing my own written style.

And this shows me that you get it. While you're in read/critique mode, it's best to forget that you're even a poet and just think of yourself as an extension of the writer. What was he/she trying to achieve? Why did he/she choose that word, that phrase, that style? In Basic, you'll find that often it's because the writer hasn't thought of writing any other way, or isn't aware of different techniques, so there's nothing at all wrong with suggesting that they consider something different if you think it might work better. It's no different to saying "hey, this Skype call is a bit fuzzy, how about we try Facetime instead?"
It could be worse

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