Critique/Feedback-Giving and Getting it
The Ins and Outs of Critique and Feedback.

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

These rules do not apply elsewhere, though if you post without giving feedback elsewhere, you won't get many replies
  • Remember that this is not your writing. Ask yourself what the author wants to achieve and how best that goal can be met within the existing framework of the piece. Do not attempt to impose your own style on another writer; a good reviewer will in fact impose the writer’s style on him/herself for the duration of the critique.

  • Consider that the speaker/voice of the writing is not always that of the author, even if it uses an I. It is a mistake to assume that anything written in the first person is always autobiographical, and to do so can in fact offend. It is possibly best to avoid giving “life advice” in a critique, other than as a direct requirement for interpretation of the piece.

  • Expect that every piece of writing posted may eventually be ready for publication, and do your best to help it get there. Even the tiniest word can make a difference – be thorough. This does not mean that you should look only for flaws – rather, ask yourself if what you are suggesting will really enhance the writing. Remove weaknesses, enhance strengths – at all times try to be balanced in your criticism and explain yourself when it is needed.

  • Examine all aspects: technical merit, possible meanings, aesthetics and effectiveness. A piece that is technically brilliant may fall short in aesthetics or originality; if it’s aesthetically pleasing it may not really make an impact. Try to work out why. If you are not sure of the technique used, it is often a good idea to find out before you write your review. This not only provides the most help to the author, it also increases your own knowledge.

  • Never use criticism of writing as a means to criticise the author. Never attack the critic. Conducting personal feuds via critiques and/or writing posts does nothing to nurture the written word and is detrimental to poetry itself. Be gracious in the acceptance of feedback, someone has gone to the trouble of reading and responding to your work. A 'thank you' goes a long way.

  • Equally, criticism of writing should not be used to ingratiate oneself with the author. Flattery is in fact very damaging, creating a false idea of one’s ability. Praise good work, certainly, but never with empty words. Make it clear that you have read the piece and explain why you appreciate it. No comments should be made in an attempt to solicit comments in return. A give-and-take in reviews is preferable but should never be demanded. If you respond with honest feedback to the works of others, you will more often than not get an honest responses to your own works in return.

  • Authors should not clarify the poem or its intent unless requested to do so . Answer salient questions by all means but giving the game away could lose you valuable critique.

  • Try and keep the poem as the main topic of conversation.

Trolling and in house fighting will not be tolerated on the poetry boards, use the 'Pig's Arse' to settle slanging matches or disagreements.

Hints & Tips For A Good Community

See one, do one, teach one
  • The Pig Pen is a unique internet poetry environment. Here, we come together not only as writers; we are readers, students, teachers, motivators and muses. Every one of us has knowledge and experience to share and we expect it to be shared freely for the benefit of all. Poetry is about people, and the more social interaction you have, the greater your source of inspiration -- so being an active part of the community is not only polite, it will improve your poetry.

I’m embarrassed to show other people what I’ve written.

  • Everyone starts somewhere. Look at the most experienced writers on the site and imagine where they’d be if they’d never taken that first step toward improvement. Don’t be intimidated. The worst that can happen is that people don’t immediately love it and give you ideas for making your writing better. Nobody in history has written their most brilliant poem straight off the top of the head with no prior experience – look into the files of the great poets and you’re bound to find some absolute howlers. So go on, take the plunge.

But I’m not qualified to comment on other people’s poetry.
  • Rubbish. If you can write, you can read. If you can read, you’re the audience the poet writes for. Make an effort. The more you read other people’s poetry, the more you’ll find other people reading yours. We are much more likely to share our time and thoughts with people who do the same.

But they said something mean and I’m devastated.

  • All poets at The Pig Pen are asked to accept comments, both positive and negative, graciously and in the spirit of community growth. If you, the poet, censure the reader for having an opinion, you may find you have difficulty attracting readers in the future. Instead, invite the reader to explain their comment further. Their point may be something you had never considered, and it may just make you a better writer. Of course, it’s possible they’re just being irritating, in which case you’re perfectly entitled not to bother reading their work in return. Vendettas are not encouraged; bullet holes will ruin the décor.

I don’t understand what the comment meant.

  • Well, ask. Sometimes the most valuable learning tools on a site such as this are the dialogues developed between reader and writer, hashing over a point of technique or the nuances of metaphor. We also encourage other readers to engage with the discussions, where appropriate, and see what develops.

Everything I write is perfect, straight from the heart and editing will only destroy my artistic integrity.
  • The Pig Pen is not the site for you. Do keep in touch, we’re always impressed by true, effortless genius. Can’t wait to hear how you’ve single-handedly revolutionised the world of poetry.

Thanks to Leanne for creating the content.
Thank you Leanne
Peanut butter honey banana sandwiches

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