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Quote:From our Help forum:

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.

(07-25-2012, 10:47 AM)billy Wrote: [ -> ]The Ins and Outs of Critique and Feedback.

  •    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.


Thanks to Leanne for creating the content.


(08-11-2011, 02:19 PM)leanne Wrote: [ -> ]This is not a definitive guide, just something I've devised over the years and found to work.  Using the reverse weight to that of a debate:

Method:  The way the work is presented.  Structure and language especially.
Manner: How it's presented.  Imagery, sonics, metaphor.
Matter:  WHAT is being said, the argument/examples/information


Method:  Does the form of the poem support the content?
This is generally more rigid for structured poetry than freeverse.  For example, if someone writes in meter there are standard measures to decide whether it's been done properly.  Similarly  with cinquains, rictameters and other set forms.  There's no such requirement for free verse.  For either, though:

-- Look at line breaks, line lengths and punctuation.  Are these carefully placed or arbitrary?  Do they provide emphasis?  Do they contribute to mood?  

-- Is the language of the poem suitable?  Does the tone convey the appropriate mood?  Look at things like vernacular, archaisms, scientific discourse.  Do these "mesh"?  If not, does the language choice provide contrast/juxtapositions/irony or is it simply "wrong"?  

-- Does the poem appear fluid or does it seem forced?  Is the language stilted and awkward?  Do inversions of syntax and other grammatical oddities contribute to the piece or detract from it?  Rhyme will come into this as well -- any rhymes should seem natural and not overstated or obvious.  

Manner:  How "poetic" is the poem?

-- Is the phrasing interesting and original?

-- Are all metaphors etc clearly drawn and continued, or are they seemingly random and overblown?  

-- Does the imagery/symbolism make sense or does it seem too personal/closed?

--  Do individual sounds/words enhance the poem?  For example, lyric poetry is better served with softer, rounder sounds and sibilants.  Battle poems -- hard sharp sounds.  Consider how the sounds contribute to the speed of the poem.  This ties in closely with the method but also very strongly supports the "imagery" side.

Matter:  What is being said?

-- Is the topic of the poem interesting?  Bearing in mind that any topic may be interesting or dull depending on the way it's presented -- so, is the poet finding that required hook?

-- Is it logically presented?  This will obviously not come into play in certain kinds of poetry (surrealism defies logic deliberately, for example).  Further to this, though, consider whether the poem keep the reader's interest or is a bunch of non sequiturs that are unlinked by any devices.    


Remember: Whether you LIKE the poem is the very last thing you should consider if you wish to remain objective.



(07-01-2013, 05:02 AM)milo Wrote: [ -> ]it is not hard, but like anything worth doing, it takes time.  Here are some useful tips.

1.  Read through a poem around 10 times before rushing to hit the "reply" button.
2.  On the first pass, try to enjoy the reading.  Note lines, expression, word choices, etc. that you like.
3.  On the second and third reads, try to pick out things that detract from your enjoyment (awkwardness, poor scansion, line breaks etc) weird grammar or syntax, poor spelling, cliches.
4.  On your fourth and fifth reads, try to analyze why the writer picked /specific/ words.  Are there double meaning?  Symbolism?  If the writer picked orchids at a funeral instead of irises, why?
5.  Use google.  There may be some words or concepts you are not familiar with.
6.  What is the central metaphor?  Does the word choice the author used complement it?  Does it contrast it?
7.  See #6 and consider if the writer was trying to use thesis/antithesis, perhaps for allegorical or satirical intent.  (note - all Shakespearean sonnets should use thesis/antithesis in the final couplet>
8.  Read once more to enjoy the poem.  Feel the rhythm, say the words out loud.
9.  Make a recording of the poem and listen back to it.  Note areas that give you problems in the reading.
10.  Comment"I liked this" and rush to post another poem of your own.  Hysterical

(04-25-2014, 01:48 PM)Leanne Wrote: [ -> ]Please don't be anxious -- just be honest.  If you like or dislike something, say so, but always with a reason.  We don't all have to critique in the same way (and it's really much better if we don't).
Often I read a poem two or three times and nothing useful to say comes to mind. As each poem is bumped up with each critique I reread it and the new critique.

Sometimes more than one critique will suggest a change to a line that I've grown to love, which pushes me to post and let the poet know. Sometime a line or word that has come to bother me is ignored by other posters, which pushes me to post and let the poet know.

I then go back and reread the poem trying to put the other critiques aside, reading with my own point of view and adding notes.

I'm posting this because this method may work for someone else, and as a reminder that even though others before you may have gone over the poem with a fine-toothed comb, each critique is valuable and worth posting.
I came across this today, a good read for all of us learning to critique.

(12-09-2012, 12:54 AM)Todd Wrote: [ -> ]Hi Pound, I understand. We all start somewhere with critique. Even if it is new to you, it's worth stepping out and risking it. You are still a reader and any feedback even if the author disagrees with your conclusions will be helpful to them. I think as long as your goal is to help the author improve the poem than you're on solid ground. Yes, people's feelings can get hurt, but sometimes that has little to do with your comments and more on how invested the writer is in the content. Again, for me it's all around intent. If the focus is the poem than the comments are inbound even if they aren't complimentary. It's all about pushing one another to produce the best work we can. Over time most writers don't take it as personally and mostly filter the critique. They agree, disagree, think about it, and ultimately write the poem they want to write--at least I do. I'm personally thankful for anyone that takes the time to read and comment even if they hate the work.

The only way you get better is to do, but move at a pace you're comfortable with. I appreciate the feedback you've given so far, and would encourage you to continue to stretch yourself.
(08-23-2014, 01:58 AM)ellajam Wrote: [ -> ]I came across this today, a good read for all of learning to critique.

(12-09-2012, 12:54 AM)Todd Wrote: [ -> ]Hi Pound, I understand. We all start somewhere with critique. Even if it is new to you, it's worth stepping out and risking it. You are still a reader and any feedback even if the author disagrees with your conclusions will be helpful to them. I think as long as your goal is to help the author improve the poem than you're on solid ground. Yes, people's feelings can get hurt, but sometimes that has little to do with your comments and more on how invested the writer is in the content. Again, for me it's all around intent. If the focus is the poem than the comments are inbound even if they aren't complimentary. It's all about pushing one another to produce the best work we can. Over time most writers don't take it as personally and mostly filter the critique. They agree, disagree, think about it, and ultimately write the poem they want to write--at least I do. I'm personally thankful for anyone that takes the time to read and comment even if they hate the work.

The only way you get better is to do, but move at a pace you're comfortable with. I appreciate the feedback you've given so far, and would encourage you to continue to stretch yourself.

exactly. this is precisely why i am here.

thanks for posting this, ellajam.
feedback isn't about being correct, it's about how the poem affects the reader. i'll put my voice to ella's and add that this thread is one of the most important you could read if you want to try your hand at giving feedback. as the poet, you also have to be open to any feedback given. you don't have to like or use it, just be open to it.
Folks, if you're leaving one line comments please give this thread a read. If you can write a twenty line poem I'm sure you have more to give.
(09-03-2014, 06:42 AM)ellajam Wrote: [ -> ]Folks, if you're leaving one line comments please give this thread a read. If you can write a twenty line poem I'm sure you have more to give.
Thumbsup Amaze us with your critical abilities.
if they're doing that, then they're doing it wrong

"it flows well" is not good feedback looks like.

(09-03-2014, 06:42 AM)ellajam Wrote: [ -> ]Folks, if you're leaving one line comments please give this thread a read. If you can write a twenty line poem I'm sure you have more to give.
Here's another great one from Leanne. She sure knows how to say the same thing in a variety of ways, Big Grin, touching on the same points in new and interesting ways. Thanks for not giving up on us, they are an inspiring reminder of why we are here, to learn to give and receive at this level.

Less considered comments are welcomed all over the site, just not in the workshops. Note to self: remember this.

(09-28-2013, 05:27 AM)Leanne Wrote: [ -> ]Constructive comments:

· 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. Conducting personal feuds via critiques and/or writing posts does nothing to nurture the written word and is detrimental to poetry itself.

· 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.

Whether you "like" or "don't like" something should be irrelevant. If you're good enough to write poetry then you should be good enough to question the word choices and technicalities of other people's poems at the very least.
Oh good. A topic I can senselessly and tangentially ramble on about.

I think what the problem is, is (isis) that the person would actually have to read someone's material besides their own. They wander in here thinking it's a vanity site despite all evidence to the contrary (probably because they cannot conceptualize any situation where they aren't the most important person in the forum), looking for a place to shit. Some stay (those would be the poets), the others wander off in self delusion looking for sycophants. I always (being the helpful person that I am) refer them to AllPoetry where one can remove any comments one dislikes. They may even be poets, but what they need to learn cannot be learned here.
Some people think that poets need to be encouraged. Really? You don't think the twenty million pseudo-poets wandering through all these poetry sites is not enough? I realize God is dead as I've read the modernist manifesto, but I heard nothing about a Will that puts someone else in his place. I mean come on, we just killed off the last one. If we are going to replace God, let's replace him with a goddess. I vote for ellajam. This place could use a feminine touch. I mean have you seen the colors around here...nothing matches. I mean all these dark tones of gray, what is this a Batman film. Extra-ellajam please!

All praise ellajam,

dale
(09-05-2014, 03:28 AM)Erthona Wrote: [ -> ]Oh good. A topic I can senselessly and tangentially ramble on about.

I think what the problem is, is (isis) that the person would actually have to read someone's material besides their own. They wander in here thinking it's a vanity site despite all evidence to the contrary (probably because they cannot conceptualize any situation where they aren't the most important person in the forum), looking for a place to shit. Some stay (those would be the poets), the others wander off in self delusion looking for sycophants. I always (being the helpful person that I am) refer them to AllPoetry where one can remove any comments one dislikes. They may even be poets, but what they need to learn cannot be learned here.
Some people think that poets need to be encouraged. Really? You don't think the twenty million pseudo-poets wandering through all these poetry sites is not enough? I realize God is dead as I've read the modernist manifesto, but I heard nothing about a Will that puts someone else in his place. I mean come on, we just killed off the last one. If we are going to replace God, let's replace him with a goddess. I vote for ellajam. This place could use a feminine touch. I mean have you seen the colors around here...nothing matches. I mean all these dark tones of gray, what is this a Batman film. Extra-ellajam please!

All praise ellajam,

dale

Always nice to end a rant with an amen. Hysterical
Now stop or I'll have to move this to the arse and start all over again.big hug
The arse is infinite, just like sweet ellajam (but she smells better) Smile

alame, alame, sweet ellajam, aman.
a harsh yet honest insight.

(09-05-2014, 03:28 AM)Erthona Wrote: [ -> ]Oh good. A topic I can senselessly and tangentially ramble on about.

I think what the problem is, is (isis) that the person would actually have to read someone's material besides their own. They wander in here thinking it's a vanity site despite all evidence to the contrary (probably because they cannot conceptualize any situation where they aren't the most important person in the forum), looking for a place to shit. Some stay (those would be the poets), the others wander off in self delusion looking for sycophants. I always (being the helpful person that I am) refer them to AllPoetry where one can remove any comments one dislikes. They may even be poets, but what they need to learn cannot be learned here.
Some people think that poets need to be encouraged. Really? You don't think the twenty million pseudo-poets wandering through all these poetry sites is not enough? I realize God is dead as I've read the modernist manifesto, but I heard nothing about a Will that puts someone else in his place. I mean come on, we just killed off the last one. If we are going to replace God, let's replace him with a goddess. I vote for ellajam. This place could use a feminine touch. I mean have you seen the colors around here...nothing matches. I mean all these dark tones of gray, what is this a Batman film. Extra-ellajam please!

All praise ellajam,

dale
I love a critique I strongly disagree with. Big Grin

Sometimes I read a poem and think I don't have enough to say to post. Then a member will post who has had a totally different read than I did. In my urge to let the poet know I am forced to review the piece more carefully to pinpoint my response to it and have enough to post myself. It  teaches me what specifically makes the poem work or not for me.

So thank you to those that hate the poems I love and those that love the poems I hate.

Posting is a better response than sitting on the couch shaking my head. Try it. Smile
I came across this the other day when checking my early posts to see if as a mod I would have deleted them. Big Grin

It really helped me get started, although I was unable to suggest changes for the better I started by identifying specifically what I liked.

(09-10-2013, 08:49 AM)milo Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-10-2013, 08:45 AM)ellajam Wrote: [ -> ]Hi, I'm a newbie here and am working on having something constructive to say about other people's poems. Does the rule on not commenting just to say "Wow, great" apply throughout the whole site?

I came across this:
http://www.pigpenpoetry.com/showthread.php?tid=11605
in Miscellaneous Poetry, over 100 views no comment. If no one wants to change a word, no comment.

I am in no way criticizing your rules, just want to attempt to apply them correctly.

Just found the site today and really like the feel of it. Hope this was the correct place to ask this.

The rules on criticism only apply to the critical forums, replies in miscellaneous can be pretty much anything on or off topic.

We do ask that you give substantial comment before posting your own work, and, of course in the critical forums, other than that, run wild.

Just an addition to my earlier reply as I now read your full question - just because you think a poem is perfect is no reason you can't comment in depth.  You can comment on what /does/ work for you, what you took from the poem, appreciation for poetic devices, etc.

Thank you, milo.
sometimes a mod may reprimand a comment in miscellaneous or the for fun forum. if it happens to you (anyone) please be kind and understand how easy it is to forget you've just left a critique forum. send them a pm explaining you posted it in the for fun or other non-in-depth feedback forum.

thanks.

wanderlust

I don't know if I'm allowed to post in this thread or not, being a newbie and all, but I just wanted to thank everyone in this thread. I'm a complete beginner when it comes to critiquing someone else's work, so I pulled out my notebook and I've written down some key points. All this will really help me a lot, and it gave me a bit of insight into my own writing too, I'm sure that I'll try harder to consider all of this in future whenever I write something. I'm so glad that I found this forum.
(04-10-2015, 12:05 AM)wanderlust Wrote: [ -> ]I don't know if I'm allowed to post in this thread or not, being a newbie and all, but I just wanted to thank everyone in this thread. I'm a complete beginner when it comes to critiquing someone else's work, so I pulled out my notebook and I've written down some key points. All this will really help me a lot, and it gave me a bit of insight into my own writing too, I'm sure that I'll try harder to consider all of this in future whenever I write something. I'm so glad that I found this forum.

Welcome to the site. Smile I never wrote a critique until I joined up. I started by reading entire threads where the OP edited their work, trying to understand the various comments and why the OP agreed with or rejected the suggestions offered.

Don't forget that just as we are sometimes lacking in own work, sometimes our critiques are less than stellar, or just plain off. That's okay, we're all here to learn and if you never post you'll never know.

Hope you enjoy the site.

wanderlust

(04-10-2015, 12:42 AM)ellajam Wrote: [ -> ]I started by reading entire threads where the OP edited their work, trying to understand the various comments and why the OP agreed with or rejected the suggestions offered.

This is actually a really good idea. I fully intend to do some reading around a bit anyway, before I actually get started with critique. And it's nice to add another tip to my list.
I already know that I won't be perfect at critique, but I also know that with practice, effort and time I can will improve. Thank you for the welcome, I'm sure I'll enjoy this forum a lot!
no one's perfect at anything...okay ella's the perfect mod and Leanne ..well she's just perfect, but that's about it. a good meme though it isn't one i use though i should is: I shall try to be perfect.. i see you've already left feedback on the site. that's as near to being perfect as we hope for round here Big Grin
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