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Passions in Poetry

Criticism within the forums....

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Kevin Rose
Member
since 11-20-2000
Posts 64
Liverpool UK


0 posted 11-28-2000 03:32 PM       View Profile for Kevin Rose   Email Kevin Rose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kevin Rose

OK, I am a newbie to the forums, and have been reading on a daily basis for a week or more now, but there is one thing I want to ask...

I have read some excellent pieces of work, but more often than not the poems posted are "average", with more than a few being complete drivel!

My problem is this.  It seems to me that it doesnt matter what has been posted, there is always someone who replies with "excellent work" or "a truly moving piece", and hardly ever anyone saying "sorry, it just doenst work, it says nothing"

I dont know why other people use the forums, or what they expect to get out of them, but personally I would like to think that if I post something that deserves to reside in a trashcan and not on a piece of paper I would like to be told so.  If I am given false praise for it, then I am gonna continue churning out the same dross thinking that I am a good poet and that people love my work.

I am not asking for a licence to slam peoples work here as there is a thread in one section that illustrates the damage this can cause, I just want to know how far *constructive* criticism is welcomed, and how far it is shunned, whether it is best to keep quiet if I dont like a piece, or whether to limit the harsher criticisms to the CA section, if mention it at all.

I know poetry is an amazingly individual thing and it doesnt really matter if I "get" something as long as the writer feels right about what they have written, or if it connects with just one person.

I guess I want to know the levels of acceptability, "netiquette" if you want to call it that, and maybe stimulate a little bit of thaught and a discussion about it as well, because I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way.

Your advice would be much appreciated.

Kevin

p.s. this IS a licence to anyone who reads my poetry on the site to give me a hard time about it, as long as you tell me how it could be improved.  I like that type of criticism!!!  
Denise
Moderator
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


1 posted 11-28-2000 07:50 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Constructive criticism is the only helpful kind, isn't it?   I also welcome critique of my poetry. The general concensus though, I think, in the forums other than CA, is not to critique, so therefore I don't do it. I find something positive in what I read and comment on that. If I can't find anything redeemable in a piece of writing, I just don't comment at all. Now that doesn't mean that I don't like a poem if I don't comment on it......I just can't read them all anymore as I was able to do about 6 or 7 months ago!! So I would suggest that if you are looking for serious critique, post in CA, because that is probably the only place you are likely to find it!  If you are brave and do decide to offer critique in other forums......do it politely and with a  ...and don't get upset if it's not appreciated.

Denise
Nan
Administrator
Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24426
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA


2 posted 11-29-2000 06:41 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

Well said, Denise... and it's nice to have you here, Kevin - I'll be looking for your work.. Also - feel free to join in the Poetry Workshop - Folks who post there are looking for constructive comments.  I encourage an interactive group posting there...
Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA


3 posted 11-29-2000 09:50 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Kevin,

The above responses, by two of our most respected members BTW, are spot on, of course. I have seen you in CA so I know you are becoming familiar with how things work there. Be assured that any constructive criticism is welcomed wholeheartedly there. Nan's workshop is also an excellent place to improve your skills. Visit the other forums to read or write for pleasure but if you want critique go to the Workshop or CA.

Pete
Kevin Rose
Member
since 11-20-2000
Posts 64
Liverpool UK


4 posted 11-29-2000 12:07 PM       View Profile for Kevin Rose   Email Kevin Rose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kevin Rose

Thanks for the responces, denise, nan and pete.

I am glad I asked the question because I know I would have completely put my foot in it if I hadnt done so.  I will certainly read the poetry workshop from now on, and I think I will post the majority of my work to there and CA.

I certianly find reading the forums interesting, and will not hesitate to praise works I see.  I will try to bite my tongue when i am in open  
Paula Finn
Member Ascendant
since 06-17-2000
Posts 5525
missouri


5 posted 11-29-2000 01:10 PM       View Profile for Paula Finn   Email Paula Finn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Paula Finn

Kevin...I do not mind criticism...doesnt mean I will change how or what I write because I write what I feel for me and no one else...I dont expect everyone to like or even care about what I write...if you say something I disagree with we can have fun arguing about it...maybe you can convince this hard headed Missouri woman to change her mind...NOT!!!!!
wayoutwalt
Member Ascendant
since 06-22-99
Posts 5106
TEXAS (it's all big)


6 posted 11-29-2000 03:24 PM       View Profile for wayoutwalt   Email wayoutwalt   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for wayoutwalt

this very subject has driven more than a few of my poet friends away from this site. not enough criticism and way too many cliques. I cannot stand cliques at this site!!!
kaile
Deputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Ascendant
since 02-06-2000
Posts 5323
singapore


7 posted 12-01-2000 12:04 AM       View Profile for kaile   Email kaile   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kaile

yes, i only comment when i find something i enjoyed....i try not to gush as is what is common on the open forums....i try to explain why i liked this piece, what this piece reminds me of etc....
i try to be sincere when replying and i hope it comes across as such....

personally though, you are welcome to slam anyhting i write as drivel....though i seldom hang out at CA due to lack of expertise, that doesnt mean i am here to get my ego stroked....i will be willing to hear any negative feedback should you come across my work...
Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA


8 posted 12-01-2000 09:37 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

The purpose of CA is to provide a forum where we can all help each other to become better writers. It is not reserved for experts. In fact, there are no experts there, to the best of my knowledge. We do, however, have several poets whose work I enjoy and respect. So, the implication is that the only requirement is a desire to improve ones writing. So throw off those shackles, get your (electronic) pen and paper and come join in the (educational) fun.

Pete
Dopey Dope
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Moderator
Member Laureate
since 08-30-2000
Posts 15536
San Juan, Puerto Rico


9 posted 12-01-2000 02:08 PM       View Profile for Dopey Dope   Email Dopey Dope   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dopey Dope

I agree with kevin upon this subject matter.
Glad to see somebody speaking out their mind.



I was born myself, raised myself, and will continue to be myself. The world will just have to adjust.

I hate your socks. I'd like to burn them!

Janet Marie
Member Laureate
since 01-22-2000
Posts 18986


10 posted 12-01-2000 03:27 PM       View Profile for Janet Marie   Email Janet Marie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Janet Marie

Kevin,
Hi and welcome to Passions... I have seen several of your topic posts but I don't think I have yet seen a poem..I will make a point of doing so in CA ... have you posted in open at all? With the holidays last week I may have missed some posts.
I usually don't post in these forums due to lack of time, preferring to use the time for replying in open to the poetry.
But I felt compelled to reply to this for several reasons ...
You ask a very valid question and it is one that has been asked here before. Many times this subject and harder critiquing in the forums other than CA has been the catalyst for many an opinion and sometimes hurt feelings.
First of all I would like to say...
the old saying "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is a very true statement when used around poetry. Due to our own personal life experiences
and the emotions we bring with us ... what may effect me deeply, may bore you to death.
A poem that you "call drivel" ... may move me to tears..its not really our place to judge...at least I that is my opinion.
When I first came here almost a year ago...Im sure the "beginners poetry" I was posting read like "drivel" to many ... but I was always encouraged and inspired by that encouragement and by the gifted work  here...when we read and participate here...we learn and grow as poets...
I have many times been "accused" of "gushing"
It is no secret here I WORSHIP poetry ... and when a poem moves me....or blows me away...I let the poet know it...and my replies are always sincere...some people have different comfort levels with compliments
I have received Emails from poets asking me to not be so exuberant on their poems..
And I respect that...
I have also been told by some that they don't believe my comment are sincere...that it is only my efforts to get the same kind of replies back...But after nearly a year of repling this way... and some 6000 posts ...
I feel like the ones who know me, know I mean every word... I love poetry and the way it makes me feel ...BUT...the point I really want to make is...we CAN reply constructively...and still encourage and make valid poetic points.
Personally ..I want the replies that DO notice my poetry's elements..
the rhyme.. the form...the metaphors, imagery, ...whatever not just the emotions that the poem expresses.. but I am very grateful for all the replies...
When I reply I try very hard to make a point while "gushing" to point out the skill and talent I see in the poem as well.
We are lucky to have all ages and talent levels here and if the new poets are not encouraged they may not find the confidence to grow and tap into their talent.
Once we become more confident of our work..then our once thin skins can handle a
critique or two .... I apologize for my long windiness here..but this struck close to home today.. as I just this morning received and Email from a newer poet who said it has been many of my replies to her work that has made her want to be a better poet... and since she came here her poetry has been a wonderful process of growth to watch...I would hope that this will be the case for all who attempt to write and then share it. We would all be surprised to know how many of the poets we consider the most gifted here ... can also be very "shy" and even insecure about their work.
An idea comes to mind that perhaps on the poems in open that we would like some extra hard critiquing on..we should note it on the post and invite it...
thanks for listening...
take care
jm



[This message has been edited by Janet Marie (edited 12-01-2000).]
SorrowsMystress
Member
since 04-01-2000
Posts 179
I'm a wanderer, a nomad...I do


11 posted 12-02-2000 02:47 AM       View Profile for SorrowsMystress   Email SorrowsMystress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for SorrowsMystress

Couldn't have said it better myself, Janet Marie    

Kevin: Although I respect opinions of others, and I respect the criticism, I will honestly say that if I was critiqued so exubrantly (sorry, I know my spelling is a little off), all it would do would discourage me. I know I'm not the best poet, but I DO take pride in my work... not because I think it's great, or the best work ever, but because it helped to convey what I felt.  And, as Janet Marie said, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".  Some people only see poetry as rhymes, while others see it as many other things. There have been a few times where I have gotten emails from people that say "your poem doesn't rhyme at all, so therefore, it's not a poem". Or "your poem doesn't have a certain rhythm to it, so therefore, it stinks".  The simple truth is, if I wanted my poetry critiqued, I'd post it in CA.  But I post in the Open forums, not to ask for opinions, but to just put my poetry out there. To let it be seen, to express myself. And there are times when I get comments, such as, "I know exactly what you meant in writing this" or "This expressed so many things I am feeling", and that's the kind of responses I like to hear, those of compassion, and to hear that I've touched someone with my words. I personally don't like to write in perfect rhymes, perfect meter, perfect anything. I like to write of myself... my soul... my heart... what I feel comes out on paper, and I show more of myself in my poems than I do anywhere else.  For me, poetry is a realease, an outlet. I don't write to be criticized (as I said), I write to vent.  And although I do appreciate criticism, It also has a tendency to damper my hopes, therefore, I do not personally ask for it.  If someone doesn't like my poetry, I'd prefer that they kept it to themselves. And to those who do like it, I appreciate the "well done".  I don't really feel I am ready to put my poetry in publishment. right now, it's not a job, it's a passion.  Which is why I post here.  And although I know that criticism can make you a better poet, I don't want to improve my work to suit others' needs right now. I want to write for me, and if what I write happens to catch another's interest, then great!  Maybe someday I'll be ready for criticism, but for right now, I'm completely content in my writings.  


"It was my love that did us both to death. " -Sylvia Plath

Tony Abbot
Member
since 11-18-2000
Posts 212
North Wales,UK


12 posted 12-02-2000 12:51 PM       View Profile for Tony Abbot   Email Tony Abbot   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tony Abbot

I think the basic concept is that people post in the open forums ,in the hope of bringing pleasure to others with their work.If you enjoy it,comment,if you don't,don't.If people want in-depth analysis,they can post in CA.Simple as that.

'Humankind cannot bear too much reality' T.S.Eliot
Kevin Rose
Member
since 11-20-2000
Posts 64
Liverpool UK


13 posted 12-03-2000 12:05 AM       View Profile for Kevin Rose   Email Kevin Rose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kevin Rose

wow this thread suddenly exploded!

I am someone that speaks my mind, in real life as well as in virtual reality.  I believe in truthes.  

Paula:  I dont care where the hard headed women hail from, if I get into a friendly discussion with them, I might well be able to change their minds.  If I dont then I will have made them question their thinking, and therefore be more sure of their minds.  Either way it is a useful process, if done constructively, and politely!  That is the point of discussion and debate.

Wayoutwalt:  cliques wherever they occur in life have the same effect.  By their very nature they exclude and alienate.  I cannot stand them.

Kaile:  I will remember your name, and give honest opinions where I have something worthy to say.  but, after the balance of this thread, if I do have something negative, I will personally email it so that you know who it has come from, you can reply to tell me to mind my own business, and it is not in open forum for the more sensetive to be offended by.  I dont want to be seen as an ogre.

Not A Poet:  Well said sir.  I am a novice, and I posted to CA, and as a result, from many helpful posts, I was able to taylor a piece that really had potential until I was completely satisfied with it.  That is a rarity for a poem for me, to have it achieve a point where I say "that is asperfect as I can make it"... Proves that anyone can benefit from CA

Dopey_Dope.  A like mind. wonderful!

Janet marie:  I have posted a couple in adult, one in Dark passions and one in CA.  I dont post in open at present because I feel either the topics have been suited to other forums better, or I have wanted the additional critique.

I actually find if I am short of time, I prefer to read the smaller forums rather than open, because there is just too much bulk in open to wander through. I venture into open when I have a lot of time on my hands.

You raise some excellent points in your post.  It is pointless to criticise the meter, rhythm and rhyme in a piece of free verse, as there is not meant to be any.  if someone doesnt consider free verse poetry, then it is their loss and not the writiers.  Personally I believe a poem should have SOME structure, even if it is not regular, flowing or rigid.  Even if it is only one section of a long piece, or the way the sentences are writtten.  I have seen some free verse that is basically a piece of prose randomly truncated into pretty line lengths for no apparent reason, or it seems to me at least.   My thought to that is. "why not write a very good piece of prose instead of making it into a completely unstructured piece of poetry".  I do consider a good piece of prose to be as good as a good piece of poetry, and find the need to convert prose to free verse unnecessary.  It is as if the writer doesnt realise the value of prose and thinks "I have to be a poet".  That is a comletely personal opinion I hasten to add.

The main thing I do agree with is the "eye of the beholder". it is true in poetry more than in any other written medium I think.

I like the idea of people asking for criticism.  It would certainly mean that people could be more confident in offering suggestions on how a piece might be improved.  New poets do learn from reading other works, but they learn more by being told when they are going wrong.  Let me use an analogy.  No qualified driver likes a passenger who critiques, but anyone learning doenst want to learn just by watching someone else.  they want to get their hands on the wheel... but they also want to be told by their instructor where they are going wrong as well as where they are going right.  I guess we just need to know before critiquing whether they want an instructor, or someone to appreciate the view from the car window when they are taken on a ride to the country.

Sorrowmystress:  I think all poets write from the heart.  I certainly do.  Most of the writing I do is when i am in love or in pain, and I do use it to express emotion.  I note the fact that criticism can deflate and diminish the emotion in the piece as far as the writer is concerned.  A good piece of critique as far as I am concerned is one that points out the good as well as the bad.  It says "I love this, it said this and I get all of this, but I didnt understand this bit...."  If there is noting worthy of a positive word in a poem, then it is not worth commenting on at all.

I can see however that there are times when it is wrong to critique at all,  and I have at times in life, not only in poetry, offered advice when all that was needed was either support, sympathy or praise.  I guess the point of the original post was for me to establish in my mind where those times and lines are drawn in this particular environmant.

Tony:  Nothing is ever as simple as that, although, until I learn a little  more about individual poets, it is a good rule of thumb.  I will be asking for critique when I do post in open, so people know to give improvements as well as praise.  Unless I am completely sure of the situation, I will confine critique to CA and poetry workshop.

many thanks to all replies to this thread, it has really helped me to feel that I can post with confidence, without worrying about whether I am going to offend.

Kevin.
Nan
Administrator
Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24426
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA


14 posted 12-03-2000 08:54 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

When these forums were opened to the cyber-public in June of 1999, we had but a couple of forums... We had "Open Poetry" (which later became "Open Poetry #1")... We had "Philosophy"... We had The "Alley"... and not much more.

We didn't anticipate that the complexion of the Open Forum would become what it has - in essence, a "Read & Enjoy" type forum.  I expect that it evolved as such, because these forums were opened as a refuge from another cyber neighborhood; where some pretty nasty things were happening.

It didn't take long before we realized that we needed a "Critique" forum... Poets need constructive criticism.  They want to grow and expand their writing skills.  Ergo - Critical Analysis was born...

The Critical Analysis Forum is intended for critique... Anyone who posts there is doing so because they are inviting constructive comments...  It's a "Read & Critique" forum... Critique away......  
Irish Rose
Member Patricius
since 04-06-2000
Posts 10553


15 posted 12-03-2000 07:49 PM       View Profile for Irish Rose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Irish Rose


Kevin,
Excellent question you raised and most have already answered it far better than I could!
I feel very close to this subject.  I have been to other sites, "serious poets" there, oh let me tell you, you do not always learn. Sometimes you learn that nothing pleases anyone!

Some of my poetry is lousy, some is so, so and some I work very hard on. It's been called junk on other forums and they are entitled to their opinion. But that doesn't help a poem.  Passions offers crtitique, and the workshop for those who WANT to get serious.  Some don't.

I feel and strongly believe that Open is here for those poets who are not seeking to write the perfect poem.  Many only write it once!
They write it through tears, and sometimes deep pain.  And yes, joy.  In Dark Passions, they write from their gut and you feel it.
Michael Anderson, one of the most respected poets on this site and a fine man, on other sites his poetry would be trashed as "old" and out of date.  When in reality, it is soul poetry, in my opinion and I believe it is some of the rarest talent around.

Now, everyone can stand improvement.  If I personally, have no use for a poem, or find it offensive, I simply do not reply!  
If it is in the critique forum, I offer what I feel the poet could possibly use.

Anyway, that's just my opinion. Why do I respect and love Passions?  Because they give everyone a chance and offer so many menus, yes, but because they are real people and that's what a poet should be...real.

hope you stick around.

What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the words I have read in my life.

Walt Whitman


 
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