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Passions in Poetry

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Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
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Whoville


0 posted 10-04-2006 05:42 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


There seems to be quite a debate going on (and off) in the CA forum, I'm a little uncomfortable that it's taking place on threads posted for critical analysis so I thought I'd start one here so that people can discuss the issues in the open without trashing someone's thread.

To outline the discussion so far some people have suggested that the CA forum is in danger of becoming another Open forum with less emphasis on critical analysis and more emphasis on friendly banter.

Several suggestions have been put forward including additional rules to limit the number of posts and guidelines to ensure that comments that don't include at least a modicum of advice don't proliferate.

A side issue has been the form that critical analysis should take, some believing that truth, red in tooth and claw, should be allowed while others believe that less harsh comments should be the order of the day.

Ron has maintained that he's ready to listen to suggestions though I believe he'd also like a clearer definition of what the perceived problems are.

I understand starting this here will probably mean going over ground already covered but I think it'd be worthwhile having this discussion in one place where it's open to a wider audience and less likely to disrupt the CA Forum.

Has anyone got any thoughts?

kif kif
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1 posted 10-04-2006 06:53 PM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

I think the problem lies with 'standard', but with standard, comes boundaries and dead ends.

It's a question of individual connection. In Critical Analysis, I believe everybody posting there wants a discussion on the form of their writing, and the reasons behind their content...and, how it all links together.

However, when a full breakdown is presented, and it strikes further debates about form, the  write in question sometimes gets forgotten, and the writer sometimes feels 'left out'. This should not be so...the writer could feel glad that their 'openings' instigated such literal interest, but the nature of critics means that the writer is all to often left feeling unable.

My thoughts...Critical Analysis posts should be open to honest critique, and the posters should understand that it's not personal.

Also, the critics should remember that what they offer, no matter how academic, must be given with empathy to the receiver, for although the suggestions are impersonal, it's a real person that recieves them.

Personally, I love a good argument...the more forceful, the better, but I'm an almost middle-aged woman, who gets a kick out of upfront declarations. I understand that the methods that work for my inspiration don't always work for others, and that's the beauty of this site, it gives us all a platform to  explore how to communicate in different ways, with different people.

To our benefit.  
Alicat
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Coastal Texas


2 posted 10-04-2006 07:49 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

In everyone's profile is an option to allow for critiques and to give some type of info on their personal comfort level or what they are seeking in requesting critiques.  And that holds for most all forums.  In CA, however, it can be boosted a bit, but the originating poster's critique flag should not be completely ignored.  Yes, things can get firey and heated there, but a writer puts something in CA to get advice, help with trouble spots, scancion assistance, or specific aid towards whatever form or format they are attempting; generally speaking, it's not to instigate 'discussion' on the values and merits of a particular style of writing.  Believe it or not, there's a forum just for that.  Yes, if a writer puts something in CA to make it better, that shouldn't be a call for OPEN SEASON on the writer or work.  It might help all involved to take a few seconds and check the writer's critique message just to see what it is they expect and want, not to mention their own comfort level with critical analysis.

Just my penny'orth.
Ratleader
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3 posted 10-04-2006 08:57 PM       View Profile for Ratleader   Email Ratleader   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ratleader's Home Page   View IP for Ratleader

I don't spend much time in CA, though some folks have said I ought to, and others that I need to....which makes me an instant expert, so here's my, um, two scents' worth.

It sounds utterly simplistic to say so, but what you do in a critique depends entirely on the poet, not on the poem, nor on the one who is lending a hand.

To do critique right, you have to be able to assess --to feel-- exactly where that poet is in developing their craft, and what they'll be open to receiving. Then you have to identify those things in the poem that they will be able to improve, and in so doing improve their writing overall, not the full laundry list of what the poem might need in order to become deathless verse. You give them what they can put to use in the poem, that they will learn from in a general way while doing it, and what they're able to handle personally.

In giving the critique, you have to express it in a way that particular individual will respond to. What is appropriate talk for one poet may blow another out of the water. Things that one person may stretch to apprehend, might be too simplistic for someone else. Make a mistake in either direction and your critique will be rejected.

Most important of all, you have to leave yourself out of it. I've seen far too many critiques that were done by someone whose real interest was in making himself (yes, it's mostly men who fall into this) feel or look better in some way than the person he's working with, or perhaps the other people who will read it in the forum. Such critiques are often brilliant, but they almost always fail to reach the person who is seeking help, because they've ignored the person behind the poem, and so failed to communicate.

So -- my opinon on this question is: what may seem like fluff to one person browsing through the forum, maybe exactly what that particular poet needs most, to become a better writer. Not a perfect writer, a better writer. In the same way, a critique that would devastate that poet, may be just right for the next poet in line.

General rules might be, to give no critique that doesn't focus on the positive points of the poem and its creator's style, as strongly as on the points that you feel should be improved; to do it (and make it obvious that you're doing it) solely because you like helping and want to help that person become a better writer; and to look honestly both at that poet and at yourself, before you say a word.

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iliana
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USA


4 posted 10-04-2006 11:17 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

There are some who welcome sophisticated and harsh criticism, or as someone said "brutal" criticism.  So, I have a suggestion for Ron.  

Would it be possible to add four choices at the top of the window where the poet first posts indicating whether or not they are 1) beginners, 2) advanced, 3) came here for enouragement and gentle help, or 4) want advanced and harsher critiquing?  (I'm sure someone could come up with wording better than mine.)  Or, in the alternative, maybe there could be a separate section in their profile regarding the critical analysis forum in particular.  Maybe everyone could be happier that way.    

[This message has been edited by iliana (10-05-2006 12:19 AM).]

kif kif
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5 posted 10-05-2006 07:47 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Yet, to pre-define can create blockages. Face to face, we don't usually wade in with our own, hasty opinions, or off the cuff remarks. In my experience, we watch and listen to someone before making a connection. I try to remember now (it's taken a while) that when I'm online, I'm involving myself in a real conversation, with a real person, and no matter how 'right' or 'funny' I appear to myself, the other person can't see my face, and has no idea where I'm coming from unless I make the effort to show them. In this poetry site, I'd rather show my abilities with people skills than my weird sense of humour, or 'artiste' persona, because I really don't want to appear as though *I'm laughing at or disrespecting anyone, for I don't want to be the one who destroys anyone's confidence with their creative practices.

(*there are other, flyting sites for that, for people who get inspired and thrive on that kind of banter, and deliberately set themselves up to be shouted back at.)

Every Hoe Ha Dem Stick A Bush.
(there's a stick in the bush to fit every hoe.)

Grinch
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Whoville


6 posted 10-05-2006 03:13 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Why can't critiques be offered in Open based on the critique message on each member's profile?

If the answer is "they can" why do we need a CA forum?

In fact wouldn't that be a better venue? People who want advice would receive it, people who want to give advice would know when to give it, people who didn't want advice wouldn't get it and people who didn't want to give advice wouldn't have to.

Everyone would get exactly what they want and a bonus would be that the critique and subsequent discussions might actually increase the understanding of the poem and open up the mechanics of poetry to a wider audience.

Juju
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since 12-29-2003
Posts 3353
In your dreams


7 posted 10-05-2006 03:17 PM       View Profile for Juju   Email Juju   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Juju's Home Page   View IP for Juju

When I read that thread I was disgusted at the number of insults. It was really to bad.  I have posted poetry in critical analyses and critiqued 4 poems.  I don't critique often, because so many are so protective of there poems.  

When I look at a poem I look at ways to improve it.  I don't call it un original extra. I think it is unfair to the poet to nuke the poem with out a plan to rebuild it.  Originality is something, like flow, you can help them with.  

Secondly when I take criticism, If some one starts attacking me, I don't talk to them.  If they don't have a way of improving my poem or say in specifics what I did wrong, I ignore them too.  When I get treated with disrespect I disregard them. Only because being told The poem is stupid alone won't make me a better person

Thirdly, If some one is confused about something in my poem I always try to help them understand it, because not only does it help me, but it helps them as well.

Lastly, There are people who will always through out attacks to make themselves feel better or lag on to arguments to long so they "win". It is life.  As a person we should have the responsibility to be functional.

-Juju

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*    Juju     *
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Midnitesun
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8 posted 10-05-2006 03:47 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

There is a vast difference in my mind between critique and criticism. The poem itself is up for critique and suggestions when placed in th CA forum. The writer could be completely anonymous, and it shouldn't make any difference. If s(he) requested 'gentleness' for whatever reason, then the one offering suggestions should take that into consideration.  There is no place for personal insults and nastiness. That is not what critique is about. It's to offer some feedback that will (hopefully) help the writer improve that particular post.

[This message has been edited by Midnitesun (10-05-2006 04:19 PM).]

Ratleader
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9 posted 10-05-2006 04:42 PM       View Profile for Ratleader   Email Ratleader   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ratleader's Home Page   View IP for Ratleader

Ditto-ditto-midnite-juju!

I just finished reading that thread, and frankly parts of it turned my stomach. Thinking about it now, I would make the first rule of those I listed up there in my first post, be this:

Leave Your (fill-in-the-blank) Ego At Home Or Don't Critique!

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Ron
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since 05-19-99
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Michigan, US


10 posted 10-05-2006 06:04 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Why can't critiques be offered in Open based on the critique message on each member's profile?

They can.

quote:
If the answer is "they can" why do we need a CA forum?

Need is probably too strong a word, Grinch. In truth, we don't need it. But it's desirable, I think, for much the same reason a Dark forum or a Spiritual forum is desirable.

Except for the separation between Mature Content and the rest, our forums try not to be exclusionary. If someone posts a dark poem in Open, which happens frequently, they aren't reprimanded, nor is the poem moved. We simply assume they want a slightly different audience than they might find in Dark, which clearly is going to be more geared towards those wanting a steady diet of dark.

CA exists for those wanting a heavier concentration of what is otherwise readily available in all the forums.

Now, having said that, I'm also going to admit that most of our poetry forums were created as pressure valves for Open. Personally, I would much prefer to have everything in a single forum where people can, perhaps, serendipitously discover a form or theme they might never have sought out on their own. Realistically, however, we soon discovered after opening the forums, that some genres have the capacity to overwhelm what should have been better balanced. I'd like to see everyone read a really dark poem occasionally, and the same goes for a spiritual poem or one riddled with teen angst. But beyond the occasional read, I've discovered most people don't want too high a concentration of the stuff. Those who do, know where to find it.

Giving people options, in my opinion, usually works better than giving people rules. They're like tax incentives, encouraging people to do what we want rather than trying to force them.
Grinch
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Whoville


11 posted 10-05-2006 06:27 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Giving people options is always a good idea Ron and I can see the sense in some segregation so maybe trying to reintegrate CA in Open isn't such a good idea, though it seems slightly more palatable than turning the existing CA it into a knocking shop. Especially when those getting knocked are the people the place was created for.

Ron
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12 posted 10-05-2006 06:44 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

The last thing I want to do (or will tolerate) is to turn CA into a knocking shop, Grinch. I've never found anything, from teaching to war (to even marriage), that has to preclude civility.

Part of civility, however, is listening, which unfortunately is always going to include enduring a temper tantrum every now and then.
Juju
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In your dreams


13 posted 10-05-2006 07:04 PM       View Profile for Juju   Email Juju   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Juju's Home Page   View IP for Juju

It was a real shock reading some of those comments
It really is to bad

-Juju

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*    Juju     *
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Ratleader
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14 posted 10-05-2006 10:27 PM       View Profile for Ratleader   Email Ratleader   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ratleader's Home Page   View IP for Ratleader



quote:
AARGH!!!


Yep.



BTW, to be sure I was understood -- I said "rules" only because "guidelines" is such a cumbersome word!



~~(¸¸¸¸ºº>   ~~(¸¸¸¸ºº>  ~~(¸¸ ¸¸ºº>    ~~~(¸¸ER¸¸ºº>
______________Ratleader______________

[This message has been edited by Ratleader (10-06-2006 08:53 AM).]

moonbeam
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15 posted 10-06-2006 11:10 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Grinch:

quote:
    quote:If the answer is "they can" why do we need a CA forum?


Ron:

quote:
Need is probably too strong a word, Grinch. In truth, we don't need it.


You're right Ron.  You don't need it if you don't want an inclusive site.

Right now your site excludes any established poet who is prepared to offer serious critique and debate.  

That isn't a signal, as you keep accusing me of, to exclude other less experienced writers and beginners.

It's simply to make a place where saying WHY you like a poem is a requirement not an option.

Is that really so onerous?

How great would it be to have an internationally published poet of some standing to workshop in CA for a week or two helping beginners.

Well I think it would be great anyway ~sigh~.

It can be done, but not as CA is currently configured.

Peace etc.

M

PS Oh, and I apologise to those who have read the various threads and got upset by my comments.  I get excitable in debate.  Too excitable.  Another one of my many failings.  Humm.
Ron
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16 posted 10-06-2006 12:16 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Right now your site excludes any established poet who is prepared to offer serious critique and debate.

No, it doesn't, moonbeam. That's a choice they make on their own.

Next month is a big deal in rural Michigan, the official opening of deer hunting season. I'm not a hunter, so I might get the details wrong, but my understanding is that the hunters (established or not) are limited to shotguns and bucks. They can't shoot does or fawns. I think that's a reasonable limitation to impose.

Poets (established or not) are welcome to offer serious critique and debate to those specifically requesting it. Again, I think that's a reasonable limitation to impose.

Please don't shoot the fawns.  

quote:
That isn't a signal, as you keep accusing me of, to exclude other less experienced writers and beginners.

It's simply to make a place where saying WHY you like a poem is a requirement not an option.

Is that really so onerous?

But where does it stop, moonbeam?

"I like your poem 'cause it rhymes."

"I like your poem 'cause it's short and sweet."

"I like your poem 'cause it's, like, SO true."

When the explanations don't meet your expectations, moonbeam, are we going to make yet another new rule?

I help moderate at two web development forums, both of which offer web site reviews for people just putting up their own site. One of the forums insists a new Member has to make twenty-five posts before asking for a review, while the other makes no such demand. Would you like to guess which forum has a higher signal-to-noise ratio? Would you like to guess which forum spends far too much Moderator time deleting or disallowing what we call "me too" posts?

Quality cannot be mandated, it can only be encouraged. Worse, making rules that can't be fairly enforced only teaches people that all your rules are meant to be bent or broke. I'd really like to avoid that as much as we can.


moonbeam
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17 posted 10-06-2006 12:46 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

quote:
No, it doesn't, moonbeam. That's a choice they make on their own.


A choice based on what they see happening in the forum.  You know well what I mean Ron.

A person posting in CA wants CA whatever their profile thingy says.  And if they don’t then they are posting in the wrong place.


quote:
But where does it stop, moonbeam?

"I like your poem 'cause it rhymes."

"I like your poem 'cause it's short and sweet."

"I like your poem 'cause it's, like, SO true."



Precisely why I suggested helpful critiquing guidelines.  And yes, I could see a situation where with a completely new and inexperienced critiquer even comments like those above would be fine.  As long as the person TRIES to the best of his/her ability. You simply don’t believe me do you Ron, or don’t want to, I’m not some highflown academic intent upon a fixed “standard” I’m simply suggesting that the spirit of critical analysis should be adhered to and that posters should actually read the poem, think about it and then try their hardest to make a useful comment.

Good grief, we ALL started somewhere.  My initial critiques were simple verging on the banal - but at least I was trying.


quote:
I help moderate at two web development forums, both of which offer web site reviews for people just putting up their own site. One of the forums insists a new Member has to make twenty-five posts before asking for a review, while the other makes no such demand. Would you like to guess which forum has a higher signal-to-noise ratio? Would you like to guess which forum spends far too much Moderator time deleting or disallowing what we call "me too" posts?


I don’t have to guess I know of course.  It might not have escaped your notice Ron that in life you have actually to work to get anywhere.  I’m not suggesting that the workload for mods in CA won’t increase - it will.  I wonder however which of your web-development forums achieves the most.

quote:
Quality cannot be mandated, it can only be encouraged.


And you don’t think that posting this:

“Dear Poster,

We are happy for everyone to participate in this forum, but this is the one forum at PIP where we like to encourage people to explain WHY they like or dislike a poem.  We would therefore be grateful if you would read the guidelines on critique above and re-post with any further comments you might have about this poem.

All the best,

Your friendly Mod.”

directly after someone posts what we have been calling a “fluff” comments is encouragement?

M
Juju
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18 posted 10-06-2006 03:00 PM       View Profile for Juju   Email Juju   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Juju's Home Page   View IP for Juju

Moonbeam,

I like reading newer poets here.  I can tell you that no matter what we do in life there is always area of improvement.  The reason I like reading newer poets is not only is it fresh, but it is an opportunity for my self to understand and learn.  I can tell you right know being good at poetry doesn't happen over night.  It takes years of practicing styles and learning.  For example I am learning old English and reading old English poetry.  I don't plan on writing my poems in old English, but I am taking what I can from it.  I am a very young poet. 20 something years I have been around and have been writing poetry for five.  So I am like a five year old. It is easy to forget this. It takes baby steps to grow up.  It takes baby steps to teach.

I have only one question for you.  "What makes a good teacher." This is not an attack, just something I ask my self each time I teach some one something new.


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*    Juju     *
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moonbeam
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19 posted 10-06-2006 03:55 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

quote:
I like reading newer poets here.  I can tell you that no matter what we do in life there is always area of improvement.  The reason I like reading newer poets is not only is it fresh, but it is an opportunity for my self to understand and learn.


And your point is?

quote:
I can tell you right know being good at poetry doesn't happen over night.  It takes years of practicing styles and learning.  For example I am learning old English and reading old English poetry.  I don't plan on writing my poems in old English, but I am taking what I can from it.  I am a very young poet. 20 something years I have been around and have been writing poetry for five.  So I am like a five year old. It is easy to forget this. It takes baby steps to grow up.  It takes baby steps to teach.


I know.

quote:
I have only one question for you.  "What makes a good teacher."


Qualities such as:

Patience, understanding, subject knowledge, tolerance, discipline, ability to inspire and encourage, breadth of perception and thought, flexibility, ability to plan, self-knowledge, humility, respect.

M
serenity blaze
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20 posted 10-06-2006 04:06 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

What about courage?

Does being a good teacher require courage?
Grinch
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21 posted 10-06-2006 04:23 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Being a good teacher requires one thing above all others:

A willing student.

Which is probably why half the qualities mentioned are included in the list.

Talking in terms of teachers and students is a little superfluous though, as far as poetry and the CA forum goes we're all students.

serenity blaze
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22 posted 10-06-2006 04:31 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Nodding with you here Grinch.

I never cared for the term "teacher", or even "guru".

Which reminds me of a buddhist practice, (I think, my memory yanno... ) which requires that the student, before being allowed to teach, must forget everything they know.

Once you think you know it all, you cease to learn--and there is a very strong ego attachment to the accomplishment of mastery.

But then?

Forgetting is easier for some than it is for others though.

moonbeam
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23 posted 10-06-2006 05:01 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Karen,

Courage too, especially to tell a pupil the hard things.  And being a very good listener.

Just being "good" helps too!  

From Grinch:

quote:
Being a good teacher requires one thing above all others:

A willing student.


Actually as far as being a good teacher is concerned I am not sure.  A really good teacher should be able to turn that situation around I suppose.  Though I believe there are exceptions.  Me learning French at school is a good one - or to be precise not learning.

As far as CA is concerned though this goes to the heart of what I've being trying to say to Ron (check out my post a few moments ago in CA).  Really we don't have the luxury to try and convert people to wanting to learn.  To make a public internet forum work the people who come there have to want to learn from day 1.

And that's all.

They don't have to be Einstein, or Shakespeare or educated even; they don't have to know anything at all about poetry, they just have to want to learn and debate.

And that's all I've been saying all along.

~sigh~

M
serenity blaze
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24 posted 10-06-2006 05:14 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I didn't ask the question to imply anything. In fact my reason for the question was personal and off topic.

I asked about courage, because teaching remains a goal of mine, and after being given what I believe was a serious job offer, I had to admit that my number one reason that I haven't done anything to actualize my dream is that I am scared.

And that's all there was to that...



So carry on the good fight.

I have my own demons.
 
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