Join the Neopoet online poetry workshop and community to improve as a writer, meet fellow poets, and showcase your work. Sign up, submit your poetry, and get started.

Unqualified to critique

This is a follow up to my blog "How to critique"
http://new.neopoet.com/node/2466

OK, I realise most people don't feel "qualified" to critique

but you don't have to be an expert to give critique.

So many people use that as an excuse. Yes, it is difficult. There is the fear of mis-reading or giving offence, but if you can write poetry you can critique it.

All the great poetry movements in history have begun with a bunch of beginners giving each other hell, often coming to blows! That is why Neopoet is so unique and offers such an incredible advantage.

Imagine Shakespeare, Coleridge, Ginsberg, Bukowski and Basho all together in a wine bar when they are just beginning! That is the potential we have here!

Let's revel in this unique multicultural online interactive environment where a wine bottle smashed over your head doesn't cause concussion!

Oh yes, of course, we should all be respectful and follow the guidelines. But we can have some merry hell and learn so much while we are doing it!

Comments

i appreciate your good intent..i will certainly try and contribute my worth as a well wisher of Neopoet by critiquing the works of fellow members through appreciations as well as by offering suggestions / alternatives with an intent of giving them more perspectives for bringing about improvements by giving them an opportunity to understand different perecptions of their writes...

raj (sublime_ocean)

look forward to it.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

but I have not seen you make a single comment that helps a poet improve their poetry. You need to have the courage and generosity to do that. It is what Neopoet is for.

I know it is hard. Join one of the workshops on critique that are about to start.

You hurt poets by giving only praise.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

many members have said that they don't feel that they have the neccessary skills or education or experience to give a good critical review of someone else's poem.

Well, guess what?

<<looks around, and whispers...>>Neither do I.

I have practise, instead.

Everyone is naturally a critic.

"This tastes horrible"
"I loved that movie!"
"This store is way too expensive."
"I hate this feeling."
"I like walking in the rain."

Sound familiar?
With poetry, you just need to be a bit more detailed, and thoughtful, in your answers.

Here's a guidline:

1. Always say "in my opinion" (imo), especially when critiquing the poem of an author that you have never spoken to before.

2, Never critique the content of a poem, just the poem itself. Is the poem very religious? Does it support a political view that you find offensive? Is the poem on a subject you don't like? Don't bring your personal feelings into it, just tell the author about what you find wrong (or good) with the poem itself.

3. Start by saying something good about the poem you want to critique, even if it is just "Hey you, I like this poem", or "This is a good one".

Now of course you'll find some poems that simply cannot be praised in any way, shape or form. With these, you need to be polite, but firm in your conviction. DON'T ignore the poem because it is bad. Particulary if it's written by someone that you know can do a better job. If you ignore it, it won't get better.

"I'm sorry, but you can do better than this." or "This would improve a great deal if you would..." these statements work fine; polite and matter-of-fact.

But, whenever possible, find something good to say!

4. Don't be afraid to speak your mind. It doesn't matter if you have no formal training.

Guess what? <<looks around and whispers>> neither do I.

Don't be insulting towards the author, but make your position on the merits or failings of the poem clear, and make it simple.

5. How does the poem "flow". Does the poem stop and start, are there lines that

you

get past
cannot (like these)

in the poem without hesitating, or stumbling, because the meter or rhyme suddenly aren't there, the pacing is different, or the grammer or syntax don't make sense? Tell the author of your problem with that. Let them know why you feel the way you do about that particular line.

6. Don't be scared. Many of us start out thinking that authors will be offended by our opinions about their poems, and so we don't critique.
Some will be offended, that cannot be avoided.
If they are and they say so, simply reply that you are sorry that they feel that way, and move on. It's like selling something by telephone: the salesman never takes rejection personally, he just goes on to the next call, knowing that somewhere ahead is a sale. But when you do find someone who is grateful for your comments, and changes their poem in an effort to make it better, its very satisfying. Remember too that this is a workshop, a place for poets to improve their skills. You'll find those that do want to get better, all you have to do is try.

7. Start with criticising the poem of someone that you know, or someone that you know will not be offended. All you have to do is read the comments of others, to know who these people are. But don't fall into the rut of ONLY critiquing those you know won't be offended. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they WANT help until they prove otherwise.

8. PRACTISE PRACTISE PRACTISE. Critiquing is like any other form of written expression: if you don't do it, you won't get better. It really is as simple as that.

So, are you ready to start giving criticism?

Respectfully,

Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" -Race9togo

.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

as she moves across the room and hides behind the couch to avoid getting smacked in the head with a bottle.

It is such a secret place, the land of tears. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

fortunately for you I am so pissed the spell misfires and it hits me instead.
Again!

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

Is that the constant state you're in these days? You know, you really should move out of the puddle - it might help. hehehe :-D

It is such a secret place, the land of tears. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"pissed" to aussies always means drunk, not angry. For angry we say "pissed off".

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

it clarified things for me cause I was thinking you were pissed off. lol.

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka.

Neopoet Community

Who the HELL is throwing bottles?
<<takes a swig>>
Pretty good, though.
:)

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

bottles don't hurt as long as they contain SOFT drinks or LITE beer lol..............stan

if you are too ready to give unqualified praise you will often do the poet a great dis-service by not reading mindfully, thoughtfully, deeply, you will miss their actual intent and content.

And then they will probably smash you over the head with a wine bottle, or maybe just give you a Glasgow Kiss, or a karate chop to the shin.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

if you have some lingering resentment against me please take it up privately in messages.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

That is all

---------------------------------------------------------

Jonathan Moore

I have and still do feel unqualified to critique, but I do the best I can when I am feeling more confident rather than give praise. Most times I still don't understand all poetry intent but will comment on what I feel in a positive way.

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka.

Neopoet Community

For those who are just starting to give advice to others, don't think you have to critique the entire poem every time.Just give an opinion or suggestion on a line or two that could use improvement. Sometimes even a little nudge is a lot of help.Good blog Jess.......................scribbler

and good point.

I might add, you don't even need to understand a poem to critique it. I know that sounds weird, but I can listen to poems in foreign languages and hear the music of the language and where it goes off key.

Some poems are surrealistic or just plain obscure, and that can be a critique too. Or a question.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

I will definitely think along those lines when I am reading. I will read a poem two or three times and still not get the intent. but I will coment on the part i do see.

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka.

Neopoet Community

"Imagine Shakespeare, Coleridge, Ginsberg, Bukowski and Basho all together in a wine bar when they are just beginning! That is the potential we have here!

Let's revel in this unique multicultural online interactive environment where a wine bottle smashed over your head doesn't cause concussion!"

brilliant words for writing and critiquing poetry on the innnovative poetry platform.
May not cause a concussion but may cause migranes lol

((hugs))

*Collaborative Poetry Workshop* American Version of Japanese Poetry ~ Renga ~ Haiku, Senyru, Tanka.

Neopoet Community

Get in there we shout in Scotland when we score a goal, i say this is an apt time for usage. Regards Roscoe...

Roscoe Llane,

Religion will rip your faith off, and return
for the mask of disbelief that's left.

here I am again. You know, there IS a place and worth in those who never offer criticism but are effusive with sincere praise. If a beginning or insecure poet receives only criticism it could well quelch the beginning of what could become a very good poet, so let's not belittle those who only encourage any more than we do those who only criticize................scribble

good crit offers support as well

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

Let us remember that Stan has an opinion just as much as you do and anyone else in this site. There is no need to get viral about it. Every one can not be like you Jess so please do not compare everyones writes or critiques to the likings of your own. Just to point out that was a bit harsh on Stan. Come on you can do better than that. Remember the agree to disagree.. This is your blog. You ask for feedback. Then by all means accept whatever it is that the community feels or wants to write with all due respect to this subject matter... Just as you wish to recieve the same, the same in return be done to others. I am not picking a fight I am merely calling you out on this comment...

No need to thrash words out because you do not agree with what anyone else has to say.
Just a thought for you if you will

Mona

I have edited out the profanity. There are plenty of ways to be complimentary and supportive whilst still giving critique. I objected because I feet that it supported the idea that it is valid for members of Neopoet to not workshop. That is something I have long and vociferously denied and will continue to.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

If someone said your opinion was - it is bullshit - how would you respond to that? If I so should ask of you here. And I would like an honest answer if you will. Why is it okay to differ here all the time and what makes you the master of it all? You try to help but from what I am hearing it is more of a hinder then a help when you become vociferously in denial. This is not for arguments sake either as the games are over for me here. I just want an honest answer from you. You say you are trying and this shows me that you are not really trying, are you then? You have to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with anyone else. Am I wrong now? I have read in the last three days more of a hindrance then a help in here. And that goes not only for you either. I am not here to stagnate your pleas but your pleas are not the only ones here that need to be listened to or am I missing something?

Mona

And exactly where in site rules does it state that none are welcome here who don't workshop? You tread thin ice when you try to exclude others and their opinions. Being a supposed man of words and education i believe you can get your point across without resorting to profane language. When you post a blog you automatically leave it open to ALL opinions. If you don't want these opinions voiced, don't blog, just limit yourself to PM's and writing. You are beginning to make me wonder if I made a mistake supporting your appointment to head any workshop if you are going to use this type intolerance in it.......................stan

The Community Guidelines don't specifically state that none are welcome here who don't workshop but they do state-
"Critique, don't comment. Neopoet is a workshop environment."
http://new.neopoet.com/community-guidelines

I'm not trying to exclude others and their opinions, I am just arguing strongly against some. I'm not suggesting people shouldn't be here, just what the real purpose of Neopoet is.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

but I believe strongly in this.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

Good thoughts

You are right, My question is does anyone have "credentuals" as a critic, then let them present them. I am no critic, i read a poem and what I understand of the wrrite is what leads
to my comment. i just try to be honest. Yes many times I miss the point of the poem, but I do learn from that also.
We are here to learn, at lease I speak for myself. I am willing to try everything the site has to offer, in some I'll do good and in others I won't, but the answer for me. This is a workshop and I came here to learn and impart what I know of writting.
that's my opinion

LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS
IT'S ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN.
VIVIAN GREENE

name dropping?
or did one of those thrown bottles clock you in the head?

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

street cred was to throw potential manuscripts he was handed by young poets into the trash lol so I am sure no matter how unqualified we feel we are, we all know what we like to read and see in a poem it's that and our language and style that can be used to critique other's. We won't like everyone, that's impossible, I hate Plath and Dickinson yet I would not just distress anyone by denouncing that their work is no good because it reminds me of that type. I think all of us no matter how amateur we are all know what we read and what we like and if we can critique with courtesy then if the poet wants to take some of the suggestions so be it but in the 'poet's' defense..it is their poem and it's not an order that they change a thing.

Chez
"The perfect woman perpetrates literature as she does a small sin: as an experiment, in passing, to see if anybody notices it - and to makes sure that somebody does." - Nietzsche

(c) Neopoet.com. No copyright is claimed by Neopoet to original member content.