Discussion #10: Critique Part 3

First of all, I’d like to thank each of you who stepped forward last week and contributed to the discussion on Critique Part 2. I just reread all of your words, and they all make sense,
and valid points. I also like the give and take element that has been created here.

The consensus would seem to be that we, as a group, should explore creating a private space for such an experience. One of my problems, with that, is that I am a technonincompoop. However, this morning, I received an email from one of the group here, telling me that he would be more than willing to lend his expertise to establishing a private area where the critique could take place. What a relief that was. I was told that we could set up such a private forum right here in this space. Or, we could create a separate blog altogether to do that. Guess that means you will have to let us know which of those two choices you would prefer.

I would also agree with Neil, that we might begin by creating a brief written statement of focus and purpose for anyone seeking to join in, as well as being willing ourselves, as individuals, to agree to such a statement before beginning. I do agree with most of the points that Neil made in last week’s discussion. And would definitely nominate his person to do that writing, if he could shorten it down to a paragraph or two, lol. I’m sure you can do it Neil, and it could be our first critique, with possible suggestions for inclusion or rephrasing. I wouldn’t expect you to put it in poetic format, that might be cruel. But, it would give us a chance to try out the format after it is established.

I, myself, would like to see certain things included. First, I would echo what Mary said last week: that each individual be free to accept or reject any suggestions that he/she does not find of value to the poem or its intent. Second, that this experience be considered a learning experience for everyone who participates, and by participation, I do not mean that anyone is obligated to “speak”, and is free to do so only through choice.

Although I do not want to throw a clinker in here, there is another level that we have not discussed at all. Poetry is a verbal art. An important aspect of critique is to hear the poem read aloud. When we read the pieces in our heads, or even aloud at our monitors, we do not hear the author’s inflections, feelings, or the way in which he reads, thus speaks the work. How would you feel about adding sound to a critique experience? I don’t even know if that is possible, but I think it would help a great deal in getting a solid feeling about what we are critiquing. How would you feel about reading aloud? Possibly recording yourself reading your own poetry? Would that be too difficult or intimidating for you?

It’s been a few years since I’ve read any of my poetry aloud. Not sure I would be all that comfortable with it. Just wanted to throw that idea into the discussion. It really does make a difference in how one interprets the words, sounds, and even the images.

So, this week, I’m asking you to contribute any statements you wish to see included in that first summing up of focus and purpose. Consider what you would suggest as a possible Mission Statement for our critique experience, and think about reading your poetry aloud to expand that experience.

We’ve discussed a great deal about what we’d like to see and experience in the critique situation. And from what I have gathered, the main objective would be respect and genuine consideration by all involved. I like that about this group in general, and hope you do as well.

Your turn:


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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12 Responses to Discussion #10: Critique Part 3

  1. Tilly Bud says:

    I’ve only just managed to get to last week’s discussion and didn’t comment because it had all been said.

    The important thing, for me, is that people treat each other with respect when giving and receiving critiques. The rest will follow.

  2. anl4 says:

    So far it sounds good to me.

  3. pmwanken says:

    So far, so good, from my perspective as well!

    I do want to throw out a suggestion regarding reading the poetry aloud. There’s a site that Buddah Moskowitz has set up: http://www.virtualpoetryreading.com/ . It’s as simple as a phone call (a U.S. phone number) and recording a voice message. It would provide great additions to his site, as well as serve as a forum for our recordings. Just a thought. I’ve already recorded a few of my pieces there. Check it out — it’s fun! 🙂

  4. margo roby says:

    Like Tillybud, I have lagged horribly behind, but wanted to add my bit to the critique discussions, as I very much want to be part of the group. Fortunately, Just about every point I would have raised was raised, although I do want to point out to those who were nervous about their abilities, because they are new-ish writers, or have not critiqued before, that they don’t have to respond to everything in a poem, or try to find what isn’t as strong as it might be. They only need to look at their own responses to each poem and to what works, or does not work for them as readers. It might be just one thing, and as apparently simple as: Have you considered breaking this line here instead of there? They will find as they read for the purpose of clarity and understanding, and they read what others say, that their own critiquing skills will be honed.

    I am happy to go along with pretty much anything the group wants, except the reading aloud. I am phobic. I have finally reached the point where I can go to an open mic, but record, that’s a whole different thing. I think, Elizabeth, that we can still ask questions about how something might sound aloud. As readers we can read a poem aloud, and if we have questions about where an emphasis, or line break, falls, or the pace, we can ask the writer their intent.

    I do apologise for not being in on the last two discussions but appreciated what everyone said.


  5. neil reid says:

    It’s late and some sleep deprived (and slow is me). Yet time to say some hello, and it’s not that I don’t think about all of this – I do, and often too.

    I’ll do some writing, a draft of our statement-of-purpose this weekend soonest. Then we can together take a look at that. And maybe I can make a few notes about the blog format too, whether we remain here or make a new blog just for the group (that’s most up to you Elizabeth, since this blog is yours – and maybe you’d like your blog back again as it were for whatever else you might want to do with it?)

    About poems spoken aloud:
    01 Technically it is possible with Word Press. Requires a minimal “space upgrade” (+5GB storage) that also includes the ability to upload audio files. (Cost ~$20/year.) I’ve thought about doing that for my own blog, but haven’t yet. So doable, and just some lesser tech stuff to resolve if we decide we wanted to do that too.
    02 Plus there’s that free audio site that Paula suggested (although maybe the quality is not so great?)
    03 Me personally, speaking poems aloud interests me (but not a hot issue). Maybe I’m still that much some shy, AND think my voice is not so good that way. Amusing to observe! (AND don’t think I’d die if I did, you know.) Also I’m very visual (more that into actual voice), so I care most for seeing the poem on the page; and I don’t remember a poem I heard near so much as one I’ve only heard. So… I’m a mixed bowl in this regard.
    04 I also think of the poet reading their own work as an optional thing. As in often author’s don’t actually “perform” their work, performers do. Each to their own best talents?

    Margo, how nice to hear your voice here. I doubt you know how much your random statements have inspired small maelstroms of thought for me (I’m still working/thinking/writing about “breaking rules”!).

    And I also appreciate your comments here about the scale of our responses, how we might contribute to doing critique. Yea, take it sincere but not serious, nor does every response need be on some essay scale. Absolutely! And every person’s response is “valid” that way; that’s good to remember, good also that we allow ourselves to be that way. I’d even expand the notion in general that it is important, freeing, to allow ourselves to “fail” (meaning be less than our own too-grand-expectations of ourselves). What’s wrong with trying something challenging, and maybe not even fully realizing what we thought to do? I think that’s wonderful! I really really really (is that enough?) don’t think anyone here would think less of anyone for trying their best no matter the result. Really. Wouldn’t we all love to participate in such an environment of community?

  6. margo roby says:

    Hello, Neil! You remind me of a point I forgot to make. One of the things I learned about critiquing [something at which I am so-so] is that the writer when submitting a poem for critique [and this comes to your point about the poems being experiments, or rough] can add notes/questions asking the critiquers to look at specific areas. We often know what is not working, or where we are having a difficult time in our own writing. It helps the persons critiquing to have specific things to look for along with their own sense of the poem they are reading.


    maelstrom? I rather like that 😉

  7. Pingback: Friday Freeforall: Gather Ye Prompts While Ye May « Margo Roby: Wordgathering

  8. Hi, Elizabeth. I am also late in commenting. I am up for whatever is decided, except reading my poems. I am too shy and phobic. Can you be both? Anyhow, I have my own internal ear when writing, but I often have my husband read my pieces to me. Nice to see you here, Margo. You make a fine addition to the group 🙂


  9. Mike Patrick says:

    I’m really late in commenting, and it’s for the best. Everything has been covered.

    While my voice ranges between foghorn and frog, the thought of taping a poem reading is daunting for a couple of other reasons. I have difficulty slowing down my eye speed to my reading speed. By the time my mouth is finishing line one, my eyes are finishing line eight. I get lost and stammer while trying to bring the oral and visual together. My other problem is with becoming one with what I write. When I write on an emotional subject, I live that emotion while I’m writing and, yes, while I’m reading it too. My voice sometimes breaks, and I have a difficult time making it to the finish (some tough cop, huh). It would probably not play well in a recording, but maybe practice would overcome that. A recording is the best method I can think of to allow those critiquing to truly understand the poet’s rhythm.

    I guess the other side of that argument is, the common reader would not have access to that recording, so the critique should be to improve the experience from the reader’s point of view.

    I’m game for anything the group wants to try.

  10. Tilly Bud says:

    Each time a comment falls into my inbox, I become more alarmed. 🙂

    There won’t be audio of me reading my poems and I probably won’t listen to any of yours, if I’m honest.

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