Read these tips on writing and critiquing your own poetry! This is meant to help writers and is taken from a workshop.
I’ve collected all the critique info I can here! In the intended workshop, poets bring copies of their work for everyone, and read their poems including the title, with performance of the expression intended for it.
The poet also tells the background/history of why he/she has written the poem and what inspired it.
The poet tells the structure and style they used, what the desired effect on the audience was, what the poem was intended to convey, what the theme was, and which diction "style" they were going for and what the poem’s point of view was. The poet tells why they started the poem at a certain point in the story or metaphor. The poet tells what audience the poem was intended for.
Poets SUGGEST but do NOT DEMAND revisions, compare the performance with the written form, and base their suggestions on the following:
Did the poem start at effective point to introduce the theme, add new info that progressed to a conflict, and resolve it or suggest a way for us to resolve it? Did it intend to? Did each line flow naturally into the next?
Did the poem grab the attention right away? And capture interest througout?
Did the poem stay with a consistent theme? purpose? style? tone? structure/form? diction/slang? intellectual level? emotions/mood? point of view? tense of the verbs?
Did the poem use correct pronouns, grammar, and spelling? (Was it intended to be?)
If the poem broke with consistency did it do so for a purpose?
Did the symbolism and metaphors work well with the intent of the poem? Did they suit well with each other in the poem if there was more than one symbol or metaphor?
Were the metaphors and ideas focused through the poem?
What was the setting - an external physical setting or a psychic landscape, or was it just metaphors?
Did the poem maintain a little mystery and spark imagination, new images, and creativity?
Did the poem show enough to give the audience ideas about what motivated the poet to write it and what the poet was intending to communicate to the audience?
Was the theme and intent expressed well and not too wordy, not too redundant, not too uninformative? Did the poem show not tell? Did the poem imply the moral/message without preaching?
Did the poem inform the audience about the topic or the poet’s experiences (or imagination, feelings of the heart and soul, beliefs, who the poet is, what the poet intended, the complete story of the poem)? Was the muse with the poet and was the poet sincere?
Did the poem portray the topic evokatively? with a certain beauty or fascination? impress the audience? connect? Did or would the audience like it? What is it you like the most?
Did the poem fare well when set among other poems?
Did the poem "paint to the imagination", or does it just please the poet?
Did this poem vividly inspire the audience and become all it could be creatively, instead of being content with less?
Did the structure work well for the purpose? With the style? With the metaphors?
Were the title and idea interesting?
Was the audience able to relate? Empathize? Feel the intended emotions?
Did the poem avoid clichés? Was it original and artistic and creative?
Did the poem use fresh imagery? What was the best of this and what would you reword or replace and how would you?
Did the poem use words that lead one to the title idea and unify the title with the poem’s ideas? Was the title memorable? Do you have suggestions for improvement?
William Wordsworth said "a great Poet ought to do more than [reflect the feelings of human nature]: he ought, to a certain degree, to rectify men’s feelings, to give them new compositions of feeling, to render their feelings more sane, pure, and permanent, in short, more consonant to nature, that is, to eternal nature, and the great moving spirit of things. He ought to travel before men occasionally as well as at their sides." (This goes for both sexes of poets!!!) So, finally, how does the poem "rectify" our feelings?
Analyze your weaknesses, no matter how insignificant, and remember your strengths! Think of the theme and desired effect of the poem. If it was for catharsis, did you satisfy yourself? If it was for commercial success and publishing, was it well crafted to please the audience? Set a goal for one thing you can do in a focused rewrite, while remembering you are free to change it another time or revert to a previous version at will. Discuss you can accomplish this. Take a line or lines and rework them, called "troubleshooting", to compare the changes individually and evaluating them side by side with the previous version. As you find at least four things, minor or major, that you can change, finally implement the changes in a rewritten whole, then either submit to a publication or try the critique again!
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