1. violetinsideme
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    violetinsideme Active Member

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    reviewing...alone

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by violetinsideme, Feb 20, 2011.

    I have noticed less an less reviews occuring. I look a bit pretentious with all of the "violetinsidemes" over on the poetry review board. If not reviewing is fear you are going to hurt feelings... so what. If it is fear you will not review harshly enough...so what. Practice, practice, practice. This is just a observation and a suggestion.:cool:
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my case with poetry it was merely I don't have the qualifications to say anything beyond I like this or I don't like this. I don't understand rhyme or meter etc so a poet has to be outstanding for me to comment on their work.
     
  3. violetinsideme
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    violetinsideme Active Member

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    i have no formal training and my writing is rather sporadic... but I do it anyway:D
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Look at it this way how often do you review something outside your comfort zone ? I will periodically attack poetry but I am not good at it, I often have no idea why I like a piece. Just like I will look at a piece I don't like and scratch my head wondering why the poet bothered.

    It's not through lack of trying - I have a list of poets I read and enjoy and I have tried with classes. However I am tone deaf and lack rhythm both hamper a proper understanding of poetry.

    I don't restrict myself by genre but its like with commenting on essays written by an American I don't understand the way the US works with them and I can't really review them.
     
  5. violetinsideme
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    violetinsideme Active Member

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    I completely understand. I read many things on the forum, short stories, fiction, etc... and DO NOT have the ability to review them. I do it to educate myself and for enjoyment. I would expect someone outside of their genre or comfort zone would not necessarily want to review something they just popped by to read. I guess this was geared more towards poets and lyricist, or ANYONE that has quit reviewing.
     
  6. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I do not know how to read poetry or don't understand the messages behind them. My literature teacher required us to write poetry, and I was not good at it. This is why I don't often reveiw poetry, not because it is boring or fun to read. I'll say the best way to review poetry or anything else, just read it and see if you like it. It is easy to tell someone rather you like it or not, but it isn't easy to tell them without hurting someone's feelings. I have yet to know that poetry is one of the hardest things for me to review, and I'm sure it can to other people--that is--if they absolutly have no experience reading or writing poetry.
     
  7. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    The amount (and quality) of reviews waxes and wanes with the season (school/life tends to occupy people in waves).

    The lack of motion in the review rooms is what inspired Critique Week last year. I am sure it will make a come back this year too.
     
  8. PurpleCandle
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    PurpleCandle Senior Member

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    I would also like to mention another reason for less reviews in addition to LordKyle's reasons. Quite simply, I don't review people who post work who have low post counts without waiting several hours/a day. There is nothing worse than laying out a review only for it to be closed. For some reason 9 times out of 10 the poster doesn't follow the requirements to get the thread opened, which means I just wasted my time. Sometimes if I have time I will go check and see if they have made 2 quality review posts, but usually I just wait to see if a mod closes the thread. Unfortunately, I often forget I had something to say, time slips by and the piece becomes buried under new posts.
     
  9. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even if a thread is closed/deleted/set on fire by ethereal forces, you have not wasted your time. You gain the largest benefit from critiquing other people's work. You learn what they did wrong and how to fix it. You learn how to spot issues. All the author gets is a to-do list that they may (or may not) even agree with.
     
  10. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel guilty about how little I actually review on here. I'm trying to get back into it, but sometimes other things happen to take over and I can't concentrate on reviewing work. When I do review, I have to admit I mainly stick with short stories and novel excerpts. I don't really know enough about poetry to critique, although I do try sometimes, and similarly for script, I only really know about theatre plays and it seems to mostly be TV/film scripts. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to critique something that isn't a short story/novel excerpt. Lame excuse I know. But actually, since you've brought this up, I'm going to set myself the challenge of reviewing a piece from every section, alternating between them. For example, day one I'll review a short story and a poem, day two I'll review a script and a non fiction piece and so on. Yeah, I'll totally do this!
     
  11. Boysarn
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    Boysarn Member

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    The thing for me is that it can feel rather strange to review something when I feel that my writing skills is not as good as the original author. This happens to be the case a lot :)
     
  12. Baywriter
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    Baywriter Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love reviewing poetry! I had a baby a few months ago, so I've been out of commission for a while. Now I'm finding the time to submit reviews, and I'm happy to be getting back into it. Maybe it'll help me start writing my own stuff again. But I do think people are put off by the length of some pieces. For me, I'm way more likely to review a short piece because between work, school, and my son, there isn't much time to go as in depth as I'd like to go.
     
  13. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Poetry is just unfamiliar territory for me, specially since the poems posted here are so different from the classics I have studied/read a long time ago in school. I do understand that reading, writing, understanding poems will help me in my story writing. But, when I am struggling a bit with vocab and grammar presently, I don't think I could be of any help
     
  14. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've learned a great deal about poetry by critiquing poetry. I knew next to nothing about it when I first came to this site; I think the first poem I posted here I capitalized the first letter of each line, 'cause I thought you were supposed to do that or something. I don't think I'd ever really written a poem before coming here, and the workshop educated me and gave me confidence.
     
  15. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I am new here and I admit am a bit intimidated by the reviewing. I don't want to offend anyone. I did my first review last night, and it was terrifying, then this morning realized that I had told him that a word wasn't a word! What I meant to say was that I didn't think it was the word he was looking for.......now I feel like an idiot. I edited myself, and I'll get over it, but sheesh it's hard!
    I really want to become a part of the community here so I don't want to stomp on anyone, but I want to be honest too. That's what is holding me up.

    *edit....now I just called what was early morning hours last night....and this morning what was just a few minutes ago. In my defense I was literally up ALL night with a 6 year old with a stomach bug, went to bed at 8 am and have only been awake a short time. I'm not as crazy as I seem :D
     
  16. fervish
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    fervish Senior Member

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    I'm new but the thing I think we are not realizing here is that everyone has different strengths and weakness that put together make a great resource for each other. I tackle what I know and learn as I go.
     
  17. Ion
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    Ion Senior Member

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    The problem is the medium.

    There is no 'right' way to do poetry. You can't tell a poet that they can't capitalize every line, because they can. You can misspell words on purpose. You can mix and match whatever meter and structure you want. You can have one word on one line, skip three lines, put five words, and have the rest blank. You can't tell a poet that their message is too strange, or unrelated, because if you don't understand it, you're probably just not a part of the audience.

    The problem with reviewing poetry on this site is that the poets rarely ask anything of their readers. They don't ask them what they thought their poem was about. They don't ask what kind of form it looked like they were trying to use. They don't ask what tone or emotion their poem evokes.

    And they don't say what it was they were trying to do.

    If I think your poem is sad, fine. But if you say you were trying to make your poem lonely, and I think it doesn't communicate that clearly, then I can give you feedback and tell you how I think you could make your poem seem more lonely than just sad.

    If you don't give reviewers parameters to critique, there's nothing to critique, because it's poetry. You can't do poetry wrong.

    It's a waste of time reviewing poetry if the poet doesn't give you anything to review.
     
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  18. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^^ Very helpful post. Thanks.
     
  19. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Saying you can't do poetry wrong is maybe technically true (although I definitely don't believe it is), but it isn't helpful. Even if you have no idea what the poem is about, you can review it in formal terms--are the images effectively constructed? Is the format appropriate? Does it flow rhythmically? Are there obvious errors? Your initial response to a poem, even if you have no idea about poetry, is hugely important. Then on subsequent readings you work out what it's about, whether it succeeds or fails, how it might be improved. If the reader doesn't understand what a poem is trying to evoke, then clearly the poem is failing on some level, and the author doesn't need to spell it out for that to be clear. If you can see that the poet is trying to evoke something and it's not working, you can tell them. If they come back and say "oh, actually I meant this" then that's another problem entirely.

    I dunno, I think a lot of people look at a poem, say "I don't get it" after one reading and give up. Really, there isn't a huge difference between a poem and any other prose; language works in the same way, regardless of the form. I think people should just trust their instincts more--it doesn't have to be this rigorous intellectual exercise.

    That said, I hesitate to review some poetry if it seems like the content is too personal or confessional, because it often seems that if I offer an honest critique it'll be interpreted as some kind of attack. Thus, I tend to only review seasoned writers, or writers who've demonstrated they can take criticism. I wanna help people improve, but I don't wanna upset them too much.
     
  20. Ion
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    Ion Senior Member

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    True, arron.

    Still, you have to admit that reviewing poetry offers a different set of challenges than reviewing standard prose. Mistakes in prose are easier to make out, while poetry tends to be a more nebulous medium requiring a unique set of skills to offer helpful, insightful advice.
     
  21. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Right, they're different, but I don't think they're beyond the reach of the average member of this site. The difficulty of poetry is only an illusion; really, most of the poetry on this site especially is very accessible, quite literal and doesn't really require a poetic background. Granted, there are some exceptions, but even those writers' work isn't too much more challenging to comprehend.

    I guess I just think poetry should be more accessible than most people seem to believe it is. More members should give it a try; it will almost definitely help your prose work in some way.
     
  22. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Arron -- we shouldn't view poetry as any less accessible than prose. It's not like cryptography -- you don't have to spend years studying poetry before you can "decipher" it. Studying it helps, but poetry reaches out to you in a very natural way, and you can access it by simply reacting to it.

    I say go nuts reviewing poetry. If you're wrong then you're wrong. Don't worry about hurting someone's feelings. If they can't take the criticism then they don't have what it takes to be a poet. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
     
  23. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fact is I struggle with meters, rhyme and don't particularly like having to decode my literature. I enjoy poetry but I don't want to have to understand it more to be honest - most people have areas of literature they are more comfortable with.

    Whilst there are poems on here I enjoy - I do not feel equipped to offer any serious help or advice on them.
     
  24. Baywriter
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    Baywriter Contributing Member Contributor

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    If nothing else, you can always comment on what you liked about a piece. There isn't a writer on here that can say they DON'T like hearing good things about their work. And the good things about a piece are every bit as important as the things that need work. Hearing what you do right helps you know what readers pick up on and enjoy and helps develop a sense of self in your style. Plus, the vote of confidence is always nice.
     
  25. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    You have no idea how many writers on here winge about someone just posting - I don't know why I liked it but I did.

    Personally I like it but there are writers that find it offensive or useless. Often with poetry I don't know or have a reason.
     

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