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  1. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    An experiment

    Discussion in 'Poetry' started by OurJud, Apr 16, 2020.

    Would anyone be interested in a book club for poetry, in which we critique rather than just offer our views, on commercially published poetry? I've often wondered about False Authority Syndrome (blind faith in experts/professionals) and how it influences our opinion on a poem.

    I realise this makes me sound like an arrogant arse'ole - the mere suggestion I know enough about the subject to critique a professional, but if we could set our preconceptions aside and critique the poem as we would if it had been posted by another member, I do wonder what would be said.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  2. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Swaggin like a Baggins Contributor

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    This is something I think would be interesting. I've always thought of poetry as heavily subjective, and so the poems that speak to me the most might be the most irritating things others have read.

    I'm not sure how it would work, though. Would we link to a poem and then discuss it here? I don't know if we could post someone else's poetry to our forum for critiquing purposes.
     
  3. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    There is all that. I don't know how it would work, or as you say if it would be permitted. Best wait for a mod to see this and let us know.
     
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  4. aguywhotypes

    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    interesting.
    I'm in.
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    we've talked about critiquing the work of others before... on the whole the owner is not keen because of the potential for litigation... yes review is a fair use defence, but a defence still requires a court case which entails money and lawyers which could wipe us out.

    also the line between critique and libel can be a thin one again unasked for critique could equal litigation see above.

    on the whole we prefer to keep the critique to members who have actually asked for it

    You can discuss poetry (or any other work) in general terms in the book discussion forum, but last time this was discussed we weren't really up for on forum indepth critique of third party works.
     
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  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I think the one of the problems is that these poets are not aspiring poets. If you start pointing out flaws in a New Yorker poem, is it really the poem or is it you? And I mean you in the rhetorical sense. These poems are not the ones to look for flaws in, but to gain knowledge and understanding from. If someone can't tell the difference between a New Yorker poem and a poem in the workshop section of this forum, they have a lot to learn. And that's okay. But look to the poems that are published in great places and learn from them.

    I can discuss poetry all day, but I'm not one to look for fault in a published work. That doesn't mean I like everything I read, but I do tend to read what I like. And, for me, that does include poetry.

    As for your little experiment, when I was in grad school a professor assigned us four short stories to read. One had been published in a prominent literary journal. The others were rejects. We had to say which one we thought was the published story. I did get it right, but I was in the minority. Sometimes it's hard for people to see what makes a piece of writing great.

    I think the amount of good writing you take in, produces a better output. I read poetry every day and have for years. If you're not so keen on a published poem by a professional, I suggest reading it again, and maybe even a few times. What are you missing that others seem to get? What is there? Because with good poetry, we are called to join the work and be a part of it. I think it's much better to try and connect with this poetry than write it off and blame the industry.
     
  7. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    But this is exactly my point. I think what you're demonstrating here is classic False Authority Syndrome.

    I honestly never did this, but I have been sorely tempted on many occasion, to pick some obscure poem from one of my many anthologies, and post it in the workshop as my own to see what kind of responses I get. This is by no means me saying that my poetry is so good people won't be able to tell it apart, but with all the respect in the world to everyone here, I'd be surprise if people - including yourself - even noticed.
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    But I think being able to spot quality comes from reading quality. I briefly worked for a poetry magazine. Sure, taste comes into it. I'm a sucker for complex forms done well. But the people who work at these places do know their stuff. They're not just publishing whatever. A lot of thought and discussion goes into it. And revision can play a part as well. And the editors suggesting changes do know what makes their magazine look good, win prizes, and all that.

    I think what happened in my class is that the majority wasn't actively reading current publications. This is so important. It's very hard to get better if you're looking at bad or mediocre examples. It also hurts you not to know what today's poetry looks like. I don't see the point in trying to trick people other than to say they just don't know good writing when it's in front of them. Or, I guess, you're saying that there's just not good poetry out there? Listen, I don't love every poem I read. I despise Tender Buttons even after reading that nonsense several times. And Gertrude Stein is one of the best poets ever. I would have never published Tender Buttons if I had been the editor, but somebody did. As much as I dislike this poem, I think there is something to learn from it (or so it could be argued). I think we are better served looking for lessons within poetry that will shape us as writers and people. Poetry done well is a very powerful thing. If you're looking for flaws in published work, what do you hope to gain from that? And I don't think it is ever a good idea to pass something of as your own that isn't regardless of the reasons.

    The workshop might be great for some of you, but it in no way replaces the reading of work that is already great, polished and published. You really do have to expose yourself to a lot of quality writing if you want a pallet for it. I'm not saying that I could always spot the difference between a published and unpublished poem, but I can spot how polished it is and how ready I think it is for publication. I stay out of the workshop for the most part because the many of the poems read like rough drafts or words thrown together because someone thinks anything can be poetry. I guess anything can be poetry, but good writing takes time to finesse and I don't think that's something that is always done when people post their poetry.

    I would flip the script and start looking at The New Yorker and Poetry Magazine. Rattle is pretty good, too. Try to figure out why that poem stood out and was chosen for publication. What made it so great that the poetry editors had to buy it. Look closer. Even I have learned a thing or two from my reads of Tender Buttons. There is criticism out there for poets already. Not every review is good. But I just don't want to go looking for problems that aren't supposed to be there. I expose myself to as much as I can to learn and understand as much as I can.
     
  9. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Again, I think this is just FAS.

    I'd really like to test you on this by presenting ten poems, only one of which is taken from a commercially published source, to see if you could pick it out. If I chose carefully enough, I'd defy you to identify it.
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    however due to the reasons above we won't be doing that either... move along, nothing to see here

    :closed:
     
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