I asked for poetry advice once and…

I asked for poetry advice once. Gave out a few poems. Out of the two that answered, only one responded.

What I got was: “Read more poetry books.

I’ve read poetry, but I asked for a critique.

So, I only assumed that my work was terrible. A disaster. I’m not sure what else to think about that. He pointed out that I put stories in my poems, but that was about it.

I have read so many poems over the years. I’m even subscribed to a poetry Youtube channel. But I wasn’t sure how just reading more poetry would help. I wanted to hear some advice.

What lines didn’t make sense? What part do you feel like I should expand on? Did you feel like I didn’t put enough metaphors in? Too many metaphors? Was it long enough? Did you feel the rhythm of it all? What do you think the story is about? What words stand out to you the most? How do you feel after reading the poem?

Read more poetry” wasn’t the advice I was looking for…

So, when giving a critique, I hope you give more than a few words. More direction. List the good, and list the bad. Think about it as if you’re personally receiving the critique you’re giving.

Critiques are hard to give. They almost have their own art form. But I promise, you need over one sentence to write a good one.

Have you had similar experiences before? Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

19 thoughts on “I asked for poetry advice once and…

  1. Spot on! That’s quite a common problem, I think. And it can be so frustrating, too!

    I have found that — depending on who you are talking with — it can help immensely if you can give them detailed instructions and encouragement about the kind of feedback you want. A few people don’t need such things, but most people do.

    I have been surprised now and then by how some person or another who I thought was so shy that they would never say much has opened up with persistent and detailed encouragement.

    Of course, the results can at times be wholly unexpected. Understanding poetry takes practice for most of us, I think, and the feedback you get from folks who haven’t much experience at it can be… um… striking. Suddenly, your poem about horses turns into a poem about banjos!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lolol True.

      Your last sentence reminded me about a poem I once read at a seminar. It was about a chameleon walking across a desert, and the person giving the speech about it talked about how the poem was about WWII. It just felt out of place.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had some good critiques throughout the years. Some were from writing groups. Some were from writing websites like Critique Circle.

      It always just depends though. You never know if someone is good at critiquing at first. I wouldn’t just give my work out for just one person to critique, because that person might not be good at it. It helps when you have some writing friends (but those are also hard to find).

      I understand being scared about it though. Truly. I was scared for a while. I still get nervous every time too. But honestly, having someone who is good at critiquing look over your work is so helpful. I wouldn’t just avoid it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do. Although I agree this is an important thing to do, it should not be the advice substituting for a critique.

    I was once told to by a book and then write 20 poems in each form and once I had done that I could consider myself a poet.

    I had been writing for 20 years at that point and was terrified to share my writing because of just that kind of thing. This is one example of why I started the go dog go cafe

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I face the same challenge when asking for feedback on prose, and poetry is even trickier because there’s so much variation and flexibility, and poetry is very personal. I like Paul’s advice to be specific in what you’re looking for, as well as SpiritualJourney17’s advice to let your heart lead you.

    Liked by 2 people

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