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Katlin Profile
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Now What? Another Approach to Critique


Hi all,

I decided to start another thread, prompted by something I read in the Poetry Spectrum. I'm moving the topic here, because there is potential for the discussion to go beyond the scope of any single crtique thread:

Tere wrote:

"I remind you of what the New Critics taught poetry reading. That a poem should be textually taken within the context, its own little universe, it creates."

Bernie wrote:

"i love the New Critics.

but how do you write better if you are the poet? you tell the class, take your poem within its own [sign in to see URL], now what?"

Bernie also went on to quote Matthew Zapruder:

"Without critics, we will hold on to the familiar and be unable to accept that there are other uses for language, that there is new and exciting poetry all around us."

[sign in to see URL],offset=0#post15720

Any thoughts?

How do you critique? What sort of critiques, either of your own work or the work of others, do you find helpful? Not so helpful?




Last edited by Katlin, Jun/25/2013, 10:21 pm
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Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


Thanks for starting this thread, Katlin. Not sure how much I can contribute. One thing that is uppermost in my mind is how we address each other, or how we address the poem. Whenever I can, whenever I remember and am not in too much of a hurry, I will say something like, "The narrator says . . ." or "The narrator's opinion . . ." or something akin to that. I do this because it insulates the poet somewhat from the bullets that may/can be aimed at the speaker. We all have pretty good backgrounds in literature, and so we know that the speaker may not be identical with the creator or the poet, or he/she may be. But that gives the poet some ground to maneuver in when he is critiqued. I pointed this out recently to Bernie when he used the "you" in critiquing one of my poems. He may have a different opinion about this, but that is my opinion.

I try to adhere to Terreson's position, in line with the New Critics, that a poem must be taken in the context of the intention of the creator (if we can figure that out). It's not fair, in my opinion, to impose our own methods and tendencies on another poet, though I recently suggested cuts in modifiers to Bernie, to which he replied, perhaps fairly, that this was the narrator's language, not his.

I'll stop here. Zak

Last edited by Zakzzz5, Jun/18/2013, 3:26 pm
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


A subject revisited, yes? Probably it needs to be revisited from time to time. And in large measure because, this is a personal feeling, the critic tends to forget himself, thinks his job amounts to reforming a wayward, recalcitrant poem, which is something I think neither possible or, even, desirable. Not desirable because the end result becomes a poem in the critic's image. I tend to cut my poetry reader/critic slack. Especially the one who takes a poem and, in a helpful mood, recasts it in words, phrases, even lengths he/she thinks makes for a better poem. To me this particular act is compensatory. I never pay attention to it.

I've expressed myself on this subject so many times. Too many times perhaps. But I think maybe I finally have something new to say about the poet/critic dialogue. A poetry board tends to be a workshop setting, at least in its fora devoted to poetry criticism. A poetry workshop critic is a different animal from a poetry/literary critic. A Helen Vendler's job, for example, or a John Crow Ransom's job, or an Ezra Pound's job is something entirely different from a workshop poetry critic's job. The critic who conflates the two occupations is flat out wrong. The poetry workshop critic should serve as an enabler, look to bring the poem examined to its best fruition in the voice of the poem's poet, not in his/her own. The lit crit's job is to arbite, set, stretch standards and tastes and linguistic envelopes. Two diametrically opposed objectives. To me this is a cardinal distinction. The workshop critic who doesn't get the distinction I tend to write off.

One more thing I can say I don't think I've said before. Over the years, on many different poetry boards, I've encountered the workshop critic so harsh, categorical, judgemental he effectively silences voices. He scares poets away. He intimidates, which is a form of bullying. So many sweet poets I've lost on-line commerce with because of this type of bully. His MO is always the same. He uses what he knows to kill, never to engender.

Please. Don't ever let this board kill voices.

Tere
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


Hi Zak and Tere,

Thank you both for weighing in. I hope others will too. I'm going fishing today (figuratively), so may not be able to comment myself until tomorrow.
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Two items.

Pretty much lost to memory now is both an essay I made on the subject of on line poetry boards, with due emphasis given to poet/critic dynamics, and the exchange(s) that followed on the essay. Reading back, I find the exchanges quite educational. As I recall the conversation kept in place for the better part of a year. And, oh boy!, could it get heated. In brief, my essay was roundly attacked, and, by extension, so was I personally, not to mention any one foolish enough to find something in the essay worth getting said. What was most interesting about the attacks is that they tended to get made by poetry board critics who, as I feel, felt attacked in return by what I had to say. That level of defensiveness was instructional to the extreme.

A link to the essay and the ensuing exchange:

[sign in to see URL]

Second item and repeating myself for the sake of emphasis. The sole job of the workshop critic who, again, is not an arbiter of standards, either linguistic, poetic, or prosodic, is that of midwifery. It is to enable. It is not to perform surgeries. A further responsibility is this: the greatest pains taken not to stifle or silence poetic expression. This just might be cardinal. A poet once taught me a huge rule in how one should approach a poem critically: What does the poem speak to motive? I would ask the same question of the critic's reading: What does it speak to motive?

Tere

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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


I appreciate the thoughtful responses to this and the related thread. Nothing to add but I find myself in agreement,

Chris
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


“The life of the story begins where the life of the story and the life of the reader intersect." I remember reading that years ago, and I think it’s true of poetry too. It’s taken me a long time to realize something which now seems obvious: Every critique tells us as much about the critter as it does about the poem. I would go so far as to say that everything about a critique tells us something about the critter, about her relationship to the poem and perhaps to the poet or even to the critiquing environment, about his relationship to poetry in general and/or to a specific type of poem—or subject matter—in particular. That means that every critique I write tells other people as much about me as it does about the poem I’m addressing. Oh boy. Actually, I’ve always known that on some unarticulated level. Ha!

Going back to review what my own history with regard to having my work critiqued and with critiquing the work of others. It all began during my senior year of high school when I took a poetry class. It wasn’t a creative writing class in poetry, but we did have to write 10 poems and hand them in for the teacher’s comments. This process was repeated during my junior year in college. It wasn’t until grad school that I took a creative writing class in poetry and experienced peer critiquing for the first time. Fast forward to my participation in several local writers groups in which members brought in copies of their work for group critiques. While still attending the real life writers workshops, I discovered online poetry forums. The questions I’m asking myself now is: How has my response to critiques of my work changed? How have my critiques of other people’s works changed?

Here is something I ran across yesterday at Poetry Daily:

"James Longenbach‘s The Virtues of Poetry (Graywolf Press, 2013) is not interested in the vices or failures found in some poems, so his concerns are not necessarily moral ones, but instead, as the title of the book suggests, he is interested in understanding what makes a particular poem (and poet for that matter) flourish, and therefore what makes a reader flourish. And it is this relationship – the one between reader and poem – that James Longenbach’s book honors through his ingenuity of reading poetry through the framework of virtues, such as boldness, compression, dilation, excess, restraint, and shyness to name just a few he identifies, and he unearths these virtues by focusing on a poem’s prosody and diction and syntax and even the poet’s life – apprehended through letters – as well. The Virtues of Poetry is a joyous book of criticism, written by a poet and critic who does not seek to reprimand poems – which is usually the result of someone mired in taste – but to identify why certain poems can be considered achievements and also to celebrate the paradoxical nature of poetry itself – that poems, no matter when they are written, embody the impulse to clarify the world, while also wrestling with the world’s unsettling mysteries. During our chat, we discuss how poetry found him, the creative similarities between writing poetry and prose, and of course, the virtues of poetry and so much more. I hope you enjoy our discussion as much as I did."

[sign in to see URL]

I haven’t listened to the Longenbach interview yet, but that bit about reprimanding poems caught my eye. I’ve mentioned this before, but I knew I had a problem the day I found myself critiquing poems in a book of poetry rather than reading them. There is nothing wrong with critiquing published poems, privately within your mind or publically through reviews, but what troubled me was that my first response, my automatic/conditioned response, when encountering a new poem was to find fault rather than to simply read. IOW, I was reading with an agenda: How can this poem be improved, what changes can I make to fix this? I hadn’t bothered to ask myself: to fix it in what way? “So that it falls more in keeping with what I think a good poem is/should be” would have been the answer.

I’d like to say I’ve fixed my critique-first penchant, but I really haven’t. Being aware of the tendency, I strive to work against it. Being more aware of my natural and inherited tastes in poetry, I try to expand them. Beyond that, I feel that critiquing is a bit of a crapshoot. Sometimes I’ve suggested changes to someone’s poem only to discover later how impertinent and inappropriate those suggestions were. At other times I’ve suggested changes and had the writer incorporate them into a poem s/he then went on to publish. The problem is I don’t often know in advance when my advice is going to be useful or irrelevant. On good days I keep that in mind and offer my two cents with a dash of humility. On bad days I forget and get too full of myself and my own damn opinions.


Last edited by Katlin, Jun/25/2013, 10:19 pm
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GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


It has been my experience that really good critics are terrible poets and that really good poets are terrible critics.

Here are a couple of poems that express my opinion on the matter. As I recall, Joan Houlihan liked the first one which I posted on the Harriet blog back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.



         Dinner with Critics

One night a man had a fine dinner,
prime rib and lobster,
music and laughter, hors d’oeuvres;
fine red wine.
Later that night, after his murder,
the coroner sliced open a pink
and blue sack of stomach,
emptied it of leftover lobster
and prime rib. A faint sour smell
of red wine.

Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns: New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald



           The Pedant

So many verses read, references compiled,
so many titles quoted and remembered;
a wealth of prosodic structure understood.
You have studied every poet from Petrarch
to Poe to Plath and none of it
has done you any good.

You have never quite experienced exactly
what the poet’s count and meter said you should,
done that of which all these poems speak.
Vicariously you lived, your chips untendered,
your connection weak and for all intents and purposes
now almost dead and past your peak.

You have traded all your living, the edge and energy,
the colors of the life that set you on this path
for the lives of all the others that you’ve studied,
dissected and dismembered, and never found
that truth of which you seek, the epiphany
you always thought you would, that now,
you finally realize, you never really could.


Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns: New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald
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.


           Poets & Critics

A pandemonium of shoots and seeds and tendrils,
new growth and life and creeping vines,
many colored flowers, great oaks and pines,
gentle bamboo and bees and beasts…
a forest growing beautiful and natural
and wild.

Others come here, collect these leaves and petals,
take them home, identify and classify and file,
press them in books,
then compare these specimens to
one another.

Copyright 2008 – HARDWOOD: 77 Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald


Last edited by GaryBFitzgerald, Jun/25/2013, 11:28 pm
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


Hi Gary,

I like your poems. Not sure I agree with this comment:

"It has been my experience that really good critics are terrible poets and that really good poets are terrible critics."

but, like Tere, I make a distinction between critics and workshop critters. It's a conversation I've had a few times in the past on different boards with folks who didn't, couldn't, or wouldn't understand the difference.

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Katlin Profile
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I moved Gary's post, which went too far off-topic, to its own thread where it can garner attention in its own right:

[sign in to see URL]
Jun/28/2013, 10:46 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


Katlin/Gary,

I also don't agree with Gary's position on the critic/poet relationship. There are too many good poets who were also good critics. T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, for example. It wouldn't be difficult to lengthen the list. I think there must be great poets who were not critics; that's a given. Also great critics who were not poets. But I don't think the two functions are exclusive of each other.

BTW, I enjoyed some of Gary's poems. I won't comment on them because he doesn't comment on ours. I'm cool with that. It's okay. Zak

quote:

Katlin wrote:

Hi Gary,

I like your poems. Not sure I agree with this comment:

"It has been my experience that really good critics are terrible poets and that really good poets are terrible critics."

but, like Tere, I make a distinction between critics and workshop critters. It's a conversation I've had a few times in the past on different boards with folks who didn't, couldn't, or wouldn't understand the difference.




Jun/29/2013, 8:06 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Katlin Profile
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Hey Zak,

Pound and Eliot were the first two poet/critic/collaborators I thought of too. Without Pound's critique of Eliot's work, we would not have TWL as we know it.
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Dear Katlin: I would like to respectfully request that you delete the new thread you created called “Gary’s Riff”. My comment was intended as a personal response to your personal confession about being a critical reader. It is not intended as a stand-alone comment and I find it very embarrassing. Thanks.

I don’t mind saying that I have always found DM to be a little too structured and strict for me. I’ve never been much of a conformist. In fact, my former employer used to call me the “Rebel without a Pause”. I’m sorry if I went over the line again.

Zak: I do not critique other’s poems. Ever. This is because I think it is the poet’s responsibility to ‘get it right’. Who am I (or who is anyone) to correct another’s poem? If you don’t like it, I say, don’t read it and go write your own.

I would also note that Ezra Pound was an exceptional critic . . . and a horrible poet.

(With the possible exception of ‘And Thus In Nineveh’):


          
           AND THUS IN NINEVEH

 
“Aye! I am a poet and upon my tomb
Shall maidens scatter rose leaves
And men myrtles, ere the night
Slays day with her dark sword.
Lo! this thing is not mine
Nor thine to hinder,
For the custom is full old,
And here in Nineveh have I beheld
Many a singer pass and take his place
In those dim halls where no man troubleth
His sleep or song.
And many a one hath sung his songs
More craftily, more subtle-souled than I;
And many a one now doth surpass
My wave-worn beauty with his wind of flowers,
Yet am I the poet, and upon my tomb
Shall all men scatter rose leaves
Ere the night slays light
With her blue sword.

“It is not, Raana, that my song rings highest
Or more sweet in tone than any, but that I
Am here a poet, that doth drink of life
As lesser men drink wine.”


 - Ezra Pound


Gary
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Terreson Profile
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quote:

GaryBFitzgerald wrote:

Dear Katlin: I would like to respectfully request that you delete the new thread you created called “Gary’s Riff”. My comment was intended as a personal response to your personal confession about being a critical reader. It is not intended as a stand-alone comment and I find it very embarrassing. Thanks.

I don’t mind saying that I have always found DM to be a little too structured and strict for me. I’ve never been much of a conformist. In fact, my former employer used to call me the “Rebel without a Pause”. I’m sorry if I went over the line again.

Zak: I do not critique other’s poems. Ever. This is because I think it is the poet’s responsibility to ‘get it right’. Who am I (or who is anyone) to correct another’s poem? If you don’t like it, I say, don’t read it and go write your own.

I would also note that Ezra Pound was an exceptional critic . . . and a horrible poet.

(With the possible exception of ‘And Thus In Nineveh’):


          
           AND THUS IN NINEVEH

 
“Aye! I am a poet and upon my tomb
Shall maidens scatter rose leaves
And men myrtles, ere the night
Slays day with her dark sword.
Lo! this thing is not mine
Nor thine to hinder,
For the custom is full old,
And here in Nineveh have I beheld
Many a singer pass and take his place
In those dim halls where no man troubleth
His sleep or song.
And many a one hath sung his songs
More craftily, more subtle-souled than I;
And many a one now doth surpass
My wave-worn beauty with his wind of flowers,
Yet am I the poet, and upon my tomb
Shall all men scatter rose leaves
Ere the night slays light
With her blue sword.

“It is not, Raana, that my song rings highest
Or more sweet in tone than any, but that I
Am here a poet, that doth drink of life
As lesser men drink wine.”


 - Ezra Pound


Gary



Delectable Mnts too structured and strict for you, Gary? You got to be !@#$ me! You've been thrown off so many boards and blogs for your penchant to bring the conversation about and around to you and to your poetry. I'm a member here now only, not an owner of the board. I can say what I think and hazard board owners will censor me. That is good. Let me be clear, Mr. Fitzgerald. In my estimation you care nothing about poetry, poets. Your only concern is with yourself. To be even clearer, I've never found your poetry pronouncements to be particularly interesting. Don't !@#$ on this board, man. Play or go away. Yeah. I've had enough of foolishness and games played by old men.

Tere
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Zakzzz5 Profile
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To all,
This is the only comment I made about the “quality” of Gary’s poems: “BTW, I enjoyed some of Gary's poems.”

This was Gary’s rather unkind, and totally undeserved reply: “If you don’t like it, I say, don’t read it and go write your own. “

My response to Gary’s comment is that I do write my own poems, thank you. Based on the above, I am in agreement with Terreson’s implication that Gary doesn’t play, i.e., he doesn’t carry his weight on this board.

BTW, I stopped reading Gary’s poems quite a while back because he wasn’t carrying his weight. I only read some of these recent ones incidentally because he was engaged in a critical discussion with Katlin and the board members. A mistake on my part to read them. Zak
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Katlin Profile
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Okay, Gary, per your request I have deleted the thread. Although your post did touch a bit on the topic at hand, most of the quoted material, i.e., the poems you and your friend exchanged on his blog, did not. That didn't mean the material wasn't of interest; it just wasn't relevant to this discussion. I'm sorry you have always found this board "to be a little too structured and strict," and I'm glad you have found other venues that are more accomodating and a better fit for you.

Tere, I understand your desire to respond to Gary's criticism of the board, especially since until relatively recently were board owner. The board will not please everyone; we've always known that. Board protocol has not changed, and the most basic rule remains the same as when you wrote it: Please refrain from personal attacks. What constitutes a personal attack can be somewhat subjective, a gray area. I'd say a good rule of thumb would be, Don't say to someone else what you wouldn't want them to say to you, but some people thrive on conflict, the more intense, the better.

Zak, you've reminded me to point out yet again that not all forums on DM are critique forums, which means there are opportunities to read and comment on work without critiquing it. Even within the critique forums, readers are not limited to critique; general comments are allowed and welcomed. As Tere has pointed out from day one, DM operates on the quid pro quo priniciple: What you give, you get. Or perhaps a more fruitful way to state it would be: What you want to get, give.

Last edited by Katlin, Jun/30/2013, 8:49 am
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My apologies, Kat. To you and other board members, including Gary. Knuckles deservedly rapped. I confess, however, and if you are still here Gary, after all these years, about 5, of watching how you treat with people, disrespectfully and without concern for anyone's feelings, it felt kind of good saying what I think and not agonizing over it. But Kat is right. No personal attacks.

Tere
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In my own defense:

Tere: I believe you have me confused with someone else. You said:

“You've been thrown off so many boards and blogs for your penchant to bring the conversation about and around to you and to your poetry.”

This is untrue because I have never been on any ‘board’ other than DM and, to my knowledge, I have never been “thrown off” it (until now). I was asked by only one blog owner (jjgallaher – ‘Nothing to Say and Saying It’) not to post my own poems in the comment field. This request resulted in some ridicule of Mr. Gallaher by other bloggers, but I have respected his wishes.

Zak: Please do not misquote me. You said:

“To all,
This is the only comment I made about the “quality” of Gary’s poems: “BTW, I enjoyed some of Gary's poems.
This was Gary’s rather unkind, and totally undeserved reply: “If you don’t like it, I say, don’t read it and go write your own. “

This is untrue. First, that was not your only comment. You also said: “I won't comment on them because he doesn't comment on ours. I'm cool with that. It's okay. Zak”:

My comment (in reply to your statement) was: “Zak: I do not critique other’s poems. Ever. This is because I think it is the poet’s responsibility to ‘get it right’. Who am I (or who is anyone) to correct another’s poem? If you don’t like it, I say, don’t read it and go write your own.”

Secondly, I regret that you took this personally since this has been my position since I joined this board and my comment had absolutely nothing to do with you. In fact, I actually made this very statement here long ago and long before you joined up.

Then you said:

“My response to Gary’s comment is that I do write my own poems, thank you. Based on the above, I am in agreement with Terreson’s implication that Gary doesn’t play, i.e., he doesn’t carry his weight on this board. “

Carry my weight? I just told you I don’t do critiques! Is that a mandatory requirement to be a member here? I didn’t know. I was told that it wasn't.

Then you said:

“BTW, I stopped reading Gary’s poems quite a while back because he wasn’t carrying his weight. I only read some of these recent ones incidentally because he was engaged in a critical discussion with Katlin and the board members. A mistake on my part to read them. Zak”

“A mistake to read them”, you said. Really? I’ve never found a poem that I thought was a “mistake to read”. If you don’t read them how would you know if you even like them or not?

I’m also sorry that you would judge someone’s poetry based on your personal feelings about the poet. You couldn’t possibly like Pound, then, knowing that he was a Fascist. How about Ginsberg? Is his poetry unreadable because he was gay?

TERRESON: Talk about hypocrites! How many times have you remarked on the unacceptability of personal attacks on poets? I suggest you go back and re-read what you just said to me.

If I didn’t know better, based on my history of gentle comments, non-critique and non-aggression on DM, I’d think this was all an April Fool’s Day joke. This is just a joke for my birthday, right? Or surely you have me confused with another.

GBF


Last edited by GaryBFitzgerald, Jul/1/2013, 8:58 pm
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And, since I appear to have the microphone here now, I would refer you to my poem 'Puppies' on 'Poetry's Spectrum'. Please note Terreson's personal remarks about me being "defensive" about my poem regarding my response to ineese.

I thought that ineese was very helpful and thoughtful. I found her comments most constructive. I thought it was funny how, after I accused her of being "young", she later mentioned that she was getting Social Security.

If anyone were ever to accuse me of being young at my age, I think I'd kiss them!

But Terreson said:

"Gary, why do you always have to go on the attack in defense of your poetry? See? I've come to the conclusion that one should never offer a defense of poetry. You don't know how old Ineese is and, if it matters, then maybe the poem's got a problem.

And the poem does have problems. Not at all transformative in its actions, which all poetry should be. Nor should the back-moment need explanation."

[sign in to see URL] for the 'constructive' criticism, there, Tere. Sounds like a personal problem to me.

GBF

Last edited by GaryBFitzgerald, Jun/30/2013, 8:39 pm
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


Oh, I almost [sign in to see URL] I'm up on the stage:

I'm sorry that you didn't like my poems, but count your [sign in to see URL] least you didn't waste any money on the books.

I don't mind saying that I did once go to a place that had less humor than Delectable Mnts. Unfortunately, it was a Funeral Home.

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Goodnight and good luck.

Farewell, DM.

GBF
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Terreson Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


Coming back to the topic, Kat says this:

~“The life of the story begins where the life of the story and the life of the reader intersect." I remember reading that years ago, and I think it’s true of poetry too. It’s taken me a long time to realize something which now seems obvious: Every critique tells us as much about the critter as it does about the poem. I would go so far as to say that everything about a critique tells us something about the critter, about her relationship to the poem and perhaps to the poet or even to the critiquing environment, about his relationship to poetry in general and/or to a specific type of poem—or subject matter—in particular. That means that every critique I write tells other people as much about me as it does about the poem I’m addressing. Oh boy. Actually, I’ve always known that on some unarticulated level. Ha!~

I've never said it as succinctly as Kat manages to here, but this is precisely what I've been trying to tell poetry critics for years. Just not as well. It is true. Critique is damn revealing of the critic herself. I tend to think the first-rate critic not only knows as much, but accepts as much as a strength, a real strength. I can be hard on poetry critics. But I'm never hard on the first-class critics. The reason is clear to me: they tend also to be gifted readers of poetry, that select audience I pretty much write for only. And the gift, as I see it, is not something acquired but something one is born with.

But think on it. This self-revelation on the part of the first-rate critic amounts to a compromise, puts them in a compromising position. All of a sudden you have two compromised souls, poet and critic. Like two lovers who, in order to gain the prize, must each let down their defenses, make themselves vulnerable, naked, bare, each showing their faults in a supreme moment of trust. This is such a truism to me. This really is the prize. And again think on it. What most is the poet after if it is not to, in some way, touch another human being? This another truism. I had a reader once, someone I didn't know, never saw in person, knew me only through my poetry, and she said her hunch was that, in poetry, I express emotion I can't otherwise express. BOOM. POW. BANG. Baby, she got my number. I think the same is true of the first-rate critic and gifted reader. And so the exchange, the interstice becomes nothing less than a tryst. We have a member here who is very honest about his intentions. He does not want critical comment on his poetry. His integrity is such he does not give it in return. The position works for him. In strict honesty I have to say that I find his position unutterably sad. In its own way it is as self-revealing as the critic's position who has compromised herself by entering into a poem, and as the poet's whose position puts something huge and self-revealing out there, makes something public handlers would rather keep out of the forum.

Kat, I'm not trying to represent what you say or especially what you mean. This is a little of what what you say means to me. I hope you take it in that spirit.

Something else. Upthread Gary opines that Ezra Pound was a lousy poet and a good critic. Nonsense. Pound was an excellent critic precisely because he was a great poet who cared as much about poetry, the whole of poetry, the whole of its canon, who knew it intimately, from the inside out, as he cared about his own career. I don't have to like his politics to get his single minded devotion to poetry, to getting poetry out of its Victorian corsets. And he did it by example. When still at Harvard, a young E.E. Cummings for whom Longfellow was the best, read Pound's poetry and had what can only be described as a religious experience. Later in life, Cummings told an all too adoring journalist: E.E. didn't come first, E.P. did. Not a poet working in English language today, man or woman, who does not owe Pound a tithe. I apologize if I have to. But these are the kind of pronouncements that drive me to distraction. And you bet it matters. At least for as long as poetry matters. Not Eliot, Yeats, Auden, not anyone since, certainly not me or my contemporaries could have written Homage to Sextus Propertius, the poem that rocked the language far more than Eliot's Wasteland thing. And no one else could have written Pound's Hugh Selwyn Mauberly cycle. Poetry that squarely, in right language, voice, and mask, as Yeats called it, squarely faced the Modern predicament long before philosophy did. Sorry. Calling Pound a lousy poet is, at best, irresponsible, trades on the chance readers do not know the canon.

So, finally, what Kat's post brings me to is this. If I am harder on poetry critics than I am on poets, and I am, it is because of this ideal critic and gifted poetry reader Kat points us to. She is the rare one. She invests herself in the poem she crits.

Tere
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Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


To all:
Regarding Gary’s extensive arguments, I’ll only repeat that my only comment about the “quality” of his poetry was that some of it was good. There is no need for me to say anything else.

For myself, I refuse to comment or read someone who won’t participate in this Delectable Mnts community. Others can do what they want. I believe when you support such a person, you’re feeding the addiction. Is that getting personal? I hope not. It’s my attitude publicly to anyone who won’t participate. My time is valuable too, and I try to waste as little of it as possible.

That was a good defense of Ezra Pound, Terreson. Zak
Jul/1/2013, 5:53 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


I wanted to remind everyone that not only is DM not a critique only board, it is also not a writers only board. DM is for writers and readers: for writers who are readers as well as for readers who are not writers.

This is the way Terreson has described the board over at the Runboard Directory:

“Delectable Mnts styles itself on the salon notion. It looks to be a gathering of free thinkers, dilettantes, amateurs (which means 'lover of the thing'), aficionados (which means 'to have an affection for the thing,'), and conversationalists for whom conversation is as essential as bread and water. Ideally the board is a place where doctors of philosophy, mathematicians, poets, outlaws, technicians, experts, liberal artists, housewives, garbage collectors, and desperados can bounce ideas and experience off each other.“
   
IOW, for writers there are options other than critique forums, and for readers there are options besides writing a critique. If someone wants to post their own work here without ever commenting on anyone else's work, then their postings amount to little more than self-promotion. There is nothing wrong with self-promotion (some folks enjoy it, others consider it a necessary evil), but rather than trying to advertise on DM, I would suggest that creating a blog of one's own might better serve that purpose, and it can be done right here on Runboard if anyone is interested:

Welcome to Blogs at [sign in to see URL] !

Your [sign in to see URL] account comes with free blog functionality. You can activate your blog in your control panel.


[sign in to see URL]

Last edited by Katlin, Jul/1/2013, 10:28 am
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GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


On February 13, 2013 Katlin said:

"Hi Gary,

I see a critique forum as being the place where readers/critics give the writer feedback on not only what is written but also on how it is written. A reader/critic may comment on the content and then give suggestions on how s/he feels the poem might be improved. In a non-critique forum, a reader can comment on the content of a piece but does not give suggestions on how the poem might be rewritten. They wouldn’t say, for example, “Your ending is weak, IMO.” or “You need a comma in S2L5.”

You say you want “opinions” on this poem. Since it is a finished, published piece, I assume you do not want to rewrite it but would like hear people’s “opinions” on the subject matter. If this is the case, Chalkboard and Billboard would be a better place to post. But perhaps I am wrong and you are wondering if the poem needs to be revised and are open to suggestions on how to rewrite it. If this is the case, Poetry Spectrum is the right place to post.

Although there is some overlap, there is a distinct difference between a writer/reader dialogue and a writer/critic dialogue that DM was designed to accommodate. We specifically created the board so that writers could interact with readers in a way that does not always involve critique. For example, writers of improv pieces as well as finished work may seek readers but not workshop critics, for obvious and legitimate reasons."


On July 1, 2013 Katlin said:

"This is the way Terreson has described the board over at the Runboard Directory:

“Delectable Mnts styles itself on the salon notion. It looks to be a gathering of free thinkers, dilettantes, amateurs (which means 'lover of the thing'), aficionados (which means 'to have an affection for the thing,'), and conversationalists for whom conversation is as essential as bread and water. Ideally the board is a place where doctors of philosophy, mathematicians, poets, outlaws, technicians, experts, liberal artists, housewives, garbage collectors, and desperados can bounce ideas and experience off each other.“

IOW, for writers there are options other than critique forums, and for readers there are options besides writing a critique. If someone wants to post their own work here without ever commenting on anyone else's work, then their postings amount to little more than self-promotion. There is nothing wrong with self-promotion (some folks enjoy it, others consider it a necessary evil), but rather than trying to advertise on DM, I would suggest that creating a blog of one's own might better serve that purpose, and it
can be done right here on Runboard if anyone is interested:"



Jeez, maybe you guys should make up your minds. Of course, that could be the reason why of 64 registered members only four or five ever show up anymore. Like I said: too structured and strict. That is to say, no fun at all. More like a Seminar or a High School English class or something. “…poets, outlaws, technicians, experts, liberal artists, housewives, garbage collectors, and desperados.”

My ass.

Jul/1/2013, 10:04 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


One final note: I have been chastised and criticized on numerous occasions for sharing my poetry on the internet for free and not insisting that people pay for it.

Now I am being told:

"If someone wants to post their own work here without ever commenting on anyone else's work, then their postings amount to little more than self-promotion. There is nothing wrong with self-promotion (some folks enjoy it, others consider it a necessary evil), but rather than trying to advertise on DM, I would suggest that creating a blog of one's own might better serve that purpose..."

Apparently a guy can't win for losing.

I guess the parable is true: "Don't cast your pearls before swine."

I don't say that in a mean way, just in the sense that it was intended: "implying that you should not put what is valuable in front of those who will reject the notion that it has value and furthermore that they will seek to diminish or destroy what you offer."

"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."

- Jesus, Matthew 7:6, the sermon on the mount
Jul/1/2013, 11:34 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
Katlin Profile
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We have made up our minds, Gary. The board operates on a quid pro quo principle, and some forums, like Poetry Spectrum and Prose Spectrum, are critique forums while other forums, like Chalkboard & Billboard and Field Notes, are not. Quid pro quo, as we are using it here, is another way of saying: “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you.” If you want others to read and respond to your poetry, read and respond to theirs.

I’ve lost track of how many times someone has explained that to you, just as I’ve lost track of how many times you’ve come to the board, posted a few poems, gotten into a fight, told us off and then left in a huff. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you got off on the process. Kind of like the kid in school who craves attention so much he prefers negative attention to no attention at all.

The board displeases you. We get that. We hear you loud and clear. I can only suggest, once again, that you start your own board or blog, a place where your rebellious spirit can run free. But, food for thought: is it possible to rebel against one’s self?

Good bye, Gary, and good luck. I truly hope you find an online space that feels like home to you—or whatever it is you’re looking for.


Last edited by Katlin, Jul/2/2013, 6:28 am
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Good golly miss Molly. This cannot get any sillier. So Kat rather graciously gives Gary a way out, even defends his Board ordained privilege to post poetry without anything expected in return, then he finds a way to twist around the exchange in order to make of himself the aggrieved party. Oh well. But I do have one serious complaint. If I'm going to be insulted, in general mind you and in keeping with other members, my sense of honor requires originality. No cliches like being compared to some Biblical swine or dog. I mean how about calling me an ignorant slut at least. Or a peckerhead. Or white trash. Hell I can go with being called a father raping poetaster. After all we are poets avoiding cliches like the plague right?

Tere
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Well, I thought my poetry family had disowned me forever, but I see I’m still here. I promise to try and behave in the future. Of course, I told my parents the same thing, but that didn’t work out either. But I’ll try!

Gary

P.S. I don’t mind saying, though, that Tere drew first blood. Surely you don’t expect a poet to just sit on his butt and take it and keep his mouth shut. What kind of writer would I be then?

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Jul/5/2013, 8:25 pm Link to this post Send Email to GaryBFitzgerald   Send PM to GaryBFitzgerald
 
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Re: Now What? Another Approach to Critique


Okay, Gary. I won't pull a Yoda on you. Try. emoticon
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