Honest Critiques

No, I mean it. REAL honest. Email your excerpts or full stories, up to 1000 words or so, to honestcrits [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk. Synopses would also be welcome. My backlog is so daunting now that I recommend not submitting anything you are not prepared to wait a couple of months for a response on.
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  • Thursday, August 25, 2005


    Ils says, "I'm curious to see if you critique poetry as well as prosy
    whatnots. If not, don't abuse me too heartily on the blog for making the

    Pitiful fool! No, I'm joking of course. I don't have much of an insight into the poetry publishing industry, and I'm wary of publishing anything in its entirety here on the blog, so I'll steer clear of poems in general. Sorry.

    More in a bit.
    Torgo, 8:35 pm


    Is it possible to critique poetry any more? Now that next to nobody writes in a set form, and there is no requirement to convey either meaning or emotion to a reader, it being sufficient to unload one's feelings onto the page in whatever manner, what is there to say? The writer is by default the only judge, and there are no standards.
    I think the only comment that can be made on most unpublished poetry is: Do you feel better now, dear?
    It's not that I dislike modern or recent poetry. It's that I dislike poetry which has no discipline of craft. And that I'm a crabby old hag, but that's secondary.
    Blogger Barbara, at 7:11 pm  
    Critiquing it is tough unless you're a poet yourself. It's easy to spot bad poetry, IMHO, but difficult to be constructive about it.

    Most unpublished free verse I see would be no better or worse if the line breaks were taken out. If it reads just the same as prose, it probably isn't poetry.

    I do think that every writer needs to try writing poetry from time to time, and by that I mean structured stuff with rhyme and metre. Writing that sort of thing helps to train the ear, and you start to see how each paragraph in a work of prose has its own rhythm. If you can write a decent sonnet that scans and rhymes and doesn't sound forced, you can move on to free verse and plain ol' fiction with more skill and confidence.
    Blogger Torgo, at 11:28 am  
    Well, I can write a sonnet, either Shakespearean or Petrarchan. It will rhyme and scan and otherwise follow the rules. Emotional impact? Maybe.
    I can chug along in ballad metre for as long as anyone can stand, and have no problem with couplets in the good old decasyllabic iambic pentameter (which is just fun to say, really).

    I don't like haiku (no challenge), but I've written a few tanka that pleased me, particularly a pair for the Spike and Drusilla characters on Buffy. (Spike's was better.)

    But damned if I can come up with any critique for the poetry I see in Share Your Work.
    Maybe I should try critiquing them in quatrains.
    Blogger Barbara, at 3:36 am  

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