September 25, 2008

Poetry Group, Guidelines for Critique – Updated

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — crcb @ 9:44 pm
Tags: , , ,

Suggested guidelines for critiques in a poetry (or other writing) group:

  1. A critique must be polite; no building yourself up by tearing somebody else down.
  2. A critique must be specific; if you think the tone doesn’t work, point out specific words, phrases or lines that make it wrong.
  3. A critique must be about something fixable. It is not helpful to object to the subject matter, for instance — the poem is about what it is about.
  4. The poet must be willing to accept critiques of the poem as a poem; if it’s too personal and tender to submit to criticism, keep it locked away or wait for a more sentimental occasion to share it.
  5. The poet must be willing to listen to reasonable critiques, but is not obligated to agree; the poem’s final form is the poet’s responsibility, not the group’s.

Update: I failed to credit my writing group, The Collaborators, for the first three items. Those principles have worked for them for 20 years.


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