Friday, June 02, 2006

The Beginner's Guide to Online Critique
Welcome to the world of online poetry critique. You make the rest of us look less amateurish by comparison. We’re glad you’re here!

Here are a few terms and phrases you’re likely to encounter in the workshop:

Nice Poem – Literal translation: “I skimmed your poem and couldn’t find anything clever to say about it, but I have to post a minimum number of critiques. Goodbye now.”

Interesting use of enjambment – Literal translation: “I like how you’ve used the [enter] key to make the right margin all nice and even. Why didn’t I think of that?”

Good luck with this – Literal translation: “Good luck fixing THIS.”

Meter – this is a noun indicating the apparent page length of a boring sonnet.

Initial Capitals – In formal poetry, a poetic device consisting of a personal computer and Microsoft Word.

Free Verse – a type of poem that travels through the air from your hand to the wastebasket.

Tell-y – resembling the work of William Tell, famous for shooting arrows at someone’s head.

The most important thing to remember about workshopping is that the POEM is being critiqued – NOT THE POET. Unless the critique is positive. Then assume we’re talking about the poet.

Let that sink in.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 5:02 PM   8 comments Literary Shirts

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At 12:42 PM, Blogger Scavella said...

Nice post. If you don't mind, I may well link to it at some point in the future.




At 12:50 PM, Blogger Carl Bryant said...

Link, copy, or change anything you like, scavella.

Nothing I'm likely to write has any value, so it'd be impossible to prove actual loss in a court of law... :)



At 1:57 PM, Blogger Beau Blue said...

Online forums are for making friends. That's it. Virtual networking. Online critique is the nivea oil used to help each individual establish a place in a community of like-minded individuals all looking for a venue for their artistic output. As long as that output all looks similar enough to foster camaraderie and comfort, and the critique is oily enough to facilitate the establishment of the club's viabillity, what's the harm? Writing is a solitary occupation. The poetry forum culture seems unnatural to me. An attempt to create a virtual artists' colony - that fails because there's no table with half a dozen or so people around it talking politics and flirting with each other.




At 3:09 PM, Blogger Christine Klocek-Lim said...

Oh my gosh, I needed this kind of laugh. My fav: MSword and initial caps. I've tried shooting Clippy-dude but it didn't work. I fled in terror of his awesome power: millions of writers held hostage.



At 10:22 PM, Blogger Carl Bryant said...

I HATE clippy dude, Christine.

I sometimes open the office assistant just so I can close him again.

clippy-dude: "It looks like you are typing a letter.."

Me: "It's a suicide note, clippy-dude... and I'm signing it with your name."



At 10:04 AM, Blogger J. Newberry said...


I wrote a similar piece on my blog awhile back. Here's a link:

I love your photographs, by the way. I'm moving back to Tifton, Georgia, next summer to resume teaching at ABAC. Are these places near you?



At 10:05 AM, Blogger J. Newberry said...

This link might work better.



At 4:06 PM, Blogger Carl Bryant said...

You pretty much nailed all of my workshop pet peeves in that post, J. The photos are from Watson's Mill - about twenty miles from campus.

I'm also in Athens (came for uga - liked the town so much I stayed.)

I was active in theater at Valdosta State for a while. It brings back fond memories of heat, gnats, sticky clay, and rednecks.

Have fun at ABAC!



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