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personal bias
emotional response
art and craft
How To Critique A Poem Or Review A Poem
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How to Critique A Poem Or Review A Poem

Poetry like most art is subject to personal bias in terms of what the reviewer finds pleasing. However, poetry also has parameters that can provide tips to the author and to potential readers about how to understand the art of the poem as well as the content of the poem.

State What the Poem Meant to You

It may seem redundant to state the meaning for you, but many poets work intuitively and aren’t sure whether they have conveyed what they meant to say. Many poets will be cued that work needs to be done on a poem if they state they weren’t sure what a poem meant. Also state whether the poem evoked an emotional response i.e. this made me want to kiss my husband, or I went out and wrote my own protest. State the type it belongs too, if it can be determined. Michael Bugeja’s “The Art and Craft of Poetry” lists political, love, nature, war, and occasions or people as possibilities.

How to Do A Critical Poetry Review of A Poem

A critical look will often focus on the construction of the poem including:

• grammar (spelling, use of capitalization and punctuation)

• how stanzas are formed

• the strength of words at the beginning and end of the lines breaks

• the use of space

• form of the poem

How to Do a Poetry Review of a Reading

Many times a poet will read a poem to a workshop in order to get feedback. One of the reasons to read aloud a poem is to find out how well the poems sounds, entertains, and affects an audience. Poetry slams often pit poets reading performance and rates their enthusiasm to judge wins.

A reading of a poem will often show:

• affect of repetition

• naturalness of rhymes

• show whether the poems rhythm works as expected

• whether a reader stumbles on awkward words

• whether line breaks allow the reader to breathe naturally

• communicates well with hard consonants and strong images

If you attend a poetry reading and write a review, make sure you include poet’s names, information about the setting of the reading, and how the audience reacts.

How to Do A Poetry Review Workshop

A workshop will often allow each participant to provide a poem either in written or spoken format, sometimes, paper or electronic copies are shared. All of the things mentioned are often spoke about in a way that a poet will understand the effect of their poem and whether improvements are needed. Most people try to provide suggestions for improvement nested inside what they liked best and an overall summary that is positive.

Photograph is of a famous Chinese poet.

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