The Epiphany Of Poetbay

I've been here for going 6 months and I have finally realized something. I met a guy named tony who when I added him as a friend I thought it would never really hear from him. When I first received a comment from him, I was shocked at the kind of review that I got. He read my poems and really dissected the thoughts and feeling and more importantly the structure. You see for many months people have read my poems and have said things like, "This is very good, I can feel the emotion, you have wisdom beyond your years." Thats ok but what is that really telling me. That I can write very good poetry. That isn't really achieving what poetbay was put here to do. To help improve your poetry through critique, more importantly objective critiques. To make myself clear let me tell you some of the things that I have seen over the past several months.

1. The "novice" poem writers signing up and never really coming back. I think this site, if you choose to remain loyal, should be for the people who really want to be here

2. The type of comments that really don't help you, the poet, achieve any higher level of real poetry writing, You know what I'm talking about, "This was awesome, you poetry is really improving. Before you start judging me I have been guilty of exactly the same thing.

Look the point is that many of the people on poetbay aren't very familiar with poets and the "proper" technique for writing poetry and this really is vital if you want the poetbay to be what it was meant to be. If your going to comment someones poetry, give them something that can help them improve. That can truly have all the difference.

Thanks for reading and Tony thanks for opening my eyes to what poetry is all about. : )


~Aaron Rowe

Poetry by Coolaaron88
Read 668 times
Written on 2006-12-30 at 07:54

dott Save as a bookmark (requires login)
dott Write a comment (requires login)
dott Send as email (requires login)
dott Print text

I can't but say something about this heartaching discussion. This is a brave step by Aaron, in fact, an applouding one. Many people here, to be precsie, many poets here are just "dreamers!" They don't know what poetry is all about.

Criticism is no bad profession. It is as good as poetry itself, if you really know what it means. Yes, poetry is like fluid as somebody called it, but always gushes out of refind mind that could control the flow. Not one who plays with nurtural flow of thoughts with unrealistic and unjust words. Poetry is words, words is poetry.

Mike and Tony (my very good friend on criticism level) are the only two critique I know here. And the Tony is the reason why I still call this place a home. Let us stop telling oueselves that our works are fantastic, fabulous and... when the are really not. Many poets I have encountered here and criticis their works and in their replies, I see terrior, I see sorrow and anger because I never chose to do it the way others were doing it. And for that, some have blocked me from commenting on their works and other have stopped reading my works.

Well, in the reall sense, I don't need them to comment on my works, since Tony is here and Mike. You can check out if you need to be encouraged. But you will never develop to a grown poet!

Nice discussion. This is the begging....

Language: 5
Format: 5
Mood: 5
Overall: 5

I totally agree with you and Tony.There should be more constructive comments and not just flattery as is the case on the bay.

I totally agree that comments should help you improve, but occasionally, I think everyone needs at bit of encouragement as well.

tony legba
An interesting observation, Aaron. My personal contribution would go something like this; and I sense that I have to comment the comments. Liz wrote poetry, but never read any before Poetbay. This seems to be often the way. But how valid is it? Would a painter paint without looking at paintings, how brush strokes are used, how a composition is arrived at, how colours sit together (or don't). Sadly, there is a feeling that poetry—though many speak about it as an art—doesn't require artistry. Something of a contradiction in terms. Having said that, I believe Liz has a healthier approach to poetry than critics who never write anything creative and are very much responsible for the dire stuff that passes as criticism. Now Kathy. So, poetry is "fluid", yet that does not prevent sensitive criticism. Some sort of false opposition is being raised here: poetry is fluid; criticism is static. Not so. But Kathy does have a valid point behind this statement: a lot of poetical criticism is static, critics get stuck within their own preferences, and that results in ideological wars (of no great importance except in the corridors of the university or empty, echoing rooms of the blogosphere). Another falsity occurs when Kathy writes "Some can critique, some can encourage," as if these are different paths. Actually, they are not. A critique can be encouraging. And an encouragement that has no real content is not better than a severe criticism—neither as you say, rightly, advances the work of a poet. But now, let's get all that in perspective... and let's not be too harsh on one another because the debate begins to go into deep educational waters which are still being swum. Think of a child. The first thing that a child needs is recognition. The teacher places a star on their work, blue, silver, gold. That acknowledgement is so important. Yet, there comes a point where that will not do—not because the child no longer needs them, rather because something more is needed. The phrase would be "formative" criticism.
And criticism, from its root, simply means to compare and make fair judgement. Kath, as Kathy, takes the same road: some need criticism, some need encouragement. There is, however, a shift of viewpoint. Where Kathy related the split to her nature, Kath relates the split to what the writer/pupil needs. It is a matter of giving the writer what the writer wants. Again, she has a point: no point in dishing out criticism to a confessional poet on Poetbay. Some of the near suicidal compositions do not seek a critique. It is interesting how Kath conceives of poetry as "an open space", which it is, but fears that criticism is about closing it down, narrowing what people write... making poetry a "bridge" to be crossed, a sort of test. This reveals more about our own experiences in life, I think, than poetical criticism. Mike believes that the "girls are correct", but you have a point, Aaron. Here another illusion seems to enter. Poetbay is good because it is non-critical and encouraging, unlike some Lion Den sites, which you have to be Daniel, to survive. Again, he has a point. But there is a real contradiction in what he says: a constructive criticism tore his work to shreds. How? If the critique was constructive, then it cannot have mauled his work. I understand Mike's point, and yes, Poetbay is very tolerant, even generous to a fault. But an avoidance of the Tiger (Blake) shouldn't make the Lamb the only virtue. There is a need for self-criticism... for the poet. Poetry is a self-education and a way of learning. Ted Hughes and Okri were correct when they argued that poetry was a language of metaphor spoken by the human spirit. Languages have to be learnt and developed. And criticism is the same, as Thomas suggests, when he says that it is a dialogue. I think that people should be less afraid of criticism, where it is a dialogue, and yes, I agree with Aaron, wholeheartedly, everyone has a place, but if poetry is to become what it might be—for a generation of younger poets, or older poets, indeed—then there should be more honest helping and less pontificating from fairylands of the soul where criticism is regarded as demonic.

Language: 5
Format: 5
Mood: 5
Overall: 5

lastromantichero The PoetBay support member heart!
I believe the girls are correct Aaron thuogh you have a point but there are many Lions den sites out there where they will rip your poetry to pieces.

As the two Katherines say there are lots of ppl who write here just for the fun of seeing it read

and i applaud them because it gives encouragement
I agree criticism can be constructive dependant on the character receiving it on the converse it can also be destructive fortunately i am a fairly adverseral character and fight fire with fire but that does not neccessarily create good community relations

on UK authors you can ask for critique that will tear you apart
I submitted what i thuoght was a very good ghost story text
and they absolutely ripped it to pieces but the constructive nature of the critique made me begin to rewrite it and i am glad I submitted it

but i prefer Poetbay as it is but your text is thuoght provoking

rgds mike

Language: 5
Format: 5
Mood: 4
Overall: 5

I belive as Kathy does, we have different gifts in this area.. and the ones giving very in to debt critique are not always the masters they want to be thought of,... and that is not speaking about your friend...

What I am trying to say let's be tolerant... none of us really knows what art is... and the writing of poetry is not a fixed formula... some people grow with encouragement some people grow with critique... lets welcome both but be sure not to choose the one that is wrong for the person we are... there is no wrong and right in writing poetry --- in building bridges for people to to pass over, on the other hand there is... I would not wan''t to cross over a bridge constructed by anyone.. it has to be some one educated... but when it comes to poetry it is a wonderful open space there any writing should be possible as long as it is not abusive... These are my humble views on this subject.. thank you for giving room for discussion
best wishes Kath

Kathy Lockhart
I just write Aaron. I don't feel like I can critique other's poetry so I don't. I don't know if there is proper structure or not. Poetry is art. It is fluid. It changes. So, I can only comment as I feel comfortable. If Tony has helped you I think it is great. Each of us are given gifts that we use. None of us possess all the gifts so we use what we have. Some can critique, some can encourage, some can do both. I feel I am better at encouraging than I am at critiquing. Therefore, I will continue to encourage.

liz munro The PoetBay support member heart!
I never though of it like this -
Before coming to Poetbay I'ld
never read any poetry before, I just wrote it.