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What do poets look for in a critique?

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Although I don't write poetry, I'm critiquing a children's poetry collection and wondered if there were any tips you awesome poets could offer? (The writer is a new CP to my critique group; she's published but not in this genre. Also, she's aware that our group doesn't have experience critiquing poetry.) For me, I love, love children's poetry, but have never written it. The closest I've come to the unpublished product has been critiquing PBs with rhyme.

So far, I've read the poems aloud and silently, marking the lines and phrases which I enjoyed the most or circling spots when I momentarily "checked out". (I thought this might be useful as a way of discerning what engaged my imagination and what didn't. Yes? Helpful or not?) I also commented on which poems had a stronger voice and presence.

Is there anything else a novice poetry critique-er  8) could look for?



#1 - October 15, 2014, 08:41 AM
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 08:45 AM by Bridgette Booth »
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Great questions, Bridgette!

Look for--
Unnatural language
Language that's too old for kids
Weird sentence constructions designed to make lines rhyme but which don't sound like people really speak (emphasis on the wrong syllables of words, too)
Does the poem say something interesting or new?
Is the voice of the poem appealing to kids?
Is the subject matter appealing to kids?
Usually a poetry collection is organized around a central theme. Does this collection have a theme?
Concrete details, rather than broad generalizations

That's off the top of my head. Have fun!

Jody


#2 - October 15, 2014, 10:59 AM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, IT'S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!, THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLED
Twitter @jodywrites4kids

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What Jody said.  :exactly: Also, which images work for you as a reader and which ones don't (do they pull you out, confuse you, draw attention to themselves, etc.), and are there any "stumbly spots" -- places you have to re-read, or phrases that make you stumble if reading aloud.
#3 - October 15, 2014, 05:20 PM
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Add all of the things you'd look for in a prose work but seek them for each unique piece. Is the voice consistent? Are there typos? Are the characters and world well drawn and believable?

For a collection, also ask yourself whether the order of poems makes sense and flows. Is the style varied or do they begin to feel one note? Is there a progression along the theme? (Seasons should come in order, for example.)
#4 - October 20, 2014, 09:16 AM

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I'm reaaaaally late telling you this but THANK YOU!! :yourock

Your comments helped so much as I prepared notes on her poems. What tripped me up most was a few poems written with a board book feel while others felt like they belonged more in a picture book. Discussing those distinctions was an education in itself. It was so interesting seeing the process, and I have a much deeper appreciation for vocabulary.

Again thanks for all your help!!! :stars3 :stars3 :stars3
#5 - October 28, 2014, 01:44 PM
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It was nice of you to help her, Bridgette.
#6 - October 28, 2014, 02:32 PM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, IT'S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!, THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLED
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