poetry, daily: 12
A thought on critique: For serious writers, when looking at another writer's work, the question does not become 'is this the thing that should be done?' but 'what is this thing I have here?'--not 'is it working?' but 'how is it working?'. Once these questions are resolved, the writer and her critics will be in a position to interrogate the workings and make substitutions, if necessary.
Good peer review examines what is on the page explicitly and thereby examines the potential (what could be there if the author changes things, or what would be there if you were the author). It doesn't make what doesn't exist the focus of its study. I'm not talking about rejecting the conditional or future tenses when talking about the poem, but about basing any projections on what is there, rather than on what I-critic might personally desire. How is the thing in front of me working and how can I make it better? The engineer doesn't say the bicycle should be a light socket, but might incorporate some function of the latter into the former, if necessary (like to light the way at night!).
And ask, maybe: What can this poem teach my practice?
All work here © 2010 and onward to me, Eireann Lorsung. Please do not reproduce my words in any form in print or online. If you wish to excerpt parts from the month of poetry featured here, please contact me: ohbara at gmail dot com.