Thread: Poetry Guide
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Old January 12th, 2011 (6:05 AM). Edited January 12th, 2011 by bobandbill.
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Poetry Reviewing Guide

Written by Other Lip

I thought I might post this to help people who are not sure how to review poetry. (If you have an idea of a good way to review poetry, than please PM it.)

When reviewing poetry there are a few things you can comment on:

- A good poem does not use cliche upon cliche (there are exceptions however, such as when the cliche used sarcastically, or when used properly). Examples of cliches are: lost paradise, hand in hand, or so forth.

- look at how natural the poem sounds. If a strange, uncommon word is used, then it may not sound natural. Same with oddly worded lines, often used to create a rhyme, or keep in rhythm. An example of this is the following:

His blood is frozen and curdled with fright.
Notice how curdled does not make sense, and is used to keep in rhythm. Meaning is far more important than rhyme and meter. Even in poetry, grammar can be important, especially when double negatives are used to keep in meter.


As for actually reviewing, keep the above list in mind.

I prefer to review each stanza, and pick out the cliches and odd lines, but we all have different ways of reviewing.


When giving advice for poems, be tactful, and don't rewrite it for them. You might want to make suggestions for replacing an irregular word, but know that it is not your poem.

Also keep in mind that meaning is always something you should comment on. Pointing out cliches and odd lines is not the only thing one can do. If the meaning is very stereotyped and rather shallow, it does not mean the poem is bad, but it is worth commenting on. Sometimes a poem could have a great meaning but might not be written very well.

It is possible that someone may have a great idea but may not be able to write it. Don't bash poems for not making any sense - it is always possible that the meaning is simply not clear, and it's not good form to flame in any case.

Naturally, be civil to others in your reviews too!

By Other Lip

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