~ Critique Series ~

Lost Thinker
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Joined 2nd Dec 2016
Forum Posts: 27

Hello good people of the DUP.

To coincide with the beautiful critique guide that we have worked very hard to produce for the DUP Facebook page, we are creating this thread for discussion or any questions you may have on critique. We will do our very best to answer all of your queries on the subject, and discussion is very much encouraged.

The complete guide to critique will be published on Wednesday's for the next four weeks.

You can read the guide on Facebook here:

Week One - What Is Critique?

January is here, a time for so many new things. How many of your New Year's resolutions have you destroyed yet? Oh, it's all of them isn't it...

For the next four weeks we will be posting about a subject close to our hearts on Deep Underground Poetry - critique. "Why are we doing this?" I hear you cry... because it has come to our attention in the forums and in the Facebook group that there are a few people out there that don't understand what critique is, and we would like to change that, making this information readily available to you all, because we're nice people like that.

So what is critique? What exactly are we banging on about?

Did you know on Deep Underground Poetry that you can earn a trophy for being a top critiquer? That's how much we appreciate good critiquers on the site! We even award your trophy cabinet for being involved in our online community enough to help others along the way with feedback.

In terms of writing and definition, to critique simply means to evaluate. The best way to recieve good critique on your work is to be able to give it yourself. Did you know that whenever you leave critique on another poet's work, it links back to your profile advertising yourself as a writer? If you leave good, thought provoking feedback on a poem you are showing your skills to the world. Critiquing other people is a good way to showcase yourself. A good way of thinking about it is that interaction breeds interaction - what you put out in your words, will come back to you when other people see that that is the type of feedback that you would like to recieve.

Another comment we often hear is "I don't feel qualified enough to give honest critique".

A critique does not have to be an indepth grammatical analysis of a poem (though if you feel skilled enough to be able to do that, then that is perfectly acceptable also). Ask yourself when you read somebody elses poems - What are the strengths and weaknesses of a poem? What are the elements of the poem that you found good and enjoyable or perhaps didn't like as much as the rest? What are the parts of the poem that you would perhaps change to make it better? Using these three questions as a framework for a critique is a good start to leaving a thoughtful comment on other people's work. It really is as simple as that. Please do not feel that because you perhaps don't have a literature qualification that you are any less inferior in being able to leave a critique. Critique comes from the heart. It is you being able to be honest with the writer of the poem. It is you opening yourself to what you really thought of the poem. It is being able to help other writers develop by perhaps highlighting the good and not so good parts of their poem.

Deep Underground poetry is an online community above all things. Many people over the years have said how the site has helped them to grow as writers and this perhaps wouldn't have happened without the critique they have recieved allowing them to learn and grow as poets. If you too would like to grow as a writer, reading other people's work, and being able to leave your thoughts about it is an invaluable tool in helping you to accomplish that.

As writers, we never stop learning. Perhaps set yourself a New Year's resolution to keep our community one of the best poetry sites on the internet by having a go at critiquing other people's work.

Week One:

- Missy -
Tyrant of Words
United Kingdom
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Joined 26th June 2011
Forum Posts: 4862

A topic close to my heart. Glad this has been thrown out there for all

Lost Thinker
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Joined 2nd Dec 2016
Forum Posts: 27

Week Two: ~ The difference between honest critique and friendly feedback ~

A warm welcome to you all to the second week of our series on critique. How is everybody today? Are you feeling OK? Have you got yourself a nice cup of coffee and are settled in front of your screen? Then we shall begin.

Picture the scene... you have put your heart and soul into what you believe is a really good critique. You have spent a bit of time on your comment. You've taken a slice out of your day to contribute to somebody else's poetry. You did this because you want to be a good member of the DUP, to help other writers to grow. You may even feel really proud of yourself for contributing really great feedback. Then when you excitedly click on your "replies to comments" on your profile, your heart sinks when this is the text you see:

" F*** off you egotistical c***... who the hell do you think you are telling me that my poem is a piece of s***..."

Sadly, this is the start of a real comment I have received as a member of the site in the past, and a reason I was so passionate to want to write this series for the benefit of everybody. The person in question went a little south of wild, but had set their poem commenting preferences to "honest feedback". I took my time with my 'honest feedback' critique; I wasn't rude. Neither was I personally offensive. I simply fixed a few spelling mistakes, explored the structure of the poem and offered ways I might have done little things differently. I used the three questions mentioned in week one: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the poem? What are the elements of the poem that you found good and enjoyable or perhaps didn't like as much as the rest? What are the parts of the poem that you would perhaps change to make it better? All of this is honest feedback.

So what is the difference between honest critique and friendly feedback?

If you have set your commenting preferences to honest critique, please do not do this if you would not like to hear the answers to the three questions mentioned above. Set this commenting preference if you would like to grow as a writer on the site. If you would like honest feedback on your work in terms of your content and imagery, grammatically and structurally, then this is the preference to choose. Having answers to these three questions are the best kind of feedback to allow you to develop all of your skills as a poet.

If perhaps you are not ready for this kind of honesty, then considering the friendly feedback choice is best. If you perhaps have written something that you do not wish to develop, if you cannot take the criticism of others and are looking for a friendly, positive affirmation rather than an in-depth analysis of your words, then this is the critiquing option choice for you. Of course, it is also worth mentioning at this stage that you can in fact choose to have no comments on your work at all, simply choose the "no comments" option in your commenting preferences when you publish your poem. This will mean that nobody can comment on your poem.

Please remember that people often take time out of their days to write in-depth reviews of people's work. To be sworn at, is not acceptable. If you wouldn't tolerate being sworn at for trying to help somebody in real life, why is it acceptable to tolerate swearing from somebody from the anonymity of a screen and an avatar? Being courteous to other people is a common human decency. Remember - You can please some of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time. If you do not agree with a critique, simply say "thank you" and move on. We are human beings, and of course we are not always going to agree with what somebody says 100% of the time. Simply being courteous is a sure fire way to keep on receiving feedback in the future.

This week when you submit your poem to DUP, ask yourself the three questions when considering your commenting choice - Do I want to know what the strengths and weaknesses of my poem are? Do I want to know what the elements of my poem are that the reader found good and enjoyable, or perhaps didn't like as much as the rest? Do I want to know what parts of my poem the reader would perhaps want to change to make it better?

Reply here or visit our facebook page and start/join in a discussion:

Week Two:

Lost Thinker
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Joined 2nd Dec 2016
Forum Posts: 27

Week Three: ~ Critique Etiquette ~

A very warm welcome to you on our much anticipated critique series, now in it's third week. Take a moment to grab yourself a cup of coffee and settle down with us. Maybe a sandwich or a cigarette (if that's your thing) Aaah... that's better.

So how exactly is the best way to comment on a poem?

1) Always be polite: A person has poured their heart and soul into writing a poem. It is good old fashioned common decency to be polite when you are addressing somebody else's poetry. It's not all doom and gloom of course - I have had plenty of people leave comments on my work that joke around, throw a little humor into the workings, and it's important to remember that that is a totally acceptable response also. Humor is the footnote of personality, and we are all individuals; all with different quirks and eccentricities. Humor is one thing - comments that become personally offensive are not. It is important to understand the difference.

2) Take notice of commenting preferences: Always look at what the author is looking for in terms of critique. Are they looking for honest critique or friendly feedback? (See week two for an explanation of these two things.) Always try to respect that a person looking for friendly feedback may not want an in-depth review of their work.

3) Try to avoid three word reviews: I don't know about you, but my heart genuinely sinks when I open a page and receive the dreaded comment "it was good". We are poets, and our comments advertise us as writers. Our comments link back to our work. Would you want to read somebody who can only be bothered to comment "it was good" or are you more likely to visit somebody who has taken the time to write a short few sentences on why they liked the poem and what they perhaps would change about the piece? I truly believe that effort breeds effort. This is something to consider when reviewing other people's work.

In week two, we introduced you to the sinking feeling you may have faced at some point in your Deep underground Poetry membership when faced with a rude comment on one of your poems.

In terms of etiquette, how is the best way to react to a comment that is rude or that you simply don't agree with?

1) Say 'thank you': It really is that simple. If you find yourself faced with a comment that you perhaps don't agree with, do not be confrontational. Simply say thank you and move on. Remember the saying discussed in week two that states "You can please some people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time" ? That, I feel, is very true when it comes to critique. We are all individuals. Everybody's writing skills are different, and their themes are varied. Inevitably, somebody else's views may not be the same as yours. If you do not agree, the best way is to just be polite and move on with your life. This is a guaranteed way of not having any drama come your way! (and let's face it, who wants drama? We're all there to write, right?)

2) If a comment is abusive or personally insulting, report it: On every comment, there are three buttons - the 'reply' button, the 'thumbs up' button allowing you to 'like' a comment (much in the same way as Facebook) and a little exclamation mark that allows you to report a comment. When you report a comment, this will be looked into by a moderator and then dealt with accordingly. It is much better to report an abusive and/or rude post rather than try and tackle it yourself. The moderator team can then take the appropriate action.

Deep Underground Poetry is an international community, made up of hundreds of different people of different ethnicity, different cultures, different age groups, different ways and viewpoints. It is made up of our ever growing population of newer members, older members, and some members that have been there since the dawn of time. It is important to remember that this is what makes our community unique. Be polite, be respectful, and be aware of our human differences. You won't go far wrong on a comment with common decency for all.

Reply here or visit our facebook page and start/join in a discussion!

Week Three:

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