Bad Poetry

bad poetry

The notion of ‘bad poetry’ has been on my mind since I listened to some last night.

Insert “sigh” here.

It is always difficult to critique poetry


it’s even harder for someone to take you seriously if you’re not a good poet yourself.

Two things: unless a poet asks for your opinion (and means the request)

don’t say anything except how you could understand

their feelings.

The other is that someone who appreciates poetry but doesn’t write it

is equally capable of offering constructive criticism as

a poet is.

In my case, having studied poetry in university,

and tried my hand at it several times,

I have a solid grounding in the elements and foundations necessary to

contribute a valid opinion about

good poetry.

However, it makes my spine itch and my teeth ache

when a new poet is not interested in honest feedback because

he or she feels the work is of top quality all ready. At the same time,

I still shudder

if a poet realizes they need advice but

are only interested in sharing their work.


it takes a long time (and never for some closet poets)

to become comfortable with their work and the sound of their own voice

before they are able to accept criticism without feeling that it is

an attack

on their work or themselves.

I am forever patient with my students because I know they are still


But someone not interested in bettering their

craft, or who is stuck in limbo with their writing just drives me up the wall,

but I still hold my


What about you?

Categories: Notables, Poetry

Tags: , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. An insightful post this is for me. I have a book of poetry I am working on and I gave a friend who is also a self publisher to read through it. the next Sunday she sees me and says “I love your poetry, what do you intend to do ………….”, some weeks after we meet again and she asks me about my work and I said “I am almost through, just doing some editing” and she exclaims ” you mean what you gave me was not edited”. then I remembered I did not tell her exactly what I needed from her.
    poetry means many things to many people and may take endless time to refine, but at a time must be published so the poet be relieved.


    • That’s often the way it is when we ask for help or advice from our friends and family… they do not want to hurt our feelings and so will spare our feelings before being completely honest. I hope the editors you’ve chosen to rely on are compassionate as well as knowledgeable in their field 🙂 Good luck with your book!


  2. I tend to agree with you on this, for most people on blogs its of value to keep quiet unless someone actually asks for advice. Critique becomes par for the course within journals or public venues that are more impersonal. Blogs are difficult to assess in that regard so I’ve taken the stand of offering daily thoughts and ideas rather than specifically critiquing specific poems or poets. That is, unless someone has asked me to do so, then I’ve offered a reading on my blog. One thing I look for is in the About to see if they are seeking critique or open discussion on their work. Sometimes a person might even want a private message rather than an embarrassing open public critique as well. It’s always difficult to judge in that sense for blogs. For open journals and publications its a whole other ball game. 🙂


    • Well said, S.C.
      My rant was fueled by a ‘sharing session’ with one of my local writing communities. The girl asked after the fact what we thought of her work when we had given praise to another member who read after the girl’s contribution. It was like she just wanted to hear the same praise but I couldn’t do it – I had to stay quiet. Then she looked right at me; that’s when I came up with the line about it really being an emotionally driven piece. Safe ground, right 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: