In regard to reading poetry, what method do you use to critique a poem?
Do you look for the poetic elements? Do you look for a literal meaning? Do you judge it according to its story?
Depending upon the type and subject matter of the poem, I might look for any of the these things: creative use of imagery; clever alliteration (but not overdone); coherent flow; and so forth.
I don't necessarily look for rhymed verses, but I do look for "the point." Does the poem tell a story, or simply paint a picture with words? Is the meaning understandable, or is it a guessing game?
Poetry, in my opinion, is something you either like or you do not. If you like poetry in general, you may still find individual poems you dislike. That is no more than a matter of personal preference. Not everyone likes the same things.
I do not feel that poetry can be very fairly "judged" by anyone unless they have the opportunity to interview the author.
I always hated it in school when the teacher would ask, "What did the author mean?" It was all I could do to keep from yelling out, "How in blazes do I know what the author meant? I'm not inside their head!"
Poetry in many cases is a very personal expression--as such, it should not be subject to judgemental opinions. You either liked the person's poem, or you did not. And in the latter case, I feel it is better to heed Mother's old tip of, "If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all."
When I read a poem it doesnt necessarily have to relate to me. I look for a sense of rhythm not necessarily rhyme. What I like to do is feel the emotion of the writer. Can I feel the passion of the author or the main character? To me a poem doesn't always have to make sense. I think that is what writing is all about. Poetry especially a form of art, a form of expression, abstract or warm, or perhaps even a cold poem that takes you to a dark place, if I can not really feel the passion or it's very calculated I may not find it interesting. The object is to pull the reader in and bring them on your journey. Some will say there is no bad art, but it is in the eye of the beholder. Translations could be loose. For me its all about the passion, the detail, and the rhythm.
I don't have a method.
It moves me emotionally if I feel it's good. (satisfying, true, intimate, complete)
It moves me intellectually if I feel how good it is structurally. (it's sound, it's onomatopoeia, it's music).
If poems don't 'move' me one way or the other, I might consider them clever but not identify with their intent.
I'm not a poetry critic though.
I approach every poem approached differently. Free Verse is the only style of poem that has no set form at all. Thus it is necessary to follow form when I write any other poem. But the quality of the poem is so much more than sticking to form. All aspects are important
DzyMsLizzy - Thats unfortunate thats the way your teachers taught poetry. Trying to figure out the meaning or intent of the author is known as "Intentional Fallacy". As soon as a poem is published or shared it no longer belongs to the poet alone and each reader can interpret what they see in it as long as they can support their opinion with textual evidence. Many times, especially with poetry, the author is trying to bring subconscious feeling/emotion to the surface and in doing so may put meaning in the text that they are unaware of. That doesn't imply the meaning isn't there.
The poem has to tell a story. No matter the form or style the flow has be good, not choppy. Even nonsense poetry should have some meaning.
All of the above,and most important the readdom. when you read it, recite,sing it. It floats like a song,but with out an instrument . It sings on it own.Thats Poetry! And you must not forget to leave your audience wanting more,just like good writer would.the pages is your stage. A Poet is the Poem.
As many of the other answers here say, I do not have a big hangup with form. In fact, on the whole, form poems often read forced and do not move me as a reader. That said, I've read some form poems that knocked me for a loop. The writing is what I look at. I look at articles (the, a, etc). Usually they tell me the poem will be a bit on the amateur side. I look at word choice. If there is a meter to the poem, hiccups stick out.
Descriptive language rather than bland. Words like "walk, talk, run, watch, look" can be pumped up to give a more evocative feel to a poem. Of course, there may be times these words must be used, but they typically should be used sparingly, at least for my enjoyment.
Each poem has a life of its own. I've written a number of poems built solely with one syllable words. This would be an illustration of the exception to words I don't care to see much in poem from the paragraph above. Since each poem has a life of its own, I critique each poem based on the flavor I taste from each one.
Most of the stories that I have written have been written in poetic verses using words that are "alternative" in their meaning and in most cases should have left the readers scratching their heads as to what I'm trying to say. I try to put a certain meter according to the words I choose and though some of the choices may be incorrect I think it's part of the beauty of the mystery and leave it up to the reader as to what direction the read to going; therefore, I think that poetry is personal based intensified by the meat of its meaning, glorified by the heart of the writing, if that makes any sense...
though, none of my stories have been finished, therefore a point never having been reached, it would be easy to NOT understand what I am writing about...but, I look to content, the ability to use odd-metering, and alternative word using....whoosh, and he's gone....
No matter what the form used, I believe a poem should have some kind of meaning. Some can be simple to understand while others make you think. Some have a certain rhythm about them and rhyme or not, are more meaningful to the reader looking for entertainment.
I do look for the poetic element's..whether it be rhythm and rhyme scheme, syllable count if written in format..and I also try to discern whether or not it's a metaphore...I too piece of poetry should tell a story of some sort..not just a bunch of mish mash that make's absolutely no sense...but I am a mod on a poetry board, so I always try to accentuate the good in a person's work before giving any kind of mild critique....if any at all....there are a lot of different variable's by which a poem can be critiqued...I try never to judge...as it's each to his own when it come's to matter's of the heart or life experinece's...etc.,
reply it with a rebuttal poem while upholding the element of decency
This is an easy question regarding poetry, as no matter what the element or degree the "rhyme & chime" of the poem falls under, the overall "feel and flow" is what makes for good poetry, regardless of the critical technicalities some people may analyze without understanding the actual poem at hand.
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