Saturday, July 19, 2008

Respecting the Story, and the Perils of Poetry

A discussion on Flogging the Quill about author voice and respecting the story worth checking out.  I encourage INKers to join in.  This is an area of critiquing that's been on my mind lately and I don't think it's looked at as much as it should be. 

I've decided that I'm terribly undereducated about how to critique poetry (and how to take critiques of poetry) so I found this which will supply me with reading material for some time.  I thought I'd share because it looks pretty extensive and potentially useful.  On my initial perusal there appears to be a lot in common with prose critiques, but I noticed there's more emphasis on maintaining/supporting the poet's voice.  Prose critiques are expected to support an author's voice too, but that isn't talked about or constantly reinforced like I see in the poetry critique advice.  

I've got to learn to shut up more and listen more when getting poem critiques.  Not that I expect to write a lot of poetry.  It's a complex art form and I've already got my creative attention divided in too many directions.  But when I include a short poem or a partial song in a book I want to be sure (as sure as anyone can be, seeing as poems are even more subjective than prose) that the eye-roll factor is kept to a minimum.  I've seen poetry in fiction that's done well, but a lot more that's done very poorly and I don't need the reader distracted from the story.  It's supposed to add atmosphere, lyrical voice and immediacy, not make the reader feel like he has to squint and squirm in his chair or inspire someone to skip ahead.

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