*How to Critique a Poem
If you read somebody’s poem and it makes you want to say,
“I think this piece is wonderful; it really made my day, ”
just go ahead and say it – feedback like this is good,
but saying WHY you like it will please them (well, it should) .
If somebody you don’t know says, “Please comment on my writing, ”
and you look at it, and find it … let’s say, rather unexciting,
then don’t forget – be tactful, find something good to say
before you start on finding fault – don’t ruin someone’s day.
And if you think it’s terrible, be careful how you speak.
Some people write as therapy; their life may be quite bleak.
Don’t be too harshly critical and leave them feeling worse,
but simply go to look elsewhere, and just ignore their verse.
Some poems, though, may leave you with a puzzle or a question,
or even make you want to give some tentative suggestion.
There’s nothing wrong with doing this – just get it off your chest,
but don’t think your ideas are necessarily the best.
With members, though, who claim they are God’s gift to Poesy,
(if there’s nothing to commend them as far as you can see)
you can state your own opinion – of course you have the right –
but don’t forget the golden rule: be HONEST but POLITE.
If you’re wanting other members to read something that you wrote,
it isn’t so unusual if you send them a note
saying, “Honoured Sir or Madam, I hope that you’ll agree
to open up my pages and read my poetry.”
Now, if to ask me to read yours you still might feel inclined,
please comment something that I wrote (that’s if you wouldn’t mind) .
For I will tell you kindly that, before I read a line,
I’d be much more interested if YOU’d first read some of MINE.
Paul Hansford's Other Poems
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