How to Critique Poetry
Critiquing is not about analyzing poetry, it is about helping to better a poet. However, it is important to understand the elements of poetry. So before you begin, make sure you know all the tidbits and insights on poetry.
Once you have established knowledge of poetry, be sure to follow some simple rules in each of your critiques:
- Start every critique with what you like about the poem or writing and end with reiterating the same points.
- Balance your critiques and suggestions with positive observations.
- Be sensitive to the writer. The point of a critique is to help improve the poet, not insult their ideas and creativity.
- Include a disclaimer that says you recognize the poet has the right to throw your critique into the nearest dumpster. "Take these for what it's worth." is a very common way to say "This is what I have to say, but you don't have to listen."
- Label the critiques by line number if they are line-specific.
Before writing the critique:
- Read the poem several times, including once or twice out-loud.
- Find out what the poet's purpose is.
- Decide which poem type is used. Keep it in mind when critiquing.
What to critique on:
- Redundancy, is anything repeated one too many times?
- Weak emotional venting.
- Rhetorical questions to the reader.
- Little variation between syllables or meters.
- Simple vowel rhymes.
- Originality. Be very careful with this one. Just because it's the same topic and same form doesn't mean the writing is unoriginal.
- Bad selection of words.
- Emotion, does the writing give an aesthetic experience?