POETRY RESOURCES AND OTHER POETICS FOR POETRY READERS
SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR CRITIQUING POETRY
copyright 1999 Glennis Hobbs
1. Read the poem silently and then read it aloud.
copyright 2006 Glennis-Hobbs. This page may be not reproduced without written permission from the author.
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2. How does the poem sound? Does the rhythm or cadence vary or does it sound monotone? Is the poem written in rhyme or non rymed form?
3. What is it you like about the poem? Quote directly if possible.
4. What is it you dislike about the poem. If you don't like a poem or poet, figure out exactly why. Chances are it reflects something you don't like about your own poetry.
5. Is there an area where the poem could be improved? Offer positive criticism and be specific. Don't make a general negative statement.
6. Does the poem appeal to the eye or the ear or the imagination?
7. Does the poet use imagery? Is it clear or vague?
8. Could the poem be improved by use of stronger verbs or adjectives: e. g. use "scarlet" instead of "red" or use "scream" instead of "said".
9. Does the poet use punctuation? Is it used effectively or does the poem need it?
10. Are there obscure references or words used? For example, if the poet as a Canadian writes about the conflict of orange lily versus fleur de lys, will the reader if a non Canadian know that the poet is referring to Ontario-Quebec conflicts of 1885? If the poem refers to Springfield, which state is it in?
11. Do the line lengths vary?
12. Are there too many words or could the poet delete words such as "and, a, the, but, so, etc. Look particularly at the first word on each line.
13. Does the poem speak for itself or does the poet try to explain too much. Is anything added on the end by way of an afterthought? This doesn't mean that you have to try to find some deep academic meaning in the poem.
14. Could any of the lines be inverted or written in reverse order?
15. Does the poet use literary devices?
16. Does the poem have a title? Is it effective?
17. Does the poet use stanza breaks? If not should there be some?
18. Does the poem progress? There should be a reason why the first stanza comes before the second, the second before the third, and so on.
19. Is there any repetition in the poems? Is it necessary or needed for effect?
20. Are there any spelling errors or typos?
21. Can you sum up your critiquing in a sentence or two?
22. Have you as a critiquer been constructive? Have you used words such as "Consider doing this". Have you been tactful? Will your critiquing make the poet feel defensive?
23. Remember that a critique is only one person's opinion. The final format of any writing is up to the author.