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Darkkin
August 21st, 2017, 09:53 PM
Saturday night is usually when my regular critique group meets (this one specializes in poetry), but due to cardiac complications I haven't been able to attend for the last six weeks. This past Saturday was the first time I have been able to go. I was aware that several new people had joined, having received several requests for critique. I read through the material, submitted and emailed my critiques and questions back to their respective authors. All par for the course, or so it seemed...:apathy:

One new member's reactions were colourful to say the least. The terms of idiot savant, moron, and freak were among the mildest lobbed at my head that night. The old demon of deficient thinking was hauled out of retirement. And most of issues raised were rooted in a familiar element. The metaphor. Apparently because I extrapolate context and meaning through a glaringly literal matrix, I do not know how to read, let alone write.

Logically, I know this isn't true. (I have had a decent education and my grades have always been in the highest ends of the grading scale. Peer review has also been very consistent with favorable impressions. Some technical nits, but nothing glaring.) But a certain matter keeps cropping up and I'm starting to wonder if there is some truth in the matter. Is the inability to understand a metaphor a true deficiency in writing and reading comprehension? Does it render observations made by such an individual worth less than those who do not struggle with the issue?

The pieces reviewed for critique were subjected to my usual process: How well do the parts play with and support the piece as a whole? Overall tone, flow, and turn of phrase also play a part, along with my observations from a reader's standpoint. If something is unclear, I ask for clarification and context. With these pieces it read as if someone was opening to random pages of a thesaurus, closing their eyes and then writing down the first word their finger stopped on. It was an extreme case of overwriting, but I did not say as much to the author. As this was the first time I had read their work, I applied basic questions about the use of certain words and the meaning they were meant to imply when combined as they were...Conjugations, tenses, redundancies, misspelled words, and missing words all factored into this member's work. When reviewed with rudimentary logic very little of what was written was coherent. To put it kindly it was as if Poe's grandolinquent language fused with King's love of horror and the randomness of a Jackson Pollock painting. An individual trying too hard to sound impressive, but the results were not wholly appreciated.

With such pieces, a little logic has a profound ripple effect and the issues with the pieces were readily apparent. Generally, a meaning is discernible even if a piece wanders. I could not find one with these particular pieces and not for lack of trying. There was just so much cramed into a finite space that any message impled was obscured. To say nothing would almost have been kinder than to ask the questions I did, but these pieces had been submitted for critique by members of a writing group. Feedback requested. So feedback they got...It was unbiased and linear. The results were not to this individual's liking.

As to the accusations laid at my feet, illiteracy was among the first ones broached because apparently anyone who could read would be able to understand how Piece A embodied the agony of unrequited love. Piece B was the pain of the human existence. And Piece C was the unbridled wonder of the human spirit...So obviously, I missed what was clear as crystal to everyone else. (It should be noted that no one else in the group was able to decipher the meanings of these three pieces any better than I did.) The replies to the questions poised by the critiques: Well, it sounded poetic, so it works. Unfortunately it didn't, but if it did for the individual...Whatever floats their boat.

Name calling and snide remarks I can deal with, but the one barb that really dug in was the comment: 'Since you don't understand and don't know how to write metaphors, you obviously don't know how to read poetry, so how can you claim to know how to write it. You have no claim to the work you present. It belongs to people who actually know what poetry is. There is no value in your work because you don't write or read the right way.'

It was said in a venomous fit, but it isn't the first time this subject has come up in recent weeks and it has made me wonder if there is not some truth to the matter. Is the inability to define and identify a metaphor a significant issue when it comes to things like reading and writing? How much 'value' of a poem is overlooked because a symbolismed meaning doesn't leap out at the reader? And as a reader, am I doing a disservice by articulating my observations because I don't think like a normal reader does? Should I even be reading or writing, poetry especially, since I don't know how to do it properly?

Logic is telling me these questions and doubts are idiotic, but there is the an element of truth in the saying that if you hear something often enough you start to believe it. This is one of those times, when I have heard this song and verse one too many times and it has made me wonder. Can one write and read poetry without understanding and using metaphors, or have I fooled myself into thinking I can?

Sorry about the ramble, but I needed to get it off my chest. And as a reader, I know there is a wealth of subtle meaning that can be couched in a well constructed metaphor, but I also know that metaphors are just one element in the writing process, not a determining factor of a poem's worth. I also have a decent grasp on how 'normal' folks read. (Ask enough questions and you can learn to fill in the negative space around the heart of an issue. You don't grasp the concept, but you can see its parameters.) It is part of the reason I characterise idioms. If I know the definition I can infer to the reader, while still functioning within a linear construct, thus allowing the reader to apply their 'values' to the work. If they find and define a metaphor in a piece I've written it is more than I am able to do.

- D.

Sebald
August 21st, 2017, 10:39 PM
Hi Darkkin,

I'm sorry you had this experience. You're putting on a brave face, but it sounds bruising and hurtful.

I missed the post where you seem to have said you aren't able to recognise metaphor, but I've read others referring to it.

It's clearly not holding you back in your writing, so I wouldn't worry.

You obviously do understand metaphor, to some extent. It's just that you're better at other things. You've developed these 'other things' so highly that it's making this discrepancy seem more extreme.

That's my guess, anyway.

I'd be interested to know how you react to the symbolism presented in your dreams.

midnightpoet
August 21st, 2017, 10:54 PM
Darkkin

It doesn't matter, whoever came back at you with vitriol and nasty comments is immature and is basically being a jerkass (which I figured you knew) so if your critique group is like that I'd find another one. As far as metaphor, just because you don't do them is no reason you can't give a balanced critique. As far as understanding meaning, there are a lot of poems here and elsewhere, many published, that I have no clue about. The history of literature is full of professional reviews of famous works that saw meaning where there wasn't any (at least not the one they were thinking about).

I look at metaphors like scenes from old movies where the sexual tension is high and the speech is thick with double-entendre that leaves a lot to the imagination - whereas just a simple sex scene is not only boring, but pornographic.

By the way, sadness = blue giraffe is not a metaphor as is; you need context to make that a metaphor. I believe, in any case, you're over-thinking the matter.

Darkkin
August 22nd, 2017, 04:26 AM
Up until this point this group has been one of the more balanced and objective groups I've worked with. And usually fresh faces mean fresh ideas and insight, not coiled vipers. But there is something that hits a bit deeper and sharper, when someone screams insults and casts asperions on one's capabilities to one's face. Online you don't have someone looking you in the eyes, saying this in front of a group of respected peers. Logic says it shouldn't matter, but emotions say otherwise. I stuck to my questions, kept it objective in the critique. It was about the poems not the writer...The crime was having an objective perspective instead of offering empty platitudes.

Other members of my group have said the same thing as midnight. 'Let it go and move on.' Utterly sound and sensible advice. But it will take time for something this raw to scab over and I still don't know if anything I say in the future will carry merit. How much damage can something like this do, even if there is no truth behind the vitriol? That is the one aspect that really worries me because I rely on my critique referrals and poetry to help suppliment my income. Chronic illness is never cheap. And I still don't know if there is measurable truth in the speculation because it isn't the first time this issue has cropped up. Classic overthinking, no doubt and unfortunately it is something I'm very good at. Once a door is open it can be a struggle to shut it again. Pandora's consequences, but I didn't open the box.

@sebald

Ocassionally, I will get a deja vu dream, but beyond that trying to scrye for meaning in half forgotten images...If at Hogwarts, Divination is something I can say with complete honesty, I would fail with distinction. :nevreness:

On a lighter note, I had a customer looking for the book Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. Typed in metaphors and migraines into the search criteria and that book came up at the top of the list...The search algorithom got my humour when most people don't. ;) It is a title that has been added to my reading list. Who knows, I might learn something.

LeeC
August 22nd, 2017, 08:15 AM
Seems to me, and I mean this in a nice way, that you understand the situation (the personality involved), but haven't quite worked your way through it to where you are comfortable again.

Now if you'll stop waving your arms, and lay back on the couch, your perspective will improve :-) Seriously, I've met untold people that were to me complete jerks, that is, too full of themselves to listen carefully and think before they respond. This sounds like a classic case, where the person says they wrote about unrequited love, the pain of the human existence, and unbridled wonder, but didn't have enough of a handle on their chosen messages to get them across effectively. But, that's other peoples problem, not their's ;-)

We all have so-called shortcomings (re from others' perspective) we don't recognize, because each of us lives in our own head, and all of us have collected a good deal of junk there. Problems arise when one or both parties have no tolerance for the others way of looking at things. Even here (WF) we have bruised egos every so often. A couple years back I critiqued a new member's prose piece that was so heavily ladened with adjectives it couldn't tread water. The new member replaced the piece with a raspberry emoji and left the forum. The older I get, I increasingly see how little I truly understand. Some things one can't change though. I can't for the life of me see why humans insist on trashing our life sustaining environment, but hey, I don't call them pendejo — they're products of cultural inculcation. I'm sure there are a good number of people that think it's me that has a problem in bringing up the issue.

There's more than one reason the knights of old wore armor ;-)

bdcharles
August 22nd, 2017, 08:35 AM
Hi Darkkin,

I suppose if someone was completely literal, they might struggle. I have a friend (friend of a friend really) who goes blank at the slightest metaphor, and asks for endless claritifcation, by which time the "moment" has passed. You say:



Is the inability to understand a metaphor a true deficiency in writing and reading comprehension? Does it render observations made by such an individual worth less than those who do not struggle with the issue?


But then you say:



The terms of idiot savant, moron, and freak were among the mildest lobbed at my head that night. The old demon of deficient thinking was hauled out of retirement.


and



the one barb that really dug in was the comment


Not to forget:



As to the accusations laid at my feet


And others. All of which are of course metaphors, which leads me to believe you can interpret them perfectly well. It is entirely possible, even likely, that this person did not write particularly well and then got knobby about it when you pointed it out. It happens. Life's too short to want to cater to those that do not please us or that insult us. Trust your gut. I mean, your instincts. :)

Firemajic
August 22nd, 2017, 12:42 PM
Up until this point this group has been one of the more balanced and objective groups I've worked with. And usually fresh faces mean fresh ideas and insight, not coiled vipers. But there is something that hits a bit deeper and sharper, when someone screams insults and casts asperions on one's capabilities to one's face. Online you don't have someone looking you in the eyes, saying this in front of a group of respected peers. Logic says it shouldn't matter, but emotions say otherwise. I stuck to my questions, kept it objective in the critique. It was about the poems not the writer...The crime was having an objective perspective instead of offering empty platitudes.

Other members of my group have said the same thing as midnight. 'Let it go and move on.' Utterly sound and sensible advice. But it will take time for something this raw to scab over and I still don't know if anything I say in the future will carry merit. How much damage can something like this do, even if there is no truth behind the vitriol? That is the one aspect that really worries me because I rely on my critique referrals and poetry to help suppliment my income. Chronic illness is never cheap. And I still don't know if there is measurable truth in the speculation because it isn't the first time this issue has cropped up. Classic overthinking, no doubt and unfortunately it is something I'm very good at. Once a door is open it can be a struggle to shut it again. Pandora's consequences, but I didn't open the box.

@sebald

Ocassionally, I will get a deja vu dream, but beyond that trying to scrye for meaning in half forgotten images...If at Hogwarts, Divination is something I can say with complete honesty, I would fail with distinction. :nevreness:

On a lighter note, I had a customer looking for the book Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. Typed in metaphors and migraines into the search criteria and that book came up at the top of the list...The search algorithom got my humour when most people don't. ;) It is a title that has been added to my reading list. Who knows, I might learn something.



Dear fabulous, talented Darkkin.. Of course your self esteem and confidence took a huge hit... I do not care how self assured one is, our self esteem is a reflection of how others see us. Of course you know the attack was not because you are lacking ANYTHING, rather the attack was because of the attacker's self esteem... strange, isn't it... we are so quick to believe the negative comments about ourselves, even when we KNOW our own self worth... we let a total ass cause us to doubt our abilities, skills and judgments...

You are an amazing critic, you are like a surgeon with a sharp scalpel... you slice and dice, dissecting and exposing... for some, that is intimidating... real writing is hard work, improving means that one is NOT perfect, and needs to work harder.. some poets/ writers are ruled by their ego...

I would say "shake it off, and go on"... but I know it is not that easy. Someone who acts like that, yelling and insulting you, well, that is bullying, and must not be tolerated, ever.

Pete_C
August 22nd, 2017, 02:28 PM
Okay, a lot of people have stated the obvious, so ditto all that. The important thing is what you take away from the experience. Sure, you already knew that some people are arseholes and others are worse! But, are there any positives?

First off, remember that in art of any type, rules aren't mandatory. In fact, often the rules are imposed by people who are merely trying to put others down, which they see as elevating themselves. Admittedly, if you state that you've written a Haiku or Senryu, a Sonnet or verse using Iambic pentameter, and you haven't, someone will point it out for you. Poetry has traditions in terms of form and content, but traditions aren't rules. Creativity has a way of breaking rules, and if you look at the greats you'll often find they stand out because they didn't conform to the stereotypical.

Now, some with the wisdom of sages will point out that you have to know the rules in order to break them, but I disagree. When I started writing I didn't know there were any rules. I certainly didn't know I was breaking them because I had no awareness of their existence. After around 40 years of being published in various places I am still discovering 'rules' that I know nothing about. If you create, and create well, you'll often find that your work will stand on its own feet.

Some people like rules, and they'll snap back at you if you dare point out that the rules aren't really rules but mere traditions of dead men and women. Some people need rules so they can feel their work conforms. It's no bad thing for many, but it doesn't mean that its mandatory for all. An often quoted example is that you need to understand musical rules before you can improvise jazz. Nonsense. You need to know how to play the instrument. That's it. If you can write, you can write, poetry included.

So, metaphor is a single tool. It's not a rule, it's not compulsory and it's not something that I focus on. It's there in my work, but not because I forced it in with a crowbar. Metaphor is okay, unless it is used badly. Then it's pointless and detracts from the work. Your 'friend' clearly isn't able to apply it correctly, and his assertion that you should use it more underlines the reverse: that you should only use it when it happens naturally, when it fits. After all, look at the balls-up he made of his work.

When a reader picks up a book or magazine, they start to read and will continue unless something stops them. If they hate the content, find the flow distracting, don't appreciate the style, can't relate or feel empathy they'll stop. One of the biggest reasons people stop reading poetry is because they don't understand it. Hide the message too deep and the reader will pass it by. Does your 'friend' intend on vetting every potential reader or editor to ensure they are sufficiently qualified to read his verbage?

The most important thing is to be true to yourself. I'd rather write for a minority who appreciate what I produce. I like skeletal, dry, minimalist pieces that carve deep into a feeling or sensation. A lot of people (and I mean a lot) don't think poetry should be like that. Fair play to them. There's plenty of flowers/clouds/goats out there that have been versified to keep them going forever.

Don't waste your time worrying about it. And next time you see your 'friend', offer a smile, a wink, and a cheeky pat on his behind, and let him labour in his self-induced arrogance. It won't impact on your work one jot!

urbandekay
August 24th, 2017, 08:12 AM
How strange would it be if you lacked the ability to see metaphor; all language is, to some degree, metaphor and your poems, at least those that I have read, drip with metaphor. How odd would it be, were you able to write metaphor and not read it. Not just peculiar but fascinatingly interesting to write allegorically yet interpret literally, it is hard for me to even imagine such a mind, such a person would have to have no T.o.M., to be, as some severely autistic children are and then to write in style, metaphorical? No this is not credible.

Darkkin
August 24th, 2017, 09:31 AM
How strange would it be if you lacked the ability to see metaphor; all language is, to some degree, metaphor and your poems, at least those that I have read, drip with metaphor. How odd would it be, were you able to write metaphor and not read it. Not just peculiar but fascinatingly interesting to write allegorically yet interpret literally, it is hard for me to even imagine such a mind, such a person would have to have no T.o.M., to be, as some severely autistic children are and then to write in style, metaphorical? No this is not credible.

The terms freak and idiot savant as noted in the original post are not far from the truth. I am at the far end of the spectrum, extremely high functioning with a translation matrix that takes in vast amounts of information. Words are stored and delineated by their numerous, and exactlying specific definitions. If context does not support the precise definition of the word, then it becomes a problem. When one finds prime numbers and geometric tessellations in classic forms of poetry, please explain to me how a normal brain is supposed to work?

And also noted in the original post, the fact that what I write is glaringly literal. Readers assign their own meaning to the words, I merely write fairytales. Turtle, does in fact, carry the moon. Her twin the sun. Their names derived from their Greek roots. Exactingly specific breakdowns, including root word origins. The Star Socks Fox is truly a fox made from a pair of discarded star socks. Pussywillow Grey is a cat made of a cardigan and a Lessthan dwells in the shadow of Nothing, which literally consumes and negates all, so how does one stop a Nothing, with an echo, a reflection of the Nothing back upon itself. Newton's Third Law of physics applies to fictionalised constructs as well as the real world. Extreme logic and utter nonsense, two points of a spectrum that collide at the far reaches of the spectrum. Just because you say it isn't plausible doesn't mean it isn't true. It isn't your brain; it is mine. You see metaphor, I see my story, so whose translation is more accurate? Mine as a writer or the impled meaning discerned by an impartial reader? Because of the fourth wall the reader has every right to their opinions and observations, but it does not negate the truth of mine.

So thank you telling me my thinking isn't credible, not like I don't get enough guff about my issue everyday in real life...Until you've walked around with someone else's brain in your head please do not make assumptions and essential amount, 'Well that doesn't make sense, you aren't thinking right.' This is the core of my issue. People telling me over and over: No one thinks like that. Well surprise, I do. It isn't normal and it bothers a lot of people simply because they cannot understand and grasp something so foreign. Have you ever tried looking at the negative space, knowing there is a void in the middle of one's thinking process?

I've written enough, read enough, and asked enough questions to understand that most people get metaphors, that they look for symbolism. I have the understanding of a word's roots and numerous meanings. I write out of that literal construct. What meaning the reader attributes to piece as a whole is up to them. And if as you say that everything in language is metaphorical than I truly have no grasp whatsoever on language and even rudimentary communication. After all a cormorant lives in the skies, but only garners the merest glimpse of the seas from which it feeds...Nature makes perfect sense, when people generally don't.

urbandekay
August 24th, 2017, 10:33 AM
Well, I am truly sorry. I didn't intend to insult you, quite the opposite. I had assumed it was merely a lack of confidence and I was trying to point out that the critics lacked credibility, forgive my stupidity. From where I stand, we all walk around in other's minds, that surely is what language, at least in part, is.

Kevin
August 24th, 2017, 12:45 PM
Sometimes I think I'm an idiot savant without the savant.

Darkkin
August 24th, 2017, 01:20 PM
How strange would it be if you lacked the ability to see metaphor; all language is, to some degree, metaphor and your poems, at least those that I have read, drip with metaphor. How odd would it be, were you able to write metaphor and not read it. Not just peculiar but fascinatingly interesting to write allegorically yet interpret literally, it is hard for me to even imagine such a mind, such a person would have to have no T.o.M., to be, as some severely autistic children are and then to write in style, metaphorical? No this is not credible.


May I ask a question? How within this context is the credibility of a critic called into question, when the questions are aimed at a specific thought process? My process, which as clearly indicated by the final statement is not credible. I lack the abilities you outlined, and therefor am having trouble understanding how this corrolates to a critic's credibility. It is not their thought process that is in question. Also, what does T.o.M. stand for? It is not an abbreviation I've happened across. How does one indicate or infer the other? What are the congruencies? Please know that I am not being deliberately obtuse, I just don't see how that quote questions a critic's credibility.

It is like having an Einstein-Rosen Bridge in one's head. You can make bizarre connections through systemic congruencies of the inherent properties of objects and their reactions within a delineated space, but you are viewing the wormhole from the outside. You can see the void the bridge surrounds, the bend in space time. You know about the bridge, but everyone else walks through it completely unaware of its existence. You have the cosmos in your head, but you cannot set foot on that bridge, so you learn how to navigate around it. To try to fit statements within their context. What is straightforward to everyone else makes no sense to you...:-(

Case in point: How many writers use triangle congruency theorems as a base matrix for discerning meaning within a literary construct? How does triangle A line up with triangle B? How does impression A line up with Message B. Context functioning as the sides and the the angles of the congruency pattern. (Who in their right mind does that? And it is an unfortunate reality that I do.) Moreover, who breaks down the basic writing process into terms of geometry and physics? I'm what happens when they moved a moon rock...;P

No, this is not credible. Broken down that statement's direct object is the process described. My process. Am I reading this incorrectly? And if so, how?

Darren White
August 24th, 2017, 02:18 PM
ToM stands for Theory of Mind. It's one of those theories people have about the mind of autists (I am autistic myself). Although you and I write and think completely different, I understand what you say and mean, and also what it is to look from the outside in, and having to learn by trial and error.

urbandekay
August 24th, 2017, 05:25 PM
May I ask a question? How within this context is the credibility of a critic called into question, when the questions are aimed at a specific thought process? My process, which as clearly indicated by the final statement is not credible. I lack the abilities you outlined, and therefor am having trouble understanding how this corrolates to a critic's credibility.It is not their thought process that is in question.
Your rather begging the question here, assuming I aim at your thought processes rather than thought processes in general and though you clearly consider your thought processes unique, I think they are different in degree not kind


Also, what does T.o.M. stand for? It is not an abbreviation I've happened across.
My bad, just too used to using that abbreviation, it stands for theory of mind, you me and every Tom, Dick and Harriet employ a theory of mind to different degrees, though most people are unaware they do so. You may object that I have not justified this claim since this is not the place for a technical philosophical discussion


How does one indicate or infer the other? What are the congruencies? Please know that I am not being deliberately obtuse, I just don't see how that quote questions a critic's credibility.
Because not to have any understanding of metaphor would make language use impossible, you claim you write only fairy tales that are devoid of metaphor but since you know them not to be strictly speaking true, you do, I trust, know that the turtle doesn’t in reality, carry the moon, if necessarily follows that, in some sense, you know this to be metaphorical, though you may not consciously acknowledge the same and therefore the critics claim is untenable.


It is like having an Einstein-Rosen Bridge in one's head. You can make bizarre connections through systemic congruencies of the inherent properties of objects and their reactions within a delineated space, but you are viewing the wormhole from the outside. You can see the void the bridge surrounds, the bend in space time. You know about the bridge, but everyone else walks through it completely unaware of its existence. You have the cosmos in your head, but you cannot set foot on that bridge, so you learn how to navigate around it. To try to fit statements within their context. What is straightforward to everyone else makes no sense to you...file:///C:\Users\Simon\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\ clip_image001.gif
How often have I said the same, as many have, we all struggle with that.


Case in point: How many writers use triangle congruency theorems as a base matrix for discerning meaning within a literary construct? How does triangle A line up with triangle B? How does impression A line up with Message B. Context functioning as the sides and the the angles of the congruency pattern. (Who in their right mind does that? And it is an unfortunate reality that I do.) Moreover, who breaks down the basic writing process into terms of geometry and physics? I'm what happens when they moved a moon rock...;P
Yes, that is unusual, but not relevant to what I was saying.


No, this is not credible. Broken down that statement's direct object is the process described. My process. Am I reading this incorrectly? And if so, how?

Yes, you are interpreting incorrectly, all statements stand in need of interpretation even by those that make them and all interpretation is imperfect. I have explained both here and previously that it was not my intention to cause offence, indeed quite the opposite. You can, if you so wish choose to interpret my words as intending to cause offense but so to do is to do violence to my text or you could choose to interpret them naturalistically as free of offense

urbandekay
August 24th, 2017, 05:28 PM
ToM stands for Theory of Mind. It's one of those theories people have about the mind of autists (I am autistic myself). Although you and I write and think completely different, I understand what you say and mean, and also what it is to look from the outside in, and having to learn by trial and error.

Well, theory of mind is a theory in philosophy of mind, not specifically about autistics

Darren White
August 24th, 2017, 07:18 PM
Well, theory of mind is a theory in philosophy of mind, not specifically about autistics

Yes, I know. But Simon Baron-Cohen has made it quite famous in this respect, because of his extensive research :)

But I don't want to derail Darkkin's thread, so for me it stops here now.

Sebald
August 25th, 2017, 03:55 PM
Hi Darkkin,

How are you feeling about things now?

It's been illuminating to hear about your thought processes, and how you approach giving a critique.

It sounds pretty exhausting.

I suppose there's only one way to judge the effectiveness of a critic. Are they regularly, significantly improving the pieces they work on?

Nothing else matters.

Freelance artists don't have to pass an exam, or ace an interview, or meet anyone else's criteria.

I was, briefly, a freelance illustrator, so I understand how easily confidence can be knocked when you get a rejection, or an unexpected reaction. It's part of trying to be a creative person. Think yourself lucky you're not an actor.

Are there special challenges for you? Yes. Do you regularly and significantly improve the pieces you work on? You can't honestly answer no to that question.

Darkkin
August 25th, 2017, 08:10 PM
It isn't for a critiquer to improve another writer's work. Their job is to provide unbaised insight and observations on the work from a reader's perspective and to hold writers accountable for their work. If there is an issue and no plausible defense for it, chances are it needs to be addressed. And the majority of writers who accept critique have enough sense to use it as the tool it is meant to be. It is the writer who improves their own work, not the reader, nor should it be as any changes must first come from the writer's process. All I've ever done is say: Okay, as a reader, this is how this comes across...Is that the intention? If not, what is?

Effective critique gets writers thinking critically, both as a writer and a reader. And it is at this point that improvement starts with the actions of the writer.

Theglasshouse
August 26th, 2017, 02:38 AM
Having been troubled myself and not knowing where my own problems were heading in regards how it affected my own mind. If it were me I would distance myself from people who have a bad attitude toward life if I had a choice over again. Try to ignore them if they don't offer anything human. How you treat people is of the utmost importance especially people who need to have peace of mind. Pass this advice to generations if need be, because the mind needs rest from stress, depression and so forth.

Ariel
August 30th, 2017, 07:25 PM
Darkkin, your inability to decipher metaphor aside, you are, without doubt, simply one of the most skilled poets I have read. Your work shows dedication towards your craft as does your willingness (not matter how much you protest) to learn new things. The critiques I have read from you are insightful and well-thought out. This new person in your group is showing insecurity and fear.

Fear? Yes. This person is afraid that their work really doesn't stand up or stand out. They're afraid that they are not as good as they think. You're brave, well-educated, and smart. Sit comfortable in the knowledge of who you are.

clark
October 13th, 2017, 10:24 PM
DARKKIN --As I think you know, though I joined WF almost two years ago, I have closeted myself pretty much in Met 3, venturing out into other WF groups and threads only about six weeks ago. Had I read this thread before our current pleasant disagreement on the Narrative Poetry thread, I would have had a better understanding of your position on metaphor.

I have little to add to the comments offered here, except to strongly second the unstinting praise (from everybody) for your cogent thinking, uncompromising dedication to your own principles, and trenchant clarity of your prose, which is truly a delight to read. I have not got to your poetry yet. A pleasure deferred.

As for this lout who had the temerity to hurl gross insults at you and your abilities, as Pete says, we all have to contend with the assholes of the world, because they are everywhere and universally shield themselves from both reason and common sense. A visit from my friend Guido is more than called-for, but Guido's services are much in demand and we don't have the lout's address. So please give his ranting the hummingbird-flick of attention it deserves.

As for metaphor--must it be used in poetry and story? Absolutely not. I use it extensively, but that's me, not you. And I'd like to think the metaphors I use are clear in CONTEXT . Even those that lend themselves to layers of interpretation.

It's a pleasure to read your critical prose, and I look forward to getting to know you a little better in the time ahead.

Respect and friendship
clark

Firemajic
October 14th, 2017, 12:55 AM
Interesting... hummmm... I wonder... could it possibly be the concept of a metaphor, and NOT the actual metaphor, that can trip some and cause the "Deer in the headlight" syndrome..... because if one over thinks it, then it may seem daunting ... ;)

clark
October 14th, 2017, 03:13 AM
FIRE -- you make a good point. Stated as a concept, metaphor can seem evasive and indulgent, an author's little ego/image trick, and an evasion of Truth. In practice--PRACTICED WELL--however, metaphor can be a pathway to Truth, Truth determined by the reader/hearer, not the author. Time and again, when the disciples question Jesus about matters profound and mundane, he answers them in parables and metaphors. They worry about food, shelter, clothing, and they get this popular metaphor: "And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matt 6: 28 - 30). He uses metaphor because his audience must go into the terms of the metaphor, FROM the situation in the world that motivated Jesus to use the metaphor in the first place, and emerge with a hard-won truth that they have come to by seeing the parallels between their state and that of the the lillies. Or take Yeats's "Lake Isle of Innisfree." The entire poem is a metaphor for various kinds of peace--personal, political, universal--a 'message"., conveyed from within the exquisite imagery of the poem. Jesus could have given the disciples the straight goods: "Look, dumb-heads, God provides the earth, sun, and rain and the flowers prosper. Why have you no faith that he will provide for your needs as well?" Yeats could have simply stated that he was depressed and worn out by the city and the lies that pervaded life in his times. A clear, linear statement. But he's a poet, so he created a landscape of familiar things, a landscape that could be YOUR metaphor for your kind of peace. The issue, I would suggest, is not a method that per se can confuse or close out a reader; rather, the issue is how the method is used. Perhaps even whether the 'use' brings forward elements sufficiently known in the reader's world that the possibility of strong connection is very high. Even then, though, a reader who has never seen a flower, or a lake, or a cabin, will probably not connect. You can't win them all.

An excellent question, Fire. Certainly for me, and maybe for a few others.