What is the goal of critique? - Page 2


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Thread: What is the goal of critique?

  1. #11
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  2. #12
    Tim, I think the two are related in a significant way. Here is something I found from Robert Frost that I think fits the subject intelligently.

    “A poem begins with a lump in the throat.” – Robert Frost
    Poetry and Emotional Intelligence – there are no two better combinations! Just the words Emotional Intelligence are so full of imagery. Emotions are feelings of sadness, happiness, anger, excitement, fear, anxiety, just to name a few. Being intelligent about them, aware and knowledgeable of what we are feeling and why is a huge accomplishment for anyone. Even more so for the students we are charged with taking care of, both emotionally and academically.
    The Orchard School is committed to managing individual emotions in a positive manner (not exactly an easy feat in anyone’s imagination but an important one to understand and master) and to treating everyone in the community with respect and dignity. This month happens to be Poetry Month, a time when we focus on teaching and celebrating the art of poetry writing with our students (again, not exactly an easy feat, but one that is just as important as all the other writing genres they will learn over the years). But why would poetry writing and emotional intelligence be such a great pair?
    When I think about poetry (and I am not afraid to admit that it is not my own personal “go to” for enjoyable reading or written expression), it immediately brings feelings and emotions to mind. I am a story writer. I thrive on creating characters and situations and worlds outside of my own personal comfort zone (I don’t think I would act or say some of what I have my characters do and say in my books), but there are so many people out there who thrive on the emotional release that a poem offers. And I think that in itself is why teaching poetry writing to our students –who struggle so much with understanding, managing and expressing their emotions in a healthy way –is so important.
    As a teacher I know the challenge of getting our students to see the connections between emotions and poetry. We tend to get caught up in the mechanics and structure of the writing rather than the depth of feeling of the words. But as someone who has worked with emotionally and behaviorally disabled children for the last decade, I can see beyond the structure and mechanics to the beauty the words carry and the beauty our students create with even their simplest attempts at writing a poem. When a student writes a couplet about Spring, and I can feel the happiness and light shining through the words he/she chose – that right there is . . . indescribable.
    “All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” – William Wordsworth
    “It is the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake.” – George Gordon Noel Byron
    May we be true to both divinely implanted impulses—the yearning for God, and the hunger for knowledge—and know they are the same. John Keats

  3. #13
    Robbie, your post was helpful and completely fabulous... I must confess, I have never thought of poetry without emotion, I have read many correct, elegantly penned poems that lacked the emotional connection and they are forgettable...
    She lost herself in the trees,
    among the ever-changing leaves.
    She wept beneath the wild sky
    as stars told stories of ancient times.
    The flowers grew toward her light,
    the river called her name at night.
    She could not live an ordinary life,
    with the mysteries of the universe
    hidden in her eyes....
    Author: Christy Ann Martine

    Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
    love leaves a memory no one can steal....
    Author unknown.

  4. #14
    Emotional intelligence where creative processes are concerned cannot be achieved until the individual has enough sense to know the actual critique is about the work itself, not the writer. Those who go off the deep end proclaiming, 'All is lost!' because of single critique are in dire need of a reality check. To often good critiquers are an effigy for those of frail egos. When a piece has not been edited and has foundations built on sand it will come crashing down at the first trace of an incoming tide.

    If a writer has not put in the work, has proclaimed themselves an expert on the subject and then suddenly says, 'Hey, I know nothing on this subject...And everyone is being mean. I might as well quit writing.' Why the sudden change in their persona? Probably a solid critique. Someone having the gall to call. Bullshit.

    Emotional intelligence is gained through listening, observations, and awareness of one's surroundings. Noticing how others act. It is a critique of one's reactions within a social setting. Pandering to every overt proclaimation of 'They didn't praise my writing, I am done...Never to write again!' does not foster growth of the EQ or the IQ. And from an awareness standpoint, those who offer up thorough critique, are generally a bit more cognizent of EQ as part of critique is considering the emotions that the piece precipitated and the why behind those emotions. Being able to define and articulate those emotions.

    It isn't something that needs to be separated out as it is a part of the critique process. Consider a pack of African Wild Dogs. One of the most efficient hunters on the savannah. Pups learn early on by watching their elders and engaging with the pack. They step out of line they get nipped. Boundaries with realistic expectations of advancement. You don't help you go hungry. You get the allegory.

    But what of a water buffalo that goes charging through the middle of a pack. Are the dogs going to stand in the way, possibly get trampled, or snap to set a boundary?

    Those dogs have a system that works, that encompasses emotion and practical aspects. It is also how I approach writing, with work for critique and when I do the critiquing. There will be people who are going to cry because those mean dogs killed the impala so they could survive, but it is all about balance. Writing is not for the weak or the meek. It has harsh realities, but also incredible wonder if one weathers the storms.

    - D.
    Last edited by Darkkin; December 4th, 2017 at 06:28 PM.


  5. #15
    I thought 'emotional intelligence' vis a vis CRITIQUE expressed the kind of criticism that will accept irregularities in grammar, structure, word use, rhythm. . .in fact, a kind of criticism which will at times turn a blind eye to issues as fundamental as incongruity, poor word choice, and ineffectual structure IF the intuitions and emotional pull of the piece can still be 'felt'. Risky. This approach could run the risk of denying the efficacy on the ONE constant in any critique: the text of the poem.



    ________________________________________________

    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

  6. #16
    When I say "emotional intelligence" I am constrasting it to "analytical intelligence", which has to do with structure and problem solving. There is also "creative intelligence", which is the ability to imagine beyond given parameters. "Emotional intelligence" is the ability to discern between different feelings and use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage emotions to adapt to changing environments. All of these kinds of intelligence are needed to write good poetry. But emotional intelligence is the most important because poetry is more an expression of feelings than knowledge or even creativity. A poet must rank high in emotional intelligence and have the ability to express it in a way that imparts the same kind of intelligence in readers, but that ability alone does not make poetry. Poetry is a craft and an art which takes a lot of time, study and practice to master. So my question: is the goal of critique to congratulate emotional intelligence or is it to raise the art of poetry? I ask this because a lot of the critique I see seems to have little to do with the art of poetry and more to do with congratulating the author in their expression of emotional intelligence which is confused with poetic expression. I believe anyone who even attempts to write poetry already knows that they possess a relatively high degree of emotional intelligence. That expression is what drives us to write poetry, and I believe that we recognize it in others. But I don't believe we help aspiring poets or ourselves become better poets by praising emotional writing that is not artistic. What we might mean by "artistic" is perhaps another discussion and perhaps each critic has to decide that for him/herself. But critique is also a craft that requires study and developement and I think people who offer critique should take that seriously.

  7. #17
    Any and all critiques should include what the reader feels the writer did well and what needs to be worked on. I guess it’s possible that a poem could be all one way or another, but I just doubt it.

    You should show/include examples of both. I wouldn’t want to see any writer through the baby out with the dirty bath water.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  8. #18
    Pelwrath, what if the writer didn’t do anything well? What if the poem is total crap? Do you ignore it? Do you make up some bullshit about the writer’s courage or honesty? Or do you let the writer know that they are going down the wrong path?

  9. #19
    Tim to tell the writer you admire her courage and honesty is not necessarily ‘made up.’ You can still further the critique by giving suggestions on how to fix the poem.
    May we be true to both divinely implanted impulses—the yearning for God, and the hunger for knowledge—and know they are the same. John Keats

  10. #20
    Robbie, I suppose you are right but it seems like sad consolation for writing bad poetry. We could say the same thing for anyone who posts any kind of poem. It's a weak generalization.

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