To help you offer
comments and criticisms to other workshop participants, here are a few
suggestions for you to consider in preparing your remarks.
A well-written poem should receive acknowledgment; a successful piece
should be noted as such. Remember, these are drafts. No one expects you
to submit finished work. You may wish to compliment the author on
images or passages that are particularly meaningful or striking to you.
In order to evoke emotion in the reader, the poem's images must be
clear. Bring to the author's attention any image or line which you do
not understand or find unclear. Also, standard spelling, punctuation,
and grammar are crucial to the clarity of the poem; if you spot any
such errors, point them out, but avoid the nit-pick.
LOCATE THE SUBJECT
What is the poem really talking about? Is the subject implied or
stated? State what you feel is taking place in the poem. If the subject
of the poem is unclear or appears to be obscure, then your comments on
the work may not benefit the author.
LOOK FOR THE HEART OF THE POEM
Address the issue of the occasion for the poem. Why was the poem
written (other than to fulfill an assignment)? The reason that the
author wrote the poem must be clear and visible somewhere in the poem
for the reader to determine whether the author has effectively treated
OFFER SUGGESTIONS FOR REVISION
The more specific you are in your comments about lines, images or
stanzas, the greater chance the author will find your ideas helpful for
revision. Many times, fewer lines are better -- which lines could be
cut from the poem without damaging its intent or integrity? Which ideas
or images need expansion? Sometimes the addition of just a word or two
can help to clarify the author's intent.