It is believed that one of the most difficult things to do as a writer is to review another writer's work. It's very easy to say too much. It's also easy to not say enough.
There are two other things, also, that a writer may want to consider.
It's very easy to be or to feel intimidated by a writer, because the
person writing the review may feel inadequate, in terms of how they perceive the writer. It is also very easy to feel superior to the writer being reviewed.
All, or any, of those things may stop anyone from commenting, or from not commenting as they think they should.
The two comments which I've quoted below, were given towards my poem, My Wife Who Was.
The lower one is the critique, itself. The other one was my reply.
They haven't been edited at all, except to remove the Email notation.
And to give them the appropriate headers. I hope both will give some insights into this world of, Reading, Writing and Reviewing.
I also hope that Kelley doesn't mind my using her critique to give this offering some substance and value.
"04-05-2008 Frank Fields
Thank you very much, Kelley. ^^
I truly appreciate being honored by you and others, and to know that my work touched someone beyond these halls, is even more humbling.
As far as not being qualified, I think you are being extremely harsh and overly critical with yourself and with your own critique skills. Perhaps if the word review were considered, instead of critique, the comfort level would increase.
Regardless, that which you, or anyone reviewing works can do, is to apply those very things that you use as the measure of a work. In fact, if everyone had such clearly established referents, this business of reviewing works could be as comfortable as writing the works, themselves.
Sometimes either or both is painful and frustrating, but one thing sure, doing either--especially writing an honest review--forces the reviewer to question their own standards and motives when commenting on a piece.
Admittedly some writers would rather just write. Some would rather just critique. And a few fortunate artists, like yourself, can go directly to the heart of a work without getting out a list of academic mandates. Those never served to do much, unless they also pay attention to the humanity required behind an honest critique.
Any art form, including poetry, is going to impact on each one of us in slightly different ways. The question, then, becomes not so much a question of following a listing of requirements that need to be checked off. But, rather, and more importantly: did the work speak to you, to your heart and mind and even soul, did you speak to it, and what was the result of that exchange?
Anyone can follow a mechanical protocol. I would rather have a human read my works and tell me, "yea" or "nay", than a robot.
Your critiques and reviews are fine! Your writing is fine! And your humility and courage, combined, will hopefully always be there for you and for the writers that you review.
I put this here so others who might stop by may want to fill their cups and find the offering worthy."
"04-04-2008 Kelley Appleby
It occurred to me that since this has been listed as my favorite since the first time I had the privilege to read it, I should at the very least explain why.
I will declare, I am certainly not worthy to be critiquing poetry, by any means, as I am not knowledgeable as to the rules, formalities or standards of such. I can only know or decide according to that which measures up to my own standards of rhythm, beauty, measure, integrity, and honesty.
This piece has such a beautiful balance of classicism, elegance and clarity. ~ It exemplifies profound meaning, unquestionable devotion and perfect sentiment.
Incidentally, I read this to my cousin (a.k.a. my soul-mate) ~ I read it to her, aloud. When I finished, she had tears in her eyes, saying
"Oh, if anyone *ever* wrote anything *that beautiful* for *me, I would die happy"
Thought I would share that with you, Frank. xo"