Judge me and my poetry while giving me (un)constructive criticism
First one up is:
Sounds of Wood and Metal
In the corner
Once was my
a rounded wooden box
A hole beneath
the metal strings
to capture their vibration
to keep a tune
when it does
never needing to be loud
patiently for me
to use him
When I need
I should more.
A name of
Now out of business.
like my father
Is the name
So I pick up
again and play
now just visitors
back now for
I’m not as good
as I once was
of wood and metal
resonate in me
I don’t remember
but I do
Know the major
Seems to be
proud of that.
proud of me.
you need to use punctuation. im sure this rhythm works in your head but to the reader I have no sense of what this is supposed to sound like. this is just from a first glance, and btw anyone who reads poetry seriously will immediately dismiss a poem like this with no real structure. practice writing in predetermined forms first, writing in free verse like this is extremely different to pull off correctly.
if you have any ideas of where to use punctuation to help it flow better I would very much appreciate it. I basically have no grasp on how that works in poetry and tried to use every end-line as a pause.
you need to start at the beginning. by the way the writing is fine though you could use stronger word choices and whatever but that's really secondary. an end line is never a pause, poetry works the same was as regular sentences, commas periods and everything. a change in stanzas without punctuation is a very slight pause. even reading it with every end line as a pause, the poem is insanely stilted and annoying to read. get a big book of poetry (theres a pretty good collection by harold bloom you should be able to find easily) and get deep into analyzing your favorites. things like syllable count, line length, punctuation, rhyme scheme, form (ballad, sonnet, etc.). there are plenty of resources out there about reading poetry aloud, if you look at these it will help you imagine what people are hearing in their heads when they read your work.
Straight up. I got to the end and was confused cuz suddenly the stanzas rhymed so I thought I missed the rhythm...but there wasn't any.
Also, imagery should require imagination. You're just describing most people's experiences with the old guitars hanging on their walls. I like the feelings you're trying to imbue, I just don't think you give your reader enough credit so you painstakingly ensure every knows exactly what you're talking about throughout the whole thing.
it's a cute idea but insanely ambitious for someone so clearly an amateur (not insulting, you just need to put the work in is all)
like I said, start with the standard stuff, once you have written a decent body of classically formatted poetry, then try with the experimentation. never forget that even the dirtiest scummiest beat was well read in classical poetry.
oh, and also I looked through at all the words and not a single one was interesting to me. coleridge said prose is words in the best order, poetry is the best words in the best order. nothing wrong with simple language when it fits the theme, but I don't believe these are really the best words you can come up with to describe such a sentimental idea.
I asked for insults, so no offense was taken and I am aware that I am an amateur, otherwise I would not be asking 4chan to judge me.
I am curious as to what you mean by classically formatted poetry.
I took a creative writing class my freshman year of college (University of Minnesota for the curious ones) and got an "A" in the class.
Now, for context, the professor admitted that he would give an "A" to anyone who showed significant improvement, but now I have submitted this poem (and another) to a community college and they are planning on publishing both of them in their little local annual "We are promoting art in the community" magazine.
However I am aware that regardless of where it is published, it is still being published under my name and I have very little time to fix this shithole of a poem.
General ideas are very welcome and will assist me in everything I write from here on out, but right now I really need help direct ideas to make this poem suck less.
This could end up being the only thing that ever gets published in my name and I would really like to not hate it as much as I do.
I mean....That's the gamble and beauty of poetry. Maybe not everyone will understand what you're saying, maybe they'll think they understand it but its totally different than what you meant. Either way, in this case it's very clear that was your concern. You need to have more confidence. Here's one of the examples
>a rounded wooden box
ok I know its a guitar and even if not it will become self evident. The imagery of a rounded wooden box though is nice because maybe you're hinting at an idea...
>A hole beneath
>the metal strings
>to capture their vibration
No. See, now I know you're just making sure I know it's a guitar. You're just describing it. Does the hole mean anything? You could combine these two stanzas easily to ensure we're all on the same page without being so painfully obvious...
>A rounded wooden box, capturing the vibrations of metal strings.
Now you have this clash of round/box and wood/metal. And we all still know it's a guitar...
And about this. I mean, it's just not going to happen.
The hole was also meant to represent the relationship between me and my father, without the strings (which I intended to represent our communication) vibrating and connecting, it was empty and worthless.
first of all, relax. the only people who will notice that this wasn't written by Yeats are English grad students. no one cares about poetry. second of all, there's really not much you can do outside of rewriting the thing so there's no use worrying about it. if my advice could replace years of study and work I'd gladly offer it, but that's just not really how it works. just enjoy the fact that you're being published somewhere and 99% of /lit/ is jealous of that fact. as for hating your work, welcome to art. it's temporal.
Ok, see! So you have this imagery in your mind that is completely lost. By the time we hear about your father, the hole is long forgotten. Its misplaced at the front-end of the poem.
I mean, this poem is juvenile but it sounds like you enjoy it and would like to learn to express more. Just keep trying. I don't agree with the other guy about formatting and theory and stuff. If you haven't learned it yet, you're not about to structure your work. If you want to write for yourself, keep doing what you do. If you want to write so others will read it, then you need to practice and try harder.
So what do I do from here? I got published in a shit mag with a shit rag.
I guess this is as good of a time as any to post the next poem
The Problem Child
Father sits at the head of the table
Strong and loud and proud.
Across the corner, to his right
Mommy sat up straight.
Across from her was Bobby,
His eyes signified he had been up too late,
But you can hardly blame the boy, he turns sixteen today.
Finally was little Annie, half her brothers age,
She sat away from everyone
As far as the table allowed and
Rested her head into her hands to hide the scratches
On her face.
“It’s so good to have us all together for Bobby’s birthday,”
Father announced after they all sat down,
“Especially with how busy work has been keeping me.”
His hair was perfectly in place,
So very neat and clean.
Mommy’s hair was in a bun
To hide the mess it was.
That was to be expected,
She had cleaned the house again,
Even though it was spotless when she began.
She still smiled, “So good! It’s been too long indeed!
I’m so grateful you are home with to share this day with us.”
Bobby had a blinding smile revealing all his teeth.
“I’m really happy too,” he said with every tooth exposed,
“Though I wish I could have had a friend or two attend.”
Annie was not oblivious as eyes shifted her way.
Father spoke up quickly and smiled at his daughter,
“You know how stressed little Annie gets
On big days like today. It’s for the best, I’m just glad
With how well she has behaved.”
Bobby gave a knowing nod and threw Annie a glare.
Annie did not respond. Annie simply stared.
Father cleared his throat and spoke again,
“Now, Annie, why is your face so scratched?”
Annie did not respond. Annie simply stared.
Mommy interjected quick to save them from the silence,
“I found a steel wool in the bath again, Annie likes them so.
I’ve told her once and a hundred times before,
They remove the filth from the dishes, but not from little girls.”
Mommy held her smile throughout the ensuing silence,
As large a smile as Bobby had
But hers had lost its brightness.
Mommy croaked a giggle out and passed the cake around.
“Eat up! I worked hard to make this perfect!”
Everyone devoured their serving, except Annie that is.
Bobby noticed right away and whined,
“My God, how rude! Annie hasn’t touched her food!
You ungrateful brat! Why do you act the way you do?”
Mommy tried to interject again;
She tried to save the day.
This time she was too late.
It was Annie’s turn to speak
And here’s what she had to say,
“I can’t just make believe that Daddy doesn’t fuck me.”
again, first impressions. long as fuck. you can cut a lot of this out. if you're doing a long poem, keep the stanzas short and thematic. if I read one stanza, then the next one is hitting on the same exact theme I start to lose interest. punctuation is better, but the rhythm still doesn't feel deliberate. same problem as last with the boring language, use better words ("accurate word choice" is the fancy term we use). same thing with rhyme and syllable count as the last.
a good way to this is to map out your stanzas as individual ideas. for instance, a romantic poet might write a three stanza poem that ultimately boils down to something like "Life is hard. Finding meaning is important. Here's how I cope." A poem should be an argument. Instead of a poem being just "A" it should be "A, but B" or "A, then B, therefore C."
I just...dude. Like you clearly use this writing as a way to elevate a journal into something hopefully more profound. That's great, keep it up, enjoy. If you want to put it out there, do that. But it's just coming off as you trying to talk about things through thinly veiled poem submissions. Which is fine! But as pretentious as it sounds, Its creative writing, not poetry.
Where can I change to make it poetry then? I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be combative. I just thought that creative writing included poetry, and poetry could be creative writing.
The first one I wanted to talk about my dad who I did not have a good relationship with because of his mental disabilities, but I know there is more to him. The second poem was a story I heard in a Narcotics Anonymous meeting (I obviously changed the names) about how this woman dealt with a nuclear family who knew that her father raped her on a regular basis.
I appreciate the criticism but if you would add advice or suggestions I would appreciate it even more.
the first step is hating your work. faulkner said if you read enough, you'll recognize when your own work is trash and throw it out when appropriate. >>7591703 is giving valid criticism but honestly in poetry structure is more important than content to start with. find some good, rigidly formatted poems and write your own versions over and over until you're happy with your stuff. write a garbage poem a week, and every day go back to it and improve 5 things. becoming a skilled writer is hard, hard work. i don't even write myself, being a critic and analyst will always be easier, but put in the work and you will be rewarded. or just keep writing as a hobby and continue being published. both are equally fine, as long as you don't have a strong inclination towards either side.
Thank you. I am pretty sure I found what I was looking for (I know I asked for broad criticism but of course I only support the one I like... go figure) when you said "Write a garbage poem a week; and every day go back to it and improve five things"
thank you /lit/ for all of you advice.
I needed some humility and you gave it to me,
I needed some homework and I got that too.
I appreciate it all. I'll let you know when it gets published in the shit mag. (Probably only the first poem I was told to remove the word "fuck" from the second one and I don't think I can do that).
Totally not being combative! Its cool. And yeah, poetry is creative writing by defnintion I guess, I just meant it as like this sounds like college course work, not the emotion that comes with poetry. Like I said, its clear from your poems that you enjoy the act of writing your thoughts down. That being said, your writing them as thoughts. Take the second poem... First of all, maybe its just something I picked up on, I dunno, but I could tell this was not a personal expeince poem necessarily. It sounds like you are desperately reaching for the norman rockwell perfect american family and you're just cramming INNOCENCE down everyone's throat so you can slam home a punchline. The idea of this is a great start to developing unique poems. The execution is terrible because its so obvious. Again, you don't trust yourself or the reader to feel what you are hoping the poem feels like. I mean, if you're serious, I'll try to take the time and go through the lines with you, but its more overarching ideas you need to just try out. Stop using so many words... Use words you are less comfortable with (aka actual vocabulary, not just generic words)... Lay off on your themes for a bit until you develop a stronger writing style. Like the guitar chord theme, yuo just aren't ready to implement these things. Keep a list with ideas of poems you'd like to write and when you are better, start writing those poems.
I'm down with what you're saying, I just feel like the proof is in the pudding. You clearly are not an amateur writer that has less of an interest in poetic prose and more of an interest in self-exploration and journaling. To me, this is where OP stands. We can all agree, he's not about to follow regimented methods implemented by people who lived and breathed beautiful expression. This is an outlet, which is why I'm a fan of going with the flow. Maybe try emulating poems you already like? That kind of combines both our advice. Cuz you can follow the structure of someone else's work, while trying out your own way with words
Oh, and one last piece of advice that might be super helpful with rhythm. Try readig your poem outloud. I'm not sure if you've done it before. Things can sound great in your head, but your reading voice will stumble over it if it isn't rhythmic, no matter what your brain thinks. I know with a lot of my poems, I can hear them as sort of singsong...which doesn't quite translate as well when read. It's a good way to pinpoint where rhythm issues are.
>writing in free verse like this is extremely different to pull off correctly
most poets who wrote "free verse" like Whitman, Pound, or Eliot actually were writing musical verse that just didn't happen to be composed of iambic pentameter. When "done correctly" it really isn't free of melody, just divorced of strict form.