Handy Hints: How to Critique/Review Poems

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Handy Hints: How to Critique/Review Poems

Postby cameron » Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:09 am

Is poem titled or untitled? Does title seem apt?
Does poem have strong enough opening?
Do first few lines establish appropriate tone?
Would any later part of poem make a better opening?

Are there enough specific image details in poem?
Are the metaphors and similes apt?
Do any figures or conceits need further development?
Are any sections of poem weak in visual images?

Is there any strong assonance--vowel sounds?
Is there any strong alliteration--consonant sounds?
Any problem with scansion of rhythm in poem?
Anything special about texture of sound in poem?

What is voice or persona or point of view in poem?
Is diction consistent? Any odd word choices?
Is syntax appropriate? Sentence structuring?
Is diction consistent? Any odd word choices?
Is syntax appropriate? Sentence structuring?
What is totality of tone in poem?

Do last few lines seem right for ending of poem?
Does the closure seem artificial or overwritten?
Could poet get out of poem in any better way?
Should poem be left suspended, with no closure?

Do the line breaks seem right? Enjambements?
Does poem have left-hand capitals? Why? Or why not?
Can any punctuation in poem be stripped away?
Could line placements be arranged in any better way?

Can this poem be tightened in any way?
Is there any rhetoric, generality, abstract words?
Could any parts of poem be developed more?
More proper names, place names, concrete particulars?
They also say "the best criticism is always description."

Taken from Poets Dictionary by William Packard
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Re: Handy Hints: How to Critique/Review Poems

Postby brianedwards » Sun May 16, 2010 10:05 am

I think this is worthy of a bump. Packard's list is by no means exhaustive, in fact it makes no mention at all of emotional impact, or whether or not as a reader you just like something.
Nevertheless, it's a great place to start if you have little experience with the technical aspects of writing. A good checklist for your own work too, one I have long recommended to students.


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Re: Handy Hints: How to Critique/Review Poems

Postby Jackie » Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:19 pm

Thank you for this list. It looks especially useful for formative evaluation as I believe most responders do on this forum—helping others to improve their later drafts—as opposed to summative, or pass/fail evaluation against a standard.

Do you have a similar checklist for summative evaluation?

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