I have come to love the words of the critic whether good or bad, though the latter was, in the distant past, quite difficult to take.
Basically, I think critiquing a poem is one of the best things poets can feed on to pen down better works.
I simply see it as one’s thoughts on another’s work. One can choose to heed to it or not.
Anytime I read a poem, I like to share my thoughts on it. But I am mostly careful whose work I critique. Not everyone likes their work critiqued. There are several reasons why, but the simplest reason I can think of is that almost every poet sees their work as a personal piece of art.
But I have come to realise that in order to get better at what we write we can at least let go off that part of us especially when our work is being critiqued.
Some critiques can be very unforgiving.
They are mostly seen as haters or enemies.Nevertheless,a hater or an “enemy” can disguise themselves as a critique.Whatever the case maybe you can choose to heed it or not.If not for anything at all you do have the sole right to choose.You can either respond to it or react to,it’s your choice.
Yes,there are professional critiques as well as the amateur but I personally think neither of them is “better” than the other.They both provide unique perspectives which can be very helpful.
The first time I received a harsh critique of one of my poems,which I have lost,was somewhere in 2006 when I shared a poem with a class mate on a piece of paper.She came the following day telling me how insulted she felt because I used a particular word in it – I’ve forgotten the word.
Initially I felt very bad that she felt offended by it.And it was just two years since I had only began writing poems so it was hard for me to take
But after careful consideration I realised what she said made sense.I distanced myself from the poem so I could have an objective view of it.I edited that word out and the poem still made sense.I considered other people who might feel offended by it and realised I could do away with it – it was a motivational poem,and that word kind of marred the aura of it.
Today,one of my best critics is Jesse Joojo Johnson.I always like to hear what he has to say on my poems.He can be tough sometimes but tough love can finely mould the weakness in you when timely applied.
One of the best people whose works I like to share my thoughts on is Dela Nyamuame (Efo Dela).It’s simply because he ever welcomes it so I’m always encouraged to take my time to read his work,whether prose or poetry.
Finally,I was glad to hear the opinions of two of the judges for the Ghana Poetry Prize concerning my poem, “The Leashed Goat Bleats.”
Through their words I saw a part of my poem which I hadn’t even seen.
That’s the beauty of sharing one’s thoughts on another’s works.
But sometimes after reading a person’s poem there seems to be very little left to say whiles the poet/writer might feel the need for more from the critique.
However long or short a critique is a critique.
I’m always open for people to critique any of my works.
I cherish your thoughts on my works.
I’m ever willing to learn.
I encourage Ghanaian poets to welcome the critique’s thoughts
Have a good week 🙂
0533hrs GMT;18th November,2013.