Monday, June 18, 2007

Poetry Critiques

Occasionally I am asked to do poetry critiques. I do offer such a service and previously had a web page which explained it. I have asked for that page to be taken down and am moving the information here. Below is a description of the critique service I offer.


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About Critique

Q: What is a poetry critique?

A: A poetry critique is another person's analysis of your poem. A good critique tells you what works in your writing, points out weaknesses and makes concrete suggestions as to how to improve your work.

Q: Can't just anyone critique my poems?

A: Of course. But you may want to safeguard the integrity of your writing by being careful whom you ask for advice. Some things you may want to check are:

* What are the qualifications of this person?
* Does he/she have experience writing in my genre?
* Have I seen examples of his/her work? Is it the kind of poetry I enjoy? (To view samples of my work, read poems I have authored on this blog and find links to more poems here.)

Q: Where is the best place to get critique?

A: Your writer's group is an excellent place to ask for critique. Another option is a critique service. This is critique from a professional writer who charges a fee for a critique. I offer such a service.

Q: What qualifies you to critique my work?

A: In addition to earning an Education Degree with an Academic Major in English (B.Ed. U.B.C. 1972), I am a published, prize-winning poet, who is active in an online poetry forum. I am frequently asked by Nathan Harms, Executive Director of Utmost Christian Writers Foundation, to do critiques for the foundation.

Q: What would one of your critiques look like?

A: My critique will tell you what your poem communicates to me, and what I feel are its strengths and weaknesses - both in concept and technique. I will also give suggestions for improvement. A thorough critique will usually exceed 300 words per poem. Less thorough critiques -- e.g. for a collection of poems -- may be shorter.

Q: What is the cost of a critique?

A: Poem to 40 lines - $15 Cdn / Poem over 40 lines - to be negotiated. I will also consider looking at collections of poems - price to be negotiated.

Q: How do you want the poems sent to you and how do you deliver the critique?

A: Contact me with your request by e-mail. Please include some information about yourself and the poems you want me to critique, including:
- Your name
- Number of poems to be critiqued along with longest and shortest lengths
- Anything else that will help me evaluate your work, such as your approximate age, how long you've been writing poetry, how much poetry you've read (by major/minor poets) and your favorite poet(s).

After we arrive at an agreement and price, you can email or surface mail your poems to me. I will send your critique by email or surface mail (whichever you prefer) after I have received your payment.

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Nathan Harms says about these critiques:

During the past few years, Violet Nesdoly has prepared a number of professional critiques for our association and its members. Her critiques are always thoughtful, thorough and considerate. In fact, when I wanted my own poem critiqued, I sent it to Violet knowing that her input would be valuable and helpful to the development of my work. I recommend her very highly.


Nathan Harms, Executive Director

Utmost Christian Writers Foundation

"The World's foremost foundation for the benefit of Christian poets

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Children's Laureate

British writer, poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen has been named Britain's fifth Children's Laureate. The stint runs for two years. I like his take on teaching poetry (interview with the BBC):

Instead of teaching right and wrong answers, it's about thinking poems are things you can climb into and investigate - just as you would climb into a cupboard and feel your way around to find out where you are.


Into a cupboard -- or behind the dustbin?

Down Behind the Dustbin

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Ted.
‘Leave me alone,’ he says,
‘I’m just going to bed.’
read entire...

And you could also explore a little

Chocolate Cake

I love chocolate cake.
And when I was a boy
I loved it even more.
read entire...


More fun and nonsense poems by Michael Rosen are found here and on Mr. Rosen's own website .