How to critique a poem

January 23, 2008

Sharon Brogan over at Watermark has a terrific post up entitled How to critique a poem. It’s full of nuggets of wisdom like:

  • Critique the poem, not the poet.
  • Don’t assume that the speaker of the poem is the poet; poets often write in fictional voices.
  • Say what you like about the poem; be specific.

— and many of the suggestions are links to comments or articles that shed more insight on her suggestions. The post is designed for those who are active in online poetry communities, but this advice would work equally well for in-person writing workshops…and I think these are generally applicable, with some obvious minor modifications, to commenting on prose (fiction or nonfiction), too.

There’s also a certain alignment between Sharon’s suggestions and the workshop instructions we developed at Inkberry’s inception…though, of course, her version doesn’t begin “Don’t eat babies.” 🙂


Get your creative juices flowing

January 22, 2008

Today is the minor Jewish festival of Tu BiShvat, the New Year of the Trees, when (according to Jewish tradition) the sap which will feed the trees in the coming growing season begins to rise. That strikes me as a fine metaphor for the way we, as writers, draw sustenance from where we’re rooted even during these cold months of the year.

For those inkberrians who are, like me, always looking for writing prompts, generative exercises, and ways of generally getting those creative juices flowing, here’s my favorite literary link of the day: get the lead out: it’s noting, really, a post chock-full of links to blogs and websites that offer writing prompts of all kinds. Enjoy!

January inkmail

January 12, 2008

The latest edition of inkmail — the monthly chronicle of the ins and outs of Inkberry life — has been posted to our website. This month’s inkmail was written by Linda White, the intrepid chair of our board of directors.

The coming of a new year always seems to raise questions about who we are and what we’re doing; I hope you are all being kind to yourselves. On our part, at Inkberry, we’re resolving to bring organizational assessment to the fore this year. The board of directors has chosen to devote the next few months looking at Inkberry’s strategic plan, so that we can continue to provide the programs and services you have valued in the past, as well as develop relevant programs for the future…

You can read the whole thing here. Enjoy!

Book recs for the new year

January 2, 2008

Happy New Year from Inkberry!

We’re curious to know what y’all are reading this winter: old books, new books (borrowed books, blue books?) Drop a comment here and let us know what’s on your shelf or in your hands.

(Me, I just finished The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, and I’m about to begin Michael Chabon’s Yiddish Policeman’s Union…)