Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Working It All Out; Phase 2: Anonymous Thoughts

Now normally I pay anonymous comments no heed. Or very little. It’s my opinion that they originate from sorry passive aggressive personalities and that those with such conditions deserve our compassion. But little attention.

But the other day, some anonymous soul came by and pointed out that a particular criticism of a specific poem was nothing but vitriol, and that he/she was sure that my poetry could use some of the same. Which is a bit of an inconsistency I suppose, but I have to admit it made me think about my recent practice.

Now first, I’d like to state categorically to all three of you reading this that I HAVE been criticized in such a manner. In fact, worse. And it threw me into a tailspin for quite some time. But I believe I was better for it in the long run.

And I do have faith in the power of constructive criticism, which I still think must practice a little gentle destruction here and there at times. And there is too little of that these days in this scratch-your back and you-scratch-mine world. Tough love? Maybe.

But I’m not sure if what I had been doing would qualify. Because truth be told, it’s mostly the business of poetry I really want to criticize. Or business, period. Or poetry the past several centuries. For that’s the real disease. And these many (not all) poor poems written by well-meaning but mostly self-deluded poets (including myself of course) are merely the symptoms.

So, Anonymous, wherever and whomever you are, thank you for your misguided comment that hit a completely different mark than I’m sure you had intended. And really, my friend, next time state your name. No one cares that much who you are.

And there’s really no need to be ashamed of honest feelings. But mostly, stand by your word. Even if you decide, after some thought, to delete it. Like I did with those recent shows.

7 comments:

Nic Sebastian said...

"And there is too little of that these days in this scratch-your back and you-scratch-mine world."

Hear hear. You already know what I think -- keep at it!!

JWG said...

I love coming here. Really, the work is out there, it should get shouted at. up/down/from the side. Any attention is good attention.

Reb said...

Yeah, what JWG said. You've been critical of work that I adore and selected and obviously in those cases I don't agree, but I'm still interested in what you have to say.

Helen Losse said...

I love coming here, too. You seem comfortable in your own skin, Greg, which is probably why you don't mind using your name with your opinions. I love it when you critique poems but often I disagree with your view. (And with Reb's).

Julie Carter said...

I hope you can keep at it. I'm finding myself completely unable to keep motivated. I feel like I'm talking to myself.

Greg said...

Thanks all for your encouragement.

Anonymous said...

I'm torn on this one- "if you can't say anything nice. . . " and "what a load of cliche". But that's me being a "nice girl"- I love it that someone says the not nice things. I mean, let the sentimentalists circle their wagons, but someone needs to let them know to do it. If it's out there, it's "published" and fair game.

I'll be back.