Offering writers a venue for sharing their work with a group of like-minded fellows.
Providing feedback through discussion and critique.
General Guidelines
Poetry Guidelines

Upcoming Critiques

Critiques will be posted as they arrive.

Evolution Farm Chapters 35 - 36
by Dan Cassenti

Forgiveness
by Kate Lashley

The Heron
by Arnon Hurwitz

Teddy Gets Out
by Andrew Vaughnley

A Glass Half Full
by Peter Judge

Poetry Critique Guidelines

Remember—the general idea is to provide constructive support for your fellow writers and to consider responses to your own work objectively. Critiquers, put your personal biases aside; authors, detach emotionally from your work. Also remember that we are not creating poems by committee. Readers are entitled to their opinions; writers do not need to defend their work—they simply choose to accept or reject criticism. "I understand what you're saying, and I'll think about it" will suffice.

  1. Read it out loud. Then take a slow walk through the poem. What does each line say to you? What is your interpretation? What kind of poem is it?

  2. Does the first line of the poem draw you in and make you want to keep reading?

  3. Does the poem make sense grammatically? Is the style of punctuation clear and consistent? Any problems with word choice? Does the language obfuscate the meaning of the poem? Will most educated readers understand, or at least be willing to spend some time with the poem?

  4. Are there any cliches, prosy-to-the-point-of-bothersome language, excess adjectives and adverbs, or unintended sounds (accidental rhyme, excess assonance or alliteration, tongue-twisters)? Is any use of assonance, consonance, alliteration—repetition of any kind—pleasing?

  5. Would cutting here and there make the poem more effective? Should a word or two be added to clarify the meaning? Would rearranging lines or stanzas make the poem pack more of a punch?

  6. Does the voice, or mask, ring true for the poem, and is it consistent? Does it feel genuine? Is the diction appropriate?

  7. Is the imagery absent, weak, strong, powerful? Are your senses involved in the reading of the poem? Which senses?

  8. Do line and stanza breaks make sense, create tension, contribute to the meaning and music of the poem?

  9. If a traditional form is used, is the poem true to the form (or are the deviations acceptable)? Is the meter consistent; if there are variations, are they acceptable to you? If there is a rhyme scheme, is it used consistently and effectively? Do any of the rhymes seem forced? Is that a problem?

Harford Writers' Group | writers@harfordwritersgroup.org