Is It Possible to Be Too Kind?
When you are a member of an online writing site/group you will meet a lot of like-minded people and probably make good friends from among these peers. The only trouble with this is that most people shy away from leaving comments that are not positive even if what they read isn’t up to standard. The truth is most people are just “too nice.” In order to improve as writers and poets, I feel we need constructive criticism, whether good or bad. No one likes to have their work criticised but it can be done with tact and in a way that encourages, rather than degrades.
False Praise is Not Enough
If I were to write a poem
That made no sense at all,
Every line just random words
With no real style or form –
Would you critique the poem with tact
And pretend you understand?
“Good poem, nice flow, well penned,
Your poetry is grand.”
Or would you give a true review,
Be honest for my good,
“This poem, to me, just makes no sense.
It’s jumbled, without flow.
I cannot find a message,
Its subject I don’t know.”
Some of our peers, or so it seems,
Just say things to be nice.
Even if our poem’s a fail
The truth will pay the price.
Buoyed by pride in all the praise
We submit it to be published.
The editor just takes one look
And thinks, “This poem is rubbish.”
If you are very lucky
You may get a reply,
Most likely a rejection
Something along these lines:
“Thank you for submitting
Your poem for us to read,
Unfortunately, it doesn’t meet
The standards that we need.
So please, my friends, be honest,
False praise is not enough.
Just tell me like it really is.
I’m a big boy and I’m tough.
So, it’s tough love I am seeking
To inspire me to improve.
I need critique, both good and bad,
Or I’ll stagnate in a groove.
by John Hansen © 2017
After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBooks of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" and "On the Wings of Eagles" at Lulu.com.Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction.
I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren.
I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials.
It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years is now wonderful material for my stories and poems.
I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.