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Poetry Critiques during National Poetry Month

April 24, 2019


Poetic Day 24 of National Poetry Month:  April 24, 2019, Wednesday


With fireworks over Lake Michigan (near my townhouse) last evening and sunshine over the big lake (and through my windows) this morning, another poetic day has dawned.  Have you taken or given “The Poetry Challenge”–“Willow’s Poetry Challenge”?  If not, please read my post of April 23, Monday.  By the way, in that Monday post, “P.C.” may represent “Poetry Challenge” or “Poetically Correct.”


Should “P.C.” also stand for “Poetically Critiqued”?  Placing one’s poem in public–no matter the forum (blog, other online publication, magazine or journal, book, critique session, other literary meeting, open microphone session, poetry workshop, classroom, etc.)–opens the door to being critiqued.


The critique may range from a positive and easily accepted suggestion to a much too harsh negative comment, from an overly flowery compliment to an unfair criticism.  With such a broad spectrum of possibilities of shared perspectives, the best response from the poet is merely to say, “Thank you.”  Later–the next day, week, month, or even year–the poet can give the comment or suggestion a fresh consideration.  Time gives the possibility to be able to revise with a fresh poetic approach; on the other hand, time, experience, and self-awareness of one’s poetic goals allow the poet to choose to dismiss, hopefully wisely, a comment or suggestion.  While we learn from others, we must also learn to grow from re-evaluating our own writing.  The poetic highway is a two-way thoroughfare.



To the Poem, Lying in State at the Rhyming Rotunda


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



About a delicate, innocent, little poem of mine,

someone quite creatively knowledgeable

and widely and wildly well-published

said in passing at her presentation:

“I like her poem, by the way;

but I don’t know if it is finished.”


“Finished.”  Finished?

Is that poem lying in state in the Rhyming Rotunda?

Is the poem draped in the flag

of the Pickled Poets’ Society?

Are there Grammar Guards standing watch?

Are there Punctuation Patrols ready to present the Colors?

No?  No.  No!

Then, I assure you the poem is not finished.

It is just at a stage in its poetic life

when it can appear on a poetic platform.


Dear Little Poem of mine,

At any time, each of your little words is not safe;

some will be unceremoniously plucked away from you.

Some of your longer lines

may be limited or lifted right off your page.

Some of your seemingly once vivacious verses

may fall victim to the poet’s carving knife.

Some of your stanzas may not stand the temporary test of time.

Even your precious title may be revised

when re-read with later eyes.

Your sweet, but weak little comma

may soon be replaced with that stronger semicolon.

Watch out! That exclamation point

of which you are so fond

may promptly be deleted!


Dear Critic, I assure you,

the poem will never be completed!

As long as you now understand, I will not stress:

Poetry is now and forever more a work-in-progress.


* * *




  1. Write a poem about your participation in a readers’ workshop, open microphone session, poetry slam, or other poetry presentation in which you have participated.
  2. Write a poem about revising and/or editing.
  3. Write a poem about sharing poetry or sharing your love of poetry.
  4. Write an epistolary poem, in which you address your “letter poem” to a poem or poet.
  5. Write a poem in which you detail your goals as if you were Poet Laureate of either the United States or your own state.


With more cheers for poetry,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


April 24, 2019, Wednesday



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  1. mfanyo permalink

    Oh, what a delightful and clever poem, Alice! I smiled as I read your play on words in line after line. Writing a poem would be a chore for me, but you always seem to have such fun and never seem to lack creative images. What a blessing your talent is to you and to all of us who read and enjoy your works (even if they are “in progress”). Congratulations and thank you!
    Love, Mary

  2. I agree with Mary. this is a delightful poem about critiquing a poem.
    In this piece you discuss all of the pros and cons we all face when we put our work out to the public and even to our writing friends. It’s a risky business, the critique! I loved how you shared an inner dialogue as well in this piece. You really show the process of editing and the many considerations we have to think about when looking at one little poem. I surely do agree, a poem is never finished. It is subject to change and pivot at any time in the future once it is down on that page. A poet is a word surgeon.

    • Hi, Lynda–Special thanks for your wonderful comments on this post!  Since I know how busy you are with two new books set to be released later this year, I greatly appreciate your taking the time to read and comment on this post.  Also, I am happily grateful that you re-blogged this post.

      With many thanks, Alice and Willow

  3. Reblogged this on SCAN-a-BLOG and commented:
    As we are closing in on the final days of National Poetry Month, I am sharing this delightful and insightful essay/poem by Alice Jane-Marie Massa today. I think you will bind it inspiring, hilarious and educational. Enjoy the day! Read a POEM.

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