Critique group (poem)

I wrote this for my critique group, expressing some of my (newbie) feelings about the critiquing process. Do others have the same thoughts and feelings about it?

This critiquing game is hard.
It lays your soul open wide,
Your deepest thoughts for all to see,
And invites the critters inside.

Lightly as they tread,
The daisies still get trampled,
Structure taken apart;
Favourite lines get strangled.

Part of me wants to hear,
Nothing but praise and love,
As my words shine new light
And raise you up above

Maybe one day they will.
But they’re not quite ready yet.
As good as they seem now, this isn’t
As good as they can get.

So they pass through the crucible,
Tested and toughened by flame.
Ready to share with the world,
Ready to make your name.

So thank you all for your words
And all the time that you take
The different perspective you bring
The different insight you make

This is a relationship of trust
From thousands of miles away.
I hope to eventually meet you in person.
Perhaps at your book signing day?


10 thoughts on “Critique group (poem)

  1. It’s certainly harder to do (and take) than we first realised! I think it gets easier as you build up a relationship and start to trust someone else’s views & opinions. An interesting question: is it easier to do mutual criticism with someone you already know (like we do), or is it easier to give and take from a complete stranger?


    • Good question! I’m really not sure I know the answer. It may be easier to dismiss the views of someone you’ve never met – “they just don’t get it” – but ultimately our books would need to be read by thousands (millions!) of people we’ve never met. One thing that could be more difficult is the impossibility of dodging feedback to or from someone you know. For example, in my critique group, if there is a piece that just doesn’t work for me, I could in theory just not respond to it (I don’t get time to read everyone’s work anyway, much as I’d love to). That silence would be more telling if you asked me, “so, Al, whaddya think of this one then?!”… For my part, I try to critique as I would be critiqued by anyway, and give some positive feedback along with the more constructive variety. There also needs to be an appreciation that the writer’s word is final: all views are welcome, but the writer is the one who ultimately decides how, or if, to respond to the critique. It’s all a psychological minefield, but a necessary one!


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  3. Terrific! I was in the ‘other group’ – also for the first time. We’re lucky to have fallen in among good people, aren’t we! Despite train horror getting me home to Lonon at 11pm, I hope to be back on 20 December. Happy writing.


    • Thanks Karen! My train home to Nottm terminated at Derby due to a “bird strike”… I have a strong suspicion that the rail staff are competing to make up the daftest excuse!
      Hopefully no train horrors next time… On the Saturday before Christmas… Eek!


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