Herod's Heirs

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Herod's Heirs

Post by Katherine » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:59 pm

A butterfly did flutter by,
A trope, old rope – catastrophe!
Did flutter by? Archaic use!
And so, you’re open to abuse.
They could, of course, wish to astound
Oh, butterflies don’t make a sound!
They’re searching now, that second line
for palindromes they will not find.
That rope, rope, rope stuff is a bit
which interests - forget it’s shit!

I love this forum, but I find
a coterie, amidst the kind,
which gangs up on the kids who dare
to post their ‘babies’ over here.



PS I really love this forum, because there are so many kind and informative people/poets here. I would admire the 'no-one is going to blow smoke up your arse' routine, if it weren't for the fact that smoke is, routinely, blown up arses. Some 'Emperors' need to be told that they have no clothes. I hope that this is not my swansong. x
Last edited by Katherine on Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by ray miller » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:44 am

I like it. Maybe the opening couplet should be italicised, to distinguish it from the rest, and the final 4 lines form a separate stanza. For all I know I may be one of the Emperors, I've been a penguin in my time, but I haven't noticed any particularly harsh or cruel comments on here lately. In comparison to some sites the advice is pretty restrained and there's barely enough people on here to form a coterie. I've long held the view that we should all simmer in one pot, that there shouldn't be Beginners and Experienced forums but everyone else seems ok with the status quo.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by ManOfWar » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:29 am

I did, and very much so, love this poem and its potency,
But also the sedative pins and needles, that is to say, it was
The harmonic subtlety with-in the poem, the sensitiveness
Of the whole poem was an enjoyment, as a read:

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Firebird » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:26 pm

I quite like it. But I only think you need to italicise the first line, to distinguish it from the rest. I agree with Ray, I don't think there is a coterie here.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Katherine » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:27 pm

To be brutally honest, Ray, you are one of the ‘Emperors’. I am not saying that people are being ‘cruel’ in their responses, but they sometimes don’t respond at all. Sometimes, if questioned, they will say “Surely, you know…”. There’s a ‘snippiness’ and a sense of people being affronted. There’s a proprietorial vibe on the ‘experienced’ board – where I have never dared to tread. I’ve made one or two comments, but there’s only so many times you can say “I have no idea what you’re talking about, but it sounds nice.”. On the other hand, I feel as though some people could post :
Dog shit
stinks
a bit
and it would be met with an outpouring of praise!
Genuinely, I’m not even saying this on my own behalf. My efforts have been met with praise, criticism and kindly advice. This is only the second forum I have ever joined. On the first one, I learned nowt and my behind was smoky – pointless!
All I'm saying is - some bottoms are not smokeless here, either.
This is a great forum, with knowledgeable, questioning, forthright people. But, lots folks are being frightened off.

Your advice about this little piece is top drawer! I know exactly what you mean and thank-you.
I'm hoping that I will not be persona non grata from now on. x

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Katherine » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:46 pm

You're very kind, ManOfWar - Not sure about the 'pins and needles', nor any form of subtlety ;) , but pleased you liked it.

Thanks Tristan, I agree with Ray about the changes.
As far as the 'coterie' is concerned, perhaps I'm being harsh. I lie low, reading, reacting and sometimes contributing to the posts on this forum and ONLY the posts on this forum. I don't go anywhere else and this poem is not indicative of personal experience, more an observation of the treatment of others. That's why I don't think it is imagined.

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:03 am

Hi Katherine

A very interesting poem and thread that highlights something that most long time posters will recognise. Over the years I've been a member of several boards and
currently post here and at one other site.

In my experience, all forums undergo a meltdown of one sort or another as the years progress, and cliques will inevitably develop. That's part and parcel, I'm afraid.
However, when any member feels excluded or reluctant to speak out for fear of reprisals or putdowns a silent departure usually occurs, with the cliques remaining intact. That's how it appears initially. When the majority of the membership feels the same way, an exodus is the most common outcome.

I was a member and moderator at the "old" TCP (The Critical Poet) for an age, witnessing all sorts of problems because of its sheer size. I won't bore you with the details but mod favouritism was cited by many as a major problem. Some mods were seen as antagonistic and vindictive if they were questioned about favouritism, members were attacked for becoming mods etc etc and the site eventually morphed into an unwieldy monster. So the membership rebelled and the site split, then it split again, becoming tcp.com and tcp.org with different admins and mods. I don't think it ever recovered. Tcp .org eventually folded and tcp .com has recently closed its doors for the last time. I used to visit occasionally to look in for old time's sake, but found nothing of the old TCP in place. A few former members who were doing their best to keep things going, but the forum's flagship had sunk. I can't even begin to tell you about the goings on and secret debates/scheming that took place in the "invisible" mods forum.

I don't think this forum is suffering from the same problem btw, at least not from my observations. I don't know what the stat's are or how many active members currently post here at PG or how many people drop in, only to drop out after a short spell. I honestly don't know but it would be interesting to analyse the results of any research. It would be a useful exercise.

Finally, some individuals will blow hot and cold, eventually becoming just plain cold. That's true of any site where any person positions themselves on a self-appointed pedestal. The real problem, and one that is particularly insidious, is the boycotting of members as a form of "secret" punishment. I would be shocked if I discovered that this practice was prevalent at PG. I've seen at other sites.

Many of the regular posters here at PG have been members for donkey's years, so an in-crowd persona has undoubtedly developed. There is a tendency to flatter your closest friends in all walks of society and when something is labelled as "contemporary" it becomes difficult for newer members to understand why contemporary "shit" is being applauded. Again, that's part and parcel, and the "in-crowd" will always win where the clique makes up the large majority of active participants. Busy boards have weaker cliques but more problems, small boards have stronger cliques with fewer problems. It will be interesting to note how your observations are met. (and mine for that matter)
Now! That's not to say that contemporary poetry is "shit", far from it actually. I think you're referring to the high praise that's often lavished on mediocre poetry/prose rather than slighting the form. Maybe you should highlight your concerns in the poet's thread. This would only work, of course, if your critiques were acknowledged with more than a nod.

Overall, I've been very happy here, with very good, sometimes excellent advice being offered by most members and mods. Ok, I have certain reservations but no doubt people have certain reservations about me. That's only fair. :) You can't please all of the people all of the time, or as Abraham Lincoln once said,

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

In the general scheme of things the scales of fairness must be seen to be balanced. Some might argue that nobody's forcing you to stay, but I'm sure that's why you've raised the issue in the first place. You'd rather NOT leave, or be forced out.

Anyway, to your poem:

If you were looking for a reaction you've got one, and in that respect the poem works very well. I also think it's brilliantly delivered with just the right amount of invective to raise the eyebrows but enough restraint to appear as reasonable. It's clever, succinct and loaded. I wonder if the poem would have had the same effect if you'd left the footnote out of the picture. I think it would.

Your meter is flawless iambic tetrameter and even though I stumble a bit at L9 it reads very well.

You have fourteen lines that could easily, if you wanted, be presented as a sonnet in tetrameter. Shaky wrote a sonnet in 'tet', an early one, some say.

"Those lips that Love’s own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said ‘I hate’
To me that languish’d for her sake;
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom,
And taught it thus anew to greet:
‘I hate’ she alter’d with an end,
That follow’d it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away;
‘I hate’ from hate away she threw,
And saved my life, saying ‘not you.’"

EG only

A butterfly did flutter by,
A trope, old rope – catastrophe!
Did flutter by? Archaic use!
And so, you’re open to abuse.

They could, of course, wish to astound
Oh, butterflies don’t make a sound!
They’re searching now, that second line
for palindromes they will not find.

That rope, rope, rope stuff is a bit
which interests - forget it’s shit!
I love this forum, but I find
a coterie, amidst the kind,

which gangs up on the kids who dare
to post their ‘babies’ over here.

OR

A butterfly did flutter by,
A trope, old rope – catastrophe!
Did flutter by? Archaic use!
And so, you’re open to abuse.
They could, of course, wish to astound
Oh, butterflies don’t make a sound!
They’re searching now, that second line
for palindromes they will not find.

That rope, rope, rope stuff is a bit
which interests - forget it’s shit!
I love this forum, but I find
a coterie, amidst the kind,
which gangs up on the kids who dare
to post their ‘babies’ over here.

The first is the traditional presentation for a Shakespearean sonnet in tet rather than pent, the second is Petrarchanesque (how's that for pretentious :) ) with an octave followed by a sestet. You could argue against the run on from the final quatrain of the first version to the couplet, but I quite like it.

Just a few thoughts for the pot. Make of them what you will.

Best

JJ

PS

The title's a tad harsh. Hope they don't take after Salome. :)

J
Last edited by JJWilliamson on Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Firebird » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:20 am

I just want to say that I found JJ's post about forum behaviour very insightful. You experience at TCP sounds terrible.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by ray miller » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:43 pm

Katherine wrote:To be brutally honest, Ray, you are one of the ‘Emperors’. I am not saying that people are being ‘cruel’ in their responses, but they sometimes don’t respond at all. Sometimes, if questioned, they will say “Surely, you know…”. There’s a ‘snippiness’ and a sense of people being affronted. There’s a proprietorial vibe on the ‘experienced’ board – where I have never dared to tread. I’ve made one or two comments, but there’s only so many times you can say “I have no idea what you’re talking about, but it sounds nice.”. On the other hand, I feel as though some people could post :
Dog shit
stinks
a bit
and it would be met with an outpouring of praise!
Genuinely, I’m not even saying this on my own behalf. My efforts have been met with praise, criticism and kindly advice. This is only the second forum I have ever joined. On the first one, I learned nowt and my behind was smoky – pointless!
All I'm saying is - some bottoms are not smokeless here, either.
This is a great forum, with knowledgeable, questioning, forthright people. But, lots folks are being frightened off.

Your advice about this little piece is top drawer! I know exactly what you mean and thank-you.
I'm hoping that I will not be persona non grata from now on. x
Thanks, Katherine. It's good to see oneself through other eyes. My initial reaction was to think, so that's why so few people fail to stay at PG, it's all because of me.I've stayed here too long and I should leave as soon as possible. Then I read your comments a few more times and this is what I think.
I don't feel part of any coterie. Quite the opposite, actually. But I do recall having similar thoughts as yourself when I first joined and was posting in Beginners.
I can see how I might come across as snippy. I'd call it something else, of course, like direct and to the point. But if I am snippy, then I'm snippy across the board, on both forums. Also, I think I'm harsher on my own poems than other people's. I try to give constructive advice, I really do, but I haven't got all the time in the world.
Blowing smoke up people's arses amounts to insincere flattery? I can't see that in me at all. Show me an example and I'll take a knife to it. To be honest, I imagine it's quite difficult to be both snippy and an insincere flatterer.
When you say, "sometimes they don't respond at all" I don't know what you mean. Don't respond to what? To criticism, to other poems? Well, here's one of my bugbears. Countless times I've taken on board advice given, revised a poem, posted it and received not a single response. So I don't do it anymore.

Best Wishes, Ray
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Antcliff » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:53 pm

lots folks are being frightened off.

I would be saddened if this were so, Katherine. Do you know of any instances of specific people being frightened off by specific actions of specific people? If so, then I am sure the mods would want to be informed.

Best wishes,
Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by David » Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:22 pm

Herod's Heirs ... so, the massacre of the innocents? Good reference. Not sure I agree, but, you might say, I wouldn't, would I? I really don't know.

It's a fun poem in itself. Is smoke routinely blown up arses? Well, there you have me. I wouldn't have said so, but again I don't know. Otherwise, I pretty much agree with Ray. I've not noticed any abuse. Down with that sort of thing.
ray miller wrote:I've long held the view that we should all simmer in one pot, that there shouldn't be Beginners and Experienced forums but everyone else seems ok with the status quo.
That's always been my view too. I've proposed it on several occasions, but unsuccessfully so far. I'd be happy to put into action, if there was a mandate for it. Let's have a referendum! What could go wrong?

I wouldn't have said there was a coterie here either, but maybe there is and they haven't told me about it. (I think the coterie effect, which must be real for you to comment on it, is pretty much what JJ suggests - it's a result of old acquaintance. But it's not intentionally exclusive, I think.)

For those who want to ignore the tedious barrier between "Experienced" and "Beginners", I recommend doing what I do, which is simply to look at "Active posts" instead. Then you are exposed to everything that has been posted, regardless of where it is posted. I'm colour-blind in that sense.

Where I really sympathise with the point you're making, Katherine, is in relation to the responses given to poems. Sometimes poems don't get the attention they deserve - or, where (in, say, this reader's opinion) they don't work, time is not taken to make the sort of comments that might help the poet in future. I regret that, but - as Ray says - "I haven't got all the time in the world". Or, as I think of it, the real world intervenes.There was a time when I tried to reply to everything posted, and it ran me ragged. I can't go back to that.

What we have is very imperfect, I think, but I think it compares pretty well with what I've seen elsewhere. (I too post somewhere else, in a US forum, where sometimes the bitterness of the infighting would take the paint of your walls. I steer well clear of that.)

Can't think what else to say. Let's see how it goes from now on.

Cheers

David

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:43 pm

David wrote:Herod's Heirs
I wouldn't have said there was a coterie here either, but maybe there is and they haven't told me about it. (I think the coterie effect, which must be real for you to comment on it, is pretty much what JJ suggests - it's a result of old acquaintance. But it's not intentionally exclusive, I think.)
Yes, people will inevitably become pally when they work together over a long period of time. I've seen it a thousand times. (Touch of exaggeration there for dramatic effect.) :) I currently post at Penshells, which is a splinter group from TCP and everything's chugging along fine and dandy, but the number of active members is dwindling and there's never any infighting. It's a members only forum, though anybody can join. They've recently secured a few placements and wins in the still active IBPC. Only found out a few months ago that IBPC still operated. Had a chat with Ros about it at the time. With the ever decreasing boards the IBPC is under pressure if my research is correct.

With this in mind and other things I think David's comment, "let's see how it goes from now on", is a good one.

All the best, Katherine

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:55 pm

JJWilliamson wrote:
David wrote:Herod's Heirs
I wouldn't have said there was a coterie here either, but maybe there is and they haven't told me about it. (I think the coterie effect, which must be real for you to comment on it, is pretty much what JJ suggests - it's a result of old acquaintance. But it's not intentionally exclusive, I think.)
Yes, people will inevitably become pally when they work together over a long period of time. I've seen it a thousand times. (Touch of exaggeration there for dramatic effect.) :) I currently post at Penshells, which was originally a splinter group from TCP and everything's chugging along fine and dandy, but the number of active members is dwindling and there's never any infighting. It's a members only forum, though anybody can join. They've recently secured a few placements and wins in the still active IBPC. Only found out a few months ago that IBPC still operated. Had a chat with Ros about it at the time. With the ever decreasing boards the IBPC is under pressure if my research is correct.

With this in mind, and other things, I think David's comment, "let's see how it goes from now on", is a good one.

All the best, Katherine

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Katherine » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:41 am

I have been received very kindly; learned a lot; have enjoyed reading others’ poetry; questioning; commenting and reading what other people have said. I dabble and dip in and out, until ‘the muse’ descends (I wish!).

I suppose it’s only natural to respond, more regularly, to poems and comments from people you know and to react more favourably to their efforts. It’s also natural to accept criticism, more readily, from people you know and whose opinions you value. If you haven’t got the time to run through all of the contributions, then you might very well wish to concentrate upon what X, Y or Z have contributed, if you know them. - It’s all perfectly understandable.

Conversely, this means that other people’s poems are not responded to, quite so much and responses can sometimes be perfunctory. They are seen more objectively and commented upon impersonally, coldly. It’s harder to accept criticism from people whom we haven’t taken the time to get to know and their comments are not as valued. Their posts are lost to the prioritisation of friends and time, as they slide down the board. – it’s all perfectly understandable.

My feelings of uneasiness have arisen over a long period of time, believing that I see this contrast. I haven't kept a log. It's the slow accumulation of little things – a little drop here and there can create huge stalactites and stalagmites. And these feelings stem, in the vast majority of instances, from reading the ‘experienced’ board, where I have never posted a poem.

I thought long and hard about posting this. I suppose I just wanted to clear the air, but perhaps I have created a stink, by being too harsh and not a little hurtful – I’m sorry about that. x

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by David » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:03 am

Katherine wrote:I thought long and hard about posting this. I suppose I just wanted to clear the air, but perhaps I have created a stink, by being too harsh and not a little hurtful – I’m sorry about that. x
Think of it as a valuable consciousness-raising exercise, Katherine. I certainly feel that I've had my consciousness raised, although I dare say it will start to sag again before too long.

Anyway, suitably chastened, I have resolved to do better (although – see above – I thought I was doing okay already). I shall venture forth accordingly.

I wish you would venture into Experienced (if we must have that definition) more, Katherine. There’s no intentional policy of apartheid being applied. I’ve got something there at the moment, for instance. Tell me if you don’t like it and, if you want to go into detail, why you don’t like it. That’s what it’s there for.

If we must have two separate houses – and I (and Ray) don’t think we must – we can at least pop round to each others' on a regular basis. And you should post wherever you like. Mac, for instance, regularly posts in Beginners, but no beginner he.

Cheers

David

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by ton321 » Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:27 am

Great Post, Katherine,

Like you I think there is a problem with the distinction between beginners and experienced forums. Maybe if they were joined into one big melting pot, everyone
could learn from each other, which is what its all about. Experienced poets could learn to see from newbies eyes, and newbie poets would learn more quickly.

Cheers Ton.
Last edited by ton321 on Sat Sep 10, 2016 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Ros » Sat Sep 10, 2016 6:36 pm

The original idea of Experienced and Beginners, as I understand it, was so that if someone posted in Beginners it was assumed they might appreciate a gentler crit and those who had been here longer would understand that the person might still be finding their feet with the basic craft. Posting in Experienced meant the person already understood something of rhythm, alliteration, metaphor etc and how best to use them - and could also provide crits themselves beyond the level of 'I enjoyed it' or 'couldn't understand that bit'. It's not supposed to be a perjorative distinction - everyone has to start somewhere. Everyone is encouraged to read the work in all forums and comment on it. Possibly part of the problem is people feeling they can't venture out of 'their bit'. Newbie poets should certainly get stuck in in Exp. I can see arguments both ways for having and not having Exp and Beg, and it's a discussion various of us have had over the years.

Obviously, people who have been here a while get to know the sort of things the other long-standing members are trying to do, and so their comments will be more informed. Generally, when it's not rather quiet here, I think people give a lot of their time to help all others, especially those posting for the first time. Comments are almost always helpful (if perhaps abrupt - but that's a time thing). How anyone could accuse Ray of being less than even-handed is beyond me, and he's miles away from any idea of 'Emperor'. There's no coterie or clique here, honestly, and people do their best. I'm upset that anyone is suggesting otherwise as a systematic thing. Sometimes people may be rather harsh on a poem, but it's only ever about the work, not personal, and that's going to happen anywhere on occasion. If anyone feels otherwise, please contact a mod and we will deal with it.

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Katherine » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:09 pm

Think of it as a valuable consciousness-raising exercise, Katherine. I certainly feel that I've had my consciousness raised, although I dare say it will start to sag again before too long.
Anyway, suitably chastened, I have resolved to do better (although – see above – I thought I was doing okay already). I shall venture forth accordingly. That’s really kind of you. I feared that my concerns would have been dismissed out of hand.

I wish you would venture into Experienced (if we must have that definition) more, Katherine. There’s no intentional policy of apartheid being applied. I’ve got something there at the moment, for instance. Tell me if you don’t like it and, if you want to go into detail, why you don’t like it. That’s what it’s there for. I might very well do that, unless I don’t understand it – which in many instances, is the case. Then, I’ll just scroll down and read others’ comments and hope to pick up some useful information.

If we must have two separate houses – and I (and Ray) don’t think we must – we can at least pop round to each others' on a regular basis. I do pop and look and have commented from time to time, if something has grabbed my attention. And you should post wherever you like. I like posting on the ‘beginners’ board and I’m, genuinely, fine with that. But, I have noticed others being told to leave the experienced board – never to be seen again. Mac, for instance, regularly posts in Beginners, but no beginner he. I’ve noticed that too. There are a few people who do so, while experimenting/musing etc. But, I’ve never seen anyone being asked to leave the ‘beginners’ board.
Thanks for the response, David. x

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Katherine » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:10 pm

Like you I think there is a problem with the distinction between beginners and experienced forums. Maybe if they were joined into one big melting pot, everyone
could learn from each other, which is what its all about. Experienced poets could learn to see from newbies eyes, and newbie poets would learn more quickly.

Thanks Ton. Personally, I’m not uncomfortable with the titles – I’m happy to be thought of as a beginner, because in comparison to many people on this forum, who are real students in the art, that is exactly what I am. It’s just that there are some people who would not classify themselves as a ‘beginner’ and have felt insulted when they have not been made welcome on the ‘experienced’ board.
Perhaps, ‘Main Forum’ and ‘Experienced Forum’ would be less off-putting?

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by Katherine » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:24 pm

Ros wrote:The original idea of Experienced and Beginners, as I understand it, was so that if someone posted in Beginners it was assumed they might appreciate a gentler crit and those who had been here longer would understand that the person might still be finding their feet with the basic craft. Posting in Experienced meant the person already understood something of rhythm, alliteration, metaphor etc and how best to use them - and could also provide crits themselves beyond the level of 'I enjoyed it' or 'couldn't understand that bit'. It's not supposed to be a perjorative distinction - everyone has to start somewhere. Everyone is encouraged to read the work in all forums and comment on it. Possibly part of the problem is people feeling they can't venture out of 'their bit'. Newbie poets should certainly get stuck in in Exp. I can see arguments both ways for having and not having Exp and Beg, and it's a discussion various of us have had over the years.

This sounds contradictory. It’s either about ‘level’ of crit, or about ability to write and give crits. ‘It’s not supposed to be perjorative’, but I believe that that is how it is viewed. We have to remember that not everyone who is new to this forum is new to poetry. But, there is a strong sense of some sort of probationary period, within ‘beginners’. As I said to Ton - That can be off-putting.

Obviously, people who have been here a while get to know the sort of things the other long-standing members are trying to do, and so their comments will be more informed. Generally, when it's not rather quiet here, I think people give a lot of their time to help all others, especially those posting for the first time. Comments are almost always helpful (if perhaps abrupt - but that's a time thing). How anyone could accuse Ray of being less than even-handed is beyond me,...I didn't... and he's miles away from any idea of 'Emperor'. – I think Ray often writes in prose, but no-one refers to it – like the nakedness of the Emperor – but, others are criticised for it. I think some long-standing members’ writing can be very obscure, but there is a willingness to engage and question, whereas others are dismissed and when some, long-standing members are disagreed with, or questioned other long-standing members seem, to me, to leap to their defence. ]There's no coterie or clique here, honestly, and people do their best. I'm upset that anyone is suggesting otherwise as a systematic thing.… If I thought it were ‘systematic’, I’d have upped sticks and left, without a word. Sometimes people may be rather harsh on a poem, but it's only ever about the work, not personal, and that's going to happen anywhere on occasion. If anyone feels otherwise, please contact a mod and we will deal with it.

Ros
Sorry if you’re upset, Ros. I know that the moderators and long-standing members are vital for the survival of forums such as this. I truly appreciate the time and effort that many people have put in to helping me, personally. It’s a little retreat for me to pop in here from time to time, in order to read, ponder, learn, enjoy and sometimes write poetry. I would be sad to leave, but I just had to get what I was feeling off my chest. x

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by ray miller » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:43 am

"I think Ray often writes in prose, but no-one refers to it – like the nakedness of the Emperor – but, others are criticised for it"
You must be joking. It's been referred to alright and sometimes I think there's some truth to it - though I wouldn't use the word often. But I always think pretty much the same thing, poetry is a broad church and I'm not even a believer.
While we're getting things off our chests, it seems to me there's something of an expectation that those in the Experienced forum should be commenting more often on the Beginners forum. Myself, I'm far more likely to comment on the work of people who will occasionally, not all of the time, comment on mine. I've neither the time nor the inclination to keep on throwing balls that never come back.
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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by bodkin » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:18 am

Katherine wrote:
Ros wrote:The original idea of Experienced and Beginners, as I understand it, was so that if someone posted in Beginners it was assumed they might appreciate a gentler crit and those who had been here longer would understand that the person might still be finding their feet with the basic craft. Posting in Experienced meant the person already understood something of rhythm, alliteration, metaphor etc and how best to use them - and could also provide crits themselves beyond the level of 'I enjoyed it' or 'couldn't understand that bit'. It's not supposed to be a perjorative distinction - everyone has to start somewhere. Everyone is encouraged to read the work in all forums and comment on it. Possibly part of the problem is people feeling they can't venture out of 'their bit'. Newbie poets should certainly get stuck in in Exp. I can see arguments both ways for having and not having Exp and Beg, and it's a discussion various of us have had over the years.

This sounds contradictory. It’s either about ‘level’ of crit, or about ability to write and give crits. ‘It’s not supposed to be perjorative’, but I believe that that is how it is viewed. We have to remember that not everyone who is new to this forum is new to poetry. But, there is a strong sense of some sort of probationary period, within ‘beginners’. As I said to Ton - That can be off-putting.
But people new to the forum don't have to start in 'beginners'... it is entirely a self-selected criterion.

If people feel confident going straight to 'experienced' then they can. The only, occasional, times when this isn't accepted is when somebody posts something in 'experienced' which is obviously flawed in ways which would be better addressed by the beginners level of crit -- in that case some mod will generally suggest (gently or strongly, according to how aggressive the poster is) that the piece ought to be in beginners -- however this is pretty rare, I don't have any actual figures but it can't be more than two or three times a year?

And the only reason it matters is that some poets, especially those who've not been critiqued a lot, can get a little deluded about where they need to focus -- they understandably want to get on to the sophisticated stuff, but until they get past the more-basic lessons it won't do them much good.

So from this point of view there is a difference between people posting in experienced and those posting in beginners, but it isn't supposed to belittle the latter, it is more like:

Beginners : mainly needs to learn (some of) the same basic things that everybody has to learn...
Experienced : mainly needs discussion of what their poem means, how it is perceived and interpreted, tricky issues of approach/style

And it's only a trend either way, you get both types of activity in both boards.
Obviously, people who have been here a while get to know the sort of things the other long-standing members are trying to do, and so their comments will be more informed. Generally, when it's not rather quiet here, I think people give a lot of their time to help all others, especially those posting for the first time. Comments are almost always helpful (if perhaps abrupt - but that's a time thing). How anyone could accuse Ray of being less than even-handed is beyond me,...I didn't... and he's miles away from any idea of 'Emperor'. – I think Ray often writes in prose, but no-one refers to it – like the nakedness of the Emperor – but, others are criticised for it. I think some long-standing members’ writing can be very obscure, but there is a willingness to engage and question, whereas others are dismissed and when some, long-standing members are disagreed with, or questioned other long-standing members seem, to me, to leap to their defence.
Critique is a simple reporting of what the reader experienced. There is nothing bad in getting "critiqued" for something. In fact it is why you are here, to find out how others perceive your work. If you aren't here for that then you are on the wrong forum...

The critique of being "like prose" is one that anybody can get at any time... sometimes it matters (e.g. if the poet didn't know they were doing it) and sometimes it is irrelevant (because the poet thinks the poem works in a prose-like style). It is somewhat a matter of opinion but we wouldn't be critiquing honestly if we didn't report it. One sub-text of it can be "...and I don't see what else you are trying to achieve" -- e.g. that the critter sees the poem as a bit prosy and hasn't seen what you were trying to do that either required that or else countered it...

The obscurity is, again, a valid critique... and a good thing for the poet to know.

Both of these get close to what Rosemary was trying to say, that when you know somebody, you inevitably critique in less "raw" manner. It's not coddling. It's probably not even less honest. It is just that coming in, you understand more what the poet is likely to be saying. So you genuinely have less cause to say "obscure" because it isn't obscure to you. Similarly you have less cause to question (say) the style of language, because you know that poet is doing it deliberately, whereas with somebody unknown you don't know whether it is accidental and so have to mention it. Not that for me, this means that the established poet is getting _less_ useful feedback.

And anyway, I for one, often tell people in experienced that I don't understand their poems :-)
There's no coterie or clique here, honestly, and people do their best. I'm upset that anyone is suggesting otherwise as a systematic thing.… If I thought it were ‘systematic’, I’d have upped sticks and left, without a word. Sometimes people may be rather harsh on a poem, but it's only ever about the work, not personal, and that's going to happen anywhere on occasion. If anyone feels otherwise, please contact a mod and we will deal with it.

Ros
Sorry if you’re upset, Ros. I know that the moderators and long-standing members are vital for the survival of forums such as this. I truly appreciate the time and effort that many people have put in to helping me, personally. It’s a little retreat for me to pop in here from time to time, in order to read, ponder, learn, enjoy and sometimes write poetry. I would be sad to leave, but I just had to get what I was feeling off my chest. x
I'm glad you have got it off your chest, although I am not 100% sure what it is you would want to have differently.

As people have said, we have debated the "what shall we call the forums" and "should we have two forums" to death on several occasions, but we've always arrived at a point where although we can see problems with the current arrangement, we can't come up with a new plan that is definitely better -- so we always leave it as it is...

Personally I critique everybody the same no matter which forum they are in, with the slight nicety that if a poem is terrible and in experienced I'll say directly that it is terrible, where as in beginners I'll use circumlocutions...

I also critique things equally from both forums. Most of the mods do, I think. We use the "active topics" view (from "board index") which just lists the last 20 or 30 threads which have had activity, and personally what I do is start with the oldest and look at everything I haven't already seen (with the exception of people I think are posting too much or time-wasters).

Then based on what I see in the poem, I give the critique I think will be most immediately useful, whether that's "show don't tell" (basic, but everybody needs to hear it) or "this feels remote, maybe move it closer to the character's viewpoint" (a more technical discussion altogether...)

Unlike Ray I don't expect that the people I crit are the people who crit me. I like anybody to crit me but I always consider it a little bit random who I get.

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by ray miller » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:19 pm

"Unlike Ray I don't expect that the people I crit are the people who crit me." - not exactly what I said. I'm more likely to reciprocate those who comment on my stuff. Expectation has given way to experience.

"As people have said, we have debated the "what shall we call the forums" and "should we have two forums" to death on several occasions, but we've always arrived at a point where although we can see problems with the current arrangement, we can't come up with a new plan that is definitely better -- so we always leave it as it is..."

I'm not sure it's ever been debated, as such. I don't really see the difficulty in merging the two into one, either - if the will existed. Plenty of forums do that already. Mind you, there's plenty with a plethora of sub-divisions, rhyming, non-rhyming, happy, sad. Perhaps we should be thankful.
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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by bodkin » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:05 pm

ray miller wrote:"Unlike Ray I don't expect that the people I crit are the people who crit me." - not exactly what I said. I'm more likely to reciprocate those who comment on my stuff. Expectation has given way to experience.
I only meant that I don't attempt to crit those who crit me... I crit in all directions...
"As people have said, we have debated the "what shall we call the forums" and "should we have two forums" to death on several occasions, but we've always arrived at a point where although we can see problems with the current arrangement, we can't come up with a new plan that is definitely better -- so we always leave it as it is..."

I'm not sure it's ever been debated, as such. I don't really see the difficulty in merging the two into one, either - if the will existed. Plenty of forums do that already. Mind you, there's plenty with a plethora of sub-divisions, rhyming, non-rhyming, happy, sad. Perhaps we should be thankful.
I've debated it once, maybe twice, and been told that thses were far from the first times...

Personally I would either have one forum, or else call them "hard" and "soft" but it doesn't seem hugely important, as long as people can get critique...

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Re: Herod's Heirs

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:44 pm

Instead of focussing on a person's experience you could offer a two tiered level of critique.
The forum guidelines more or less do this anyway. So why not simply bring it to the fore?

The idea of having two forums isn't a bad one in my opinion. I remember posting in Mild Critique,
as a new member, at TCP for ages before venturing into the Critique and Revision forum. They used
to have a Heavy Duty Forum which most people avoided. The two most popular forums, by far, were
C&R and Mild Crit. Both were regarded as helpful forums that were open to crit, comment and analysis.

Just a thought for the pot.

Best

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