Monday, April 14, 2008

A Gift from Sacred Ruminations

We received this award from Sacred Ruminations and pass it along to all who visit here as a thank you and a reminder of how much each of us values the interaction with and feedback from others.


    my dear osi minds,
    i joined this forum -because i liked it.
    and why do i write this letter?because on participation i discovered that in this open forum of creative minds the comments and responses to all the contributions are most often goody goody and nice,no criticism please! .Not for a moment i am suggesting that the responses should be hostile or abusive.Far from it!. i am only saying that the style of ‘my own ‘ commenting on the OSI POSTS has been rather unconventional so far.But never done with an intent to outshine or overshadow anyone. i only felt that the Writers and artists, would acknowledge spark for spark,fire for fire.
    ALL that i am saying now is that if u find my inputs offensive,overdone,unnecessary,just say that u want me to keep my gab shut,[can i not expect at least this of u as Creative People!]..and i shall conform to the regimented code of-
    ‘wonderful,lovely,nice’ reactions.[but,i would actually feel hurt if u do not open ur heart about what u don’t enjoy in my (usually senseless) scribblings!].Congratulations,on the award from ‘Sacred Ruminations’! till always../z.g.

  2. Hi Zoya

    This is a correction of my first try, when I inadvertently wrote that students become anxious without criticism. aarrrggghhh)

    You've brought up so many points that I have been wondering about myself. I actually am not qualified to comment on the form of any poem. I live in mathematics and have only found the challenge and enjoyment of poetry in the past couple of years. I avoided poetry my whole life.

    I considered One Deep Breath and now, OSI, to be my classroom of poetry writing. I am learning. On my own. My interests are widening, I notice poetry in the world more than I did before (not just in the written word). But for me to say that this or that poem lacks something or could be improved by this word or phrase: that is way over my head.

    Commenters on my poems have been polite. You, yourself, have been wonderful to me and every bit of praise encourages me to try harder. I don't even know where to try harder. But as I read everyone else's poetry I am gaining insight into what works and what doesn't work. I can only comment on how the poem that I read has affected me emotionally or spiritually.

    I wish somebody would help me more. Or that everybody would help me more. I should probably invite gentle literary criticism. I have not done that because I don't know if it is part of the tradition of memes such as this. I know that if somebody praises my photography but not the poem that took me hours and hours (and still is not what I want), then I know that it is a weak poem.

    On the other hand, after teaching for so many years I have found that criticism ("that is wrong, this is right") creates anxiety in students. Pointing out what could be improved or what would make life easier in a student's mathematical life seems to be supportive. The mathematics students are trying to work independently but are intimidated by the image of mathematicians in our world. They often act as if the world will stop spinning if they make a mathematical error! (And after being in many college math classes with intimidating students, I know how they feel.)

    Yet I am intimidated by poets. Poets know how to effectively express their emotions. When my emotions get the better of me what do I do? I work an obscure theorem, find a problem to solve, or being making fractal flames. I leave people. Poets go towards people during stress. This poetic world is unfamiliar to me yet I am compelled to flounder in it.

    So critique away on me! I will improve quicker. I will appreciate it, even if I take it personally (these poems are our creations, it can become personal very quickly).

    But other people may not learn in this manner. They may require that they observe and try different things independently. Perhaps in the future they will invite poetic criticism. They may feel too rocky to ask for that now. Perhaps their reasons for writing what they write are of higher priority than how they write it. Poetic form and criticism may be entirely irrelevant to them and to where they are in their lives. What is fascinating to me in OSI is observing how people use this forum for their personal needs. As I watch, I even learn more about what my needs are.

    I am really interested in what others think about this topic. I wonder if we shouldn't make this topic a post so that everybody sees it and then can add their thoughts.

    I'm so glad you began this discussion. I'm going to e-mail this response to you to make sure you know that people are listening (I don't know whether you have checked the "follow-up comments" box or not).

    Always, Andree

  3. Zoya and Andree,
    I could not have said it any better than Andree. Perhaps it's a matter of bloggers asking specific literary questions about their poems at the bottom of their posts or simply inviting literary criticism.

    I think it's also worth considering that kind words are sincere criticism. As a reader, I look for points of connection, things to build upon, things I can take away and feast on as food for thought. When I comment, I affirm these things.

  4. Sandy, you and Andree certainly do deserve this award!

  5. Zoya, Andree and Sandy, all that you say is so obviously heartfelt and if that's what's in a comment I'm happy for it. I've noticed how kind commenter are here and at other blogs and while it's not constructive criticism I think we all don't want to hurt anyone. And who are we to criticize... By participating in writing prompts like "One Single Impression" week after week we do learn because we read other posts and sometimes a light dawns... I love "One Single Impression" and the people who administer it and the people who visit and comment. Love and kisses.

  6. Good morning Teach (and a gorgeous morning it is in Vermont),

    Your kindness is really really appreciated. It's a joy to do this for OSI. Fun and an honor. Thank you for adding to the discussion.


  7. I can understand and agree with what zoya g is saying. As Mike pointed out poets write poems for different reasons. Sometimes it something that has been buried deep inside one's self. Other times you write a poem that you think is the worst you have ever written and many of your fellow poets rave about it.
    I too often wonder what to say after reading another's work. There are just so many ways to say how wonderful their poem is when you are not sure what they were getting at. Also how many ways can you say thank you for your comment.
    I of all people would not hurt anyone's feeling for all the world and I know that I am just a would-be poet trying to learn from reading others work.
    If we are to tell it as we see it. I feel that this would hurt many people me included. Gentle criticism carefully given by the most experienced of writers would be nice. As long as we remain kind.


  8. Found these comments very interesting

    - hope this isn't a too goody goody remark!!

  9. well well, this is an interesting conversation developing here - perhaps a blog isn't the place for constructive criticism. I know that on One Deep Breath I have sometimes offered words that were meant as constructive criticism and been berated for my trouble. On the other hand, it has been sometimes been appreciated. On other forums c&c is the norm and offered and taken with good grace. I wasn't the only one to offer some guarded comments on OSI only to have those comments deleted.
    It takes time to give constructive criticism and so one doesn't do it much of the time - certainly one doesn't do it where an author looks as if they incapable of writing better. It is when there is the beginnings of excellent work on show and just a few shortcomings that might be effectively overcome with a little encouragment that criticism becomes worthwhile.