A few weeks ago I was feeling a bit ‘stuck’ and decided to pay for another ‘Poetry Prescription’ from the Poetry Society. I got the feedback last week and it was less than motivating. Basically my work got sent to the same poet who looked at it last time (I did a ‘PP’ back in 2008 prior to starting to read and write poetry more seriously). He or she was fairly underwhelmed the first time, and gleefully told me in his or her report that he or she remembered having done so.
Sorry about the he/she malarky – I’m not allowed to know who the poet was who laid into my work, ‘to protect their privacy’ – never mind my privacy!
As I explained to Paul McGrane, I’m happy to take criticism of individual poems (which is the point of the exercise) but would rather have had a fresh eye look over the work. This person seems to have made up their mind before even reading the four poems I submitted (based on their prior opinion) and went out of his or her way to make me feel small and useless.
Is this the way the Poetry Society motivates new writers? What a shame. But thanks to the encouragement/wise words of two or three supportive poet friends I won’t let it set me back. OK, I know a lot of what I’ve written isn’t great, but there is some good stuff in there, and I just need to write more of it. Plus, in poetry there are many opinions and this particular critic may never be a fan of mine no matter what I write.
So I’m back writing again, with a few good kernels of poems on the go. Onwards!