Showing your Work

The primary reason I started this blog was to post some of my poems. Back in 2012(it feels so far away!) I wrote poems and immediately posted them here. I liked the adrenaline rush of getting my work out there- even cyber space is a *there*- a place that breathes, opines, and likes or dislikes what you do. The digital world is so real, don’t you think?

However, of late what I’m doing is letting my poems hibernate- that way when I look at them later I get a better perspective of what I did and how I’ve changed.

I’ve also tried pitching some of these poems to magazines where poetry is appreciated but one thing I haven’t really tried is sending them to friends or trusted persons who critique. Critique is not necessarily criticism. It isn’t about how bad or good you are, which is how books are being reviewed these days. The whole star rating system of books is problematic- suppose it is the genre you dislike, then do you give two stars to the genre?

Anyway, leaving all that aside since reviews matter to any writer, myself included, I’ve never really shown my poems to anyone besides you the reader of this blog and my family.

I found this picture interesting- most pictures of writers are solitary. If you do a google search on writing paintings, you’ll find a great amount of detail when it comes to writing tables, views from windows and feathery quill pens. This is an unusual sort of image that I can’t find the exact source for.

showing your writing

Turns out it is a good idea to get a second opinion or a third. There is this whole phenomenon of beta reading going on- so when you write a novel for instance, a beta reader or even several readers could give you a clue about what you need to do to get your story into readable form.

This may not work for everyone. I thought it best that the poems hibernate but after a while your poems and stories want to stretch their arms and wake up. They need attention the way little kids do.

Everything needs its springtime.


Incidentally I was reading this lovely volume of poetry called ‘Not Springtime yet’ by Priya Sarukkai Chabria. I’ll be talking about the book soon.

Are you comfortable showing your poems to people besides your family?


© neelthemuse, 2014

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10 thoughts on “Showing your Work Leave a comment

  1. “…of late what I’m doing is letting my poems hibernate- that way when I look at them later I get a better perspective of what I did and how I’ve changed.” –

    I find the perspective changes (or not) interesting when I look back on my work, whether a few days, a year, or more. Sometimes I’ve even posted an updated version along with the older piece. I think it helps me see me more than anything else, but some folk like it too 😉

    loved your ending :

    “…after a while your poems and stories want to stretch their arms and wake up. They need attention the way little kids do.” – oh yes 🙂

    Thanks Neelima!

  2. I read poems in poetry groups, so in a sense, yes, I’m comfortable. I’ve shown some to friends and I’ve learnt that some people have an ear for poetry and some don’t. What I would say is that however much you have in common with someone, however much you like and respect them, don;t be put off if the reaction to a poem is puzzled or cool unless you know this friend is attuned to poetry.

  3. I’ve shared on my blog, in which my family reads them and I also share on my facebook poetry page, which you’ve visited…I agree with Simon in that not all friends or even family are attuned to poetry, so their reactions may not be what you’re hoping for…I have my debut poetry reading all by myself at the end of this month at one of our local libraries. I’m trying to stay calm and simply have fun with it. We shall see! 🙂

  4. Lovely post here, thanks for a thought provoking essay. You are quite right in stating the difference between critique/criticise, a very important distinction. Like Simon I do a lot of readings in public, I love it and I love the sense of feedback that arises. When I prepare a reading I know I am looking at a poem from the point of view of an audience, in so far as I can, what works, what won’t work. best of luck to iscottthoughts, I’m sure she will do well and above all, enjoy herself.
    I share on my blog but also hold work back because it counts as being published and can mitigate against submissions for competitions or even journals. I notice on the blog that I get quite a lot of feedback from other poets, especially when I post an audio/visual reading.
    I take part in a web based group called d’Verse Pub, this works and encourages and critiques at a very advanced level and I can thoroughly recommend it to others.
    WISPA, the Wales/Ireland Spoken word and Poetry Association was founded last summer and had a Welsh poet, Mel Perry, over here doing a reading in places as diverse as Enniscorthy, Carlow and Wexford. On the 24th of this month I’m heading over to Wales to give and take part in readings in Carmarthen, Lampeter and Narberth. That is exciting for me, as the first Irish poet in this exchange I am both proud and humbled, but, as i said, I love public readings, that’s when poetry comes to life for me.
    Thanks again for broaching a very important topic, sorry if I rambled on too long!

  5. Yes, I’ve learnt that you can not expect a certain kind of response. You have to be careful when you choose your beta reader- you have to be certain that you will hear something you need rather than like….thank you Simon for your view….

  6. All the best for your reading Lauren! Sharing on social media and sharing in a group feels very different…in social media there can be silence or absence or *likes*, but in a group you see people and read their faces. It is fun and at the same time an interesting way o connect with what you have written….

  7. Thank you Kevin for your thoughtful post. It is best to hold back poetry, especially if you are thinking in terms of publication. And you are so right about reading poetry bringing the poem to life in a completely different way. There is a different energy when you read your poems to an audience. Am so glad you can be part of WISPA…..all the best Kevin….look forward to reading about your experience there….also what you said about audio poetry is fascinating….

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