Sunday, January 12, 2014

Self-Evaluation and the Role of the Poet-Editor

"To achieve an order that maximizes strengths and minimizes weaknesses, it’s crucial to gain the editorial distance necessary to self-evaluate, to think like an editor. An exercise for achieving this is listing a minimum of two strengths and weaknesses per poem, as if preparing criticism for poetry workshop fellows. Some things to assess are syntax, diction, and voice; either too much or not enough description; the balance of abstract to concrete imagery or symbolism; the flow or rhythm; the presence or lack of tension or risk (narrative, dramatic, linguistic, formal, emotional); the capacity to surprise; line breaks; word choice (the best, most accurate, evocative choice for context); point of view; and the use (or misuse) of dialogue. Noting as many strengths and weaknesses as possible allows for the most objective evaluation of which poems are strongest and why."