Here Barbara Bleiman offers tips on writing critically about poetry. She says:
There’s no mystery to great writing about poetry. In a nutshell it involves:
- Taking seriously your genuine first responses – what immediately leaps out at you, what you notice as being special or unusual or different. If something seems odd, that’s often worth talking about.
- Writing about what the real impact is on you – not what you think you should feel in reading a poem.
- Being willing to explore complexity and ambiguity without pretending that everything is simple and obvious, at the same time as trying to come to a view of what is going on.
- Distinguishing between minor details and important, highly significant aspects of what you see before you.
- Allying discussion of language, style and form to meaning, rather than picking away at these things in a random way.
Here you can read all the winning and highly-commended entries in both the critical appreciation and creative response with reflective commentary categories.