Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Power of Critique

If you connected some dots through my last few posts, you realized that it is only as we let ourselves be critiqued that the fullness of the creative act emerges--not to mention our personality and character. It is in dialogue with the audience, the readers, and viewers, who always see more than you do, or at least other things than you do. And it is in dialogue with others that our true self emerges.

I regret when some do not accept this process, whether in their personal lives or their creative exploits. Everyone is diminished. But that’s life. We are either closed or open, any given hour.

But this is an hour to be open! No one has braved the critique process, but I’m going to forge ahead and give you my revised version. Or maybe you are just backed up on blog reading…in which case, you might want to read this post first, then come back here.

Here's a snapshot of the questions and comments that flew around my head in the writer’s group as they critiqued the Egret poem; remember, I'm not allowed to respond unless it's in response to a direct question (so I put my reactions in parentheses!):

“Does an egret have yellow feet?”

(Um…I think so….)

“Yes, I googled ‘egrets’--some species do.”

(Whew…saves me the research.)

“'Lucky and positive I feel' sounds like Yoda-speak.”

(Oh yeah…now that you mention it…can that work?! Too artificial?)

"I like it when it rhymes better!”


“I really like the line ‘full of grace and light’.”


“What if you drop the first stanza and begin with 'Look at the haunted ones'?”


“It really bothers me that you don’t have a verb in the last line…”

“I like that she doesn’t have a verb!”

“Does she need one?”

“Maybe a punctuation mark, to clarify….”

“Oh! NO! No punctuation, just a blank space, and then into the next line, no verb!”


Well, I gathered the comments and went home to examine and revise. And found the fundamental weakness, decided to keep a loose rhyme scheme, and sorted out my mixed metaphors. Oops...just see a mistake...ok, correcting...and here is the latest result:

Egrets are in the air—
white with yellow eyes.
Lucky and positive I feel—
full of grace and light.

Look at the haunted ones—
with yellow eyes and feet—
white with fear it seems,
and thoughts they dare not speak.

Egrets are in the air—
white with yellow eyes.
They glide above the mud flats—
I feel my own heart rise.

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