Aug 16, 2019

Word Swarm



I have found rejection and criticism comes with a poetry book. Not everyone who writes one faces it, but my self-published, Indie publishing, attend a book fair as an author self has had more than her fair share of it. There are times I’ve felt I had the plague. People sidestep, don’t give eye contact, or drop the occasional inquiry about what kind of books I write only to respond when told it is poetry with their affirmation, I don’t like poetry.

I had one author tell me, “Oh, you write poetry, it doesn’t require research. It all just comes from your head.”

Well, my head is full of lots of things. Things based on fact, fantasy, emotion, dreams, harsh reality, and on and on. If I have written a poetry book of one hundred poems, I have written a book of one hundred stand alone literature pieces. (Excuse my boldness in calling my work literature.) Oh, and the research thing, I do research when it is necessary to my writing.

I think writing, as with any art form, takes boldness to put it on public display knowing it can bring criticism. I have my pity moments at times but refuse to give up my passion because someone wants to pour vinegar on effort or content. I can grow from critique. Criticism is a word swarm of gnats I don’t have to entertain or give validation.

by:Susie Clevenger

Poets United ~ Moonlight Musings: the Interactive Edition, #1

13 comments:

  1. My writing partner and my Piano Man can probably tell you about my never-ending ranting, when it comes to what certain poets think of fiction writing and what certain fiction writers think of poetry writing. Members from both sides belittle the other, and I have no idea why.

    Someone who I respected and liked once said that fiction was what writers who can't write poetry have to settle for. She even asked why I wasted my time with stories. I suspect I was as furious as you were, when that idiot said that.

    I will never understand gnats who say they love words, but end up acting like insufferable worms towards someone's work.

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  2. There is a world of difference between respectful, affirmative critiquing and criticism. Thanks for voicing that. That is what i so ineloquently was trying to say. I am fortunate to live in a village of artists and writers and appreciaters who are so supportive of poetry. We even have our own poet laureate. Your work, Susie, is among the best out there. Be proud!

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  3. Putting your writing out there, no matter whether poetry or prose is brave. It’s one of the bravest things I think you can do because you are exposing yourself to all of that potential criticism. All those gnats can drown in that vinegar and the writing will still be sweet.

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  4. I love the image you picked to accompany your words as well. I’m trying to decide if she’s listening or she’s brushing off the flies.

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  5. I think deprivation, jealousy and excessive ego go into the making of a harsh person; unnecessarily and unpleasantly rough. They have a tendency to belittle anything they come across. Gnats, as you appropriately call them. Negative criticism with the purpose of pointing out the defect gently is acceptable.

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  6. I think this happens in any art form, Susie, there are luvvies everywhere – and they seem to be the harshest critics! How can they presume to know what is in our heads or how much research we do? Yes, we are bold, but we don’t have to take their punches on the chin. Better to roll with them and use them to our advantage.

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  7. I saw that last line on Instagram before I read the article and fell in love with it then.

    Then I read this whole piece and loved anew. Geez, what awful people you had to put up with. And that comment about research--I could eye roll to infinty over that one. Yay for keeping your passion and giving stupid comments all of the importance they deserve - none!

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  8. Susie, for the life of me I can't understand why people don't think that poetry is 'real writing'. I hear that often, especially in Twitterland, but hey, we bare our souls in poetry. That takes courage in my opinion.

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  9. People are so quick to give their opinion without thinking of how it may affect another person. The writer who spoke to you that way says more about him or her than it does about your work. I’m glad that you ignore such tripe and forge on with your poetry- which I love, by the way.

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  10. It all just comes from your head? No - it also comes from your heart. It is so silly when a personal preference is mistaken for superiority. Poetry is my first love, it that doesn’t mean I can’t see the particular values in prose, both fiction and non; doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy good prose too. It’s kinda like saying the violin is a vastly superior instrument to the piano, or oil painting is true art while water-colours are just mucking about. Sheer nonsense! And of course your (in my opinion excellent) poetry is literature!

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  11. I can relate to this a lot, Susie. I really like your attitude; the refusal to "give up [your] passion because someone wants to pour vinegar on effort or content." Keep at it!

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