“A Pitcher of Moon”, posted for Poets United, and the Refining Fire of Poetry Criticism.

Full Moon, March 2011

Actually, I think I wimped out on this issue. Some of the comments were just…well, what can I say? If people want to fight about my not liking the ‘like’ button…that’s their problem. I still hate it, but I don’t expect the same people from PU to read or comment on my poetry. LOL! And, anyone who claims they read 100 poems a day, what can I say?

I think that we can get into something like this: we read, we dismiss. I think every poem that is posted deserves a critical review. If it’s a bad poem, even more so. If the poet doesn’t like it, too bad. You must make the effort to express what you see and what you see wrong, or the problems. Poets, at least most of us, if we are serious, shouldn’t be ‘fluffers’. Ego is certainly involved, but I have also seen poets write the same bad stuff and either people avoid their poetry..or they lie. Perhaps that is where the ‘like’ button maintains an uncomfortable peace?

Again, I am finding that many poetry sites are just set up for people to post their poetry and read some others. There is little serious poetry criticism on these sites. Mostly one liners that give little information on the weaknesses of the poetry.

I think the issue is this: simply, we are not trained in poetry criticism. Probably very few of us poets are. And I think that people do the best they can, but we are hampered by our lack of training. Obviously most online poetry groups aren’t set up for this. It’s just a place to get your poetry read and to read others. This in itself is legitimate, and it improves our poetry over time. Perhaps.

I see poetry criticism as a refining fire. It burns away excess crap in our work and that can’t be bad. It’s painful, mostly to the ego, but over the course of time, when we embrace it properly, and it is given properly, we improve in remarkable ways. Most times.

A lot of people have said that poetry is too subjective, too personal to crit. I don’t think that is true, but it is damn hard to do so. Some people don’t follow rhythm/meter/and play with metaphor, etc. And that is legitimate. We aren’t all cookie cutters in poetry. So…where does that leave us?

Well, I still hate the ‘like’ button, but I realize that some people are doing the best they can. As am . Still, there are a lot of lazy poets on poetry sites. They will never make the attempt to learn proper poetry criticism. But there must be tutorials somewhere that can lead us in a different approach to this stuff.

Lady Nyo.

A simple poem, posted for a new poetry group, Poets United.

Lady Nyo

Pitcher of Moon

I dip into the pond
And gather a pitcher of moon.
Above it glimmers,
Smiles at my efforts
This late- winter moon.

It is just a bowl of cool water
I am holding
But the magic of the cosmos settles
In this plain clay vessel.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2012

Lady Nyo

Lady Nyo

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9 Responses to ““A Pitcher of Moon”, posted for Poets United, and the Refining Fire of Poetry Criticism.”

  1. aprille Says:


    I have long since hankered after some form critique.
    So hope we can create a group that isn’t afraid to express what they see or miss in a poem.

    Know what your present poem did to me?
    It made me remember the times I brought back one gallon plastic waterbottles filled with sea air from the west coast of Ireland.


  2. aprille Says:

    Wanted to add that I have been amazed at many wonderful comments, constructive and encouraging and above all, kind.
    What you suggest, and I applaud, is a different branch, where we try out different approaches to our usual writing style and lay ourselves open to fair and well meant critique.


  3. ladynyo Says:

    ROT!!! Oh, that’s wonderful. Sea air!!! LOL!

    Ok, YES and YES again. I think it profoundly stupid for us to continue this way without some attempt at Poetry Critique. It’s not rocket science…but it seems like it is.

    To give the benefit of the doubt to people, I think in 90% of the cases, it’s this: people are kind and afraid of stepping on toes….the rest: plum lazy.

    I will no longer respond to ‘likes’. And one word comments…get the same word back. Or perhaps none if the commentator is found to be doing this in habit. Which pains me to do so, but perhaps we need something to break this cycle.

    I left a poetry group because the crits just weren’t worth the energy of posting there. One time, a very good poet took one line of my poem and mocked it. It was a very ‘serious’ poem…and deserved a better reading than that. I stopped reading her. It was just…insulting. I think IF we put the energy into reading someone’s poem? We need to consider it as close as we can.

    We can fumble around in poetry critique, but we have to make some effort. Otherwise? Are we really poets?

    Let’s do it, Aprille. I think it’s not beyond us, and I think it will do something for the poetry spread around the internet. Some are marvelous…(most) and some are just crap. How do we grow? By examining our words with the ‘eyes’ of others who aren’t so damn attached to the piece. That’s one step.

    I’m very open to others…

    Jane…and thanks, Aprille.


  4. Gerry@Strummed Words Says:

    I do like this poem, the imagery and the idea of trying to capture the moon in a jug of water. Why do you have a Like button if you don’t really want readers to push it?


  5. ladynyo Says:

    What is the point of a like button? It’s a short hand, and a lazy one at that….to poetry critique. Give me words and I’ll give them back.

    There is no guarantee that a reader has read a poem, etc….and pushing a ‘like’ button means little.

    I guess it comes with the blog? I don’t see it. You tell me where it is. Again, it’s just a shorthand to something, and that something isn’t poetry critique.

    Thank you for reading “A Pitcher of Moon”. I would like to extend the point of poetry critique but I think it will be like pulling teeth. And…I know it’s not easy. Depending upon the kind of poetry criticism, it has ‘rules’…bad word, but I can’t think of another right now.

    And I don’t want readers to push it. I thought I made that clear. I want to have an interchange about poems, theirs and mine.

    Lday Nyo


  6. Sherry Marr Says:

    The idea of gathering “a pitcher of moon” from a pond is so lovely it makes me catch my breath. Beautiful imagery!


  7. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Sherry~!

    Thank you for reading and your comment. I am hoping to go beyond the obvious imagery in this poem and present something a bit deeper. I think where that can happen is this line…the cosmos settles in the plain, clay vessel….I think it hinges on the word cosmos, but then again, perhaps this poem is just one of those whose imagery is just simple and surface?…and that’s fine.

    Well, thank you …Sherry for reading. I didn’t see your name up on the blog…but I’ll come by.



  8. Mary Says:

    I truly don’t think of the poetry blogosphere as being a place to critique other people’s poetry. What I look for in comments on my own blog is comments that indicate that the person has understood what I have written, perhaps empathized with one thing or another, perhaps found something interesting. I myself probably read 100 poems of others a day, and I truly would not have the energy to critique 100 poems. Thus, for other people’s poetry I do the above as well. Anyway, that is my philosophy of the blogosphere.

    I have belonged to critique groups as well. There are different expectations for those groups, of course.

    In your poem, I like the image of gathering pitcher of moon. I can picture this clearly, as the moon is reflecting in the pond. And indeed, it is magic! I enjoyed your share and am glad you are becoming active in Poets United Poetry Pantry.


  9. ladynyo Says:

    That’s an interesting take on this issue, Mary. I think that what you mention, having empathized with something in a poem, have drawn some connection to something of the imagery, words, etc…is part of it all.

    Of course, there is a more ‘formal’ critique: meter/rhythm/methaphor/ etc….but there of course is a deeper approach to all this too.

    I could not read 100 poems a day~! Where do you find the time?

    I am looking, along with some others….for a more formal approach to poetry crits. Perhaps we can do it within the confines of Poets United, too.

    But to scratch this itch, I will have to look farther afield.

    Thank you for reading this short poem and enjoying it.

    Lady Nyo


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