The Art of Feedback

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Part of what we’re learning in Creative Writing is how to provide helpful feedback to our peers. Just like there’s an art to writing, there’s an art to critiquing writing. Here are some tips for providing helpful feedback during poetry read alouds:

Start by paying close attention! This means…

  • Putting your phone DOWN
  • Possibly closing your eyes to focus more sharply on the sounds of words

ZOOM IN

When praising someone’s work, focus on a specific

  • Word
  • Line
  • Turn
  • Phrase or
  • Image

that caught your attention. Explain why it caught your attention.

ZOOM IN

When praising someone’s work, focus on

  • the beginning
  • the ending

These parts of a poem carry special weight.

ZOOM IN

When praising someone’s work, focus on figurative language:

  • similes
  • metaphors
  • personification
  • imagery
  • alliteration

How did the poet’s use of figurative language make an idea or a feeling or a plot point more vivid for you?

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FEELINGS

When praising someone’s work, focus on…

  • parts of the poem that evoked strong feelings in you

In your feedback, try to explain to the poet what you felt and how you connected his/her words to your own life

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR MIND’S EYE

When praising someone’s work, focus on…

  • parts of the poem that created a strong mental image

Remember, good writing makes us see something vivid. This is a theme throughout the entire semester.

Tell the poet what you saw in your mind’s eye as they performed their poem.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE MUCH TO SAY…

  • Ask the poet to reread a section of his/her poem, or the poem in its entirety

Poetry is meant to be read in layers – sometimes you need to hear something a second or a third time before you can comment on it.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE MUCH TO SAY…

  • Ask the poet to elaborate on his/her choices.

For example…

  • Why did you choose this topic?
  • Why did you choose this format?
  • What was your thinking behind this word, line, image, phrase, etc.?

WORDS TO AVOID:

  • Cool
  • Awesome
  • Good
  • Incredible
  • Lit

UNLESS…

  • You back it up with something more specific and objective!
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