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Try to understand what is behind criticism.

“Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism: they always result in more or less fortunate misunderstandings.” -- Rainer Maria Rilke

 

While it’s always possible that someone calling your baby ugly is doing it to hurt you, it is also possible that your baby really is ugly. Now, with a real baby, it might take growing up or plastic surgery to fix the problem, but with poetry, it is a matter of rewriting. First, many people do not know how to give good, constructive criticism. They might know what is wrong with the writing, or they may just be dissatisfied with it. Try to understand what they are trying to get across, even though they might have trouble expressing it. Do not take it personally. It is not an attack on you. Most critics really are trying to help, and it takes a certain bravery to criticize art, especially the art of a friend. Get around your feelings and treat the criticism dispassionately. Evaluate it. Is there a kernel of truth behind it?

If you are lucky enough to run across someone who can give constructive criticism, meaning they can make specific suggestions about how to improve it, you do not have to take their advice. You may wish to address the identified problem in another manner or not address it at all. That is always your choice. There may be no real problem, or the critic may have misidentified the problem.

Also, ask questions of your critics. Delve deeper into why they think what they think about your poem.

The main thing is to cherish your critics for the growth they may bring you.

 
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