Here we are...

...a group of Baby Boomers of sundry religious,
political and cultural orientations, who have been
meeting at the Voorheesville Public Library since 1991
to read and discuss each other's poems.

We include old fathers and young grandmothers,
artists and musicians, and run-of-the-mill eccentrics.
Writers are welcome to stop in and stay if they like us.

Some of Us

Some of Us
Dennis Sullivan, Beverly Osborne, Tom Corrado, Edie Abrams, Art Willis, Alan Casline (all seated); Paul Amidon, Mike Burke, Tim Verhaegen, Mark O'Brien, Barbara Vink, Philomena Moriarty

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm bored

I don't even feel like posting today and I'm going to have some blunt words, so get ready.

I think the quality of our work has been less than stellar, with last night being the zenith of wishy-washy. First, I don't know how much effort everyone is putting into their work, maybe you are putting your heart and soul into it and I just don't recognize it, but...your heart and soul is not showing up on paper. Second, there are some of you who don't seem to pay attention and profit from the group critiques. We are there for each other for a reason and if all you want to do is defend your own position, you shouldn't be wasting everybody's time.

The above is a general observation and, of course, there are exceptions to it, so if you get your feelings hurt easily, you can pretend that you are one of the exceptions.

TO THE POET: If poems don't just flow from your pen, and they rarely do, keep revising. Try to find an unusual combination of words or a coin a new expression. Think "outside the box". Take out all your adjectives and adverbs and write without any descriptors. Add them back gradually and stop before you get overloaded. There is a healthy balance between too spare and too saturated. Read your poem aloud to yourself, taking in and out the "and's and the's and then's and but's, etc." and see which ones feel right and contribute to or detract from the rhythm of the lines. Try writing a poem in the style of a poet whose work you enjoy. Imitate.

TO THE CRITIC: We seemed to be struggling to find good things to say to each other. Remember, the basic question to evaluate a poem: what is the message of this poem and is it conveying the message successfully? (Tom just pointed out that perhaps I oversimplified this. A more complete version is posted to the right.)

And, again, spelling and punctuation, unless integral to the format of the poem, can be corrected with a spellcheck if the poem is being submitted for publication, so don't bother me with it.

THE END: If you are not serious about improving your writing, get serious. We have a long-established reputation to uphold in the poetry world.


  1. Anonymous5/23/2008

    This is a good post, but anyone who reads it will want more, much more, with as many juicy details and observations as come to mind. Inquiring minds want to know. Shallow, gossipy minds want to know too. Give us names, dates, times of day or night, specifics on errant grammar and punctuation, opinions with no merit (those we disagree with), license plate numbers of cars at secret rendezuous written down by poets hiding behind portable outhouses at construction sites, etc., etc. I don't know how I'll be able to sleep tonight unless I get some meat on these bones you've tossed on the plate. Have mercy, o blog goddess!
    By the way, your own poem was great. So was Beverly's.

    The Ghost of Poetry Past

  2. Anonymous5/24/2008

    Sorry that you are bored...mayhaps you weren't listening...I am sure that all attendees put whatever talent they have into their works. If they do not meet with your approval? Perhaps you should re-evaluate your listening devices.
    I know I put my mind and heart into my writing and hope that they find a listener, whoever that may be. Hopefully the future will look
    brighter..I know I will continue to contribute whatever the muses dictate.