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Thread: July Activities 2011

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  1. #1
    jenny b
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    July Activities 2011

    Just so you all remember, there was more or less a unanimous decision to move SPEW Buddies from being a review replacement to a monthly activity. I'm starting this thread a little before the beginning of July to give you guys time to sign up and I can answer any questions you may have about how it will work, etc.

    So basically now you have four monthly activities to choose from: the drabble, the discussion, reviewing the featured author, and the character chat with your SPEW buddy. As of July, SPEW Buddies will no longer be a review replacement.

    SPEW Buddies will work the same as always: you sign up for a buddy, and you must review that buddy before the end of the month. That still counts as one of your required reviews if you so wish. You and your buddy are not required to do the character chat, but if you choose to, then you can count it as a monthly activity. You must do the character chat for SPEW buddies to count as your monthly activity.

    If you have any questions or concerns about the way it will run, then either post them here or PM me. I just wanted to trial this for July, and then if it doesn't work out then we can either try something different next month or revert back to the old requirements. I have updated this thread to reflect the new ways of meeting your requirements.

    So if you would like to partake in SPEW buddies for July, please sign up in this thread. I will assign buddies on the 1st of July, and then you have until the end of the month to post your character chats in this thread if you wish to do one.

    Jennifer

  2. #2
    Ebil Lieutenant Ravenclaw
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    I think I'd like to sign up again -- it was fun when I did it before

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  3. #3
    MissMeg
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    I'd like to sign up also.
    -Meg

  4. #4
    Simply Being
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    Sign me up please
    -Danielle

  5. #5
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    July Monthly Feature: Poetry

    I have decided that it's time to expand the scope of the monthly featured author. Instead of featuring an author, it can be any variety of things, but this month, I'll be headlining something that is very near and dear to my heart.

    One of the biggest challenges in reviewing is evaluating poetry. One of the most common perceptions of doing so is that poetry is so subjective and difficult to be sure about in terms of meaning. But I have found that, throughout both my tour in 'Poetry, Anyone?', this is a misconception. You don't need to be a great poet to understand what poetry means or what it means to you specifically. Poetry is the art of interpretation and being emotive. And the best part of it is that every poem means something different to everybody. Poets take great joy in sharing a bit of themselves to see what others will make of it. While it's not the easiest thing to write, reading poetry truly is for everyone.

    With that in mind, this is my challenge to you: I would love to see you all review a poem this month. There are over 1100 poems in the MNFF archive, so finding one on a subject you find interesting shouldn't be an issue. Poetry makes up almost 1/8 of the entire bulk of the archives, yet it is, by far, the least read and reviewed.

    But SPEW Queen, reviewing poetry is hard!

    Yes, it can be a bit challenging, but being able to offer meaningful critique and appreciation is a universal concept, so it's a necessary step in your respective evolutions as reviewers to be able to give stellar feedback for something that often has a shorter word count than your first two paragraphs. It's difficult, but it can be done.

    What if I get stuck?

    No worries, amigo! SPEW is here to help. If you have any questions whatsoever about reviewing poetry, feel free to post it in this thread. It would make me very happy to see a discussion about reviewing spring up, with the result leading to everyone learning something that will help them in the future. In fact, if you do choose to do this activity, I am going to require you ask one TQ (topic question) about the subject, such as asking SPEWers what they found the most challenging or how they feel about certain grey areas of critiquing poems.

    Over 1100 poems! Wow, that's a lot. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut, I still can't find a poem that I'd like to review.

    If you'd like to participate in this activity but can't quite find the right poem for what you are looking for, you can peruse the Recommend a Poem thread in Fiction Junction. If you don't find anything there, then just post in this thread and tell your fellow SPEWers what sort of themes you're looking for, such as Voldemort poems, Harry poems, battle poems, etc. Consider this thread both a discussion forum and a support group for those of you who are branching out into unknown territory.


    With that, please, go forth and read poetry! While this activity isn't compulsory, I would still really like to see more of you review poetry. Consider it both a growth experience and a gift to the least-reviewed genre in MNFF.
    Last edited by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor; 07-06-2011 at 06:57 AM.
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  6. #6
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
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    I reviewed The Lady Hufflepuff by minnabird (here).

    It was a really fantastic poem, by the way. Definitely worth reading .


    EDIT with TQs:

    Do you find your poetry reviews are often shorter than ones for 'regular' fiction?

    In your reviews, do you point out when a rhyme scheme seems too forced, or is that considered being nit-picky?



    And then answering Alex's (or one of them, anyway).

    Do you judge MNFF poetry by the same standards you would, if you write it, judge your own poetry or the poetry of others? Or do you 'lower' your standards?
    I'd like to think I keep my standards the same. Sometimes I think I judge MNFF poetry too harshly, as it's probably hard to incorporate elements of the Potter universe into flowing prose -- at least in my opinion it is. Some poetry on the archives I haven't really enjoyed at all, while the reviews for it say that it's amazing (none of the onesJess recommended, by the way). So I think I might be setting my expectations a little too high, which is why it's always astounding when a poem manages to surpass them.

    Thank you to Hokey for the beautiful banner. And thank you to everyone who nominated and judged --I'm so grateful to you <3.

  7. #7
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    Hello- I don't think I've ever left a SPEW-worthy review for poetry so I am intrigued by this thread and want to attempt it. But I've just been through the Poetry category on MNFF and randomly clicked on several poems and found the same problems. Without naming names, either the poem is technically very good but I just don't like it, it is good but I feel the Potter references are somewhat jarring and unnecessary or it's just not very good and whilst I can think of lots of things to say about it, I don't want to sound rude or impose my ideas of poetry on the author since poetry is, I think, so much more personal than writing as often you don't have whatever you're writing about refracted through characters. I know Poetry often takes the emotions of a specific canon character but out of the ones I've read I don't find them moving and therefore don't see the point in reviewing. Also anything I can think of writing just sounds really nitpicky, with nothing necessarily very positive to balance it out.

    The big exception to all of the above is the recent Copycat Challenge in Poetry Anyone, the majority of the poems I loved but only the ones in which I loved the original poem. So although I hopefully will have time to leave a review or two for those, I would like to read something which is not based off a poem I love anyway and therefore it already has a leg up in the chances of me liking it (unless they mess it up, but out of the four or so I've read, none of them have).

    Maybe it's just because in the story I'm currently writing my OC quotes a lot of poetry, so I'm kind of spoiling myself with poets like Marina Tsvetaeva, Anna Akhmatova, (wow, my spell check knows those names? But still doesn't know how to spell Morrissey? Weird), Sylvia Plath, Percy Shelley, Lorca, Neruda etc. of whom she definitely quotes the first four and will probably quote the others at some point. In other words I'm reading quite a lot of poetry at the moment but not on MNFF. So some TQs including a very picky request for recommendations.

    Do you judge MNFF poetry by the same standards you would, if you write it, judge your own poetry or the poetry of others? Or do you 'lower' your standards? Like I said above there are some excellent poets on MNFF (who are definitely better than some published poets- I'm not going to name names for fear of upsetting anyone though) but when somethings excellent apart from "I love it/ what it made you feel" there's not much more to say in a review, particularly one which you want to be SPEW-worthy.

    And a very picky request for a recommendation. I love the poets mentioned above. Also Simon Armitage, Sharon Olds, Carol Ann Duffy, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Elaine Feinstein.

    Whilst there are many exceptions, most poetry I like is quite bare and minimalist but still has beautiful imagery and flows well. I hate rhyming couplets but there are several exceptions to this- mostly (but not always) when they are used to deliberately make a character/ the poem sound trite and cynical (like, I would argue (obscure reference coming up, sorry) some of Ariel's poetry in The Tempest).

    So anything that might be stylistically in some way similar to them but also original in their own right. Also out of the two poems I've written and showed to my nana she complained that they were too sad. Writing poems about happiness is difficult and the only poet I can think of who I enjoy reading 'happy' poems by, is Hopkins and he also wrote poems about how depressed he was in Dublin, ha.

    That is of course incredibly picky. I am quite picky about poetry which might be why I'm finding this difficult but any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    Alex


    EDIT: Since I managed it, even though I've done the other activity as well, thought I might as well post my review here.

    Review for My Black Brother by hestiajones
    Banner by Minna.

  8. #8
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    I'm too lazy to answer your TQs, but I do come bearing recommendations.

    I Am Shame by hestiajones

    The Clarion Call by hestiajones

    Dumbledore's Farewell by the opaleye

    The Labyrinth Mind by Equinox Chick (yes, it has rhyming couplets, but it actually adds to the poem's overall feel)

    I Am Alive by the opaleye

    My Black Brother by hestiajones

    Irredeemable by psijupiter


    I know it seems like they're all from the same authors, but, to be fair, most of the highest quality poetry on the archives does come from the same group of authors.
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



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  9. #9
    Kerichi
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    I've always reviewed poetry (Do I get a cookie? ), and sometimes my reviews are double or triple the length of the poem I'm critiquing, so I think a review is a review, short or long based on what I'm trying to express. I just reviewed Darkness by inspirations, and while it was heavier on concrit than constructive praise, I think the poet will find it helpful and positive. I don't judge by lower standards on MNFF, but I do keep in mind that poets here vary widely in level of craft/experience, and try not to nitpick if I'm already pointing out major areas that could use improvement.

    ETA: What? You didn't recommend my Malfoy Family poem? *da da da dum, snap! snap!* :P

  10. #10
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    *coughcough*

    Here is just a friendly reminder to anyone who hadn't fully read my initial post. In order for this activity to count toward your monthly requirements, you MUST ask at least one TQ. A discussion or answering TQs is nice, but in order for full credit, you have to contribute to the discussion in some fashion. /officialness

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