Is it any good?
Acclaimed poet and teacher Jack Ridl says others often ask him, “Is my poem any good?” He answers “It’s likely we all worry about that, or at least worry about embarrassing ourselves with what we’ve written. I like to ask my poems if they are effective. Then I ask ‘effective in what way/s?'”
Useful questions to ask your poem:
Jack offers some other (“more useful?”) questions to ask of your poem. Not all questions, of course, apply to every poem.
1. Is this a poem someone would be glad to be within?
2. Does my poem connect the reader to something, someone?
3. Does my poem bring a smile, a sigh, move one to realization, to grief, to laugh?
4. If my poem elicits a cynical response, does it prove the cynic a jerk?
5. Would my poem make one feel uneasy about making an easy judgment?
6. Would a reader be glad to have given time to my poem?
7. Is my poem a pal, an honest friend?
8. Is my poem a turtle crossing a highway?
9. Does my poem enlarge, enrich a reader’s world, a reader’s heart?
10. Is my poem SINGING the blues?
11. Is my poem a faithful mutt?
12. Is my poem useful in a non-pragmatics way?
13. Is my poem bigger than Alaska?
14. Is my poem smaller than a raindrop?
15. Does my poem comfort?
16. Does my poem afflict the oppressor?
17. Does my poem redeem? Reconcile?
18. Is my poem one that someone would keep in a pocket or a locket?
19. Does my poem point the reader toward what is worth caring about?
20. Does my poem make you so angry you want to quit writing and fix the world?
21. Is my poem making a fool of itself for the good?
22. Is my poem a means to healing?
23. Is my poem wonderfully silly, whimsically heart-happy?
24. Does my poem risk what is worth risking?
25. Is my poem a Saturday?
26. Is my poem a Thursday?
27. Is my poem speaking to one humane heart?
28. Is my poem my poem?
Jack Ridl is a well-published poet and teacher. Among his many awards are Winner of The Gary Gildner Prize for Poetry and The Center for Book Arts Chapbook Award. He and his wife Julie founded the Visiting Writers Series at Hope College where he taught for 37 years. In retirement, he conducts a variety of writing workshops, welcomes readings, holds one-on-one sessions, etc. For further information about Jack, his poetry, and these activities, check out his website. Jack’s books can be found on Amazon. His What, Why, How interview on my blog is here.
The marvelous Italiano Spinone, Vivi, pictured above, belongs to Jack and Julie.
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of the award-winning novel In the Context of Love, a story about one woman’s need to tell her truth without shame.
2017 New Apple Book Awards Official Selection
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River,and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters