Reflecting on Assignment 4

Last week I received feedback from my latest assignment and I’m very happy with my tutor’s response: This is a good submission and focusing on more open forms has allowed you to write some beautiful and unusual pieces. The length of your poems is really varied which is also excellent – it takes courage both to sustain a piece of writing over the page, but also to present a quatrain!

My tutor’s advice is important to me, for it encourages me to progress and explore my poetry in different ways. Her poetry recommendations are equally important within each assignment and I am getting better at reflecting on my creative practice and how others influence my own work. As my tutor states in my latest RC : This is a good RC – you refer precisely to your own work and clearly show how your engagement with other practitioners is influencing your own writing.

Whilst there is much to be positive about Assignment 4, there are a few negatives that I must ensure do not happen in my next assignment: clichés! I have written quite a few. There are a couple of lines that didn’t work; most notably on my poem Genette. There was a line that stood out like a sore thumb (gosh, another cliché) – I knew the line would be picked out but couldn’t seem to make it work in time for my deadline, so stayed with it. This will be changed on re-drafting.

My final poem within this assignment was decidedly my worst. My use of abstract language was confusing; as my tutor points out: It’s unusual for you to use abstract language, but quite a few abstract nouns occur in this poem, such as ‘memories’, ‘thoughts of life’, ‘lust’, ‘dream’ and ‘fate’. It’s much better to use specific concrete descriptions in your writing. On reading this poem with ‘fresh’ eyes I could see what she meant. Abstract language is a  distraction, so I must remember her final pointer for Assignment 5: When you write a poem you need to create a vivid world for your reader; don’t just rely on the reader to bring their own associations into play. If you use an abstract word in a poem, you’re in danger of creating a poem that’s hard to visualise and therefore hard to follow and engage with.

And finally, titles. I didn’t consider how they work for the reader and on two of my poems I failed to connect the title to the rest of the poem.

When a deadline is looming it is difficult to remain calm and present and one forgets about the importance of ‘rules and regulations’ on writing. For Assignment 5 my tutor’s advice will be in the back of my mind as I finish this module, especially her final comment:This submission showed real improvement: your poems are full of wonderful images and confident experimentation with a wide range of techniques. Keep this up, but do be really tough on any clichés or predictable phrases that creep through your work – we all use clichés in our writing, but the trick is to spot them and remove them in the redrafting stage.

I go into Assignment 5 with a positive approach, let’s hope I keep up the good work…



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