Reviewing an article, a poem, short story or a novel is a feat that you have to surpass with all your might, mind and soul.
It’s the summation of what you’ve learned from the past, the overall knowledge of the trade, and the most important of all, is your personal impression of the subject matter being reviewed. As in judging a contest, you have the right to put together your talent, skills, knowledge, abilities, experiences and your personality as a whole. The truth is, you are applying your most creative ability to give substance and meaning to the item being reviewed.
Here’s my format in reviewing a poem, short story or novel.
1) Introduction of yourself as a reviewer. You can make your own template beforehand, for you to easily structure your review into your style of reviewing.
Hello Fernando Lopez! I am honored to review your poem entitled, “I Have To”, the puzzle of the contest. As a reviewer, I totally give my honest and constructive review as much as possible. I offer you these comments for you to analyze positively within the context of my knowledge and experiences as a reviewer.
2) After the introduction, scope of your review in which you can totally give the essence of reviewing.
a) First Impression
Poetry/Short Story Reviewing
As a reviewer, you can start with summarizing the plot or the theme as he/she understands it. Some positive points can be highlighted – an image that left a vivid impression, a rhythm that moved you to tears, or laughter, or contemplation or familiarity or nostalgia. This is where your first impression must be noted.
Check the grammar, spelling and punctuation wherein you can judge by your knowledge, experiences and the way you interpret the writer’s piece.
Later, you may offer your suggestions, explaining in as much detail as possible. However, refrain from copying the entire text of the poem or short story. Tell the writer, whether he/she got across the image to you with clarity, depth and technique. Were you able to understand the poem? Or the short story genre, plot and twist?
Consider the poem a movie ~ do you hear the dialogue, can you paint the scenes with your imagination or did it captured your emotions?
Next, you can give a constructive encouragement where you think the writer needs improvement or other areas where his/her needs to improve. You may conclude your review with thanks to the poet for sharing his/her work and encouraging them to keep writing (include this step for every reviewing, be it short story, poem, novel or article). Then give rating as a reviewer.
You can also make separate template for each; poem, short story and novel. Design it to your liking and style. But, always remember, in reviewing a positive feedback and constructive criticism are needed. Select words that can uplift the author’s heart and talent.
Personally, this piece of mine came “out of the blue”, in my imagination to submit an entry in which I am not prepared upon submission. Read the following poem and rate it (1 – 10) – 10 is perfect.
Cover of Knowing [Blu-ray]
I Have to
I have to submit an entry out of the blue,
Purging my creative juices into a so-so,
Knowing that winning is for others to go,
But I keep trying a year or two.
I have to devote my time into writing,
Cultivating my imagination into realizing,
Delivering my talent for winning.
But fate been so disgusting.
Write on! Write on! Write on!
Contests! Contests! Contests!
Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!
So, writers please listen,
To the news of the day I reckon,
Never to give up such ambition,
‘Cause our day will come in fruition.
So, as a reader and a reviewer of my piece, I am giving you an ample time to review and rate this material. Really, what I am submitting came from the bottom of my heart. Oh what a cliché!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: You can read more articles from him at: The Filipino Diaspora http://www.thefilipinodiaspora.com