Nature of Criticism

I’ve been getting wrapped up in this issue of reviewing and criticism lately. It’s a big debate right now in the Canadian poetry scene and one that, due to the various levels of disagreement and animosity, needs to be discussed. I’ve posted on another blog, in some limited way, my own opinions on reviewing and have tried to avoid slipping off the issue and into the gutter-talk on the side. Some people I’ve read have managed this while others have not.

My good friend Jake Mooney has been following from the sidelines as well. He’s become quite concerned about these talks, not so much for the people involved, but what it’s doing to criticism in the Canadian sphere. He’s posted what’s almost a plea to those involved hoping that however this polarization in the writing world is resolved (if that’s even possible) it be done in a professional way. The debating has, at times, sunken into the pits of insult and nastiness, which to my mind negates the arguments of those involved. How can these sides be taken seriously if they throw all decorum out the window?

Jake’s post is likely to ruffle some feathers on all sides, but it’s coming from a well intentioned place, that of fair and progressive criticism. I for one can’t fault him for that.

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