Questions Concerning Soup-Etiquette -- Part II - Chris D. Aechtner's Blog

About Chris D. Aechtner
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Dreamt a dream
about falling asleep,
woke up in yet another one --
a near-seamless string of dreams within dreams.

As I become older, 
I still retain the eternal heart of a 6 year old child.
Sort of like Peter Pan ....

.... and I will always take my chances with Captain Hook.

I am a Canuck who grew up on the West Coast.
I have some of this, do a little of that (lol).
Aside from writing, I enjoy oil painting as a creative outlet.
I love mountain biking.
I am a gardener and bio-chemist.
(So many "I"s)

As far as the Peter Conspiracy goes,
Chris is a shortened version of my birth-name.
It is my legal name.
I am not some guy from NYC; I have never lived in NYC. is the first site where I publicly posted a poem online.




Questions Concerning Soup-Etiquette -- Part II

Blog Posted:11/20/2012 11:52:00 AM
Hullo again, Soupers:

Firstly, a kind thank you to those of you who offered advice on my other
soup-etiquette blog. Since some of the personal insights and advice had me
ponder the situation from different angles, or reinforced other thoughts,
I would like to continue with another 'Soup-nario'.

A member leaves a comment with you, such as this:

"I was hoping you would check out my newest poem that I posted,
and offer an honest opinion of it."

Now, there are two key-words in this comment: "hoping" and "honest".
In this specific situation, it might be seen as being rude, to completely
ignore the request.
Upon reading said poem, you find the poem to be one of the all-time worst
poems that you have ever read in your entire life. Ever.

How should one respond?

The member(who could very well be one of the most supportive and kind
people on this site)asked for your honesty. In this case, is total honesty, the
best way to go about it?

My first instinct would be to tone-down the "this is a most terrible poem"
evaluation, and offer a constructive criticism.
But wot if there isn't ANYTHING to work with?
The more you analyze the poem, the worse it appears,
until there truly isn't a single evident positive aspect in the piece;
it appears to be a poem that even with massive amounts of editing/re-working,
it just might be an utter lost cause. A write-off.

Do you give your honest opinion? This member did ask for your honesty.

Or, do you out-right lie? -- "This is a great poem. I am impressed. Every time
I re-read your poem, it gets better and better! Smoocheese!" 

Wot would/do you do in such a situation?
One doesn't want to be rude, to dampen the self-esteem of this member,
so, is being a fake and a liar, the best option in such a soup-nario?

*Thank you kindly for any advice or insight
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  1. Date: 11/21/2012 5:50:00 PM
    as for "beating around the bush," it can mean several things. I often do it when I think the poem is probably a good one, but I do not personally understand it. That is often when I use that tactic. and sometimes I like the poem a little bit but not a lot and I might chit chat. But sometimes the poem opens a flood gate in me and I will talk about how it made me feel or what it brought to my mind. All 3 scenarios are possible. I think everyone is here for different reasons. If they want real critiques, they can use that forum Soup has provided for such a thing or join a poetry club. I did that, and it was a real SNOOZE fest. also, I do not ask people to critique me. I'm just here for fun.

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  1. Date: 11/21/2012 5:47:00 PM
    Chris, unless it's a very good friend, I no longer give a real opinion that has been ASKED of me. I try to be as honest as I can be with my "reactions" to poems in general, but I learned the hard way, people who ask for honest opinions are often the people who are least able to take criticism. And that's even when you are being very soft on them. Just a touch of criticism and they can go off on you. It's happened to me a few times here, and I had given my "asked for" opinion even in private to them. So no, I don't do that any more.

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  1. Date: 11/21/2012 11:18:00 AM
    Great input in the comments(and replies lol). Nice to see some playfulness within the comments, as well. It appears to be a melting-pot of opinions when it comes to this topic....which is also always good to see. Again, for this example situation, I wasn't suggesting to leave a rude critique on said poem(just to reinforce this one more time). Hmmmm, blunt honesty versus an in-between mix of honesty and a white lie, or beating around the bush(lol), or being a fake and a liar, or completely shying away from the altercation altogether. Ha! When does constructive criticism cross the line into rudeness, and when does the guise of politeness become too fake, possibly hindering the growth of a poet? For some reason, I find this topic extremely amusing.

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 11/21/2012 11:43:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I guess its as amusing as anything else when it comes to friendship, foilibles and the way relationships are built and played out. Nothing different here than what do you say to your favorite plump aunt who asks you if her new outfit (yellow and purple) is nice. Poets grow dependent on their own efforts, don't you think? It all lies in self. ;-)
  1. Date: 11/20/2012 11:18:00 PM
    I've found out(the hard way), that when someone calls for honesty it means honesty-when-a-poem-is-good but when it requires work please-stretch-your-imagination-and-find-the-one-good-thing-about-it-so-you-can-tell-me. It's tough. Personally I think if you call for honesty, you should be ready for whichever answer.

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  1. Date: 11/20/2012 6:58:00 PM
    be kind, rather than saying "it is the worst", say I think you could probably improve the poem by doing.... constructive criticism is always positive offering how to improve. I believe that everyone should filter rude and harsh comments, it serves no person to hurt people. Just my two cents. Lee

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  1. Date: 11/20/2012 6:54:00 PM
    I think being a fake and a liar is probably the best way to go. Mama always said "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". If someone asks my opinion, I try to be honest (as though I actually know anything); but, as said, I might lie. It's only a purgatory penalty and I won't go to hell for it. Rarely will I ask you to read my poem. My mom also said "don't toot your own horn" although in reality I want everyone to read my poetry and comment on its brilliance. It's okay if you have criticism for me. If you give me something I can actually use - yay! This is the first time I've posted on a blog - How am I doing? Oh pretend I didn't ask. great subject.

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    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 11/21/2012 8:44:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    : P <---the face with the little tongue. : )
    collins Avatar kathryn collins Date: 11/21/2012 8:16:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I don't know either, Ruben, about Debbie's comment. What do you mean little tongue?
    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 11/20/2012 9:21:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    The little tongue?
    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 11/20/2012 8:57:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    @ Deborah: I dont understand this comment... which part of the comment is "to me"?? LOL!
    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 11/20/2012 8:19:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    really really great! I particularly like line 3 [:P to Rueben] all of worry over purgatory, and so nice to hear your veiws today! Light & Love
    Roberts Avatar Francine Roberts Date: 11/20/2012 8:17:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I like you, you made me laugh
  1. Date: 11/20/2012 6:49:00 PM
    Always be honest, If it was one of my poems and it was shit.. Id rather know then if i felt the need I could edit/rewrite it.. xxx Smoocheese!:P lol

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    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 11/20/2012 8:17:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Phew Tracie THANKs I been working hard on my tact ;) now if I can only find a bit more patience ;) [a few short suits of mine]
    Edwards Avatar Tracie Edwards Date: 11/20/2012 7:12:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I like the way Debbie comments on poems.. She is tactful and helpful..
  1. Date: 11/20/2012 4:17:00 PM
    I've been noticing a new "polite" way to make comments on poems that ...well, that kind of poems. The commenter talks about everything but not about your poem. So, the commenter asks about your family , the price of the cantaloupes or the weather in Honolulu...In some cases, if you have used the word "car"...the commenter talks about cars...if you have used the word Sunday...the commenter talks about Sundays. And everything is fine because at the end of the comment, they usually wish you good luck in the contest.

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    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 11/20/2012 8:54:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    What?? What did I say? : )
    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 11/20/2012 8:15:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    oh geezzzz hmmmm
    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 11/20/2012 4:20:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Sadly, I have too many of this kind of comments...but you know what? When I get one of these comments, I go back to the poem and start the revision! LOL!
  1. Date: 11/20/2012 4:16:00 PM
    First of all, let me tell you that this is THE funny blog! I keep laughing like an idiot. Although I know it's fictional, there is so much truth in this "Soup-nario." If I can't say something nice, I don't say anything at all. NOW, if you ask for honesty...well, I'll do it ...and without anesthesia. There are Soupers who are very sensitive and take any suggestion or a "real" critique as an insult (it's not my case, but I understand).

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  1. Date: 11/20/2012 3:55:00 PM
    When someone posts ' read and comment on my poem yada yada" I tend to ignore them if they have not left at least 2 words about the poem they left said comment on.... If I do go read their work because they left one or 2 words about my work along with their "read me" plea and it is as you said" just gawd-awful" my pat reply is, 'sorry I just don't get it". I don't need requests to read work, comments left on my work usually get me to read theirs anyway.

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  1. Date: 11/20/2012 3:52:00 PM
    i tend to bypass that situation Chris, and not comment at all... but i do see your point, if asked to come up with a comment...tact is about the only aspect, i can see here...

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  1. Date: 11/20/2012 3:22:00 PM
    and as James Dyson said..'suck it all in' ....

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    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 11/20/2012 3:27:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    not sure what that means..but I always remember the only bad critique is NONE at all
  1. Date: 11/20/2012 2:33:00 PM
    I've experienced this situation on the odd occasion and it is tricky; usually if I read something I don't personally like I don't leave a comment, but if somebody has specifically requested feedback then it's a different matter; I generally look for what is positive within the poem and focus on that (nine times out of ten there is something positive!) as poets we put so much of ourselves into our work that it can be painful if somebody comes along and gives a harsh critique, so I think the occasional little white lie or sugaring the pill is permissible; there are times when tact and diplomacy are called for! :)

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    Puddifoot Avatar Charlotte Jade Puddifoot Date: 11/20/2012 4:48:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    just a thought - if people want tougher critique they should perhaps submit their work to literary mags as editors do not mince their words (take it from me!) I think on a site such as this the emphasis should be more on friendship, support and kindness
  1. Date: 11/20/2012 1:58:00 PM
    For the past few years I have tried to comment on how the content affects, me finding some likeness in everyones work for we are all human and go through alot of similiar things. I have been trying hard not to actually critique things in ways which might be taken hurtfully BUT if I felt they really wanted to know to better themselves I show them them positive ways to make changes in email. It's too hard in soup mail.

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    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 11/20/2012 2:08:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    and PLEASE if anyone has constructive critisizm for me you can put it in the comment section, mis-spellings, words left out content HUH??? If you want to re write it to show me I will give you my email
  1. Date: 11/20/2012 1:03:00 PM
    ha not being educated in anything I struggle here when somebody asks me, but if they ask for an honest answer I try to give it and if it is awful I sweeten by saying "I fall into the same trap that they may be tiptoeing into, so please avoid my mistake which was... and then list what they are doing (in my opinion) that may not be the best. xx

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  1. Date: 11/20/2012 12:04:00 PM
    What I'd do first? I'd read a few more poems posted by the poet, see if anything strikes my fancy at all. Hopefully, something does. Then, use that as a guide for some careful feedback to the poet. Perhaps start with the INTENT. "I can see you are trying to allude to... the emotions I'm reading suggest that..." then I'd comment on something I liked in an other work, "Perhaps, if you focused on the subject, as you did in (POEM NAME HERE)" I think you can be honest and be diplomatic, even if its a "you evoked a nice memory" Now, if its a close friend, I'd be more direct, "Doll, were you drinking last night? Cause we both know this ain't your finest hour. Edit and sweat-it."

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My Past Blog Posts

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A. Long Learned Tale. I do not know?epic,space,
Socialites Free verselifenight,night,
Priorities Viewed by a Dying Man Villanelledeath,introspectionnature
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Haiku for Hidden Habitats Haikunature
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Breaking Free verselost love,
Sunlit Yearnings Free verselifelife,life,
Cardinal at the feeder Rhymenature,upliftingwinter,wi
Mona Lisa Free verseartme,
Aspects Of Winter Free verseseasonsme,world,old,light
Suncatcher --recited Free verseinspirational,introspecti
'Water' Cinquainnature
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TOUCH Rhymelove,me,
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Always Free versededication,friend,life,li
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MILDEWED EXPECTATIONS Free verseheartbroken,son,
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