Thursday, September 23, 2010

What would YOU do for an "A"?

I realize that it's been nearly a month since I've posted.  For that, I am sorry.  I will try to post at least once a week from now on.

This semester I'm taking a class called Advanced Poetry Writing.  I'm a creative writing minor (it's official), and when I started writing, I wrote poetry.  So naturally I figured the class would be something I'd enjoy.

I was wrong.  Way wrong.

The class might as well be called "Advanced Nature Poetry" because that's all we read about.  That's what we're encouraged to write about.  I don't know about you, but I hate nature.

Before I go any further, let me clear something up.  The professor I have is supposed to be amazing.  And in a way, he is.  But the poetry he likes and the poetry I like are totally different.  The way we write is different.  When it comes to poetry, the only thing we have in common is that we both like Robert Frost.

My poems aren't great, and I'll be the first to admit that.  And I appreciate (and encourage) constructive criticism in order to make my poems better.  But in this class, I'm having a hard time making my poems better.  Why?  Because I'm not getting much feedback.  We turn in a poem, and he'll respond with a few lines of "this line is good, these lines suck, what can make it better?"  Well sir, if I knew what could make it better, I would have done it in the first place.

And then there comes the idea of revising.  In one of my poems I wrote about New York City, and my professor liked one line and disliked the rest.  Among the "rest" was my favorite line in the poem.  He suggests I take it out altogether.  So here's where it gets tricky.  Do I compromise my style of writing and take out the line completely or leave it in and risk having my grade lowered?  He always says, "it's your poem so it's really up to you."  But since he's the one giving me a grade, I feel like I'm obligated to please him.  Like I'm obligated to change my style of writing so he'll like it.

The idea of compromising who I am as a writer for a grade is tearing me up inside.  I only have two writing classes left to finish up the minor, and now I'm not so sure I can go through this again.  At the end of the day, I'm not willing to change who I am for any grade.  I'm willing to revise and make it better, but I don't want to give up all that I believe in just for a grade.

So to all my readers out there who are good writers, what do you suggest I do?

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