The Deep End: General Criteria
To my fellow Eratospherians,
The Deep End has a long history, perhaps even a legacy, of being a workshop where poets can go to get advanced critique on their well-developed poems. As the guidelines state, close attention to craft is key. While this measure is necessarily subjective, there is a kind of quid pro quo between the quality of what is posted and the quality of critique a posted poem receives. In this light, there is an underlying expectation in TDE to post both high quality work and high quality critiques.
Over the past few years, there have been several discussions in General Talk regarding the purpose of having two workshop forums. My view as moderator, which dovetails with the guidelines, is that The Deep End is primarily oriented toward close readings. This means that while critiques do not require a Vendler-esque level of analysis (though that is encouraged as well), they do require a level of detail beyond a sentence or two lauding or decrying the poem or poet. This means that brief posts that do not significantly contribute to the productive discussion or improvement of the posted poem may be deleted.
Although the above may sound rather stern on the surface, the truth is that most members of Eratosphere have the ability to post both well-developed poems and comprehensive critiques. Furthermore, while off-topic discussion is discouraged, discussion of the posted poem is positively encouraged. “Critting a critter” is generally bad form, but counter-discussion of points another critic has brought up is fair game. Civility is expected, but frankness about a posted poem is perfectly fine. The Deep End should not be treated as an exclusive club so much as a graduate-level classroom. Basic respect for one another (and particularly one another’s poetic abilities) is the de facto golden rule at Eratosphere, and I am hopeful that this will remain the case at TDE for the months and years to come!
E. Shaun Russell