Tuesday, June 21

Comments Are Hard


each comment I write
a tooth pulled by string without
brain anesthesia


I want to break character for a bit and let you into my mind without the protection of poetry. The topic I wanted to talk about is the act of writing and receiving comments, because honestly, I find it quite intimidating and mind-wracking. I actually have a more difficult time writing comments on poetry than I do writing poetry itself.

Now right off the bat, I want to say that I love other people's poetry, so it's not that I believe other people's stuff is inferior. I appreciate the time and effort everyone puts into their work, and if poetry were a theatre performance I'd applaud right along with everyone else.

When it comes to commenting, however, my mind paralyzes. Though I will like whatever a person has written, it might take me anywhere from ten minutes to an hour for my brain to ruminate and figure out exactly why. So if fifteen people comment on one of my poems, and my slowpoke mind has to take up to fifteen hours to contemplate everyone's work, you can see where I get bogged down.

What makes it even more infuriating is when I scroll up and someone else has already made the point I was about to share, and I can either weakly agree with them, or go back to the drawing board for another indeterminate length of time.

On the other hand, I could keep a stock amount of phrases like "Good job!" or "Excellent work!" on hand when my keyboard feels like quick drying cement, though I have some hesitance to that as well.

What makes this puzzling to me is that I love it when people comment on my work. It doesn't even have to be Shakespeare or a college dissertation: a simple, "I like it!" thrills me. So I don't understand why I'm reluctant to use this method when I'm strapped for time.

I would dig it if everyone had a little "like" thumb that I could click on to say, "Yes, I read your poem. It was groovy. My words are failing me right now. Keep up the good work!" (This is one of the reasons why I prefer Twitter/Facebook. Retweets and likes are excellent!)

I'm curious to know other people's opinions on this: How do you feel about writing comments? Do you prefer a simple comment over no comment at all? Do you comment on comments? If someone (like me) has trouble reciprocating, do you feel irked?

Anyway, thank you for reading, and I hope you have an excellent day! :D



  1. My backspace key has never seen more time than in the comment box! Reading this was like a huge exhale...oh thank god I am not the only one!

    Am I using the same adjectives too much? Do people notice that? How do I sum up? Should I have a signature sign off or does that become trivial? Oh god I just used "really" like three times in that comment!

    All things that scatter about my head, I, as you, find it much easier to write poetry than comments. Its hard sometimes to show everyone how much I got from their words. I hope in some way the fact that we are all still writing is a testament to the inspiration we receive. Thanks for going out of poet today, I really loved knowing this is not just my brain plague ;) ~ Rose

  2. I am new in the poetry community (OSP) so reading other's poems is a pleasure. I am learning so I try to comment as much as I can. But indeed it is intimidating when so many people have commented before you... what can you say that will stand out. However, from the blogger's point of view, any and all comments are welcome. Even an "Awesome", or "Great" will do~

  3. smiles. i appreciate this...my rule of thumb on comments...if i am going to say goood job i am going to tell you why...if it really is good it spoke to something in me...maybe its a line i like, maybe its a feeling i get...when a poem is published it is a bird released to the wild...my reaction is neither good or bad, just like the poem...i just give what i got in the moment and if it really sticks with me i may come back later or just smile in your direction...i appreciate this though...

  4. Appreciate you bringing up this issue. I'm a slow reader. Takes me quite a long time to comment on OSW posts. Feels very taxing sometimes to not repeat what others have said.

  5. I try to be brief, but specific. I want to tell another poet what struck me, and perhaps how. Sometimes, though, it is a simple "I am blown away by the beauty you create by combining ordinary words."

  6. Yeah I try to tell why I enjoyed it, but sometimes the words just don't come out and as you say someone else has already said it above. So I don't just want to be a copy cat, no pun intended..lol.

    Thus if all else fails just rhyme by the pails. Some may get annoyed, some may get overjoyed.
    Some may scoff and delete, some may like the beat.
    But whatever the case it is original and gets to the point.
    Even if one is a bit stick up the bum and their nose goes out of joint....lol

    Of course I get around that on mine with the whole rhyming aspect, but yeah it's hard not to use great job, nice, blah blah all the time, as it is, but I don't want to sound like a broken record.

    Nice job bringing this up.

  7. I too have a hard time when it comes to commenting.. Is my6 comment good enough, witty enough, etc.. Did I read the poem the way the writer intended? Pressure. Two words I never use are "Brilliant" and "perfect" . Those poems have not been written yet. if you ever visit my blog, just leave "checkmark" :-)

  8. With rare exception, I leave a comment on every poem I read online. My reasons are two-fold. 1) I like receiving comments. 2) it forces me to state why I like it, what about I can take away from it, what spoke to me. Every poem I read is a chance to learn something, whether the poem is good or not so good, I can learn something from it.

    With this in mind, I found your haiku clever and deft...

  9. @C Rose: Exactly. Also, "brain plague" is hilarious. Unless someone has it, then it isn't of course. :(

    @Heaven: Welcome! I'm relatively new as well, and I think I'll get to the point where I can be comfortable with short but sweet comments.

    @Brain Miller: I try to follow what you said about the saying "why" part, and what frustrates me about my brain is that the neurons don't all seem to be on the same highway. The "like" ones immediately fire, but it takes a while for the "explain why" ones to have a say. Also, props to you for making your way over here all the time! :D

    @Dustus: Same goes for you too, I see you and the OSP people here often, and I dig that a lot. I totally understand about the slow reader part, and I frequently have to reread a poem multiple times to pick at all the layers. Thank you for being supportive! :D

    @Kim Nelson: Whenever I can, I do exactly what you say: pick one or two things that I really enjoy and comment on those. Sometimes it just takes me a long time to get to that point.

    @Pat Hatt: I dig your rhyming shtick. That must take even more time than a "normal" comment. Though now that I think about it, I often leave a haiku as a comment, and I don't mean it to be irritating. I've just written so many now that my mind thinks in 5-7-5. :D

    @Lynne: Yeah, the pressure is what clamps up my mind. When it's just me writing poetry, and I have the backing of my personal muse, it's all groovy. When commenting, however, my muse is off fluttering around, and I'm at a loss for words. (Now I'm wondering if I've used brilliant or perfect. I'll be sure to leave my check mark with a red pen, too.) :D

  10. Comments are difficult, and the hardest part for me of this whole blogging poetry thing. But as you say, one does get support and a lift from almost every comment, even if it isn't terribly earthshaking. I like to leave specific ones, meaningful ones, but at this point after months commenting on poems, I just try to say what I liked, and hope that flies. It does get easier as you come to know the people you exchange comments with, and it becomes more of a conversation. I think the tedium and the agonizing does pay off, and frankly, it's hard to piss someone off when you're telling them you like what they did. ;_) I think it's really cool that you brought this out for people to chew over, and don't ever worry about leaving a comment at my place--if I come back and read or follow someone, it's because of how they write, not how they suck up.

  11. Excellent points all. It takes me a while to ruminate over poetry, but I usually know if it's good at the outset, so I usually just say general positive things to avoid the paralysis you mention.

  12. I appreciate your honesty . I just think that people like to know that they are heard and seen so however you say it, I think is better than not saying anything at all. Nice post :)

  13. I personally feel that giving a comment, just few words like you are using the FB like button goes a long way to say to the person who has taken pains bot to write but to post his creativity. When you write you write for yourself but when you post it and submit it to places like this... it means that the writer is looking forward to people to read it and the best way one knows on the blogs is through comment... for that matter any comment. It goes a long way for the people to see that some one has taken the pain to read it in the first place and then made further effort to give comment .... any comment... for that matter.
    When I comment, I dont usually read others comment above... I write what comes to my mind even if its something like "Great!!!" This single word, makes sure that the author knows that I was there and read his poetry at the least...
    Then there are some verse's that push me to think further and deeper and then I write what comes to my mind on that... but its always only few lines... as I am not here to judge / correct or give awards... I am here to let the author know that I liked his work and out of the time that I can spare from my day to day life, I did spend time on his work... For me as a writer is good enough... and hope its good enough for others too...
    After all its not a competition and I am not a judge... or reviewer for some magazine finding suitable verse for printing....
    Having said that, I must appreciate Brian and Adam for the way they usually comment... with deep understanding and feeling... which comes from their experience and total involvement in this blog and they do make an extra effort to go an extra mile with their comments... I appreciate them a lot. If you would like to be there.. and then follow their comments and see how they take this exercise to a great height...
    As the moderator of OSW say that one does not have to comment on everything... on every post... but for me, its an exercise to let know the writer that I was there and read it. Comment, my advice to you is just be sure that it does not do any good, if you give negative comments... if that's the case, don't comment.

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    At Twitter @VerseEveryDay

  14. great post, matt (and i loved the haiku as well, especially "brain anesthesia" :)

    i know exactly what you mean - and one thing i really like about OSW is the encouragement to read, and not necessarily feel like you need to comment on everything.

    there are so many writers/artists contributing here, that i think it would be impossible to "like" everything one reads. just such a diversity. so i think you/we should have the freedom to simply read, and comment if the light goes on.

    sometimes just one line in a poem will stand out for me, and i simply quote that back to the author, with a short "i like/love this" or something like that. personally, i like knowing what parts of my writing someone liked, and so those types of comments, while short for the commenter, are still nice for me to receive.

    but i would rather not get any comment at all if someone really doesn't have anything to say, and that doesn't hurt my feelings. as i said before, not everyone is going to like everything i write. and that's just fine.

  15. Comments...me? I tend to write books and end up feeling foolish! I know I repeat myself often, more than likely share way too much personal attachments to the piece (no matter how offbase they are!) and am slowly learning that sometimes its okay to just enjoy the read and move on. I do TRY to return all comments, but fail miserably there as well. I have so enjoyed the relationships I have forged through this blogging experience, (I.E YOU!) and hope it is understood if I slip off the radar for a bit, I will return! I know many are in the same boat as me, barely having the time to pen the poem, let along the comment, so I appreciate ALL who take the time to leave so much as a smile.
    Fantastic post, Matt...and thanks so much for the thumbs' up! Think I may owe you a few ;)

  16. :) I hear ya, Matt! I run into this problem quite often myself! But these days, I try my best to NOT read others' comments on someone's poem before I have written my own comment on it... and then, later, if I find that my comment more or less echoed someone that commented earlier, so be it... *sigh*
    But yes, there are times when a particular poem stuns me to the point that I just cannot find the right words to show my appreciation towards it... and in such cases, I only HOPE that the poet understands my plight and interprets my babbling as praise and admiration for their work.. *double sigh*

    But really.. Thanks for bringing this up here, my friend.. at least now, I feel like I am sailing in this boat with many others in it as well.. :)

  17. It was groovy. I be the same way. I am a terrible commentor. I love the poems. I more time than not I feel what they are saying and it is hard to express. So a lot of times I don't know what to write. I love everything I lay my eyes on here. Some great poets, and at times I just feel like saying that this was F---

  18. when my keyboard feels like quick drying cement

    What a joy to find fun phrases like this in a 'serious' post! The best kind of comments are from bloggers who've enabled their emails, so that its possible to reply quickly to them from your ordinary email inbox list! And even a quick 'Thanks' is enough to let a person know they are not writing in a vacuum - it doesn't need to be a full-blown essay you leave in the comment box...

  19. I appreciate like but a comment appeals more, so if I have read, I am always trying to understand what the writer has tried to express and then type my views in form of appreciation to convey what I could make of it. I really have to make sure that I got it, otherwise it would be really embarrassing for me, and not doing justice to the post is the worst. I prefer all kind of comment and do comment on comment, it's important that I address those who took pains to read my work.
    I often pressurize myself into reading more, since I always wander away into my own thoughts while reading, it's something I want to escape from, "bring in more focus boy" my conscience speaks to me often.

  20. Yeah, I get you - but only comment on things that you really like even if it is just one word like good write (ok so that was 2) I think most people just read and move on anyway because traffic is always high but comments are your real blogger friends that feel mean if they don't leave a comment even if it is just one or two words! But we do need comments to let us know how good or bad we are really .... or not...

  21. I tend to stick to (writing) poems that don't need a lot of analysing, humorous ones are my preferred choice over ones with hidden meanings, or inner messages for others to fathom. Of course, I enjoy Poetry & Co in all forms and my sidebar profile, ABOUT ME, kind of explains my view on poetry via Blogger.

    I guess I try to leave some kind of comment, over none at all, but I'm just happy to have had a visitor....! Gives a little lift to your day.

    I only get irked with totally pedantic comment leavers (in general) who point out little grammar blips, and suggest what 'would have been better' and so on. So, someone put 'their' when it should have been 'there' type thing.

    Thanks for this post, anyhow. It's been interesting to read all the different views.

  22. Platitudes don't carry much weight, but I feel obligated to respond when someone takes the time to leave me a comment. Then there are the times I discover a worthy poem, poet or blog. That is when I free the lions.

  23. I'm a bit late on reading this post - saw it in your sidebar as I was scanning through your blog. Fabulous choice here! I think these were questions most of us ask ourselves. Along with those of trying to understand what is the proper etiquate for blogland.

    Though I appreciate all the 'nice' words of support, as a newcomer to so many of the forms of poetry, I too appreciate when someone comments about my form. I am not looking for 'total analysis' of each piece, but I also feel I have so much to learn about meter and iambs and trochets, etc... So when someone points out that I have stepped to another beat, it helps my learning process.

    Great haiku and great post. Very reflective, very provocative.