The Poet’s Eye

I’m Greg Bryant. I teach English, literature, and creative writing at Highland Community College, Highland, Kansas. If you have questions you can use the (contact) page.

Creative Commons licensing

This blog is © Greg Bryant and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Go to that link and see how straightforward and liberating a Creative Commons license is. If you want to license your own work that way, it’s free. Just go here, follow their simple instructions like I did, and create your own license.

Northeast Kansas Writers Exchange

Bryon Cannon’s catsignal blog inspired me to ask other imaginative writers in our area to start blogs of their own and join us in a “Northeast Kansas Writers Exchange.” We share creative writing challenges and mutual criticism.

This group is simple to join: Start a blog and post your work. Subscribe to other writers’ blogs too. Read their work as you have time, comment on it as you feel moved, and welcome their comments on yours.

It’s even simpler to quit. If you don’t enjoy it, just stop participating.

Subscribe to each other’s blogs via email, RSS, or other method. Make such tools available on your own site. (It’s easy and free to set up a WordPress blog like this. Instructions here.) I maintain a list of NEKWE bloggers on the right sidebar of the NEKWE blog. Go to their sites and invite them to yours.

We could challenge each other from time to time: “Write a Bible-style parable with an O. Henry ending,” or “Write a descriptive poem with no modifiers, at least ten lines long.” Whoever accepts the challenge can post on their own blog.

The idea is to write regularly, share results, and offer mutual criticism. I suggest a few reasonable guidelines:

  1. Proofread before you post.
  2. Read others’ work and comment when you can.
  3. Criticize the work of others as you would have others criticize yours.
  4. Be grateful to those who are helping you develop your craft.

I really want criticism. “Took too long to get my interest” does not hurt my feelings. “I was led to expect something interesting and nothing happened” and “The protagonist is so irritating I stopped reading” are instructive and welcome comments. I need frank reader response — say how the work affected you. You don’t have to suggest how to fix it, but you can if you want to.

I am willing to do you the favor of frank reader-response criticism, too. If you just want to share, that’s fine. Just disable “comments” on your own blog, or delete comments you don’t like. I and many other writers will still welcome your comments on our writing.

To a writer, brave and frank reader response is pure gold.