Learning English through Poems and Songs
Taylor Swift is an award-winning singer-songwriter. In an interview with Parade magazine she said:
I wrote the song ‘Mean’ about a critic who kept giving me really bad reviews. I get that, no matter what, people will criticise what you do. But there are different ways to criticise someone… and there’s a line that you cross when you just start to attack everything about a person.
You lead an after-school arts club. You would like to instruct members on how to review each other’s work.
- Write a speech to be delivered to club members
- Discuss what a critic does, how to give criticism and ways to respond to criticism
- Give your speech a title
A Line Drawn for Criticism
Dear club members,
Today I am going to give a speech on how to review a work of arts by your counterparts. Recently, some members have revealed that they constantly receive extremely bad reviews and opinions on their works and even personal attacks and criticism. As such, I would like to reiterate how to criticize as a critic should do and how to respond to criticism.
A critic is a person who assesses and evaluates a work of arts according to his knowledge and taste of the subject matter. It is supposed that a critic is knowledgeable so that his criticism and comments will have a reference base and follow a set of rules and values upheld by the specific field. A critic should also be well-intentioned to prevent abusively attacking a person because of his dislike or hatred of the person. A critic should also have a good taste about his professional area so that he can distinguish good work from bad work.
For example, when evaluating a poem, we should first read the poem aloud to see if it has rhythm and sounds good to the ear. Then, read the poem closely. Next, spot each line if it has used figurative language like simile, metaphor, rhyme, imagery, personification etc and see if they have been used properly. After that, look at the content of the poem and try to figure out the meaning of the poem. What is the context of the poem? When and where does it set? To whom the poem is talking? Does the poem follow any pattern? Does the poem evoke any feelings, emotions, pictures, associations and imagination? Is the language used beautiful? Is the poem cohesive and coherent? How does the poem speak to you personally? Finally, based on the above rules, you can draw a conclusion about the poem and give a review whether it is well-written or not.
When you receive bad reviews on your work of arts, you should remain open-minded as it often happens. As works of arts have both their objective and subjective level, it is unrealistic that you expect everyone to appreciate and like your work. For example, when you receive bad reviews on your poem, you can at the very least refer to the above-mentioned standard to discern whether your poem has failed in a certain way. However, if you receive personal attacks such as hostile insults or shameful remarks due to your work of arts, it is likely that the critic is ill-intentioned and has crossed the line and you should refute the disapproval.
In short, when we review a work of arts, we should criticize based on the work of arts and not the person. Moreover, it is common that we receive bad reviews on our work of arts as everyone has different perspectives and taste. We should not only be open-minded to others’ criticism but also beware of malicious attacks.
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