So maybe you write and read poetry—but have you ever considered reviewing poetic works? Poetry book reviewers take their love for literature one step further by providing readers with their insights and opinions on their favorite books. If this is something that interests you, let’s go over a few tips to help you get started.
1. Decide how and where to share your poetry book reviews.
There are a number of different platforms you can use to begin sharing your poetry book reviews. Maybe you’ll dedicate them to Instagram or Facebook posts. Alternatively, you could share your reviews through Goodreads or Amazon. Another great option is to start your own blog.
In addition to writing reviews, don’t forget about the potential opportunities that come with reviewing poetry books through videos. Videos can be shared on any of your social media platforms, including YouTube. Writing and recording videos each give you a different way to creatively share your reviews with the world. Which you choose will largely depend on what you’re comfortable with and the style you wish to use moving forward. Poetry book review videos tend to be more conversational and interactive, whereas written reviews tend to be more formal in nature. Both are great, so it’s really up to you which you prefer!
2. Start with some of your favorite poetry collections.
When I started reviewing poetry books, this was the avenue that worked best for me; I began with some of my favorite poets. This helped significantly because I knew I would be passionate about the poetry in question, and I was able to start developing my own reviewing style. As with any other creative medium, you want to nurture your own voice when writing poetry reviews, so feel free to explore different angles and find out what fits you best. For instance. you can write about the technical aspect of poetry, or you can focus on the emotions a work conveys. It can also be compelling to make your reviews more personal by sharing with readers which pieces spoke to you and why. Discussing how a poetry collection resonates with readers—and what the writer sought to accomplish with their collection—will help include your readers in the review and make them feel like you’re looking out for content that they would enjoy.
3. Get your work out there.
When starting out, try and write simply for the sake of getting your reviews out into the poetry world. Monetary opportunities may come, but a great first goal is to work on your consistency, your style, and providing quality content.
The more reviews you write, the more likely it is that other writers will approach you asking for an honest review of their poetry collections. This gives you a chance to try out poetry collections that you may not have read otherwise. Think of each poetry review as part of your portfolio for prospective authors or websites. Others may like your reviewing style and seek you out after reading some of your work, so be thoughtful with each piece you put out. You never know who may be reading!
4. Be sincere.
When setting out to write poetry book reviews, it is important to remember a few things. First, reviews will require your opinions, but always try and state yours with respect for the author and for your readers. Second, if you are critiquing something, make sure it is constructive. Poetry, like all art, is subjective. Highlight things you like about a work, even if there are also parts that don’t resonate with you. Be honest but well rounded with your observations.
5. Be intentional.
Reviews matter. Whether you review on your blog, Goodreads, or Amazon, always remember that reviews can make a big difference for writers and their book sales and exposure. When people see a seething review, it may be the thing that keeps them from reading a book for themselves. Likewise, many positive reviews will likely attract a reader to see what the hype is about. There is a good chance that the author will see your review as well, and your words will impact them. For better or worse, there is a certain responsibility that comes with writing reviews. Be genuine, but be intentional with your reviews.
6. Have fun with it.
If you are setting out to review poetic works, it is likely because you have a deep appreciation for poetry and the poets who write it. Keep that in your mind as you craft your reviews. Bring yourself to each piece that you write, but also keep your reader in mind. Answer the questions you feel they may have about a collection while also giving them insights into what you think of the work. Your reviews can be as unique as you are. Try not to pressure yourself to follow a certain format. Allow yourself to find the style that works for you, and showcase that as you showcase the writers you review.
Reviewing poetry is a rewarding way to connect with the poetry community and to connect readers with great poetic works they will enjoy. I hope these tips help get you started. Happy reviewing!