where the writers are
Critical Analysis

I've been a member of Red Room for a while and haven't really set up my page to look anything exciting. I've been going in and out looking at people's pages and profiles and thinking, there are a lot of writers in this world, a lot of great writers. Who am I to say I want to be a part of this?

I've been thinking lately about critical essays of our works. Of works in general. This is the key, yes, to keeping your works alive. Have someone else write about it. This could be in the way of reviews or just essays thinking deeper/critically about one smaller aspect of the book/poem(s). Where I am still new to entering this world of writers and the world of what you can or should do. In the world of ever-evolving writing communities where writers are probably more fraterized than ever, the risk, then of reviewing or writing critical essays of another poet's work puts you at a greater chance of writing about a friend or someone you've worked with closely or admire. Or hate. So then, how do we set ourselves at a safe distance to be able to write about the works fairly? Or is there a safe distance? So then, do we just not write at all? Because we feel we can't say the things we would if we didn't have a personal/emotional connection to the writer? Or will we wait for someone else to come along and write it, which could be, never? But with the writing groups emerging and becoming bigger and bigger and crossing over and one writer is a part of this group and that group, can you avoid the intimacies? Is this even possible anymore?

I'm rambling. What I mean to consider is - for so much work that gets put out almost daily, where is the critical work being done about it? More specifically, I am thinking of Cave Canem - an African American writing workshop/retreat. Once admitted to the workshop/retreat, fellows come into the fold of the constantly growing "family" of poets and scholars. Does membership to this group - almost (or above) 400-strong after 12 years - exclude you from being able to write critically about others associated with the group? So then, as we come into the folds - which is a necessary step in this process, to be a part of a writing community - are we making it harder for our works to be written about/preserved...because we cannot write or speak about our fellow members from a safe distance, or do so without people assuming a bias? So are we killing (if writing critical reviews keeps a work alive) our own?

Just thoughts.