Sphinx-related posts

Twelve Reasons Why Poets Should Write Reviews

Okay: here goes.

  1. Poetry is a communication — a message in a bottle. A review is a reply.
  2. There is no shortage of poets. But good poetry readers are rare. Reviewing helps you read well.
  3. Reviewing is educative. You look up the references, you look up the poet, you pay attention. You learn things you never knew you didn't know.
  4. Reviewing poetry gives craft insight: you see new tricks to try, and also some to avoid.
  5. Most poets like to have work reviewed. If you give reviews, you get reviews (not always in equal proportion).
  6. Poets need to write well in prose too. Reviewing (with an editor and some constraints) strengthens prose style and confidence.
  7. Poetry books are costly, especially if you read widely. But review copies are usually complimentary.
  8. Reviews are an art form. Writing them is creative. 
  9. Reviewing strengthens your profile as a writer and extends your network.
  10. People sometimes think reviews are about criticism or praise. Not necessarily. They are (or can be) about expressing interest and encouragement.
  11. Reviewing is a way of paying respect to the community you're part of, putting your money where your mouth is.
  12. A book and its reviews are a conversation anyone can join, provided they use words carefully. Join the conversation!

Please take a look at sphinxreview.co.uk with its ongoing resource of OPOI reviews, and, if you can bear a few more emails in your inbox, subscribe to the list. 

This will mean you get notifications about new material on the site, mainly new OPOI reviews. Such emails tend to come in little flurries when groups of reviews are posted. If it drives you nuts, you can unsubscribe at any time.

OPOIs are short reviews of poetry pamphlets which focus on only one point of interest (OPOI) in not more than 350 words.

Far more poets would like their pamphlets to be OPOI-ed than would like to write the OPOIs. Forty-three poetry pamphlets have been received for review this year so far, and only three new reviewers have offered their services. More are needed. Over 60 pamphlets are waiting hopefully.

Some poets don't have the confidence to write reviews. They are nervous of this role, which they see as authoritative and judgmental. OPOI reviews are neither. They are edited before they go public. They are a good thing to do, and if you are reviewing for the first time, the ideal place to start.

Recent comment in this post
Guest — Jeremy
Thank you for this. My reason 13 would be an addendum to your reason 3 (and 6?). I usually don't know what I think about something... Read More
Wednesday, 22 May 2019 18:43
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  1 Comment

Wanted! Echoes for rose petals. . .

So what is an OPOI again? 

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Gill
Well, our ginger beer exploded so maybe your OPOI project will, too.
Sunday, 03 April 2016 11:38
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  1 Comment


The days of three reviews per pamphlet have come to an end.

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The answer is no. But then the answer could be yes.


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Recent Comments
Guest — Antony Mair
I think it's an awful word, and you were quite right in saying towards the end of your piece that my use of the word regressed dur... Read More
Sunday, 17 March 2013 18:49
Guest — Scribble Orca
Blame Trevor and Murnane.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 11:06
Guest — mark carson
ekphrasis should join eponymous in the bin - the one for unnecessary words which Some People use to make Other People feel ignoran... Read More
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 12:54
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It makes no commercial sense. Perhaps not even any other kind.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Christian Ward
Great blog, Nell. Sphinx does a invaluable service and should be commended. Being a non commercial service (forgive my awkward phr... Read More
Sunday, 08 July 2012 12:34
Guest — James Grant
The reviewing service will undoubtedly be good for your publishing business. Quite right, too.
Monday, 09 July 2012 06:53
Guest — Nell
I don't think it is, James. Sometimes it makes relationships with other publishers, for example, which matter to me a lot, rather ... Read More
Monday, 09 July 2012 10:36
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The three high stripers for 2011 have been REVEALED!

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