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Arrogant As Ever

by Chris Sorrenti

Guilty as charged
Your Honour

I guess
if trying to help you
in your development
was too much for your eggshell ego
then I sincerely apologize

Constructive criticism
misinterpreted by a simpler mind
is never a pretty thing
no doubt the prognosis
as I stumbled upon your blog
through the miracle of Google
flashing me back
to Poesie.com
that wild west of poetry sites
where no doubt
the crime was committed

And well
if that’s arrogance
then strangely enough
I have no shortage of masochists
lining up to be insulted by me
where there is no resentment
just guardian angels
helping one other along the way

As a dearly departed brother/mentor
once retorted of his own critics
they are doomed to be nothing more
than footnotes
in the ever unfolding story
that is Me

© 2006
Revised © 2016

270 hits as of July 2018


Back in the early days of the Internet, the late 1990s, I belonged to other open (free) poetry sites; the most notable being Poesie.com.

In a nutshell, Poesie.com was owned and run by an absentee landlord. The program worked well, but there were no administrators...no rules. It quickly evolved or devolved (depending on how you look at it) into the wild west of poetry sites. People didn’t have to use their real names, and so a remarkable...surreal, and at times utterly ridiculous collection of pseudonyms circulated. Every topic, no matter how outlandish, taboo, embarrassing to author or others was covered.

In retrospect, it was an interesting experiment; maybe what the owner had intended all along?

Personally, it was a period in my writing, when I was still testing the waters as to what really worked as a poem on the Internet...and what didn’t. Experience that I eventually carried here to Pathetic.org.

Poesie.com also allowed ‘Anonymous’ comments from the outside from others. Most of the feedback was kind, diplomatically constructive in terms of pointing out strengths and flaws, however I also suffered the occasionally stinging comment from people just being assholes, taking advantage of the fact they could hide faceless in front of/behind a computer screen.

At that point, having had 5 years of writers’ workshop experience, by the same token, I thought it would be nice to offer the same type of constructive criticism to other writers. Always pointing out what I liked in a piece, I would also use carefully chosen words to point out things I either didn’t understand or could use sharpening in terms of message and flow. The way I was taught, a critiquing should never be about the person who wrote it, their style of writing, but how any individual piece of writing communicates.

Most people appreciated what I was doing, some even asking me for help, while others were highly offended.

Years later, I came across my name on a poetry related blog. The conversation was not kind. It consisted between two women, who at one point had obviously been members of Poesie.com. One accused me of being arrogant, while the other agreed. Soon getting over the hurt of the comment, my positive side went to work, quickly penning an inevitable backlash; the poem you see above.

In the end, I learned a valuable lesson, never offer unsolicited advice/(constructive) criticism to others unless they specifically ask for it; and even then, choose your words carefully.

510 hits as of July 2020


Posted on 07/04/2016
Copyright © 2020 Chris Sorrenti

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