FINE PRINT CRITICISM

by Jnana Hodson

You know that reaction after reading a page that leaves you with a sensation of missing something. A treatise about poetry or art or theology, especially?

If you’re like me and largely autodidactic, you no doubt feel yourself an outsider. So I write from the fringe, in more ways than one. Reading some reviews and critiques, I soon wonder: Am I simply inattentive? Clueless? Ignorant? Is it that such subtlety, speaking only to the highly initiated, will never accept my own efforts? Or is it that I prefer what is simple, direct, grounded in experience and place, over what is convoluted and cloaked – even in form? Without falling into cliche or triteness?

Or am I the one, despite myself, who becomes convoluted and cloaked? How do we reach higher, anyway, in this thing called art, while striving to stay true … to whatever?

How does originality run through it all? And life?

By the way, just who are the critics writing for? Even when we ourselves turn critic.

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