Trying to Please the Critics


I visited your blog, pet
It seems a wee bit dark?
There’s all this gritty grimness
Myself, I like Hallmark.

Your narratives lack anguish
They’re just a tad too light
You want to be shortlisted?
Add stuff on human rights.

Your baddie’s way too nice, mate
Give me a psychopath
With scars, at least one limb gone,
Who likes a good bloodbath.

This antagonist’s a villain!
You certainly have blundered.
To win prestigious prizes
He should reform on page two hundred.

Your stuff will never sell, hun
With all this depth and meaning
I say this very kindly –
Best quit and go out cleaning.

Give up! You’re not like us, dear.
We suffer for our art
Write tomes that all will purchase
But none will ever start.

I did give up my writing
Kept smiling, hid the shame
Decided life was better
Though nothing felt the same…

Just today I grasped it:
The critics can’t agree!
I’ll never, ever please them
From now on I’ll please ME.



Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration.” – Ray Bradbury

“We need to rid ourselves of this outdated notion that writing as an art form is essentially superior to writing as entertainment.”Sheila O’Flanagan

“I sometimes wonder if the more po-faced critics were born without an umbilical cord, completely house-trained and reading Proust.”


3 thoughts on “Trying to Please the Critics

  1. This is excellent, Amanda! What those critics don’t realize is that those “baddies” that are way too nice are the scariest ones because you don’t know what they’re capable of until they do it. My favorite kind of villains. I really think that every author has a story for someone – even if it’s just one person out there. There’s plenty of room for all of us out there.


  2. Wonderfully done! Just remember the reason most people become critics is because they can’t do the actual work they are criticizing. Your heart and soul go into everything you write, as it should be. Anytime you hear that nagging voice in your head that says ‘you can’t do this,’ remember your last stanza!


  3. Your poem reminds me of an old song by Ricky Nelson. In “The Garden Party”, the chorus states, “But it’s all right now/ I learned my lesson well/ You see, you can’t please everyone/ So you gotta please yourself.” Great poem!


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