Marj Westendorf's E-Mail Address:

Marj Westendorf's Profile:
Hi, I'm Marj. I've been enjoying this site for awhile, and now is the time to finally write up a little personal profile. It is wonderful to submit poetry, but I most enjoy critiquing others' writings and poring over feedback from critiques. I believe that the main thrust of my responsibility is to look for and to find the GOOD in each work, and to reflect this back to the poet. The poet is able to make the biggest strides by improving on his/her strengths. I aim to follow this in my teaching, too. This also encompasses a life philosophy, don't you think? To seek until I discover the good in each event, and especially in each person, and then to reflect that back. It can be empty and seem patronizing without being specific about what is so good or wonderful. So I need to be specific as a critique-er. That always feels difficult at first, because I'm caught in a general feeling with the poet's words. But with re-examination, . . . It rarely remains difficult after a re-reading or two. Events and persons don't generally ASK what needs improvement. But we do ask this at The Poetic Link. Punctuation, spelling, and grammar come easily for me. That's a cinch to name. I think that this is my weakness as a critique-er, how to explain if there's a generalized SOMETHING missing. Mostly the difficulty for me is that I don't want to tamper with how the poet wants to express him/herself. Unless it's really unclear, inconsistent, contradictory, I like it the way it is. I also wave a banner for avoiding prejudices against certain topics and various writing styles. Writing the commentary is a relational experience, and an enjoyable one. Assigning numerical scores is another story. I see the need in our system, but it's like having a weapon in my hand that I'm not confident about using yet. I usually tend to be a wee bit over-generous, but try to leave room for my scores to refelct strikingly excellent poetry. Conveying all that conveys a lot of this me, this Marj with a "j'! But I'll end with a few specifics or details: I'm in the second half of a century of life. I mainly teach 4 to 8 year olds and mainly teach music and religion. I play the guitar and sing. I am a Franciscan Sister, and have been for more than three decades -- alias, Sister Marjorie.

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