Thanks to everyone who posted such interesting comments after my Lumb Bank post. It has made me very much more conscious of the importance of good, informed and constructive criticism, not just in the early stages of beginning to write, but all through your writing life. But you don’t always need the same sort of criticism
When you start, you really need someone in your life who will tell you your poem is brilliant, whatever it looks like. It doesn’t matter if you know they are probably wrong and in six months time you will look at it and realise how lame it is and wonder what she was thinking. You need someone to tell you how good it is or you wouldn’t write at all. It could be you, of course, so long as you believe yourself!
Then, when you are strong enough, you need to hear how strangers read it. The workshop experience can be wonderful ,or it can be traumatic.