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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/blanghinrichs
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Public Reviews
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Review of Our World Alive  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.5)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

I like the general feel of this, and the imagery is very nice. There are a few technical issues which could be easily fixed to make it even stronger. For one thing, you switch around tenses. When you say "The trees shiver and shake" or "Fireflies blink in the night" it is present tense, but "The brooks bubbled and whispered" is past tense. In general, it feels like present tense is what you intend here, so just check everything for past tense.

Another change you might consider is rewriting the stanza that says:

Fireflies blink in the night,
Watching me, and lighting up the trees,
Protecting me from the great big world,
Glowing brightly against the dark leaves,


It is the only place in the poem where you refer to "me", so it feels out of balance with the rest. You could easily replace it with

Fireflies blink in the night,
Watching and lighting up the trees,
Protection against the great big world,
Glowing brightly against the dark leaves,


or something like that. Also, I think "wounding" is not the word you meant in the otherwise excellent "Words wounding around my soul like beaten down trails". Probably you mean "winding".

Anyway, a bit more work, and I think this could be very good. Write on!


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Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.5)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

You have a fun start to this story about a somewhat scary family vacation. Dolls can be creepy, and one that seems to smile sometimes would make me nervous.

One suggestion I would make is that you use fewer quotation marks. In a line like the one below, I couldn't understand why "Gabriellas shoe," was in quotes, or why "Jeniyah snatched it from me," was in quotes.

I looked under Jeniyah's bed, "I found it!" "Gabriellas shoe," "I reached out to put on the doll shoe, "Jeniyah snatched it from me," "thanks!"

One useful thing to remember is that every single time a different person speaks, it should be a new paragraph. That also helps make it clear where you need quotes.

Write on!
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Review of Pufferfish  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.5)
I found your poem through the Read & Review feature.

I like the idea behind your poem, and you wrap it up well, but I can't help feeling you would have a stronger poem if you used different synonyms and images for 'big'. I think it would both make the poem more interesting, but also lead the reader on so that the final twist felt more poignant. If you can get the reader caught up in the different images, the final one is more of a shock. As it was, I anticipated that there must be a counterpoint, so it was less of an impact.

Write on!
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Review of Camp Next Week  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.0)
I found your poem through the Read & Review feature.

This was fun, and most people who have been camping will be able to relate. My favorite verse is the third, both because it is funny and because it reads the most effortlessly of the three.

I'm not sure the title works, as it doesn't quite draw you in and it also kind of gives away the ending. Maybe something like Camping... Fun? would work, but you know best.

Possible change for first line of last verse. It would preserve the rhyme and rhythm, but without the somewhat forced tented town.
Our tent sags as the rain pours down.

Write on!
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Review of The Forever Wife  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

It's clear why this won, as the story is fun and weird enough and well written. I like the twist, although I think you could have added some tidbit earlier to suggest why she would be able to determine where he was going. Later on, it seems as if she has been everywhere and everytime, but it makes less sense the first time or two.

And oh boy, the butterfly effect, but that's a matter for a more serious story.
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Review of Gathering Storm  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found this via Read & Review.

This is an enjoyable and evocative poem about weather, which is a bit unusual as a topic. I like the build up and imagery.

There a couple of minor things I'd bring up, not because they are errors but because they tripped me up a bit. The first is the use of pique in the first line. I can see how it matches the definition, but is certainly not the usual use of that as a verb. I love unusual words and wordplay, but this tends to halt the reader immediately, before they can get into the sense of the poem. You might want to consider the word choice.

The second is the phrase medium gray, which seems unbalanced with Robin’s egg blue. See if you can come up with a similarly vivid adjective to describe the color. The obvious choice would be slate gray, but that also feels a little overused. What adjectives might suggest the coming mood better? Ash gray? Cinder grey? Almost anything would be better than medium gray, but only you as the poet can decide what feels right. Even if that means sticking with medium gray, of course.

In any case, a good poem. Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

Flash fiction is a very different art form than most other fiction due to its highly compressed nature. But good flash fiction doesn't feel constrained, it feels as if it has plenty of room to breathe. Your piece does that well. You wander on a bit as if you had all the time in the world to make your case against those pesky inspiration-peddlars, but meanwhile you are setting up the reader for a twist.

Nicely done. Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of A Penny Saved ...  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.0)
I thought I'd look in our your port, Ken, and find something entertaining to read. The title of this caught my eye.

This is a humorous poem in the clichés-gone-bad genre (if there is such a thing). I like the wordplay and utterly groanworthy conclusion.

I have a little trouble with the uneven meter, but it is consistent with the very uneven meter in See Saw, Margery Daw  , so I'm going to view that as my problem rather than a problem with the poem.

Overall, a fun romp. Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Gimme a schmear  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

It is always fun to find poems which focus on the happier, lighter things in life. Your obvious delight in the joys of cream cheese on a bagel shines through. Well done.

Perhaps "hell" should be capitalized, though I guess it is debatable whether it is a proper place name (capitalized) or a state of being (not capitalized).

Write (and schmear) on!
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Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (5.0)
I found your poem via the Read & Review feature. I really like this. The images work well, and the sassy tone is great. I stumbled a bit at the word geography, which almost seems like it should be geology instead, but I can see arguments for either.

In any case, an enjoyable poem. I look forward to reading more of yours.
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Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (5.0)
I found this through the Read & Review feature, and am so glad I did. What a lovely testament to a strong woman going through the unimaginable, for her and for her family. This is well written and compelling. I sat with my mother-in-law as she was dying (at 96), and though it was sad, it was also peaceful. I can't even imagine having to do that with my wife at a younger age.
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Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.0)
I found your poem through the Read & Review features.

While I know this is a very old item, I had a couple of thoughts for your.

Overall, I like this a lot. You do a good job with adjectives and images that run contrary to what you might expect, e.g., iron lips and exhausted floor, that nonetheless work well in this poem of post-breakup sadness and anger with a heart that doesn't want to give up.

My favorite part:

Stagnant memories of us
Intertwine
With ashes and dust,
Lying lifeless, impotent
On the dirty, exhausted floor.


With all that, the last line seemed a little lackluster. You do such a good job with the images before, and the broken and shattered words lend themselves to some image that evokes that better than incompetent.

There is one tiny technical issues, which is It's where it should be Its.

Overall, a strong poem. Write on!





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.5)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

All in all, this is a fairly well written poem expressing your love. It is an older poem, so I don't know whether you want to make changes, but for the sake of learning and growth, I'll comment on a couple of things that could be stronger.

The rhythm is mostly good, though the very last line is choppy and hard to read. The stresses on exactly like don't work well here. There are also a few word choices that feel quite forced in as filler, such as dear and It's true. A different sort of issue is my heart, my soul, my taste, where that last feels like, "Oh my, I really need a third thing, and it should rhyme easily."

But while there are several thoughts here, the poem is still quite nice. I just think that if you wanted, you could make it even better.

Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Novice Goddess  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

This is very cool. I love how you start off more seriously, with some vivid imagery:

I rip a shred of cloud,
ten craters hilled with snow.
I sift a square kilometer of sand.


but then, just as I think the poem is going one way, you throw in the italicized comment that changes the tenor completely. When I saw the great marshmallow mass, I thought the poem might have gone completely off the rails, but then I saw what you were doing and it came back into focus, changed yet again.

Great poem, all the way to the slightly irreverent end. Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of The End  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I am reviewing your story as one of the official judges for Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest . Thanks for entering!

Quote of the Month: February 2021

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
~Joan Crawford


Overall impression
A dark story of love gone bad and the violence which burns in its wake.


Adherence to rules and prompt
Clearly met the guidelines and was inspired by the quote.

What I liked most
You do a good job of capturing fear, and the way a mind searches around for both explanation and safety.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
The end was a little weaker than the rest, partly because it was too convenient and had no foreshadowing. If she had heard the frequent noise from the road, or tried to call for help, but only heard cars zipping by, it might have held together better. On the other hand, it let him off the hook in a weird way which I didn't find satisfying.

Rating and Rationale
Well written and emotional, but a little too easy as an ending, so I gave this four stars.

Good luck with the contest!
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Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I am reviewing your story as one of the official judges for Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest . Thanks for entering!

Quote of the Month: February 2021

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
~Joan Crawford


Overall impression
A somewhat misleading story with lots of twists and turns,

Adherence to rules and prompt
Interesting how you used the quotation, partly in a more literal sense and partly in a deeper sense. All rules were followed.

What I liked most
I liked the way you danced around what was going on, especially early on when she was talking about her different relationships all ending the same way.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
The bit about her millions came up out of the blue. I am not sure it was absolutely necessary, but if it was, it needed to be integrated in more carefully. The story also had a bit of sense of "scenario" rather than "story". Why did they need her to confess, given who they were and the fact that they already seemed to know what happened?

Rating and Rationale
I gave this four stars because it was well written but suffered a but from a sparse plot/purpose.

Good luck with the contest!
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Review of The Summer People  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (5.0)
I am reviewing your story as one of the official judges for Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest . Thanks for entering!

Quote of the Month: February 2021

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
~Joan Crawford


Overall impression
A lovely story with a rich, well developed world that could easily contain many more stories.


Adherence to rules and prompt
Good use of the quotation for inspiration. Followed all rules.

What I liked most
I loved the quiet mystery of the wisps.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
This was well written. I am not 100% sure exactly what happened to the children, but like the mystical way they were drawn together, and the way the father's love kept him waiting and searching.

Rating and Rationale
This was rich and well written, and ultimately very satisfying. I like the glimpse into a well developed world about which I'd love to read more. Five stars!

Good luck with the contest!
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Review of Love like a fire  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I am reviewing your story as one of the official judges for Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest . Thanks for entering!

Quote of the Month: February 2021

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
~Joan Crawford


Overall impression
Well, that was a rollercoaster of a story. Things certainly didn't out the way I, or she, expected.

Adherence to rules and prompt
The inspiration from the quote was a little disjointed, but I really liked how you tied in the historical part.

What I liked most
You did an excellent job with building up the characters. I really liked them both, and their relationship, even if I was as taken in as she was.


My general suggestions and technical concerns
I love a good twist, and this was one, but both the discovery and the aftermath seemed rushed and unbelievable. That particular gift given in that particular way seems extremely unlikely to lead to that sort of encounter. A tooth in her wine glass? Gold or not, that would send most people screaming into the night. A different gift could still lead to the discovery, but be less obvious a red flag.

Additionally, while I liked that the ending wrapped back to the beginning, it didn't feel like you quite tied up the analogy. It felt close, but could use some work.

Rating and Rationale
I gave this four stars as it was well written and fun, but needs some further thinking to make it as strong as it could be.

Good luck with the contest!
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19
Review of Forgive him  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
I am reviewing your story as one of the official judges for Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest . Thanks for entering!

Quote of the Month: February 2021

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
~Joan Crawford


Overall impression
A story of abuse and violence followed by forgiveness.

Adherence to rules and prompt
All the rules were followed.

What I liked most
I liked the way the neighbors followed her on their scooter, though it was sad they waited so long.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
I found it difficult to read this due to the emphasis on forgiveness. Sometimes behavior is simply unforgivable. It may even be healthier for a person to forgive, but the way it iss emphasized in the story seemed like too much. The idea that his violence toward her was because he "loved her too much" is a difficult interpretation for me to accept, and detracted from the story.

Rating and Rationale
I gave this three and a half stars because while the writing is very good, the story feels very problematic and not terribly realistic.

Good luck with the contest!
20
20
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.0)
I am reviewing your story as one of the official judges for Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest . Thanks for entering!

Quote of the Month: February 2021

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
~Joan Crawford


Overall impression
A mythology-inspired story about Dionysus and Ariadne.


Adherence to rules and prompt
Followed lla the rules and prompt.

What I liked most
I like the Ariadne portions better.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
This was very interesting. I am not sure whether I would have enjoyed it more if I had known the mythology better. Probably. As it was, I enjoyed the dual perspectives while sometimes feeling a bit lost as to what was actually happening.

Rating and Rationale
I gave this four stars for very good writing, but a somewhat unclear plot for those not well versed in mythology.

Good luck with the contest!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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21
Review of A Bad Abaddon  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I am reviewing your story as one of the official judges for Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest . Thanks for entering!

Quote of the Month: February 2021

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
~Joan Crawford


Overall impression
Fascinating story of of a person who feels wronged, but doesn't anticipate the vengeance which is unleashed.

Adherence to rules and prompt
Follows the rules and prompt well.

What I liked most
I loved the writing and imagery. Definitely pulls you in.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
The ending doesn't feel quite right. His regret is one thing, but are the woman and chilkd connected? Are they both just symbols of what he thought wasn't there, but was? I needed a bit more.

Rating and Rationale
I gave this four and a half stars because it was well written and compelling.

Good luck with the contest!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Fragile  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.0)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

I like this quite a bit. It feels emotional, and mostly carries through what I think you are trying to accomplish. I have a few small suggestions that you could consider, though they are less problems than ideas.

My heart is made
of glass that is
now cracked


I think this would be stronger without that is, and would flow better into the later

never breaking
never emptying


Something didn't read right in the line

that soon you are too

The "soon" feels out of place. If I understand the meaning right, I think you could get rid of the word entirely.

A more tentative suggestion is that in the line

and too afraid to ask for

you could consider instead

and too afraid to request

I like the way it balances the word "receive" in the line before, but I am not sure it is as strong as "ask for". So, think about it, but certainly trust you intuition after you do think about it.

Nicely done. Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
23
23
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.0)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

You have been around WDC a long time, as have I. Recently, I've been going through some of my older poems and stories and cleaning them up a bit. When I saw this poem of yours, untouched in a decade, I thought I'd at least mention a few things that could be done to clean it up. I imagine your skills are much better now, so I'll focus more on issues than solutions.

You have a few instances of inverted phrases which often mean we are squeezing a sentence into a different form to try to fit meter or rhyme. A good example is And now I do this tell:, which is quite awkward and unnatural. My guess is, if you think about that line and the rhyming line, you can probably come up with a better way to phrase them to both rhyme and sound smooth.

Another issue I see is one I still struggle with, but used to use much more. That is words like "Just" and "So" which are only there to fill out the line. Instead of seeing these as problems, see these as opportunities to expand the vocabulary and make it richer, or add more emphasis. You could replace Just stop pressing that bell. with Please stop pressing my bell!, which expresses the same sentiment but sounds more like what a woman would say at this point. Or you could use Please leave my bell alone!, and use that to come up with a smoother or richer way of saying the earlier line. If you work on the two together, you'll do better, I am sure.

The one last comment I would make is that some of your rhymes are very simple one syllable words, life/wife, tell/bell. That is okay sometimes, but it makes the poem seem too forced. Try to find ways to say the same things with more expressive and unique rhymes.

I hope you take all this in the spirit intended, which is to say, I know you can improve this, and it is a decent enough poem to be worth the effort.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Paranormal Possum  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.0)
I found this on the Shameless "Plug" Page.

What a fun story about your demonic critter friend visitor. I enjoyed it very much.

There are a few technical items you could clean up, such as a hellish order which should be a hellish odor, and cant which should be can't, but those are easy to fix. Another to look at might be changing mouth. With an to mouth, with an to avoid the sentence fragment.

There is one stylistic issue which you might or might not want to change. I think that Then again I wish critters would sound better as I wish critters, both for smoothness and because it isn't really a then again statement, but rather a continuation.

Overall, a lot of fun. I like reading about people's real life adventures, especially when written with a sense of humor. Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.0)
I found this through the Read & Review feature.

I am tempted to say, "No, this is word saaaaalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad"

But then I read again, and it feels like there might be some cohesion. There might be a thread there trying to make a statement about anger and toxicity, but it is not quite clear. One of the challenges with poetry is that it can be so intensely personal it does not speak to others well. This may well be one of those poems. Or it might be word salad after all. You're the poet, so I'll leave the interpretation to you.

Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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