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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/cuclis
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42 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review by Ernest Huxley
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Yassou (that's like a Greek version of "Aloha")


This review is in response to you submission in the Provoke My Thoughts in 800 or Less competition.

General Disclaimer: Contrary to my narcissistic beliefs, I am not all-knowing and all-powerful. Therefore, I do make mistakes, and opinions expressed in this review may be among my bad judgement calls. Forgive me please, and don't ever be discouraged by what I say, for I might just be a churlish clay-brained popinjay.

What I liked:
- Great job with the acrostic and the topic. I like how you took a generic title and made it into a sci-fi theme that is both interesting and very applicable to modern times. That was clever.
- The description of leaving earth and settling a new planet was really cool. I pictured it in my mind well, despite the minimalist approach to the description. Well done!
- Good creative use of language to describe the sociological effects on the human beings panicking or subject to rampant optimism. That was a clever jab at our current state.

Needs improvement:
- Didn't see much except for one thing. Why were they disappearing? I mean I appreciate mystique more than most, but I feel like there has to be some hint as to a cause for extinction. This hint could be something like, we die out without our planet, out of some kind of unknown psychological dependence on our own planet or something. Fitting that or another hint into the storyline is going to be really hard, but I think it has to be done. Right now, for me (unless I'm incredibly dense and didn't catch the hint) that's a pretty major hole in the story. Just a thought though.

Overall, 10 points for creativity and imagination!

Keep writing.

Sincerely,
Ernest
2
2
Review of Mom  
Review by Ernest Huxley
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Yassou (that's like a Greek version of "Aloha")


This review is in response to you submission in the Provoke My Thoughts in 800 or Less competition.

General Disclaimer: Contrary to my narcissistic beliefs, I am not all-knowing and all-powerful. Therefore, I do make mistakes, and opinions expressed in this review may be among my bad judgement calls. Forgive me please, and don't ever be discouraged by what I say, for I might just be a churlish clay-brained popinjay.

What I liked:

- It's a difficult task to set out with the intent of writing in solid dialogue, but I think you pulled it off well. It wasn't boring or confusing, and the characters did seem to have a good arc. You also didn't fall into the habit of massive bylines, which was good, and kept the dialogue moving.
- Great arguments. The sentiments expressed have an authentic ring to them.

Could be improved:

- This is just my personal opinion, but I think that to really garner a heavy influence, dialogue should be broken for a little. Even Hemingway's dialogue focused short story, The Hills Like White Elephants, had moments of description in it in order to orient the reader and make the story really come alive. Another danger with dialogue is that people don't usually explain much during conversations. By this, I mean that in most real conversations, much of the information is implied or hinted at. As such, long sentences explaining each relationship concern risks sounding a little constructed. That's the danger of dialogue when you use it to explain. Again, this is just my opinion, and I do appreciate the unique task you've set for yourself.

In conclusion:

Overall, it brought up some great arguments about relationships, and more importantly, outlined and defined the relationship that the main protagonist has with his mother. I think the emotional reaction, as well as the philosophical and relationship concerns were well expressed.

Keep writing

Sincerely,
Ernest
3
3
Review by Ernest Huxley
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is my entry fee/gift for Echoes in a Distant Place
4
4
Review by Ernest Huxley
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Powerful article, well rooted in fact and very persuasive. I really like your structure and I became sufficiently concerned about my girlfriend who takes birth control. Now following I have a few suggestions. Admittedly, the first one is probably motivated in part by my secular bias, but nonetheless you might want to look at it if you want to convince a cynical secular individual. :D

I understand the link you are trying to make between the Catholic church's position and the medical risks involved, but I kept thinking to myself throughout the article that the Catholic church's anti-contraceptive stance is motivated primarily because of theological reasons, and not medical. It seemed to me that in you were trying to pass off a correllating risk as the primary motivator of the Catholic church. I think you need to work on your comparisons with this medical risk and the Catholic church's stance, making sure that you elaborate that the church's position happens to be supported by medical facts seperate to the church's own motivations, instead of implying that these facts are part of the reason of the Catholic's position (to suggest such is a big stretch for me, since these facts have been recieved relatively recently and the Catholic church's policies on birth control far outdate them)... Am I making sense? Your article would be more persuasive if you sounded less like you were defending Catholicism, and more like you were remarking that there are other secular reasons why the anti-oral contraception position is a good one. Also, there is no mention of your opinion on other, non-carcinogenic contraceptive measures.

A stylistic note.

"Even those who do not agree with (or understand) the theological basis for Church teaching against contraception might be surprised to learn that there is firm medical evidence that supports such a stand." Not clear enough. There's a lot going on in this sentence, the reader by the end isn't fully sure what you mean. The first part is very good and I like the aside suggesting that some are ignorantly criticizing the church, but the latter half is not clear enough for me. "... there is firm medical evidence" of what? "that supports such a stand" of what? Do you mean a pro-contraceptive stand or anti-contraceptive stand? I know it becomes evident in the next line, but it is best to clarify in the same line.

Otherwise, as I said before, very good article. My suggestions are minor ones, but I do think they need to be addressed before submitting for publication (if that is your intent). I hope I did not sound too critical, I did enjoy this article, and if there is any reason for my nit-pickyness it is because I used to write for a magazine where constructive criticism was my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Keep writing, and keep the political discourse up. It was refreshing for me to see an anti-contraceptive argument that was not solely based on theological morals.

Cheers,
Ernest
5
5
Review of Trick or Tweet  
Review by Ernest Huxley
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Wow. Fantanstic. I would tell you how apt your themes are, but I suspect you already know. Good job.
6
6
Review by Ernest Huxley
Rated: E | (4.5)
As the poem went on, I found that I liked it increasingly. At first I was skeptical of the word choices and the repetition style, thinking the poem somewhat redundant. By the end of the last stanza, I was not only sure that the repetition was intentional, but also found that it was very effective at engaging my emotions. The last stanza was exceptionally done. It could stand on its own really.

And now for the constructive criticism. [insert warnings about how poetry is individual art and therefore cannot be adequately judged by a third party]

I think that some of your earlier stanzas may have repeating content. While your repetition of words came across well, it seemed like you were solidifying very similar points over and over again in stanzas 2-4. However, I still like the lyrical quality of those lines. Its just a matter of gauging your reader's attention span. Some people don't have one, so they might stop reading it if they think the point is being belabored (not that it is, but to be concise is probably a plus in modern poetry in terms of popularity which may not even be your goal, so thats ok. Haha this is a long parenthetical aside).

Also, I found that your poem, to me at least, sounded much better when I read it out loud than when it was just on paper. Some poems work like that, and that's wonderful. Original poets made poetry to be heard, not read. I think this has some great potential as a oratory piece.

Great job, and keep writing

- Ernest
7
7
Review of Sleep  
Review by Ernest Huxley
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Fantastic. Great short story. It read well, I could picture everything clearly in my mind, and I was interested throughout. Your structure used to emphasize the disorienting effect of narcolepsy was very effective. You also have an interesting narrative style that I like, making good use of short sentences. Your use of "Rain." for example, was an excellent transition point. It immediately jolts the reader from the classroom, implies that some kind of major shift in the story has occurred, and provides an idea of setting(and all in one word). I was impressed with that.

In terms of constructive criticism, I am sadly lacking. My only suggestion would be to consider characterizing some of the other characters in the story a bit more, especially Roger. Some kind of quirky and seemingly unnecessary detail that brings him to life as a person, as well as a counselor. Does that make sense? Haha, I'm not sure. Take my suggestion for what you will. All in all, I think you did a great job with this one.

- Paul
8
8
Review of Tragic Lies  
Review by Ernest Huxley
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Great ending, really hits home with the theme. I like how you seemed to choose a theme and make the poem an embodiment of it. The choice of a mirror is apt for this theme as well. Mirrors have both connotations to illusion and deceit, giving a slightly imperfect reflection to begin with. I took this to be the metaphor for her self-esteem, and similarly, one always has a somewhat skewed perception of oneself.

The power of your antagonist also comes across well. It gave your poem a good emotional curve to start him off as powerless and have him slowly become more influential over time. Gives off the beginnings of rot vibe. That, plus the repetition of the mirror and reflection lines gives each repetition an new meaning for each stanza.

Very well done, I hope this is the first of many won contests for you in the years to come.

Cheers, Paul
9
9
Review of Faces of God  
Review by Ernest Huxley
Rated: E | (4.0)
For "new to this kind of writing" you do it pretty well. My favorite line has to be "God is like -// a lovely scent of sweet peas". I've probably read dozens poems about God in which there are words like tears, comforts, sorrow and pain, but never sweet peas. Its this kind of quirky detail that will endear the reader to you. It really helps that you put it as one of the first lines as well.

Some suggestions: the only suggestion that I have is consistency. You can have free verse, a general line structure, or a strict line structure with an iambic meter, but generally you shouldn't switch from one to another. I noticed that your poem is structured in a way that there is the line "God is like", followed by what he is like, followed by an extended description of what he is like. Basically a generally line structure, cleverly done with the hyphens and the repetition. However, in the third stanza you have three lines after "God is like" instead of two. This is perfectly acceptable (as is most things in poetry), so long as you have a good reason for it. Is there a specific focus you want to make on this line, or a theme you are trying to express by making it longer? If not, you might want to figure out how to make it the same amount of lines as the other stanzas.

But hey, this is poetry, not math. Rules are rather guidelines and poets, large and small, ignore them from time to time. My only suggestion is that every peculiarity has a specific and intentional purpose. My opinion, take it for what you will.

Great job. I genuinely liked this work.
Cheers,
Paul
10
10
Review of Cityscape  
Review by Ernest Huxley
Rated: E | (4.5)
Interesting. Very compelling descriptive. Are the referenced fauna pigeons, or are they some inanimate reference I missed? Not, sure, but very interesting piece. The contradictory nature of describing a sythetic landscape with nature focused descriptors (branches, beasts, mating calls, etc) comes across really well.

It also gets me thinking, the line "which is not far", italicized made me think that perhaps you were referencing to either the obscuring nature of the buildings themselves, or a smog filled sky that reduces range of sight. Again, interesting focal point.

Great job,
Cheers,
Paul
11
11
Review of The Pen  
Review by Ernest Huxley
Rated: E | (4.5)
Well phased, fluid, and you came across as passionate without being demagogic (surprisingly hard to do with activist themes). I really enjoyed this. The transition from quills to tattoos as a form of expression was also well thought out.
12
12
Review by Ernest Huxley
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi there,

I enjoyed your poem. You kept the language simple and laced some depth into the plot. Very admirable.

And now for my general statement about how unworthy I am to judge poetry: No one is worthy to judge poetry, but if somebody was, it wouldn't be me. I just say what I see. And no, that ryhme wasn't intentional. Now where was I... oh yes, poetry is intensely personal, a reflection of an inner self that I, as an external being, am thouroughly incapable of understanding beyond limited means. Therefore, I will attempt to juxtapose my own perceptions on the content, in a blind hope that others might just have similar sentiments.

At first I read your poem as if it was a children's poem, but since you start off with tradgedy from the outset (mom & dad blown away), I had a slight suspicion that you were hinting at something a little deeper and darker. This suspicion evaporated when, like a Deus ex machina of old (probably mispelled that), mom and dad returned unharmed. I found myself thinking, "oh, what a nice change, a happy ending... but a little cliche". But then you tricked me, and I loved it. The last 3 lines inserted an open ended theme that contradicted the simplicity of a conventional 'happily ever after story'. I liked that... alot. It was a nice statement about how tradgedy and experience doesn't magically fade away. A very respectable theme to aspire to.

As for fluidity and ryhme, sounded good, except I think that the stresses were a little off on the following lines. I'm not so adept to know exactly why, but maybe you could figure it out... or maybe they don't exist... existentialist syllabic syndrome...

"As he began to hover there," <----- seems relatively short to other 1st lines.

"His mom would give the warmest hugs
while Dad showed him some tasty bugs" <----- I think there's a tense change from the 'would' statement to the past tense 'showed' statement

"and why he'd sneak out after dark?" <------technically not a question because of the word, wondered.


"He nibbled some but didn't bite;
it tasted strange and wasn't right.
<------- transition seems a little abrupt here, maybe put another stanza

One day he found his mom and dad;
the greatest day he ever had."


Hope this helps,
sincerely, the most humble man alive and great person in general
Paul

13
13
Review by Ernest Huxley
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
You have a gift with rhyme and fluidity. There's no denying that. The themes you wanted to express also seemed very laudable, which is always something I appreciate in poetry.

Now the following is supposed to be constructive, but criticism of any sort on poetry is like walking through a mine field... full of broken glass.... and poisonous snakes.... with tiny hypodermic needles attached to their heads. Tangent aside, the point is that there's a million and one ways I could offend poetry writers, so just to be clear, poetry is a reflection of self, and therefore only the individual can truly judge his/her own poetry. (translation, I'm probably full of bs)

Now, as I said before, I liked the themes expressed, and the general gist of the poem, but though I did follow the poem and understand it, it didn't move me. If you want to move people, your going to have to use a couple tricks to encourage an emotional response. One of these tricks is a hyper focus on concrete details that seem unusual, yet tell a story we can empathize with.

For example, " twirling upwards, green tendril of the ink stained skin, scribing softly a rose tattoo on the nubile wrist; the secret treasure of an innocent girl"

Now that's not that great and its also of a different style, but the basic message I'm trying to get across is that you should to be specific and unusual. Most of your verbs and image words are Dancing, happily, moves, touches, sadness. These words are good, but they have been used a lot. You need to give your reader a bit of a jarring to get a bigger emotional response. Just be more specific, more unusual, and try to keep the great fluidity and rhyme scheme you have going on.

But again, thats just my personal style. I already think this poetry is good, especially if you are new to poetry. You have the theme, you have the sense for fluidity and rhyme, and you have a good understanding of how to use language; now all you have to do is learn the little tricks that turn good poetry into great poetry (says the mediocre poet).

Hopes this helps and is not discouraging. Did I survive the minefield filled with snakes with hypodermic needles attached to their heads?
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