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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/dansturn
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285 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (4.5)
An interesting poem using interesting, original rhyme, sometimes a bit forced. Makes you think. Like the punctuation. Good metaphors. (challenging ceilings, without damaging feelings.)

Sad though, the notion of not shooting for the stars.

Several concurrent meanings. Multivalence for sure!

Good job, keep it up!!
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2
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (5.0)
What an excellent article!

Did you get it published?
3
3
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Good lyrics. Must be blues.
4
4
Review of Hidden Flower  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E
Very interesting metaphorical Poem. At first, had to double back to

Unfurling across the bed,
I see you cast to the wind
your chemical pestilence
and wither my friends
among the dutiful league.

Very interesting. And then that of course caused me to double back and read the whole Poem again. It invokes feeling throughout. Very good use of imagery and personification. Definitely one of the better Poems I've read in a while.

Good job!

Dan Sturn
5
5
Review of The Eulogy  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Great introductory line, which immediately leads us into the second line, introducing a character (He).

So I'm thinking the character is a grave digger, somebody familiar with death and eulogies. A eulogy is a short talk given at the end of life, summarizing life. And this Poem is a eulogy in itself.

It tells the entire story of a man's life in very few words. The two questions that interrupt the Poem cause us to pause and think about the character's perspective.

Excellent imagery and I'm still stuck on the metaphor: What sort of blanket is a soul?

I'm left feeling the coldness of death. Well written Poem, very scary tone, really gets me thinking.

Dan Sturn
6
6
Review of Accept  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (4.0)
A good poem walking us through the "contract of life" with the use of repetition to create a cadence.

The the tense switches from first to second person, creating an interesting turn. As a Reader, I found myself threatened by the change. Very well done.

Dan Sturn
7
7
Review of Radical Honesty  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (5.0)
Using metaphor the author reminds us that beneath the surface of the mud, there's more mud. Honesty is that which remains after the removal of layers of decor meant to mislead.

The essay starts with a seemingly apologetic allusion to previous work. But then the Reader is hit with the irony of the line, that it is meant as a decorum, that it illustrates the whole point, and then entirety of the essay makes sense.

I'd recommend those who want to experience a short trick of the mind, over the issue of reality, to read this!

Honestly . . .

We are in such a habit of decorating the pig, we don't realize it's a pig!

Dan Sturn
8
8
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (5.0)
Adam,

What an excellent article, and an excellent topic. I'm rating this a 5.0 because of what a great idea you have, even though it could improve slightly in the way you present your ideas . . . the mechanics of your presentation.

Mechanically, you might want to break this article up a bit more into distinct paragraphs backing each of your points. With just a few carriage returns, I think this article would be much easier to read.

But still, you do a great job of establishing your principle and then drilling down into the day-to-day results of this principle (free will and individual choices.) You might want to end the article with a summary paragraph.

From a "meaning perspective," you really have a great concept here. I like the "generic" approach to this as well, though I wonder if some might be offended by your use of the word "god" without the capitalization. DON'T CHANGE THAT, for those who would take offense at this will not understand your article anyway. I suspect some of your weaker ratings may be more of a reaction to the meaning you propose than your ability to write, which is unfortunate.

I have long believed that since everything is made of something else, nothing really exists, except the energy (information) that assembles everything . . . "the pattern that connects all patterns that connect all patterns that connect . . . "

You propose the opposite of that, that the only thing that exists is everything. And then you come to the same conclusion. I'm very intrigued.

Great job!

Dan Sturn
9
9
Review of A Dream's Embrace  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Kirsen,

As a Poet, I picked this story because your introduction gave it a "poetic feel."

I really liked the introductory sentence. I suggest you put it as a stand-alone sentence. The pause that the paragraph break will cause will add to a mystical effect.

The story is really easy to read.

I love simile even if it is a bit overused (thick as a fog). Maybe you can find another metaphor to take it's place. Start thinking about it and one day it'll come to you. Still, I like the image of breathing malaise in like fog.

I'm wondering where the dialog is.

The second paragraph is well-written. The way you describe a recurring nightmare without using those words shows us, rather than telling us, what's happening. Well done.

Having done a great job of establishing the setting, the third and fourth paragraphs start the plot. It's very interesting. Still, I'm hungry for dialog. Even something as simple as her saying your name before the embrace.

Still, I see why you're sticking to description, given what a great describer you are. I'm there, I can feel the woman myself, in the way you describe the embrace.

The fifth paragraph is the anti-climax, but (perhaps because I'm starving for dialog) it's hard to feel anti-climatic. The plot is like this: Setting, dreamer has nightmares, dreamer's nightmares interrupted by intriguing introduction to woman, they embrace, dreamer is inspired to make the dream a reality.

The ending is very well written.

With such a great beginning and ending, and such excellent description, this story can be very powerful if you add dialog and conflict resolution just before the anti-climax.

I like it a lot!

Dan Sturn



10
10
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Evan,

I find myself singing along with this. I don't really know the true lyrics to the song, so I'm wondering. But it doesn't take too long for me to realize that you're warning us of the modern impending doom using a song that was originally about a miner who lost his lover.

MECHANICS:

You're repeating the chorus of the song over and over again. The repetition brings upon a sort of marching quality that increases the intensity of the warning.

Your rhythm gets thrown off at times, such as "while the strong dictated." I think this line would work better if you took the word "while" out.

Then you abbreviate "tellin'" as if that's going to fix a rhythmic problem (which is usually what abbreviations do in a Poem.) This makes me think you are abbreviating "telling" for the effect of making the "song" more "country."

Meanwhile, I think you're using the wrong version of the word "here" in the second to last line.

MEANING:

The Poem does serve to warn us against the woes of nuclear warfare. I like how it reminds us that we, the people of a country armed to the teeth with nuclear weaponry, are complicit in the impending doom.

Dan Sturn
11
11
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (4.0)
Tim,

I love the way this Poem begins, reaching out and grabbing me, the Reader, and pulling me in . . .

MECHANICS:

I'd have to say that, in my opinion (and only my preferential opinion), if you're going to use punctuation throughout the Poem (like dashes and commas and ellipses and periods and question marks), then you should not start every line with a capital letter. I'm not saying that my opinion on this is "best practice," but consider going through the poem and un-capitalizing lines that are second parts of an overall sentence. I think it will make the Poem read better.

This Poem paints pictures very well. The description in it is excellent, conjuring images we can all relate to.

MEANING:

If you read this Poem pretending like you do not know anything about bowling, "the big hook" becomes a metaphor for whatever it is that drives us to do our best in life.

The way the Poem ends with two questions really gets you thinking.

Dan Sturn
12
12
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi Kathie,

Dan Sturn here very happy he tripped across this poem.

The way this Poem starts off simply draws us in with an image of somebody offering love . . .

MECHANICS:

I love how you appropriately punctuate this Poem, something that I rarely see on writing.com. What I mean by this: a sentence is a sentence, a line split into several lines are properly punctuated with commas when appropriate. Yet you also realize that when commas are not appropriate, they are also not required, like these two lines:

As long as the serpent stays away
with needles and candy.

However, those two lines are my only complaint . . . they do not comprise a full sentence. I think that you should have linked them to the following sentence, like this:


As long as the serpent stays away
with needles and candy,
he believes he can save her.

Anyway, the rhythm is consistent and the Poem is easy to read.

MEANING:

This Poem is one gigantic metaphor that can be read several different ways, meaning that the Poem itself offers a LOT of multivalence. The Poet could be writing about her lover, or her muse, or her god.

Given this, each metaphor within the Poem is a metaphor within a metaphor. In other words, the picture that the protagonist smooths at the beginning of the Poem could symbolize the act of writing, or simply a lover. In other words, we can even take this Poem literally, which is probably your intention in writing it!

The ending caused me to put this review away for a while and return to it, for it took me off guard. I'm still not sure exactly what it means.

Which makes this a cool Poem that one would like to return to!

Dan Sturn
13
13
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello Kathie,

Redtowrite: What an interesting pen name!

Speaking of interesting, what an interesting way to illustrate that we leave a legacy in all we do! And you do it with a great (yet sad) story.

MECHANICS:

The almost-rhymes in this Poem are very interesting. (life, sight; head, braid; mine, time; snake, hate; etc.) The rhythm is not metrical but works well.

Metaphors are excellent, such as comparing a whip to "Master's snake." I especially like the near-rhymes in words that boost each other's meaning.

MEANING:

The imagery is excellent. For example, the Poem starts right off comparing the lines of her face to the journey of her life to roads taken because of despair.)

But it also tells us a lot about "her." For example, you tell us about her in the line "bought from a gypsy queen."

To me, it turns into a "story poem" with the line, "her head hurt when they were sold."

One suggestion for improvement, how about a simile on that particular line (her head hurt . . .) . . . what did it hurt like??

I love the personification "the past never rests." What an excellent line, almost a proverb in itself.

Dan Sturn


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Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Ann,

This is an interesting Poem that is 24 questions.

MECHANICS:

Sometimes the rhythm seems to change, and I'm not sure if this is on purpose to draw attention to the line or not.

Also, you're missing a question mark on the fourth line of the second stanza, the fifth line of the third stanza, and the third line of the fourth stanza.

The rhyme scheme, though inconsistent, is very original and interesting.

MEANING:

This Poem looks backwards while expounding your belief system. To be able to tell an entire story with questions is a feat in itself.

Good Job!

Dan Sturn
15
15
Review of Eighteen  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (4.5)
Emily,

MECHANICS:

The entrance to this Poem creates a great image. I'm picturing a summer night. I love "swirling black canopy."

Interesting use of capitalization, punctuation, and "hurling words" make this a very creative Poem.

The way the Poem arrives at rhythm and rhyme speeds it up and creates a crescendo that juxtaposes against the last two lines, the punch lines, that tie together the meaning.

MEANING:

I agree with your introduction (that this is something we can all relate to.)

Becoming comfortable with Uncertainty is what life is all about, in my opinion. The only constant is change. I almost feel a bit slighted by the notion that these are feelings only eighteen-year-olds feel, as that year is long since passed for me, but I still feel these feelings.

I don't see a lot of multivalence in this Poem. That's not a bad thing, it's just an observance.

I like it!

Dan Sturn
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16
Review of The Promise  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (5.0)
Simple Dykie,

MECHANICS:

Throughout reading this Poem, I was asking myself, "am I going to be able to find a suggestion for improvement?"

Your writing style exudes poetic devices, like the consonance and assonance in the first line, and the repetition of rhythm throughout, interrupted with a changed rhythm in just the right places to create a mood. (switching from iambic to trochaic meter as an example.)

Your use of trochee is unique, at least from my experience in reading modern Poetry. ("I had seen him in the," as an example.)

Your rhymes are very original. ("owned, postponed).

Of course, anybody that would review a Poem without reading at least three times is, in my opinion, being disingenuous. As I was going through this the second time, my thought was "this is so easy to read, it makes a 42 line Poem as short as a haiku!"

But that first line, as neat as it is, does trip my tongue a bit. I can't see why you would want to do that, especially in a first line. I think it's because the rhythm switches on the words amidst and misty too early in the Poem.

MEANING:

I love the surprise ending.

As I read through this the first time, I felt that it was about a homeless man. Having read the ending, the second read left me confused. But by the time I read it the third time, tears came to my eyes.

The intention of this Poem is to evoke emotion. You succeeded.

The way you invoke perspective of looking up and looking down lends itself to Multivalence. The meanings in this Poem are both literal and spiritual. I can see this Poem being about a homeless man, or the way a Father feels "groundlessness" as he watches his son (or in my case, daughter) grow up. I can even read into this that it could be about Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Tongue tripping first line notwithstanding, this Poem deserves a 5.0, and I just promised myself after reading Storymaster's reminder about good reviewing that I would try to get my ratings to average a 3.0.

Dan Sturn

PS: I hope your Dad is okay!

17
17
Review of THE END  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hello Hannah,

You probably don't remember, but way back in September I promised you I'd review a few Poems in your portfolio. I'm now getting to that.

--------------MEANING---------------------
This Poem attracted me because I am very much interested in the way people feel about the end of their own life. My 97-year-old grandmother has the best attitude of anyone I've met.

This Poem is very interesting. The images it conjures are very original, and yes, there seems to be an acceptance. The serenity this Poem projects is how I hope I actually feel when I'm dying. But it takes an acceptance that you can't change the inevitable. In other words, you have to be "beyond the fight" to get to this Poem. That's the only hope I have for my own death, that I have the presence of mind in order to watch, and enjoy, the experience that I will only experience one time.

--------------- MECHANICS --------------------
The Poem does a great job of creating the images referred to above. My only suggestion is that, in my opinion, the Poem would be better if you removed all the passive verbs. In other words, change "The clouds are so near" to just "the clouds so near."

Interesting . . . . state of being verbs . . . at the end of being.

Dan Sturn
18
18
Review of Gush Me No Gushes  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (4.5)
Graywriter,

I like to break my reviews into two areas: MEANING and MECHANICS.

-------------- MEANING -----------------

This is my point EXACTLY. I'd rather have what I call a "drive-by review" than a gushy review. (See "Drive-by Not, Please and you'll see how much I don't like drive-by reviews.) But usually drive-by reviews are gushy too. Heck, I've received two reviews from the same person that were almost exactly the same review.

They do NOT help.

Having said that, I will always try to find something positive in somebody's Poetry, or I simply will not review it. But there is RARELY a Poem, even by the great Poets of history, that is "perfect."

If it's obvious a Poet is just getting started, I'll go easy on the rating. I'll point out the areas of improvement, but if I give them a two star rating, I fear they will stop writing, and that would completely defeat the whole purpose.

If I have the time, what I like to do is review several Poems by one Poet simultaneously and point out the one I like the best and the one I like the least.

------------ MECHANICS ------------------

Now I must live up to what you're calling for, and how you say what you say is pretty darn good.

So, first of all, I love your aphorism (Rejection is the whetstone on which writers hone their craft.)

Topic well chosen (who isn't interested in reviewing on writing.com?)

You do a great job of luring the Reader into your essay.

You inspire us to be more honest in our reviewing.

It's hard to find ways to improve this essay, so please don't think this is too picayune, but perhaps you can put a space between your bullet points under "Why would I object to such glowing reviews." Maybe indenting them would set them off a bit better as well.

You offer several suggestions on what good reviewing should be without actually "telling" us, instead you point out how good reviews help you improve your craft.

One other area that MIGHT improve your writing: the sentence "Oh, those reviewers gave me . . . " might read better if it started, "While those reviewers . . . "

I don't think you needed to put the "end of rant" part in there, but it does soften the blow a bit.

I really like you how link to another point of view, (but now I have yet another piece to read before I quit tonight.)

Anyway, thanks for writing this essay. It needed to be said!

Dan Sturn




19
19
Review of Islands  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (5.0)
R. Hoffman,

This excellent Poem about 21st Century life, using lots of great metaphors that start off centered on the theme of islands and, methodically, work towards a more technical description such as split veins and meters and cracked Coke bottles.

I like the repetition of the word "lost" at the end, which echoes the repetition of the word "island" at the beginning (if you include the title). Also, another mirrored element from beginning to end is the use of enjambment, though you change from a comma to a dash. I'm not complaining about that, the dashes cause me to pause more, and I think that draws my attention to the word lost, which in my opinion can sum up what 21st Century life is all about, unfortunately.

Great job!

Dan Sturn
20
20
Review of Beauty  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (4.0)
Emily,

Again, the first line of your Poem draws me in. It causes me to immediately ask, "is this a story Poem?"

The imagery is also strong, lending multivalence to the experience because though your introduction tells me this story is about a hike on a camping trip, I can experience it as an archetype for goal achievement, or the day-to-day battle that most female human beings fight to maintain the "reality" they call "beauty."

I like the repetition of "onward, oward," creating a bit of a marching rhythm in the Poem, exuding determination.

And the ending of the Poem is anti-climatic: the achievement of the goal has been worth it.

Great job!

Dan Sturn
21
21
Review of Grounded  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Emily,

The way this Poem starts draws me immediately into the scene. I almost wish that I didn't read your introduction to see how long it would have taken for me to understand what was going on.

I believe in Multivalence, and this Poem lends itself to the concept. Obviously there are the dual meanings between a bird dying and a teenager being forced to stay home. But one could also believe that this Poem is about our busy lives and how we are rude to one another without any consideration of what we're doing.

The use of capitalization in this poem, as well as spacing between letters, makes it almost concrete, and is a very creative use of non-traditional Poetic elements. Though old people like me believe Poetry is primarily an auditory art, the reality is that we V I E W poetry especially in the writing.com realm. So I like it.

I can't figure out how you would have gotten such low scores in the previous reviews, other than perhaps you were reviewed by people who didn't open up enough to try to understand what you were attempting to do with your technique.

Or maybe the image you created was too strong. The ending of the Poem does create a sad evocation of disgust in me, as I realize that I too have driven by dead animals nonchalantly.

Anyway, this is a great Poem! From a multivalence perspective, I legitimately experience several additional meanings. When I read it thinking, "what if this Poem was about writers block," it resonates just as if it was about being grounded or a bird dying. Because people continue living their life even though I can not finish my own writing.

Dan Sturn
22
22
Review of Beginnings  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (4.5)
Very interesting Poem.

Lots of Multivalence. In one perspective, I see a poem about God. In other, it could be about a lover. But in the perspective that I bring to this as a Poet, I see this Poem as a connection between the Poet and the Reader of the Poem:

I love the consonance right off the bat, and the juxtaposition of light and dark. Love the personification of reflections. More consonance as the Poet, peering into his life and seeing warm acceptance, requests the Reader to recognize the Poet, who worships at the alter of Poetry.

Great job!

Dan Sturn

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23
Review of legal?  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This powerful poem moves me.

Though I personally frown on profanity in Poetry "as a rule," I also love rules only because they can be broken in order to demonstrate a point, and your use of the 'f-word' in this Poem certainly acts as a great example of this poetic device.

The images in this Poem all conjure the sadness we feel when we see the grossness of slow-torture-suicide. The hopelessness coming from those images works well.

The title of this Poem works hard to establish "multivalence" . . . initiating in the Reader an effort to find metaphors in the standard images to the "war on drugs" here in America. The line, "high off love and hope" really lends itself to that end. As I reflect on this Poem and re-read it, my reflection includes thoughts about the hopelessness of a war on a noun.

Well-done.

Dan Sturn
24
24
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
This starts with GREAT description, metaphorically and literally. Not too pritsy, not too much of it, just right.

Just a small suggestion for improvement, you should introduce dialog after the first couple of paragraphs, so you are showing not telling. For example, instead of:

"I found myself drifting into the Game Room, flopping onto the couch next to Rosemary, a woman around sixty years old that never spoke, whom always stared off into space. Her silver, frizzy hair was so long it reached to her lower back, eyes a vivid hazel. She would’ve been appealing to the eye if she had emotion and color to her face other than that blank stare."

I think it would flow better if it said:

"So what's the word today Rosemary," I said, flopping onto the couch next to the sixty-year old woman that never spoke. Her vivid hazel eyes continued to stare off into space as usual, her silver, frizzy hair so long it reached to her lower back. She would’ve been appealing to the eye if she had emotion and color to her face other than that blank stare."

Love the juxtaposition of the Beauty and the Beast against this dismal scene.

I like how you are introducing more about Jake in your dialog with Liz. Good touch.

Excellent transition into the group therapy. Where the hell did you learn enough about rehab life to be able to visualize it this well?

Oh man, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the reflections on reality. Wonder where you get that??? But I also love that you are introducing philosophy into your book, especially at the end of the chapter!

If not for the fact that I've got two other portfolios to visit before I finish the yard work, I'd be reviewing the next chapter once again.

EXCELLENT BOOK. I normally review Poetry. Hey out there, if you're reading this review, check out this author!! He/she (demented mind?)is creating an excellent story!!!

Dan Sturn

25
25
Review of Poetry Unto God  
Review by Dan Sturn
Rated: E | (5.0)
Wow Armorbearer, I'm going to really get into reviewing this folder!

Hey world, Armorbearer has a host of Poems centered around the Glory of God!

Dan Sturn
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