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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/drszioli
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7 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I offer critical reviews that are nevertheless constructive. I'll review anything, but poetry and short fiction are my strong suit. My focus is on organization and structure, though I will likely comment on some line-level edits. Any piece of writing is primarily a piece of organized information, so before you can even get into aesthetics, you have to start with a solid foundation. Style will be the final, least accentuated part of my reviews. A well-executed piece gets 3.5 stars or above. A piece that succeeds fully on its own terms, so to speak, earns 5 stars. You don't have to be Hemingway to write something that is perfect for what it is.
I'm good at...
Thorough editing in all facets. I take writing and make it perfect. I try to strike a balance between my own preferences and the style of the author, and I try to take every piece seriously.
Favorite Genres
Hard sci-fi, short poetry; the absurd.
I will not review...
Erotica. I swear I'm not turning my nose up at you; I always look like this.
Public Reviews
1
1
Review by Sz, the Poet
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is an excellent poem that I feel could be formatted better. To start, let me make some punctuation and spacing suggestions:

Drifting balls of cotton, shining lustrous white,
glide across the skyline, almost dreamlike.

When in gloom, they don a dark coat of grey,
breaking into oceans of tears when the sun is far away.

In mirth and gaiety, the blue canvas is awash
with streaks of pink and purple, floating

like strands of candy floss.


The second thing I want to touch on is the second stanza. This stanza feels off-balance due to the repetition of the word "when." The word "when" associates the sentence with a certain setting in time. However, the second stanza is a single sentence marked with two different time settings by two appearances of the word "when." To streamline this, remove one iteration of the word "then," or split the sentence into two actions that happen at separate times.

Overall: I find that the fatal flaw in every mediocre poem is that the poem simply doesn't accomplish anything. Your poem stands head and shoulders above mediocrity, because it does accomplish something -- in the way that you summon the image of cotton balls in the mind of the viewer before metaphorically turning the cotton balls into cotton candy. The sensory experience of watching a changing sky is mirrored by the sensory experience of reading the poem. A very strong piece.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review of The Why's  
Review by Sz, the Poet
Rated: E | (3.5)
Take this all with a grain of salt: I'm a poet with a very idiosyncratic theory of poetry. I have my own method. You have yours, and it can never truly be the same method, no matter how much I try to impose on you. Ultimately, this is your style.

That being said, I view poetry as a way of taking aesthetic-sounding words and arranging them in a visually aesthetic way. Something like decorating a Christmas tree, if you're into that kind of thing. The selection of the decorations matters, but on a grander scale, the arrangement of those decorations is how you achieve your overall creative effect.

So, on the grander scale, I think you should take a look at your formatting choices. I personally would not capitalize each line, since the lines, though broken, form a single grammatical thought. I also would consider shifting the question marks to the end of each sentence, or inserting a long dash to indicate a break in the thought. For example, the section below...

"Why lie when you can lay?
Lay with a soul
Who’d hang the stars for you
Everyday."

... might be formatted to look like this, which I find more elegant:

"Why lie when you can lay;
lay with a soul
who’d hang the stars for you
everyday?"

Alternately, this is an option:

"Why lie when you can lay?⁠⁠—
⁠lay with a soul
who’d hang the stars for you
everyday."

Other formatting ideas to throw out are...

1. You can format the first line as

I’ve got a case of the "why"s again,
so bless your souls, but why?

OR

I've got a case of the "whys" again,
so bless your soul, but why?

OR

I've got a case of "the whys" again,
so bless your soul, but why?

2. Note the change in the number of lines per stanza. Is this intentional? You could go back and re-work the poem so that each stanza has a uniform number of lines. Or, you could keep it wabi-sabi.

3. Note the change in the rhyme scheme. Most stanzas rhyme on "-ay," but not all. Consider making this uniform.

Overall: I found this to be a solid poem. The poem has a strong foundation in that it has a rhetorical repetition that drives it. The length of the poem makes sense, as it is enough to explore that foundation without building on it in a cumbersome fashion that risks collapse. Polished, this poem could be brought up to "the next level."

Write on!

Sz


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by Sz, the Poet
Rated: E | (4.0)
Ah! I see what you're doing here! My review of part 1 of the poem is somewhat moot now.

My primary comment is that you need to put parts 1 and 2 of this poem together into one static item, pronto. This poem has REALLY got something going on once you see it all together.

Once you have the two parts together, I recommend doing a deep dive into the correspondence between the two parts. See how closely you want the language of part 2 to track to the language of part 1. You may find that a 1:1 correspondence is too mechanical. But if the two sections are too different, then you will lose the stylistic effect altogether.

Balance that correspondence against the desire to remove redundant language from both halves of the poem. "New fortune and liberation" and "cool crisp morning" jump out to me as particularly weak phrases to consider chopping. If your desire for part 2 to resemble part 1 has you inserting unnecessary words into the poem, you should reconsider that desire.

This piece really steps up to the next level when the reader sees both parts. Well done!

Sz


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review by Sz, the Poet
Rated: E | (3.5)
I have three categories of comments about this poem: stylistic, technical, and rhetorical.

Style: I think you should -- not necessarily reconsider -- but assess some of your stylistic choices. You've chosen to use no capital letters and no punctuation besides the apostrophes. Is that ideal for you? Personally, I would capitalize and punctuate this poem, leaving the line breaks roughly the same, but that's why this is a stylistic comment. Your call.

Technique: First, check your spelling on "melancholy." Second, I want to call your attention to the redundant nature of lines three and four in the poem. They don't technically add much information, if any, to the poem, since you've already told the reader about the "loneliest sound," which implies misery and melancholy, and you've already mentioned that the train whistle is "blowing by," which implies floating through the air. My point is not that it's technically incorrect to reiterate yourself in this fashion. My point is simply to draw attention to it, since you should ask yourself if each of those lines is needed. Do they all contribute equally to the poem?

Rhetoric: I think you also need to ask yourself what the "point" of this poem is. You're saying some things; why? Is this a poem about laying in bed and listening to a train? Is this a poem about a train? As you've written it, this is essentially a list of a few thoughts about a train. I don't know that, at least as a reader, it comes off strongly as being "about" anything in particular. Not all poems are "about" something. But you have to ask yourself, rhetorically, what is the poem trying to accomplish? If the answer is "nothing," then the poem may be fine as it is. If the answer is complex, you may need to make complex edits to the poem in order to make it accomplish what you want it to accomplish. I see this poem as a blank slate, or rather a large chunk of marble, perhaps. You can carve this down into a lot of different stuff.

Overall: I do like this poem. I think there's some "there" there. For one thing, it kind of gives me Folsom Prison Blues vibes; like the Johnny Cash song. And the changing of perspectives relative to a moving object is reminiscent of Cubism... and let me explain what I mean by that:

First, the reader of the poem is stationary and listening to the train; then they are physically following the sound of the train; then they are back in bed, stationary and alone; and finally, they are racing by alongside the train. Like Picasso showing a face from two angles at once, you show a train from two angles at once here.

I also think the prosody of the final four lines is very strong. It's got a lovely flow despite the lack of rhyme or assonance. It's a strong finish, rhythmically.

Refinished, this poem has the potential to reach 4.5 stars or higher.

Write on,

Sz


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