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Review of to know the moon  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is lovely!

I especially love the third and last last stanzas.

Suggestions: some places you have used "the" it is unneeded and word flow might be improved to eliminate it. This might also lead to changes in line content. For example:
'when thick yellow light of late afternoon
plasters shuttered houses with mother-gold,"
Or: "When thick yellow light
of late afternoon
plasters shuttered houses
with mother-gold..."

In general, if I am going to use punctuation, I will also use capitalization.

I would consider dropping "a" from "a quivering blue." It seems unnecessary. My poetry rule of thumb says "if it does not add, it should be cut."

You have done a wonderful job of "show don't tell." Your description of light and use of it as metaphor are excellent. I very much enjoyed this piece.

Louise

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Review of Too Young  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A poem about something so intensely emotional is hard to write well because the feelings are so strong. The story is more important in the mind of the poet than the writing style. Consequently, critique of such writing is difficult. This poem very effectively communicates feeling. In just a few lines, I learn many details of a tragic story and a fortunate friendship, and I have a clear picture in my mind of this young woman in the hospital, at home on the phone, mired in deep and profound grief and loneliness. I see someone reaching into the pain with love and concern, while not trying to take the pain away, but instead participate in the grief.

As for style, when we are emotional, we tend to use too few words here and too many there. In this poem, in the first 5 lines, some words could be eliminated to increase the punch, intensify the emotions. "She was" could be eliminated in more than one place. The problem with the "to be" verbs is their passivity. When communicating strong emotions, active verbs work better, or, no verb at all - too young
too young to be a mother
only forteen
she had places to go...

There are other places where words are included that are unnecessary, and if eliminated, could increase the emotional punch of this very powerful poem. Poetry and prose are different in many ways. One has to do with focus in word choice.

I congratulate you for understanding and communicating to the reader the importance of friendship and support, for showing the correctness of crying together, and for saying how important each contact is when someone goes through such a tragic loss. Please extend my condolences to this young woman.

Thank you for putting this into words and sharing it.
Louise Wiggins

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228
Review of In This Corner  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Smiling broadly. What fun! Nice little allegory. I love the descriptions of the effects of each punch. Satisfying read. I bet it was fun to write. Has a hopeful tone. Too bad it is only an allegory.

I can't see any writing problems.

Thanks fo the good read!

Louise Wiggins

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"The fact is that writing can be done only during the time when one ought to be doing something else." Isabel Paterson
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Review of The Looking Glass  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Oh my goodness! What an intense story! Almost like being there. It certainly communicates the hopelessness addicts feel, the helplessness, sadness, fear. Makes me not want to go there, not that I ever wanted to. The story is filled with horror and truth. I hate that you knew how to write it. I love that you knew how to write it. It is too bad that cannot flash before the eyes of every first time user before they take that first toke. There was nothing I noticed in the writing that was a problem.

I think about the statement "it cost me our soul" and wonder if there is not another way to think about the junkie self saving the young self by eliminating the junkie self than losing her soul. It sounds as if that is the price of having access to the djinn. Use of magic costs the soul.... hmm. Very thought provoking.

Thank you for sharing this.

Louise Wiggins
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"The fact is that writing can be done only during the time when one ought to be doing something else." Isabel Paterson
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Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
Smiling. I love the title - reminds me of a joke about people riding motorcycles - suits the content well. This moves lightly through the mind and connects the images giving a wonderfully ambiguous picture. I think you could improve it with more focus on rhythm.

Thank you for sharing it.

Louise

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"The fact is that writing can be done only during the time when one ought to be doing something else." Isabel Paterson
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231
Rated: E | (4.5)
Tears running sown my face, I thank you for that visit. It is unlikely I will ever see that monument myself. This essay is as close as I will get. Like you, the story of the 1000 paper cranes has always moved me.

This is well written. I observed no problems with grammar, spelling or punctuation.

The only weakness, for me, is the last paragraph. I think it is easier for the reader "to be there" if you leave out the interpretations you made. They are very strongly present in the body of the essay. The last two lines are wonderful.

Thank you for sharing this very moving essay.

Louise

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"The fact is that writing can be done only during the time when one ought to be doing something else." Isabel Paterson
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232
Rated: E | (4.0)
I agree with your sentiment, and feel the same way. However, Germany and France objected. You objected. I objected. So, knowing this, is the value of the poem changed? I don't know. It does express a truth about the powerlessness of the objector side.

I am a fan of poetry written to political ends. It is such an old and honored tradition. It also gives voice to things that need to be said.

As for the writing, the pentameter seems inconstant to my read.

I see no punctuation or grammatical error.

I like the use of the Don Quixote image as the ambiguity communicates President Bush's feelings and the objector's feelings well.

Thank you for sharing this.

I have done this review as pay for my entry in the 5 star contest.

Louise

** Image ID #1528250 Unavailable **
"The fact is that writing can be done only during the time when one ought to be doing something else." Isabel Paterson
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Review of Hand in Hand  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This brought tears to my eyes. It reminds me of my mother, in her last days after Dad had passed She told of how Dad would go ahead and find a place for them to live when he was moved to a new station by the army. She was looking forward to the place he had for her on the other side.

The poem suits the photo very well.

So, to look at technical aspects:
Stanza 1; lines 2 and 3: Although there is nothing wrong here, I find forms of "to be" weaken impact of the idea. I always try to find a more active verb, when I can. In line three, I would drop "the" and use a different adverb (I hope I have my part of speech right) such as "now" The same issue is present in line 4.

Stanza two starts with a negative - what I don't want to do. Is there a way to state it in the positive, what I do want to do. Again, I think this can increase the power of the line. Line two is very strong and clear with excellent rhythm. The last two lines present strong image and metaphor, but rhythm could use some work.

Stanza 3: in contrast, the negative seems in its rightful place, here. Line 2 feels awkward. Crying and nature don't seem to fit together for me. The word "again" disrupts rhythm, and does not really add meaning. I would drop it.

Stanza 4: LIne 1- consider "when I awaken." I would consider using "in your arms" or "on the other side" but not both. It upsets rhythm while addling little to meaning. Lines 2 and 3 could be easily combined, and line 4 split in two. This again could improve rhythm.

This is a lovely poem and worth added work.

I am honored that you requested the critique. I hope it helps.

Louise

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Review of Intruder  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
James, I think I have reviewed something of yours before. It is good to read you again.
This appears to be personal so it is important for you to understa nd I am not critiquing content.

The writing feels a bit rough. Your first line establishes a very strong iambic rhythm, but you do not maintain it throughout the poem - thus the rough feel.

I love the line "everywhere you move me, I spill out my past," and as well, the next line "you as my witness cannot fear my death."

You have used a slang form "anyways" which is inconsistent with this somewhat formal writing. You also wrote "breathe" when it sounds as if "breath" fits better.

I like your last stanza. I cannot see the need of the comma in the last line.

I think this can be strengthened considerably with a bit of revision. I suspect putting it in the drawer for a few days and then approaching it again would help. This is especially true with highly personal topics.

I would love to see any changes you make.
Louise

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"The fact is that writing can be done only during the time when one ought to be doing something else." Isabel Paterson
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Rated: E | (4.0)
A poetic response to someone learning to read metaphor. I responded to the Empty Nest, so feel it only appropriate to respond to this, also. It makes me want to write about the empty nest down the street. If I come up with anything, I will post it.

As for critique - the mood of this piece makes me want to accept it totally as it is, rough spots and all. I do think you could improve the rhythm in lines 2, 4 and 6, if you want to. The rough spots may belong, however. Line 4 could be "or by nature's cold predation"
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Review of An Empty Nest  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
I enjoyed reading this. I can almost see the nest. There is one two yards down that was filled with snow, just two days ago.

Suggestions:
Stanza 1, line two: punctuation is inconsistent with punctuation patterns you established in the rest of the poem. I am a firm believer, when using single or few word lines, less is better when it comes to punctuation.
Stanza 2: First two lines flow beautifully, are descriptive and punctuation enhances meaning.
Line 3: consider "by" instead of "from" because it increases consonance (B.) In addition, the "m" in "from" seems, to my ear, out of place in the sound of this line. Did you consider using the word "weather" instead of "wind and rain?"
Line 4: I would consider dropping "and." for rhythm.

Stanza 3, line 1: "Hidden, almost" feels awkward. Did you consider "nearly hidden?" I would drop "the." You might consider "autumn" instead of "fall" to improve rhythm. All suggestions taken, it would read "nearly hidden by autumn leaves." The period at the end breaks rhythm, which appears to be what suggested the also unnecessary "t'was." Last line does not need the first two words at all.

As I said, I like this, even though it seems I have made many suggestions. I don't know if they all, or any for that matter, will feel right to you. We each have our own ear. I approached this the way I approach my own writing. I love the image: the gift, once vital, now abandoned, across the road, distant from where I am now. Excellent image.

Thank you for sharing this. I would love feedback about whether any of this was helpful, and, I would love to see revisions.
Louise

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Review of Flower Song  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
How very clever! A lovely lament.
Your rhyme is smooth and natural.
There is a problem with inconsistent tense in stanza 2, line 3.
Stanza three asks a question, but there is no question mark. Line one of stanza 3 has some rhythm problems that could be easily fixed by replacing "as she" with who, or some other single syllable. I also find "can you not hear" clumsy.

In the next stanza, everywhere feels awkward, like it has too many syllables. Perhaps "around" would work. I suspect this is a typo, but favor should have an s on the end. She favors...

In stanza 4, consider suspect, instead of suspecting for rhythm.

Stanza 5: ...where Nightshade used to play.... another typo, I assume.

I very much enjoyed this.
Thank you.

Louise

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"The fact is that writing can be done only during the time when one ought to be doing something else." Isabel Paterson

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Rated: E | (3.0)
I like the tree. I attempted to locate history of the underground railroad in Wyoming, but was unsuccessful. I would like references, if you have them.

You state the story is about a girl with a problem. The problem appears to be the sleep she has fallen into at the end, and there seems to be no resolution of the problem. There are punctuation errors, but spelling seems OK. I think this could be an interesting story tying the history of the underground railroad into the experience of the trance, but as it is, it seems incomplete.

Thank you for sharing this. It has potential as an interesting story. I would be interested in reading revisions.
Louise
** Image ID #1528250 Unavailable **
"The fact is that writing can be done only during the time when one ought to be doing something else." Isabel Paterson
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Review of The Teacher  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE NEWBIE REVIEWE...  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is an interesting sonnet. It has a love theme, but not romantic love. It follows the Abab, cdcd,efef gg rhyme scheme of Shakespearean Sonnets. There are rhythm problems in lines 8 and 13. A Thesaurus would be helpful in solving these problems. This is a lovely tribute. I hope you shared it with your teacher.

Louise
** Image ID #1528250 Unavailable **
"The fact is that writing can be done only during the time when one ought to be doing something else." Isabel Paterson
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Review of On The Clock  
Rated: E | (4.0)
I don't find anything more difficult to discuss that abstractions like time. I sincerely applaud your effort with this difficult subject.

You manage to relate this to daily concerns and to ponder the uses of time as a tool as well as the emotional effects of using the tool. This is clearly written, appears well edited and makes valid points.

A few specifics that might improve this:
"As we get older, time tends to spend itself too quickly most of the time." The last four words seem redundant. I think redundancies drain the energy from prose more times than not.

The Maui illustration is clear and interesting. More illustrations like this would make this piece much more interesting.

Two paragraphs begin with "having said that." - another redundancy issue.

My overall impression is that this is pretty well written, but I am not sure what the goal of the piece might be - who is your audience? The strengths in this make clear that you can improve the piece with some work. Give it time. :)
Keep writing!
Louise

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Review of Jokule's Heir  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Most imaginative! I love the names! This nicely begins an exploration of "what if they could see my secrets?" I think this could be the start of a book.

Few were as uniformed as Vortice’s bright lights. Do you mean "uniform?"

With a sobering realization, several more consider "he saw several more"

I enjoyed this, very much. Thank you for sharing it.
Louise
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Review of Self-Portrait  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
The first paragraph grabs my attention and immediately stimulates interest in, and sympathy for, Ben.

'One night Ben woke to violent banging above his head' -- "wakened" instead of "woke" perhaps?

'he had retained a deep affection for the flashlight because of it. This feels awkward.'

"One evening Earl dropped a metaphorical bomb and Ben, who had always felt small and insignificant, found it challenging to believe. How could he have a destiny that would affect all of mankind." I took me three readings to understand this. Also, the second sentence seems to be a question but ends with a period.

"suffered much worse than he had and..." consider dropping "had"

This is truly interesting from beginning to end. I stimulates empathy for the character, Ben, and makes his most erratic behavior seem sensible. The ending is excellent.
Thank you.
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Review of The Dream Door  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Although the title is appropriate to the contest and to the poem, I think the image of the door could be made into a better title.

I loved this piece! The photo adds so much! It reminded me of loving moments when my parents comforted me. It is a very clear picture of teaching a child to use magical thinking to manage magical thinking - that is, the basic idea of choosing perspective as a defense.

As for suggestions, I see a couple of places where rhythm can be improved:
Stanza 1 line one, consider dropping "the" before "sobs."

Stanza 6, line 3 - consider "really" or "very" as substitute for "so"

Stanza 8, line 3 - consider "this resulted from"
line 4 - perhaps a comma after "why

Stanza 9, line 4 - consider "gently, with care"

Stanza 10 , lines 3 and 4 - consider "using my fingers, I played the role
so he'd understand without any doubt"

Stanza 13, line 2 - consider "I had just wrought"

Last stanza, line three - consider "touched by sun's bloom"

All suggestions are related to rhythm. When you read it aloud each way, it will be easy to hear which alternative works best. When I am working with meter, I have noticed that I will adjust my ear, at times, to an error as if I was committed to that form, and not hear it. At those times, listening to someone else read it really helps me.

As I said, I really like this piece! Thank you for sharing it.
I would like to hear if you found any of these ideas helpful.
Louise


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In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I must qualify my enthusiastic response with the awareness that I have little formal education in philosophy. I am well educated in other areas that overlap. This seems to be a clearly reasoned statement with inherent opportunity for further discussion. I see no problem in the technical aspects of writing with grammar, punctuation, or spelling in two readings. Though it is a lengthy piece, I see it as concise. I enjoyed reading this, and, had a few arguments of my own. This means to me that it was more than an academic activity, but instead a living document. I appreciate that this is the result of a lot of thinking and learning. I am sorry that I am unqualified to evaluate it in relationship to other philosophical work. Thank you for sharing it.
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Review of Little Questions  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
The title intrigued me and made me want to read. It suits the content very well.

Does the ink miss the pen,
When its fate is sealed upon the page? This is outstanding, well worded, makes me think.

Can a man be both a pawn among pawns, This seems a good start, but
and a King among checker pieces? when I read this, I get confused and feel I don't understand the question.

What is height, Again, well done, makes me think.
Without the threat of falling?

If words can kill,
Why can't you kill a word? This stanza loses me completely.

If each emotion had a sound,
Would love be a symphony? Here, you are achieving your apparent intent well, I am engaged, and I feel this is
ends the piece. I am still wondering, but am left with a picture I want to ponder.

This type of writing takes time, review, and letting it rest for periods of time to complete the work. Give this time. Use your critiques. You are headed for something good.
Louise.
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Rated: E | (4.5)
I identify with this poem, most strongly. The title is totally appropriate, though, as a feminist, I probably would have substituted another word for "man" such as "tender."
Women have been the primary farmers for most of human history. I don't intend to urge you to change your politics, if this is not your perspective. I am just interested in increasing awareness of the very important role women have served in farming. So, if you would choose to make a change with this, line 12 would well be changed to "farmer." It might be a good idea to do that anyway, if you are so inclined, as it slightly improves the rhythm.

I don't know if you were thinking this way, but this would also be a suitable eulogy for the lost family farm.

When my father, and father in law were facing their own deaths, they expressed a desire to be buried in their compost heaps. One of the saddest things about my father's funeral was his interment in a graveyard, in a casket, in a concrete box. I wrote a poem about that. So, that said, I compliment you for putting this into words, clearly, and with genuine understanding and obvious respect..

The rhythm of the poem is natural rhythm of speech. I think this is especially well suited to the topic and the images you use to convey your point.

Thank you for sharing it.
Louise

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247
Rated: E | (4.5)
This pleases me!
The title grabbed my interest and did not let me down.

I love the rhythm and the rich images:
" But I do take delight in donning dyed words,
Adjusting their texture and color for match,
And curling their frolic around my tall tales."
Quality is nearly consistent from beginning to end.

Stanza 6, line 3: I would have used into instead of in.

Last stanza: line 2 - consider dropping "and"
line 3: consider dropping "my."

All three suggestions have only to do with rhythm. You have labeled this a slam poem. Since I cannot hear your delivery, I may not be hearing the rhythm as you do.

This is delightful. Thank you for sharing it.
Louise
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248
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is delightful! I like how the content of the serious lecture intrudes on the reverie while the reverie intrudes on the lecture. I like how the two levels of consciousness are contrasted. I also identify with the speaker. Who hasn't had that feeling of falling asleep and almost into a dream state when sitting still in a class? It is well written, clear, and interesting. Thank you for sharing it.
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Review of Katrina  
Rated: E | (4.5)
The title clearly predicts content.

I like the rhythm and the repetition. I like the feel of the poem,very much like a toast, or, perhaps, a roast. I see a hand in the air with the glass, the speaker facing a roomful of people. Each time the refrain is repeated, everyone stands and raises their glass, then takes a sip. Then, the next stanza goes to someone else. At the last stanza, the speaker smashes their glass, and the others follow with a loud sound.

Problems:stanza 4 needs some work. "Tears you shed to weigh us down - I suggest you drop "to weigh us down"
A city bled, put us to ground - I suggest you drop "put us to ground"
Washed us out'
It would then read Tears you shed, a city bled, washed us out. I think a fourth rhyming line would help, too.
I think the stanza is worth saving because the image of tears becoming the blood of the city is very strong.

Stanza 7 line 4 seems to be missing a preposition.

Stanza 8 line three: consider "you can't make us!" as it strengthens meaning and maintains rhythm.

in the last stanza, the rhythm is broken in the third line. Sometimes, a rhythm break enhances meaning, but most of the time it distracts.

I really like this poem. It has an optomistic mood and a jaunty attitude that well suits the subject. Thank you for sharing it.
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Review of Should  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I received what the title suggested I would. As this is also a pet peeve of mine, I am delighted with the content.

I observe no spelling errors. I see many punctuation issues - things I would do differently. For example, the first 3 lines in the second paragraph need some work in this area. Also, the 4 th paragraph - I don't understand the question mark after could.

Your images and descriptions are top notch and original, except, "to hell in a handbasket," which is trite. It is obvious you can put something more original in there as the rest of the piece has a lot of originality.

I think the next to the last paragraph is my favorite.

Thank you for sharing this. I hope you are passing the word in other ways to strengthen the anti-should movement.

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