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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/johnshenandoah
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20 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Nice spin on an old classic. This story is very reminiscent of the old Russian fable "the scorpion and the frog" with a bit of Aesop mixed in for good measure. Although I feel like this story is a tad undercooked, a little editing would go a long way. The descriptions of actions feel a little bloated, and the story, in general, could be made leaner so the plot beats pack more of a punch.

It must be said that I'm not a fan of this story's message. It teaches an obstensibly negative lesson to children. "don't trust others, and hoard riches for yourself." Such a moral is about as bankrupt as they come, and although such advice is apt and good in our capitalistic world, I find the notion that we should abide by those principals to be wholly irredeemable.

Perhaps that is merely my own political biases clouding my judgments. However, I do think it is important that we be careful about what lessons and values we share with our children.
2
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Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (1.5)
I'm sorry for being so negative in the following review, I really wish I was not such a critic some days.

The above prelude is included because I can't find a nice thing to say about this work, I find it trite, uninteresting and bare in meaning.

A poem is only of value if the metaphor can be discerned by the audience. I can not discern your metaphor and worse than that, I think the metaphors within are poorly constructed. For example, "Behold the games most evident crises. And control these obscenely Fluttering moments." The only thing I can think of when analyzing the "Obscenely Fluttering moments" is a girl in a mini skirt walking in front of me. Unless your intention is for the athlete speaking in this poem to be distracted by the cheerleaders.

Frankly, I could perform such deconstructions across the entire work, but I think that would be unnecessary. Cross apply the above argument to most of the couplets in the poem.

Honestly, you should add a little more to the meat of this thing so I can figure out what you're talking about. If other reviewers disagree with me heavily then let me know. I'm open to calling myself an idiot.

Also let me know if you rewrite this thing, ill be happy to change my review to reflect the new work.
3
3
Review of The Little Ocean  
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (4.5)
Damn, this poem's got flow!

You use the aa bb rhyme scheme to good effect and your writing moves at an extremely quick clip. Your word choice too is inspired. The syllable structure, whether intentional or not, creates a satisfying rhythm that drips the words off the tongue of a speaker like a well-tuned metronome. I am quite impressed with this work.

Normally I would tell people that they should break up their poems into stanzas, but in this case, I think it's better as one single block. That being said, I'm sure lots of people will disagree with me on that point, so you may want to consider breaking it up anyway.

I don't see any glaring grammatical mistakes, although that does not mean much, I tend to overlook such errors in my editing.

This poem is the equivalent of a piece of candy, good tasting, satisfying to eat and leaves you wanting just a little more. The more I want from you is a deeper poetic structure to sink my teeth into. I think you have the talent to do it too. Write something with some poetic devices and let me know when you do, I would love to read it.

Thanks for requesting a review from me! It means a lot.
4
4
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (4.0)
I am always glad to read something written as a vow of devotion to the self. Keep your goals in front of you and your nose to the grindstone my friend, I'm sure one day you will find success in either the art or the bread. Either way, practice makes perfect and I do have one slightly critical comment of this piece.

When writing a stream of consciousness the rules of writing change. You should attempt to make your writing more random, divergent of the main topic and slightly incomprehensible. I'm actually not a fan of that style, but if you wish to emulate it, then you should study those who have mastered it and copy them. That's the best way to figure out the esoteric art of barely coherent babbling.
5
5
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (5.0)
Nice little poem about travel. The materialistic overtones are not to my taste, but technically the poem is excellent so good work there.

The one major point of complaint I have is that your last stanza fails to complete it's rhyme unless you pronounce misfortune incorrectly. In my opinion, you really shouldn't rely on a mispronunciation to complete a rhyme, but that is just an opinion so I understand where you are coming from.

I also think your lines are a little wordy. This poem would probably benefit from being sheered down a tad across the board.

Those are some minor complaints to an otherwise well-done poem. Good work on this piece.
6
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Review of So Curious!  
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (4.5)
Simple, clean, elegant. This poem is decent, but I feel it's missing a few things.

Firstly you should avoid making the title of your poem its first line. That's bad praxis. The title affords you the unique opportunity to give context or clarity to a poem. Your poem and the reader's impression of your poem begins with the title. Use that space to your advantage as space is precious in short form poetry.

Secondly, I really want to see you go for something extraordinary in this poem. It's good, it could be great. Add a rhyme scheme, or an iambic pentameter or some other poetic device. Such a challenge will elevate your work and improve your writing as well.

I truly admire short-form poetry, it is probably the hardest kind of poem to write well. So good on you for creating this one.

If you revise this work let me know and I will re-review the changes.
7
7
Review of Just Showing Up  
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the writing process Ms.Fireplace.

Your grammar is well done and the essay is formatted properly for readability. Technically, the essay is excellent well done on the piece.

I can't say the ideas are completely coherent, however. Particularly, I find the doublethink sentiments that "stagnation comes from a love of the unchanging" and "trying is a habit" to be rather funny. Habit is, by the very nature of the word, an attachment to an unchanging principle. Some would say that the sun makes a habit of rising in the morning for example. This essay is slightly self-defeating because of this strange logical oversite.

The sentiment of the essay is powerful and interesting. It is good encouragement for myself and any other writers who sometimes struggle to get their ideas onto paper. I see that this essay was written some years ago. I'm curious to hear your opinions on your past thoughts. Hopefully, this review makes you re-visit this work.

Let me know if you make any changes and I'll re-review the new version.
8
8
Review of Dark have no eyes  
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (1.0)
This reads like an attempt at a parable, but it has no overall message. There is no lesson to be learned from this work. There is no punctuation either. The grammar is horrendous and should be corrected as soon as possible. The work is clearly very low effort, I can not find a single positive thing to say about it.

If this piece is re-written then I will gladly re-review it and update my scoring.
9
9
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (1.5)
Reese, I really enjoy the sentiment behind this poem. It makes me happy that you so thoroughly enjoy poetry and find healing in verse. Unfortunately, I can't say I enjoyed this poem very much. It has tremendous problems and several of them. Starting with your rhyme scheme, your first two stanzas follow an a bb pattern and then you drop the rhyme scheme for the remainder of the poem. That's a big problem, a rhyme scheme is like a contract, you must abide by it once you have set the rules. Otherwise, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the reader.

Next, your stanza length is inappropriate, you change from three lines to four for exactly one stanza for no clear reason. That's also a big problem. You must be consistent in stanza length and rhyme, both are very important for the flow and rhythm of your work.

Next, your last line is far too short and adds no meaning. A poem's sting must have an impact! if you want to make the reader feel your pain of jealousy then use an image, add a metaphor or use a poetic device.

Finally, your poem is sorely lacking in imagery, emotion, and themeing. The whole thing could use a new coat of paint and a fresh polish.

I'm very sorry that my critique is so biting, I don't wish to be so negative or hurt your feelings. I hope you improve this work, and when you do so, let me know, I will be happy to re-review it and it's changes.
10
10
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This poem is excellent. It conveys very well the emotions of a confrontation with the absurd, the existential crisis put on display conveys something very human and deep about a funerals sadness and the uplifting power of nature pointed out by the poems last two lines. Well done.

Now there are two lines that in particular need improvement. "change Latin to stained glass shattering vocals." I think i understand this line, about a choir singing a hymnal very highly, but I'm not sure. If there was some change that could clarify the meaning of this line I think it would serve your poem well to make that change.

Secondly the line "From steel to ash." it's too short. all your other lines are longer and that short line in the middle of all of them is extremely noticible. Try to make your lines similar lengths, it improves the flow of a poem. That's not a hard and fast rule, but it's a good rule of thumb to keep in mind. That piece of advice was given to me by the doctorate of poetry that worked at my college. So im not just talking out of my butt on this one. Good job I very much enjoyed this work.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
Review of The Night Walker  
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
Well, the initial premise is interesting, similar to "the Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury, but the story has no follow-through. There is no payoff to the piece, no crescendo to the story beats. There is a beginning middle and an end sure, but there is no conflict or resolution. This review is difficult because there is no story to review here. It is mostly grammatically competent though so I can at least award a star for that.
12
12
Review of Winter haiku.  
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (5.0)
Well done with this Haiku. I like the second version better. Mortal clouds of chilly breath is a much stronger image than mortal clouds of exertion. the second one seems to be in general stronger with words like "frozen" vs "broken" while maintaining the image of a winter struggle to the top of a mountain. I really love the narrative simplicity on display with this metaphor and enjoy the usage of winter imagery to convey the emotion of "struggle" well done on this piece.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (2.0)
This work seems to want to express some higher ideal but falls short of ever actually telling us what that is. Most of the time when I review poetry I recommend that people trim it up. Brevity is the soul of wit as they say, but in this case, I wish there was more to it. Lines like "as the unjust peace is now shaken" fall flat when the reader is unsure about what peace the author is referencing or why said peace is unjust.

This poem needs work in a lot of aspects but especially in its metaphor mixing. How can a truth be cowardly? Also the final couplet "at odds with epically inopportune strategies and ideals." is a bit funny in the context of the rest of the poem which expresses an inopportune set of strategies and ideals. Given those last lines im not even sure what the poem is trying to say. Is it a call for centrist thinking? or are you suggesting a new kind of radicalism? This poem hides too much behind too thick a veil of metaphor. You should not show your whole hand with a poem of course, but I should at least be able to recognize the core theme of your work. Needs a rewrite.

The flow of the work is good at least and I enjoy the short simple lines. Could do with a rhyme scheme to help its pacing, especially because of the frequent line breaks. But that's more of a suggestion than an actual complaint against the work.

Get rid of the ellipses after the word "shaken" they feel unnecessary and interrupt the flow of the work far too abruptly.

If you edit this work let me know and ill re-review it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
14
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Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (4.0)
This poem does an excellent job of expressing the positive emotions of the author for themselves or for their friend Bill. That, I think, is the most important aspect of poetry. However, I feel that the rhyme scheme of this piece could use some polishing and the poem itself could be edited down a little. Some of the rhymes are clunky although passible Inertia and Myrtia, esophagus and capricious are the main ones that feel off. They add an unnecessary stop to the poem, the reader, at least I, will pause and notice these in particular. Also, it's odd that your last stanza moves from an AABB rhyme scheme to an ABA set of rhymes. You obviously have a poetic license to do what you will, but all of these things throw off the flow of the writing and distract from the finer points of the work.

Those are just some little niggles to an otherwise good poem. Good work I enjoyed it and congratulations to Bill's success!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Fanfiction is not generally to my taste nor is this type of erotic fan fiction. That being said I am having a hard time distinguishing what is your personal style from what is typical of the genre. I am simply not well versed enough in this content to give you an accurate review of its quality in a comparative sense. That being said, you asked me to review this piece and I mean to do so.

To begin I dislike the use of the term "whore" throughout this work, it does not feel tongue in cheek or even playful but as a slur used against a person. Since your stated desire is to create a story about sex work in a positive light, I find it odd that your main character is being called a whore and does not really seem to care. You should at least have her get angry when Kaiba calls her a whore, which would provide some interesting drama and a little personality to Joan.

Another point I want to bring your attention to is that your characters in general lack personality. Seto Kaiba does not seem to be much more than a bastard, Roland is only the stright man, Mokuba actually has an illusion of depth in these early chapters, he actually has me interested especially with his emotions towards his brother, plus he is the only character who seems to have a motivation beyond sex. This is an especially annoying aspect of Joan, who seems to give herself to any man who even looks in her direction. Sex positivity is nice and good, but I think you need to give your characters some standards! Otherwise, they are just whores and I assume you want better for your creations.

I think this piece would be well served with the introduction of a little jealous drama. There is nothing wrong with people who are all fine with everyone around them sleeping with Joan, but it's less interesting then if there were some heated feelings between a few of the characters. You may find it beneficial to write this piece with a rom-com vibe akin to "pretty woman" or maybe you would find it better to make it a trashy drama like the anime "domestic girlfriend" (a personal favorite of mine because of how it portrays jealousy and complicated forbidden love).

Now, some things I liked is that you have a good grasp of scene transitioning. You did not spend too much time in any one location but instead introduced a lot of places that we would likely see in the future. I like this method as it lets you create a sort of shorthand where merely mentioning a location will have the audience generate a mental picture.

I enjoyed the character of Mokuba if all of your characters had that depth I would be much more invested in your writing.

Thanks for hearing me out, and thank you for the review request. Sorry, I can't give more pertinent advice because of my unfamiliarity with this genre. Best of luck to you and if you want another review from me I would be happy to oblige.
16
16
Review by John Shenandoah
Rated: E | (3.0)
First off, a very nice effort. I quite enjoy seeing nature-themed poems anywhere and this is no exception.

I think I should point out that in stanza two you write, "now" when you actually mean "know." A small typo but you have a few small spelling and grammatical errors. Especially with comma usage. For example, you probably need a comma/semicolon in stanza three after the word "Days" when I type out that stanza without the line breaks it seems to need one there.

Also, the meaning of your poem seems confused to me. In stanza three especially. If mother nature wants you to move and hates stillness, then why would a roaming life cause you to despair? The metaphors throughout seem a little muddled to me, and they certainly don't evoke the feelings of loneliness and pain that your sting seeks to contradict in the last line.

That being said the work will be great with a little cleanup. Poetry requires a tremendous amount of painful editing. I admire poets, I lack the stomach to butcher myself to the degree that good poetry requires. I can tell, you too put yourself on display in this poem, and I admire that. Just work on the execution. Let me know when you revise it, I would love to see the improved version.


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