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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/nc_penman
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148 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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Review of unlisted...  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (5.0)
I love the word play in this piece. Avocados/aficionados, window cleaner/willow dearer.... great stuff!

The stream-of-consciousness details of your shopping trip demonstrate that you have the ability to turn even the most mundane tasks into lyric beauty. Well done!
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is an interesting vignette that raises more questions than it answers. Whose grave is the protagonist grieving at, and what was the relationship between them? Why does the protagonist feel a heightened sense of hypocrisy at this place? Why does she feel so conflicted?

Good job in sketching this scene with all of its complexities. The moody nature of the piece shines.

Suggestion: unless you were poetically inventing a word, i should be "self-conscious."
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Review of A butterfly  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is a very descriptive haiku evoking a vivid mental picture of the butterfly and the garden.

The use of the word "flits" is strong, describing a simple and random action perfectly with just one word.

Great use of the form, honoring the spirit of the haiku. No suggestions for improvement!
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Review of The Smile  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (4.5)
The Smile is a meandering and soulful piece that hovers between self-affirmation and self-pity.

It is written with the poetic sensibilities that generally permeate this author's works of fiction and narrative prose. The reader can easily find himself in the protagonist's residence as he moves the boxes and opens the trunk containing the memories that he simultaneously dreads and longs for.

The melancholy tone of the piece occasionally strays into self-pity territory, but ultimately redeems itself with the protagonist's conclusion that he is worthy and deserving of love despite, or perhaps because of, his difficulties in the past.

The piece is technically sound; the repetition of the word "freely" in the same sentence in the ultimate paragraph is the only flaw in this short, dusky jewel.
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Review of On the Lake  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
"On the Lake" is a poignant recounting of a man's thoughts on the death of his father, on his family, and on his own role on life's stage.

The protagonist's character is sharply drawn. His simple, straightforward if somewhat grammatically mangled musings are as genuine and down to earth as a rusty old Ford F-100 pickup rattling down a rutted back country road. The reader gets a strong, vivid sense of the unnamed narrator, and can understand his ruminations clearly.

In the beginning and the end, it all comes down to the lake. "Nobody can see the other side of that lake," our narrator points out, the lake that claimed the life of his father when the speaker was just three years old. All short stories require conflict, and the tension in this one is delineated concisely in the key sentence of the story: " I miss him real bad, but can you miss something you never had?"

The tone of "On the Lake" is quiet and somber, yet reflective. A simple man's recollections of a life lived as best one can live it, with hints that reinforce the country aphorism about still waters running deep.

The author's dedication to the art of poetry has clearly paid dividends as he shifts formats into short fiction. The description and narrative flow of the piece are maintained skillfully during this exploration of a theme he's frequently employed in his poetic essays.

"On the Lake" is a fine achievement, well worth the small investment of time it requires of the reader.
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is really brilliant, alfred. The description is superlative: both the meta-portrait of the woman overall, and the particular painting of the details of her room and her surroundings. They all meld to present a vivid and sympathetic picture of your imaginary lady.

There is an abundance of deft phrasings throughout the piece, but I especially relished:

... seeing everything at once and nothing at last...

and

... her beauty has faded like the now indigo horizon
streaked with reminders of pastel cashmere.


I noted no peccadilloes, nothing to quibble over whatsoever. This is a splendid addition to your verse collection of the new year, all of which that I have read demonstrate that you've taken your game to the next level.

Superbly written... well done!
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
This story is an excellent reflection on love, youth, and what might have been. The narrative is well-paced and coherent, easy to follow, and engaging. The melodramatic ending is emotionally wringing, and the final scene is worthy of a Hollywood love story.

Excellent achievement, David.
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Review of Autumn Breezes  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Very strong poem!

I especially like the rhythmical flow of the piece as well as the visual layout with the echeloned lines and the subtly shifting colors.

Your description is very strong, as always, and the theme is clear, plain, appealing, and well-expressed.

An excellent write!
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Review of Aftermath  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Very good write! I remember those senseless killings clearly; my visits to Amish country in Pennsylvania nearly forty years ago, not so clearly.

Many of us could join you, "to float unbound, untethered, to pass the cold, pale moon" every time we learn of another Columbine, another Dawson College, another Virginia Tech. But the lesson truly is "to forgive, to pray, to mourn,the souls of the living, the souls of the dead."

Great job!,
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is an outstanding poem. Your well-chosen words explore the unexplorable, and describe the indescribable.

You've done an admirable job of expressing the vastness of creation and of painting a descriptive portrait of the divine force that permeates it all on every level. You've woven a piece that's scientific yet faith-filled at the same instant.

I especially liked the following:

I have to let go of myself,
Yield to the wondrous enormity
Of the feeling of the Truth
Which blots out my sense of self


Brilliant!

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Review of insanity's grip  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is very, very strong poetry, alfred. The theme is consistently developed all the way through with a masterful blend of narrative and imagery.

...like marionettes pulled
by the heartstrings of life...


...the endless scent of your raven black hair
ignites those youthful sparks, for time
has not extinguished my loss...


Brilliant imagery, and an excellent development of the themes of loneliness and abandonment.
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (5.0)
I enjoyed reading this warm and inspirational story. It is an excellent parable on the need to allow others to reach out and extend the help we require to surmount our obstacles.

The story is simple and straightforward yet significant. Your use of imagery and description in the tale is very good, and the story overall is very well-written.

It's always a pleasure to see a new writer on these pages who brings talent and vision to our community. I look forward to reading much more of your work.
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Review of The Storm  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is a very powerful poem. Your treatment of the theme is skillful; you use the cinq cinquaine form fluidly, pacing the phases of the storm perfectly.

The real strength of the piece, though, is the vivid use of description you employ. "Ominously," "clap," and "silence belies fury" are all excellently used.

Outstanding write!
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (5.0)
You've penned an interesting story here, Iowegian Skye .

Older cars have their pluses and minuses, like newer ones. They're comfortable, powerful, and built like tanks, so they're safe. But they lack a lot of modern amenities, they suck down gas like crazy, and when they break down, they cost an arm and a leg to fix.

I guess it's all in what you're looking for.

This is a well-written piece, and conveys your thoughts very well. You are a welcome addition to WdC-- we can always use a new, talented writer in our midst!

Write on!
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is an interesting variety of poetry, and demonstrates a skill level beyond your age.

"Winter Wheat" is excellent... it demonstrates the spirit of haiku, if not the precise form. The mental picture evoked is clear and demonstrative.

"The Inner World" describes an imaginary land where the poet can escape the turmoil and confusion of the real world. I found this poem less satisfactory. The story and description were good, but the poem seemed too long for the subject. The main weakness for me was the frequent use of trite, weak, and predictable rhymes: "hero/zero," "night/light" (twice,) and "sad/glad" are examples. This poem might actually benefit from being rewritten without a rhyme scheme.

"A Werewolf's Pain" used good imagery, but is marred by repetition. "Suffering" and "alone" are each repeated in the same stanza, and while repetition can be used to effect as a poetic device, I don't think it works particularly well here.

"Love and Lust" is probably my favorite of the quintet of poems you've offered here. It not only uses natural imagery to explain your points, but the message of the poem is powerful and very mature. You understand the differences between love and mere physical infatuation very well, and you are in a good place to discuss the subject, it seems to me.

Similarly, "The Road of Life" shows a maturity of thought and a great understanding of life that is rare among teens. My only criticism would be, again, a tendency towards repetition: The word "map" is used six times in the piece. Synonyms that could be used are atlas, chart, and plan, for example.

Poetry is the expression of thoughts and ideas in as beautiful and unique a manner as possible. Your work shows very good potential as you improve your art. Well done!

.
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Review of Tatenda  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Very strong poem, alfred. The outrage and incomprehension soaks the page like a bloodstained field.

The narrative flows well, and the imagery is vivid. There is little left to the imagination of the reader save the mindlessness of the senseless violence... the rhino Tatena serves as a brilliant metaphor for the nation of Zimbabwe.

Re-examine the line:

elephants tears whet the desolation...

Is it what you intended?

The repeated couplet is powerful, and its threading throughout the piece works well.

Very good job!
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This is a masterpiece, Alfred. I think that if you had to select one piece that would be a touchstone, a summary, a synopsis of all the feelings that have roiled in you not just since your father's passing, but quite possibly your whole life, this piece would be the one.

I understand your sentiments about the opening line prompt. It's not easy to take an utterly prosaic and cliche line like that and make something of it... to spin straw into gold, as it were. But you have...

"... colorless contradiction..." works well on several levels... alliteratively, rhythmically, visually.

"... grief swelling like a flag in the wind..." Great image!

"... a whiteness not yet mine to share..." Brilliant!

This is truly outstanding, sir... poetry at its finest...
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
WORK REVIEWED: "The Sixtieth Arrow," by wiggy

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is an interesting piece on an unusual subject for a poem, archery. I was, as a young boy years ago in summer camp, a fair-to-middling archer, and the piece brought me back to that New Hampshire field and the straw-stuffed targets that were my nemesis.

STRENGTHS: There are a few memorable images in the poem: "But this lollipop vision is not what you want..." "As your arrow slices/ Through the thick silence." "...the throbbing paper heart,.."

The piece captures the process fully, and gives the reader a clear picture of what transpires in the archer's mind as she aims and releases.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT: In this reviewer's opinion, the poem leans too heavily on literal narration. It has the whiff of a "how to" prose piece about it. I would have liked to see a less literal, more "show, not tell" approach to the piece. The author has come tantalizingly close to achieving this, and with some review and revision, the piece could rise to even higher reaches.

Stanza three, line 2, the first word should be spelled "Its," not "It's" "It is only task"?

Stanza six, line one, the word "site" should be spelled "sight." "Site" refers to either a physical location for a building or structure, or a web page. "Sight" is the device used in aiming a bow or other weapon.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS: This is a better than average poem that captures some of the romance of the sport of archery, an activity with its roots deep in centuries of warfare and hunting.
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
This is one powerful piece of writing... the dark, Bavarian, Grimm/Humperdinckian woods and the Golding-like pack of wild boys paint a word-picture with remarkable clarity and potency.

"... deep in their scared souls..."

The mind's eye forces "scarred" rather than "scared," lending a more ominous second meaning to the line, yet consistent with the theme and not contradictory to the original intent.

"... and time has healed nothing
only molding innocent boys into bitter men... "

brilliant.

This one's a keeper, Alfred. One of your very best efforts. Bravo!
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This is an excellent poem on a variety of levels. The gravity of the subject, the measured, rational dissertation, the thoughtful rhyming couplets, and the smooth flow of the poem bespeak the combination of skill and effort you have brought to this composition.

You may be a novice to the site, but it is plain that you are no novice to the art of poetry. I welcome your voice to the site, and look forward to reading more of your efforts. You have the potential to be a standout writer here.

A thousand welcomes, poet!
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Review of The River Mouth  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (4.0)
You've employed some skillful phrasing to achieve very vivid description in this poem.

I particularly liked the lines:

Bleeding old poetry,
onto pages that will never come Alive.


That evokes a powerful image.

I must admit I was put off somewhat by the apparently random capitalization scheme you've used. There was no consistency or pattern I was able to discern, and I found it a distraction.

Aside from that criticism, this is a good poem. Welcome to WdC.
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Review of Hope...  
Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (4.5)
An intriguing poem describing common symptoms of anxiety over an event the nature of which the reader is left to guess about.

I particularly appreciated the lines:

Beseech Him, I shall not, for
He who created knows what to bestow!


A refreshing change from the normal "Please God, just get me through this and I'll go to church every Sunday" plea of desperation.

Well written, with the possible exception of "resignedness"?

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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (4.0)
The lyrics form a technically well-constructed song, although I have reservations about the line "While unknown soldiers are buried in unknown graves" and how it would fit structurally in the song. It is significantly longer than any other line.

The imagery is good, and the message is strong if a bit cliché.

In the opening stanza, I'm puzzled at the reference to a specific day forty years ago when The Beatles started playing, especially since the Fab Four began considerably longer than forty years ago, but I'll chalk it up to poetic license!

Also, I wonder if the references to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The Day the Music Died" were intended to be as pointed as they are... just musing.

Good effort!
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
This is a haunting, piercing piece describing four painful scenarios of life's losses.

The image of a mute, all-seeing moon calmly, sadly observing the night chaos not only unites the four pictures at an exhibition, but adds an extra dimension to the story.

The only suggestion for improvement I can offer is to eliminate the word "of" in the line "As his car careened off of the cliff tonight..."

I really enjoyed the moody atmosphere and dark lessons recounted in this poem.
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Review by Carolina Blue
Rated: E | (4.5)
An interesting description of a morning walk. The image of a cemetery laid out in perfection like a divine golf course is certainly a novel one.

The use of the word "course" in three unique ways at the end of each stanza is clever. I liked the device of the narrator's way "plotted" and "laid out" at the end of the poem reflecting back to the imagery of the cemetery created in the first stanza.

A beguiling little poem, and one that requires more than one reading to fully appreciate.
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