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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/njames51
Review Requests: ON
337 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I am pretty easy going. I don't want to bash your poem. I look for rhythm, color, formatting, form, meter, style, imagery. I look, I listen. I appreciate. For more go to my Poetry Review Forum #1399834 or find it in the Review Forum List.
I'm good at...
Encouragement, helping you when you need it. Suggesting better words or lines, and challenging you to do better and not settle for boring words, lines or writing crap.
Favorite Genres
Poetry - all types but especially free verse.
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of Pride  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello Blind Star,
I'm very, very late in giving you feedback on a request you made of me. I am sorry. Reality gets in your way sometimes.

I know you asked me to review another piece, yet honestly I wasn't up to it. I was distracted, maybe turned off after the first few lines. So I checked your other pieces, and I found this!

Sooo much different than your other work. I kind of really did like this piece. The title is: PRIDE (or the other side of pride) as you say.

You create some interesting lines. Not mundane, like "Oh, my pride is wounded" (what the hell does that mean anyway?)

First of all, I would either double space the lines or make the piece free-verse, where one line weaves down into another line. Or more likely because you have some rhyming it's best to make three verses, or stanzas. The reader heard the first line, but then you go off in some other parable and the reader wants to follow, but has no clue where you're going. If you wish to keep any end rhymes, they must be consistently in the correct meter. ab/ab or aba/aba. There are hundreds of meter forms. You can research those on this site.
Also it is important that there is a count in each line. You know how with a piano(in my case) you look at the beginning and see the time sequence. Guitars likely have that, Orchestras have that. A poetic line is really music..

Read any poem ALOUD. Read your poems ALOUD. Hear where, there is no fluid, easy, juztaposition from one thought to another? Great poet make it look easy, but they work on EVERY WORD in a line. Is the word necessary. Does it mess up the flow, music of theother lines?

So, back to your piece. First you can cut a lot of "filler words. They are not necessary. Let me rework the first 3 lines:

"Uncommon is a feeling of pride
Often is a feeling of life unworthy of/in time

Lungs inhale, exhale
Yet all the air is stale

Gone is excitement as
looking through windows dulls now
Reality? has it hit? Or is it the
in-between place man goes.

Now and then a smile
pasted to be genuine
Wears dry like makeup.




Okey, I went through a few lines,notice I CUT WORDS, if they are not the story toss them.

And boringwords, find other clever, creative words. It takes time, but you'll get there.

The last 3 lines are the blasting cap, they are real, true, creative.
Cut "In the void" we know there's a void, we've all had that feeling.

Last three lines should be one stanza.:

"Pride leaves
It's only there for a moment
And your left chasing after it like a fiend.
Looking for that same rush you once achieved."

Love the last two lines. They may have to change a little, but the idea is so in your gut. Somebody leaves you. You cry, your self-esteem sucks, your pride in your value as a human being vanishes,
damn, people commit suicide over lessor feelings or different. feelings.
You express yourself, and this is a good piece. Don't agree with what I did. That was an example. Tweek it, throw it in a drawer for a week, pull it out and read it out loud. You'll hear where you should cut, where things are confusing etc. But this is well worth your time to work on this.

Good job! Keep on keeping on! I'm making the review pulic so check the public review board asap and others will read the review and read your piece. Thank you for allowing me to read your piece.

njames51 Nancy








 Nancy's Poetry Review Forum   [13+]
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2
2
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)

Wow!
HuntersMoon, what can I say. This is perfection! From the

"solstice has arrived;
it nurtures life that spring revived"

to the

"painting hills with daffodils.
crossing landscape, color spills."

I don't think I have been more in love with a melody, than this melody!

Your writing is so true to the elegance of the whispered, softened sighs characteristic of the finest poet! You richingly deserve to be among such company.

A breathtakingly beautiful poem. Thank you for writing this.

-- njames51



















3
3
Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hello Steven Wheeler,
Welcome to WDC - Writing.com. Noticed you joined in July and already have your portfolio going. Awesome. Thought I would give you a review on your first item.
Title; It seems o.k., maybe not as original as could be. "The Pain Of Regret" is used so, so often in every tale, story, biography, poem, even and before the Civil War. Perhaps you could mull on another title, and ask for feedback from other member. Remember, we have to grab 'em ASAP, and the Title and sub-section is where we have to give them a curiosity that , hey, this might be a pretty cool poem.
We'll go back to that. Your piece contains three stanzas/ verses or whatever you call them. You have two stanzas with 4 lines each, then a 5 line stanze, and finally one 4 line stanza followed by a space and a single line.
Note: I will make suggestions re: your verse, the imagery, rhythm structure, flow, consistency, "filler words" and ways to improve or to at least go back and rip out half the lines etc. not a personal attack on my part, but wouldn't you rather get feedback HERE from other writers, rather than the critics in magazine rags who 1. will never read your poems period, 2. Will glance at it and sling across the room to the other 200 stacks of "genius poets"!

THE PAIN OF REGRET

Verse #1 and verse #2 use the rhyming pattern of AABB. Verse #3 uses a pattern of 5 lines with the pattern being AABCC. The last verse goes back to 4 lines and the AABB pattern.
I'm not saying that it wrong, but it clarifies what process you are using in structuring this piece. That's very important for you and for the reader. They have to know you have a map and are leading them through a jumble of word salad which will happily appeal to them. so structure and discipline is paramount when "designing" this work of words, feelings, imagery, and having the ending be satisfying to your reader.
3. SPECIFICALLY: Line 1: Rhythm is off. I would cut "HERE" AND "LITTLE". The line would begin: "I am broken into pieces again." (the reader understands you are 'there, here, somewhere!' Also pieces are viewed as 'little pices' innanetely by a reader when a subject matter is broken love. They understand "I AM BROKEN into pieces AGAIN! Every single soul knows THAT FEELING AND HURT.
Now the NEXT re-writing exercise on this work must center around the RHYTHM. THE FLOW, THE NOTES (as in piano notes, chords, harmonies etc.). In writing poems one does this by "Counting the syllables" in EVERY LINE. You're not required to have 'perfect rhythmatic sylablle words.....(in free verse, the whole goal is never to form to a FORM. But since you have decided to use a recognized poetic static rigid form....you must adhere to the rules involved.
Example: read your first verse A LOUD.....in your room, a field, the shower. When YOU HEAR your words, it is scary and yet amazingly effective in you understanding that.... "wow, they didn't sound right" "Geez, the rhyming end words are boring, trite, and dull. " "Damn, the first line reads slower than the second line or forth or fifith......and Verse #2 is way longer and really CONVOLUTED."
oR PERHAPS NONE OF THE VERSES SAY ANYTHING OR AREN'T REAVEALING ENOUGH.
Example; Verse one.....
"I am broken into pieces again." (10 syllable count) end rhyming word "again"
"ripped and torn [it] just never ends." ((8 syllable count) end rhyming word "ends"

Line #3: "madness flowing ..+++that word is present tense, awkward with, the previous structure.....the breakup has already happened, past tense..
"Madness flows through my veins" (5 syllable count only!) BB ending word rhyme is "stain"

Line #4: "The blood it spills, leaving a darkened stain" (11 syllable count). End BB rhyming word is "stain".

Now read the first verse OUT LOUD and to someone you know and trust who won't bulls*** you (riends will say it's very moving and beautiful). However, a more respected critic, teacher, mentor...will tell you the TRUTH. and that is NOT failure.....it is learning, listening to those who teach you, knowing, growing in your writing.

I like the piece, I haven't been around reviewing much, but came across this, and the potential is there. your rhyming structure works at times and that is easily remedied. Your syllable count is fixable also by putting similar words in place of words that don't flow easily due to akward words or syllable counts.

Very nice use of a poem format, willingnes to us a rhyming format and the words were not God-awful. I commend you for that. The title and sub-explanation I would change....but first re-write..re-write...RE-WRITE!
Best to you on your journey and welcome to WDC.
Njames51 --Nancy
4
4
Review of Letters  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)

Haven't read your stuff in a long time, Eliot, but you're still in my Favorites folder.

I just absolutely love this piece.First that sub-heading: "putting to rest a failed relationship". Geeez that gave me the chills. Can't imagine how you can put things to rest, at least I'm not so great at it.

Love the formatting, line breaks, You set this up in a visual style that makes it impossible for the reader not to stop and start the first line......then he's kind of captivated...and figures he'll maybe read the next stanza.......so you got the reader in a cool, deceptively clever way! And that's good. Love these lines:

I apologize for nothing
and take not back the words
but only their faithless messengers,

who, having failed
of sense, must end
at the insistence of a fire,


Great job!


oh....was gonna mention a contest I just found out about. It's strictly for FREE VERSE poems, and you should enter sometime. Runs every month. The FIRST time I submitted a piece, I won 1st PLACE! Can you believe it? I was in shock!

Here's the link:
FORUM
Shadows and Light Poetry Contest  (E)
Do you love the challenge and creativity of free verse poetry? This contest is for you.
#1935693 by Choconut 🍫


Loved the poem!

- Nancy
5
5
Review of Hiding Place  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Zoe Ross,

I like the title, and also the appendage. However I would cut the explanation to: "you shouldn't need a hiding place...". This gives the reader just enough curiosity to want to delve more into the poem / story etc.
You have four stanzas each containing four lines. You use half-rhymes which I like. The end rhymes are not trite or commonplace.

I understand the emotional tale you are describing. My problem is the amount of "?" used. The first stanza could be improved, tightened.
The second stanza is fine. The third stanza could do without the question marks. I would leave out "why does" and use this:
She thinks he means peace.
She does not see the mess

The final stanza can be the powerful image of all that may be anticipated.

"She isn't happy nor am I,
Nowhere to be or to roam
He will say jump ever so high
And I will call this prison my home."

Keep working on this. Good job!




6
6
Review of "Change"  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hey Deb. Reviewing your poem. Christmas delays. I enjoyed reading this descriptive piece about the seasons. Only a few suggestions.
Some of the lines read effortlessless. Good meter. Some have too many words and are bumpy when reading. Your meter is different in each stanza , syllable count.
Stanza 1: count= lines 1)8
2)8
3)10
4)9
Stanza 2: 1)10
2)9
3)7
4)10

Stanza 3: 1) 10
2)9
3)6
4)8

Stanza 4: 1) 8
2)6
3)8
4)9

sTANZA 5: 1)7
2)7
3)4
8)8



So, see the evenness of the line sets?
You can vary the count, but consistancy is goo. Stanza 1 &3 could have 8/108/10.
Stanza 2 &4 could 7/9 and 5/9 etc.

Right now you should try these changes: Stanza 1: Line 3- shorten
Stanza 2: o.k.
Stanza 3: o.k.
Stanza 4: Line 4- shorten
Stanza 5: Line 3- lengthen

I do like this, just read aloud and you'll hear the bumps from some lines where the length is a bit long.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Nancy






 Nancy's Poetry Review Forum   [13+]
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7
7
Review of The Dancing King  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Xean!

Thank you for submitting your poem. I think the ending of this is quite funny. The title and your tag line are interesting and inviting. And your theme, images and action in this are quirky and visual for a reader.


You have 5 stanzas, with 5 lines per stanza.
Your rhyme pattern is a-b-a-a-b.
You adhere to the pattern, though in spots it's abrupt or choppy, using the same end rhyme to rhyme with itself.

The only issue I have is with your meter/rhythm/melody. I think this is easily fixable, you just have to decide what rhythm you will be using. If you set your meter or pattern in the first stanza, that same metrical flow should repeat in the following stanzas.

Read your First stanza out loud. Notice there should be a rhythm, a melodic flow. Now read the next stanza out loud. Does Line #1 (Stanza 2) mirror the count of the Line #1 in Stanza #1?

So the first line of each stanza should follow the syllable/meter ebbs and flows of the beginning line.
Your second line of every stanza should follow the same pattern as line #2 of the first stanza. And etc, etc.

I mean I can make it flow as it is written, but I have to constantly re-adjust my reading as each stanza seems to have their own limited pattern. The key is to make the reading effortless, cut "fill" words, adjust other words so the piece sings as a whole. And your rhyme words are fine, but we don't want to notice we are rhyming.

Look at the first line of each stanza:
Count the syllables:
- 11 syllables
- 7 syllables
- 6 syllables
- 10 syllables
- 8 syllables

Each beginning line reads in a different pattern. Again, there is creativity in the piece. I like the mango, tango, vango, fruity dancing theme. "Coconut' is hard tone. 'mango, tango, vango' are soft, fluid words.

So, go back and just decide how the pattern will flow. Then, of course, you'll have to revise, lengthen, transpose some words, so the syllable count is consistant, the rhyming words flow in a fluid manner, and then read your revision out loud again. You may have to re-work this a couple of times.

But, again I love the title, tag, theme, images, concept and quirkiness. And the ending is funny.
You can do this! The piece is well worth the effort. It will improve each time.

Thank you for allowing me to read your piece!

Nancy



 Nancy's Poetry Review Forum   [13+]
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8
8
Review by njames51
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hello Yera,

Thanks for submitting your poem for me to read. I like the title and the tag line below.
Not much I can add to this. You received a first place winner award, whiich I think is quite approriate.

Your stanzas are constructed quite nice. You follow a theme. The flow and tone and texture and theme are quite nice. I was not stopped by any blocks. Altogether quite wll done. Lines I liked:

"Hold on my sweet Selene
We'll soon cross this great expance
So we may come together
And be joined in lovers' dance."


Very nicely done!

Good writing style, formatting, line breaks, imagery, emotion, texture and tone.

Thank you for allowing me to read your work.

njames51


 Nancy's Poetry Review Forum   [13+]
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9
9
Review of Noise  
Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Yes Joy, this is a biting, sarcastic and brutally honest message to someone you must know. How else could such spitting out of emotional disgust be so emphatically posed. Ouch, it bears down to what's really going on, a person's comfort in the room of DENIAL. There's an elephant in the room, everybody knows it, Except the person who remains in fantasy land. And noise is such good distraction for someone who must drown out their defects, their failures, even their aggression and self-loathing.

It is a forceful poem, short in length, but on the mark in it's hard language. I hear some soft words in the end stanza, but only in a bare attempt to perhaps make this person more human.

"quivering
with hunger
to be heard."

The format is perfect here, line breaks, single words placed strategically so the reader scrolls down this piece smoothly, effortlessly. There are no bumps, no spots where rhythm was broken or you drifted off on a tangent.

The first three words are spot on and biting: "YOU crave noise!" A reader cannot help but continue on, to find out why the writer is so ticked off; and what this scoundral does to delude himself and to push others away.

All the lines meshed perfectly, and, though the reader doesn't really KNOW what the issues are about, they leave the writing pondering, "o.k. now what's REALLY going on. Is this guy a drunk, delusional in fantasy dreams of ultimate success? Is she going to kill him, because he's a pain in her life?"

But, good for you that you didn't spell it out. I want poetry to leave me guessing or questioning, then I can ponder if my own life experiences or emotional responses are tied or related in some way.

Lines I especially liked:

"You crave noise to stoop
and cheer the icons
within your sight
that
loiter like specters
in front of you,...."


"You crave noise
to hear
falsehoods
that
drift away.."


"You crave noise
to deny
the existence
of your own voice..."

Very nicely done. I have no complaints. You took words specific to the action and mood, worked diligently to format the words as seen on the page (this highlighted the biting words....the flow was continual), and you used words sparingly. Each word had it's purpose.

I'm glad I came across this poem and I thank you for allowing me to read it.




Nancy

njames51




 Nancy's Poetry Review Forum   [13+]
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10
10
Review of Bookmarks  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hello fyn ~

Wow, what can you say? This is so marvelous, so through, so precise.
It gains energy and enthusiasm as it moves delicately to detail, to description, to emotion.

It begins so loosely...'this is something about a book...'. And the first four lines are general statements made by many a writer.

But in the second stanza you say....'my love IS a book....'

"Title page - I share his name
and he is dedicated to me."


Wonderful words. Yet you go deeper......the cracked spine, the memorized words, the quotes, the quips, your fingertip eroding the print, fading, fading memories. "The book is alive and breathing..as all books should be.." And you note this is neither dusty nor on a shelf; but read, caressed every day.

"No reader, he, prefers to hear the stories
read out loud in time to the drumbeats that propel him
or whispered in the papered leaves in the forest."


I adore the final stanza. How I wished I could have communicated this same love for my books as you. You say what so many of us feel. Books ARE our true LOVE.
(one night, being evacuated from a brush fire, the officials said we had 5 minutes to pack what was most important for us to keep. One family member took jewelry, another photographs, another clothes. I packed my car with BOOKS. All my old, favorite, precious books. I couldn't bear to leave them behind. They were my heart.)
Perhaps our books are not practical; but when one establishes that love for books, language, they are old friends. Perhaps as painters view their paintings. Old friends.

A truly lovely poem, fyn. Not a word to be changed. And thank you for expressing what I could never have expressed ~ BOOKMARKS - and what's inside the covers. Darn-it you're one hell of a writer!

Nancy

njames51




 Nancy's Poetry Review Forum   (13+)
Come in for a free review! If you need help, just ask. A cup of tea is free!
#1399834 by njames51




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11
11
Review of Billie Holiday  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hello Mangadude,

I noticed this poem on the Review Request page. It interested me because of it's subject: Miss Billie Holiday. I am much older now; but in college I listened to Billie all the time. There are certain songs with which I identify her: "You've Changed", "I'm A Fool To Want You"; and especially the obscure song, "Violets For Her Furs". That melody and those words are imprinted in my brain. And, in fact, one of my first good poems began with the line...."He brought you violets for your furs...and it was spring...". I wrote it to my parents, as my father always gave my mother furs and they would dress and go dancing.

Blues was a huge part of the 1960's in Europe. I was lucky enough to have lived there for four years. Jazz and blues singers were revered, idolized. I saw Ella and the Duke back in '65. Aretha was there in her prime. Unfortunately I was never lucky enough to see Billie.

Yet reading your piece was a perfect remembrance of what made the blues so deeply personal. We remember Billie as a downtrodden survivor of rascism, sexism, brutal men, a lonely figure harrassed by police and holier-than-thou moral bigots. Dope was a common denominator for many jazz and blues artists, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, and Miles Davis included.

Yet, you excite the reader with your descriptiveness, your images of hot blues, rollicking jam sessions in smoke filled dives at 4:00 a.m.

I was struck by the format of the lines, initially. Yet, reading it over and over, I know now it was perfect. You never make this a eulogy. You make this period what it was: a jazzy, snappy finger, pulsating hungry rhythm of hips shaking, trumpets wailin', scat singing uptown, downtown, wafting from underground dives where black folk, white folk, beat poets and a new generation came eager to learn.

You use words like notes. Brief, specific, interpretive. Other lesser poets would have dogged these lines with eternal, banal historical dogma. Take these first four lines:



head, regal, tilt back



finger, slow-ly, snap



this girl horn the blues



this Lady croon the tunes




Or this stanza:



Cotton Club-in Harlem



Bend notes, black folks, white dopes love 'em



Ain't nothin' but the blues are brewin'



Ain't nothin' but the blues are brewin'




This is a marvelous piece of writing, and Billie would be mighty, mighty proud! Thanks for allowing me to read this.



Nancy




 Nancy's Poetry Review Forum   (13+)
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#1399834 by njames51


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12
12
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello Maria from Mars. I love that handle: Mars, invites wide imagination.

YES, this is a poem.

You have four stanzas, each holding three lines. The format (or "look" on the page) is easy to read, no convoluted miles and miles of wordiness.

The lines are succient, brief, yet need nothing more for impact.

Here is an example of a poem written by William Carlos Williams: The poem is only eight lines, and though seeming
puny and forgettable; it has been studied and praised for it's design, format, and precise use of each word.


"THE RED WHEELBARROW"


so much depends
upon


a red wheel
barrow


glazed with rain
water


beside the white
chickens.



One might say it is a "prose" sentence divided into a poetic form. However, short, crisp language is so much the technique of many famous poets.
Poetry does not pose questions; nor give the reader answers. Poetry invites you to the mind of the poet. We aren't quite sure where we are being taken. But a great poem uses craft, technque, a rhythm, meter, syllables which emphasise "hard" sounding words...and "soft" sounding words. Poetry makes use of imagery. IMAGERY generally means the representation of one thing by another thing. There is "figurative language". Some of the devices used here are "simile or metaphor"; "personification"; and "allusion". These qualities of imagery do not ask questions nor give answers. They merely express a beloved one, a poet's deep emotion, the desire to give animation to something so abstract and so inanimate.

So much for my justifying Poetry as the oldest, most calming melody since before the Middle Ages.


Back to the piece. I am not here to decide what it means. A poet writes, he hopes through specific images and words that he may give the reader a vision, a respite, a pondering of what was read.

First stanza, line one has 6 syllables; line 2 has 4 syllables, line 3 has 5 syllables.
Second stanza, line 1 has 5 syllables, line 2 has 3 syllables, line 3 has 5 syllables.
Third stanza, Line 1 has 6 syllables, line 2 has 4 syllables, line 3 has 4 syllables.
Last stanza, line 1 has 6 syllables, line 2 has 3 syllables, line 3 has 4 syllables.

Sometimes a reader wants a consistant syllable count, so the meter will flow at a consistant pace. However, I was never bothered (nor even noticed) changes in flow or meter. It read pretty effortlessly and had texture and melodic tone for color.

As far as discussing writing, prose, poetry, religion, money, who's turn to clean out the garage........I would agree to DISAGREE. And I encourage you to read books of poetry. The latest one I picked up, helped me enormously.

Written by MARY OLIVER (winner of The Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Award) entitled: "A Poetry Handbook"
~~ A Prose Guide To Understanding And Writing Poetry ~~

Down to earth, humorous, she examines specific forms in poetic history, syntax, tone, as well as moving forward to prose poetry and "free-verse". it will most effectiously excite you, create a passion, and help you admit that you ARE a POET.

No matter what anyone tells you.

I really enjoyed reading this. Submit some more ~ I'm sure you've got images waiting to break free!


Nancy

njames






 Nancy's Poetry Review Forum   (13+)
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#1399834 by njames51



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13
13
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Sophie...
I saw your post on the Review Request page. So I'd like to send you a little review.
I like the idea for the piece....love is complicated. What brings us joy will in time bring some sorrow. That is the cyclic flow of life.
I have no issue with the theme of this piece. But would like to examine the lines, stanzas and perhaps encouage a tightening of these.

You have five stanzas. Each four lines included. You use rhyme in the A-A-B-B format per stanza. The rhyme does not continue using the same end rhymes in the first stanza.

First stanza: Line 1 has 10 syllables....Line 2 has 13 syllables...Line 3 has 10 syllables...Line 4 has again 13 syllables.

The next stanza also has various syllable counts per line.

I tell you this because when there is fluidity in a poem, in large part it's due to mechanics..i.e. finding a line length and formatting a syllable and meter count consistantly throughout the verses. One can vary, say from 9 syllable count to ten. But if your meter goes on and on...a reader will get pretty lost.

This is not difficult to remember when you revise this piece. Reading a piece aloud gives you a frank idea of how words stumble or seem controvoluted.

My other suggestion is to cut many "filler" words - not needed to give a reader what he needs.

Example: Stanza 1: If I may shorten or cut some unneeded filler, you may find this reading smoother.........

..Love will (always) hurt - I've been told.
Does this mean we are put on hold.
Love is worthy of the pain
Removed of envy that is vain.

That is much simplified...but illustrates the necissity of cutting useless wordage. Making your piece tight is the goal. All famous poets struggle with this. I've read that many revise a poem over 50 times.

So, there's work to be done here....but I'm sure you're up to the task!

So get on with it! Re-write, revise, cut, toss, explore.........have fun..and courage. None of else enjoy a reader telling us to cut this line...cut these words...shorten....devlop imagery....etc.

Thank you letting me read your piece. You have a good start!

Most kindly,

njames



 Nancy's Poetry Review Forum   (13+)
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#1399834 by njames51


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14
14
Review by njames51
In affiliation with 2013 Quills Nominees  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hello Dragon Skies,

Sorry for the delay. Thank you for submitting this item for me to read. To be quite honest, there isn't much to complain about. Naturally one might expect a poem full of sorrow, personal grief, anger, etc.

Yet, you have taken a different approach. Yes, it was like any other day. We rise, feed the dog, perform our rote behavior so second nature, we barely remember what we had for breakfast.

You offer us seven wonderfully detailed stanzas/verses. It seems to the reader such an interesting life you lead. We are given great detail about this "normal" day: the sun, the shower, the birds, songs we hum each morning. I love the repitition of the line:

"The sun had kissed the sky that day..."

We live at "life's core.." as you mention. Your reader is sailing smoothly through your day, wandering your streets, observing the musicians. It is all so "normal" for our "talcum powdered" selves.

Your observations are true for most of us. Singing songs in the shower, racing for that cup of coffee. And your transition to what changed that particular day...the transitions are subtle, smooth, poetic really. The constant thread line is the image of the Sun. ..."the sun had kissed the sky"........"the sun had kissed us all goonight..."........."the sun had kissed them all goodnight.."......"the sun erupted fire for tears..".

I love your form, images, subtle, smooth rhyme sequence. I like that you captured an event with few words. Each word is of use. Yet, the brief lines are dramatic. And the contrast, again, of your beginning verses vibrant in descriptions of ordinary and normal "city life", is excellent (in my opinion). You did a wonderful job in crafting this piece.
Thank you for allowing me to read your work.







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#1399834 by njames51


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15
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Review of The Condition  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)
HA-HA-HA.

Loved this! Doug Rainbow, your writing is so darn good, the way Mel Brooks is good, Elaine May, Nora Ephron, Janet Evanovich....even the satire of a Tina Fey.

Satire, Mockery, Sarcasm, irony.....the wry cock-eyed view of what may seem the normal. Perhaps Larry David and Jerry Seinfield stretched it to it's max.


This essay/Step #1 addict's tale is soooo spot on, even to the wife going to a support meeting and learning "tough love". Even the 12 step meeting scenario, the obsession to write "to steady my nerves".

The last sentence was hysterical! This tale is satire, and may put some people in a twitchy mood. But so what! We've got groups for shopaholics, spendaholics, cigar smokers, people who collect junk, even NOW groups for Geeks obsessed with their desk tops, lap tops, ipads, iphones,.........ugh!

Great job. Put this up on "Reviews Requested" and see the response.

I love wry, ironic, dry, hidden humor. The passing flippent sarcastic line in the checkout line. Humor which the listener has to stop, scratch his head, and think "wow, that was funny"!
Anyone can make fun of the obvious, or believe cruel jokes toward another constitues humor.
How wrong they are! The Old-school comedians knew what was funny, and didn't need a "punch-line" at the end. The story was the vehicle.

Terrific, as usual!

Nancy

njames51



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#1399834 by njames51


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16
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Review of Michael  
Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hello Dragon Skies. Thanks for submitting a poem to my Forum.

I read this slowly, which helped me to focus on the depth, imagery and emotion.
My first suggestion is the punctuation issue. I see no commas, or semi-colons. Use use Capitols to begin each line, when a line is part of a previous line. The reader isn't quite sure where the end of a line should be. This is easily correctible.
Example:

A glowing, sweeping incandescent sight,
darting endlessly, always in flight.
Wing stroke caressing the sky,
showing others they too could fly.

I added comma and periods, and removed some Capitols.

Line #4 - cut "too"
Line #7 - cut "their"
Line #9 - a comma goes after, "voice"
Line #10 - cut "you"

The second stanza is very well done, again except for punctuation. It would be easier to read if you seperated lines into stanzas - 4 lines to a stanza, even if you include a two line stanza after the first part.

I have problems with the final line....it seems misplaced about the shooting star. I don't feel you need that.

Overall, flow is good, meter, consistancy with theme is good. A reader doesn't stumble (except for lack of punctuation. Imagery is terrific and related to feelings you've assimilated regarding nature.

Quite good.......just need some tweeking. But overall, I'm happy with all the lines. Some filler words can be chopped, but those will not take away from content and imagery.

Thanks you for letting me read this!

Nancy

njames51



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#1399834 by njames51


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17
17
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello Markymark!
Thanks for letting me read another of your poems.
I like the title. Interesting, inviting for the reader. My suggestion for the tag: "...but I can't name this incredible feeling....". I don't think you need the rest of that tag.

Also, my other suggestion: Cut the very last line: "Something happened to me...can you tell me what it is?" I don't think you need that either. If you shorten the tag line, present the piece, your reader will decide WHAT happened, and they will decide the feeling. For each reader it may be different. That's the surprise of the poem. My opinion only.

As for the poem:

Suggestions: Stanza #1

Line one: Love it!
Line two: cut "but" from the line
Line three: use "throughout" my mind. Cut "in all corners of"
Line four: cut "just"

Stanza #2

Line four: cut "single"

Stanza #3

Line one: cut "both"
Line two: cut "the" (before the word evidence

Stanza #4

Line four: "but it shines the brightest beacon, born in her heart." That reads a little long and the reader stumbles. See if you can make the point with fewer words.

The above are only suggestions, and do not pertain to the message or imagery of the piece. My suggestions merely cut "filler" words such as "but", "the" etc. Or I have replaced four words with one word. "Filler" words make lines long and tend to make a reader stumble.

Overall, though, excluding the stumble words, your rhythm is good, your rhyming pattern is consistant through each stanza, and overall the flow is good. Your syllable/meter count matches pretty consistantly. Cutting some of the "filler" should make the meter pretty even.

I like the piece and your descriptiveness and imagery. GOOD JOB!


Nancy





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18
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Review of Evergreen  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)

Hello Markymark. I could not find the item number you listed, asking to be reviewed. So I am reviewing this most recent poem of yours.

You have five stanzas of five lines each. A quintet may have any one of several rhyme schemes. Unfortunately, you don't have a consistant rhyme scheme. Your first stanza has rhyme in the third and fifth lines. Stanzas #2 and #3 have no rhyming. Stanza #4 has rhyme in the third and fourth lines. The last stanza has semi-rhyme in your second and fifth lines. I tell you this just to suggest in the future that you may want to focus on a rhyming sequence. Free verse consists of lines that do not have a regular meter and do not contain rhyme.

As far as the theme, content, language of your piece: I think it is well written, with imaginative language and good imagery. You present a theme of personal growth, mysteries discovered, and use the image of the tree as your symbolic reference. There are some stanzas which confuse the reader. Stanza #1 and #2 present lines which seem at odds with accompanying lines. In stanza #3 the reader begins to follow your train of thought, as you discuss personal growth. I like this stanza:

"Each journey that I have chosen
has changed the shape of my life,
creating, moulding, leaving knots of
memories along its many boughs,
flashed in the yawning sky for a season."

I also like the fourth and the final stanza. Altogether, this is creative and you present interesting images as well as language that does not bore the reader.

You have some spelling errors, and a few problems with placement of commas. Format is important and placement of punctuation allows the reader to know when a pause is intended, or when a thought should continue uninterrupted.

But, a good job. And you should continue to write poems. I believe you have an ear for a poem's melodic flow and a natural understanding of rhythm and meter.





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19
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Review of Poker With Slim  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)


Hello Poet! I was drawn to this particular piece because I play poker (Texas Hold-em). I used to play with the WWII /Korean War Vets down at the VFW. Being an Air Force brat myself, I loved hanging out with those guys playing poker. They taught me all the games and gave me all their secrets. Poker is one of those "eyeball to eyeball" games. Who is gonna crack first. It's one thing to play on-line poke; it's another to play in person.

Your title is perfect. I had to read this. This tale is familiar, with a clever funny twist at the end. I laughed when I finished reading this. You seem to always give the reader a clever, satirical or ironic punch in your writing. We are not sure where you are going to take us. But, for this reader, I always want to see what's going to happen.

I love the tight verse, the sharp, clean images, the overall atmosphere conveyed. I felt like I was in a smoke filled poker room after midnight, with a couple of grizzled, unshaven opponents, going toe-to-toe. I related to that "betting everything I got" experience. Your meter is great, the rhyming flows naturally, the storyline is creative and constant. I love your attention to detail. Obviously you have played this game. Your terminology is right on - I instantly was absorbed. I love this verse/stanza:

"If I held sevens, Slim'd have eights.
If Slim drew flushes, my hand would be straights.
Slim's stack of chips kept a'gettin' taller.
My little pile got smaller and smaller....."

I loved the ending. I won't reveal the storyline, but this is recommended reading for anyone who wants a chuckle, who plays the game, or wants an example of story based verse.

Terrific job. Thanks again for opening up another experience for this reader.




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20
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Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hello Poet! I peeked into your port and read a piece with the cheeky, clever title: "Things That Are Low". I almost was forced to satisfy my curiosity over what would follow that intriguing title.

Oh my goodness, what a beautifully written, wonderful poem! Let me begin by going to the end....the final line. What a wondrous feeling in my heart, and old school sentimental joy in my soul after reading that line. That line is perfection. I wish I could steal it from you. It is an image that is vivid and colorful, sweet and romantic.

The entire piece is sheer perfection. Images ebb and flow in a sweetly moving pace of "drive by" theater. You want to stop to linger, but the movement and melody swing you along in a fanciful cavalcade of scenery, emotion, taste and imagination.

It is a fun pace, rhythmic, with perfect meter and emphasis at determined spots. I love these lines:


"A cranberry bog, a London fog,
A price you might pay at a sale.
Songs when they're blue, me without you,
The bottom notes on the scale."


It's as if you are channeling Irving Berlin with his song "Always". (I believe he wrote that melody so long ago.) This piece is in that romantic vein and is so melodic, one COULD tap it out on the "bottom notes of the scale".

This piece has so much humor in it, you giggle...you laugh...you just feel good reading it!

I am so glad I discovered your port. You have originality, life experience, word choices that emphasize the best of the English Language.

Thanks so much for allowing me to wander through this charming poem.


Nancy






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#1399834 by njames51




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21
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Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hello, Big Bad Wolf!
You graciously reviewed one of my poems; so I wanted to return the favor.

I'm afraid I'm not much into the monsters or gore stuff. So I found a poem which displays a much softer side. I love the title and the tag line below the title. And this certainly is a tribute, and I'm glad you had the courage to write it. Too often we feel it's an embaressment to acknowledge someone who was there when we needed help, or a shove, or just a kick in the pants, to get us on track.
I like the way you're not too mushy, too sweet - you plug in a few digs, which makes her so human. I like this:

"This friend of mine would check out my stuff
And tell me how to smooth out the rough.
She'd come by me to grace me for a smile,
Even though she only talked for a little while."

Very nice stanza. A then later you say "..She was as fierce as a pike..."

Nice imagery, good characterization, certainly a fine tribute to someone who was there during the tough times.

Nice job Wolf!





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#1399834 by njames51


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22
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Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)
       Hello Doug Rainbow!

I told you I was rummaging around in your port, to return the favor you extended me by reviewing one of my poems. Honestly, the piece I opened first was this one. Loved the title, it was a welcome distraction inticing me to find out just what "Skywriting in The Clouds" was all about.

I love that the piece is short. That's the beauty of it - there can be no wasted words. And you cleverly have made each word purposeful for the piece.

Love the beginning line..."He penned a blank verse in invisible ink". Wait a minute, I had to think about that image, it slips in quietly. "Blank verse"...."Invisible Ink" ???? This line is so open for deeper interpretation.

The image continues through the next line: "that chronicled ermine in snow."

"He penned a blank verse in invisible ink
that chronicled ermine in snow..."

Love that opening. Also your rhyme sequence, which I found to bear originality of thought, and a healthy grasp of literary words/phrases.

I love the final two lines in the first stanza.

Finally the final stanza, so precisely ordered, with a melodic sensability and original imagery. I love that first line (and may steal it from you - sorry Charlie). It is meloncholy, mournful, almost hopeless in it's finality. And of course the phrase.."skywriting in the clouds" is so refreshing an image for your reader.
Even lines such as: "The empty nest of a fugitive dove..." draw emotion for the reader. We use your imagery and try to fill in the photographs in our own imagination.

"He said love without life is like life without love,
A spy who gets lost in the crowds,
The empty nest of a fugitive dove,
Or skywriting in the clouds."

This was a wonderful piece. The reader does not need to know "the story" behind
this poem. It is articulate, yet indiscret, and offers much room for our creative minds to wander happily in your images.

Really Nice Work. Keep on Keeping on.......

Nancy





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23
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Review of The Shift  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Poet. Thanks for submitting this piece.
All in all, a nice attempt at free verse. My only suggestion is maybe to expand this a little, and include more descriptive phrases. I don't know if end rhymes really need phrases like "it's so lame", but that's your word choice.
Overall, it needs some expansion, to make the piece more "meaty" for the reader.
Still, again, free verse is not as easy as one thinks.
Keep writing!
Nancy





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#1399834 by njames51

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24
24
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
HELLO JANICE!
Long delay for this review. I know you've requested reviews on almost 10 of your poems - however, I can't review them all - due to others who need reviews. I'll try to give you more feedback on some of your other ones if time allows.

This piece is quite emotional for you. I also lost a sister recently and finally was able to write something (though more in blaming myself for not having done enough.) See my item: "If I'd Known How To Save A Life.

I like the emotion, your deeply felt "letter" to him, thanking him and praising him. All that is weel appreciated.
I will really only comment on the stylising of the piece, the meter, rhythm, and smoothness. This is merely a TECHNIQUE issue - not a criticism of your thought, words, or feelings. O.K?

I see you are doing an a-a b-b rhyming sequence. The first stanze. the beginning end rhymes do not rhyme. Stanza #5 - the last 2 lines end words do not rhyme. The last stanza lacks any a-a b-b rhyme at all - therefore not consistant with the prior verses.

The other issue, for me...is the absence of flow, fluid reading of this - due largely to the disparity of consistancy with syllable count from line to line. This causes the meter and rhythm to be off. I want to read without stopping or getting stuck. Some of your end words which rhyme are stale or ordinary; say-stay, shared-cared, grace-face.

Let's look at the first stanzas:


You were my one and only brother,
The one I held dear and I admired.
You had a heart that was full of grace,
You always put a smile on my face.

I think about you often in my mind,
How our hearts will still be combined.
I think about the good times we shared,
By things you've done, I knew that you cared.

Let's see if I can modify these two a bit......

"You were my only brother,
More dear than any other.
A heart filled with grace,
Left smiles on my face."

"Often I think in my mind,
Our souls still combine,
The good times we shared
let me know that you cared."

I like this stanza:

Every night I get down on bended knee and pray,
I hope that I will see you again some day.
I know that you are in heaven with mother,
I know you are happy, your world is much brighter.

But again a suggested re-wording:

"On bended knee I pray,
I will see you again one day,
With Mother in heaven you stay,
happy and brightly alive at play."

These are just suggestions. I cut some filler words..and tried to make the meter more fluid, yet still retaining the meanings you wanted to convey.

Still I liked this very much!

KEEP ON KEEPING ON WRITING.........

Nancy



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25
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Review of La' Guillotine  
Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hello Demolition Dan! Thank you for submitting your poem fo me to read.
Quite honestly, when I saw the tag line for your piece, I was not too thrilled. Anything written about the French Revolution can produce depression and boredom in the reader. And I love history, and took courses in European History while in school. But, my apologies for wandering off topic.

I actually began reading this romantic, and satirical piece, and it was very amusing. First, as you scroll up to the headers/tag line for the poem, you notice (or I guess I really noticed) the length of the piece. Ten stanzas! But, reading this was fun, interesting, and not burdensome at all. Secondly, I think you are clever in your choice of language. Your meter, rhythm is spot on through most of the piece. Your rhyme scheme was beautifully done, especially every fifth line rhyming with the following fifth line. Example of the smoothness and rhythm:


"I stand, despairing, in the throng.
I stare at her for whom I long.
She stands so bravely in the queue,
Her hair is brown, her eyes are blue,
I fear her blood is red.

One by one the line gets smaller.
One by one our France grows taller.
My darling love is coming near
To death, though none will shed a tear.
Those demon hearts of lead."


Very nicely done. My only trip up came with the final two stanzas. The meter is off somewhat, though the syllable count agrees. Those two stanzas were not smooth for me. This is only one opinion; but the rest of the poem is so humorous, obviously well thought out, with drama, good transitions, and wonderful descriptive imagery.

Great Job!



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