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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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26
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Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Janice,

This is not bad, but a bit long. I think you cut about three stanzas and still capture and the emotion and content. Again I see "filler words". Read each line and cut words that are not nessary. It is rather long, and you can express you love for your best friend with minimalism, and maybe try different end rhming words so there seem meaningful but as not all of common and mundane.

Keep Working this!

Nancy
27
27
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.5)
hello Janice.

Let's start with the first stanz. You have some "filler" words you can cut. Example:"I have been ill now for sixteen long years," The filler words are: NOW, fOR. And I would cut SIXTEEN LONG. What you haev left is.

"I have been ill long years." That is cuccint and opens the verse with a short sentence which describes that uou are sick. Just my suggestion.

The rest of the piece is fine, emotional, insight, worried about th future.

I suggest you read this ALOUD, put it in a drawer for awhile and then read it out ALOUD. You will know the "filler" words, words which are placed in the verse just to complete a meter, or becuae you can't think of other words. CUT, CUT, CUT. LESS IS MORE.

bUT A NICD JOB.







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

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Review of October Skies  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hello Jack. Welcome to Writing.com! Thank you for submitting your piece for review. Remember this is only one opinion. Do not take reviews too seriously. They are subjective.

I really enjoyed this piece Jack. The imagery was wonderful, the meter and rhythm was smooth and your verse lyrical. So many wonderful images make the reader feel he/she is present in those damp, dreary, autumn days. Some lines I love:
"Rows of dust brick buildings stretch on as silent as the night
Like an orange prophecy in the streetlamp glow"

"We walk down streets that cry out as our own
Fearing the fangs of a winter alone
We are drawn together in shelters against the night."

"Then days of night are started together
We see God in cigarettes and bottlenecks, purple sunsets and misty rain on our faces

We thank starless skies for precious October."

This is a wonderfully descriptive moment in time about youth, growing up, searching for direction, amidst the everchanging but mundane months and seasons of the year. The following is a terrific example of the theme posed in your piece:

"Lying in fields we forget our existence
And we keep making our plans for the day and the future.
Because in summer, time doesn't exist.
Summer lasts forever,
Or it seems to."

Terrific job!

Nancy











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#1399834 by njames51

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29
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Janice! Welcome to Writing.com. Thanks for submitting your piece for review. Remember this is only one review. Do not take reviews too seriously. They are all subjective.

This is quite personal for you. I see you've been given an Awardicon. I too lost my Mother, and your words resonate for me. It is difficult to write a piece that is so personal.

My comments are fairly brief. Many of your end rhyme words are fairly trite and/or ordinary. Examples: 'fast - aghast'......'you - blue'.......'head' - 'bed'.

Some of your rhyming is awkward. There is rhyming, but it rather makes the reader cringe.

'Mom, God took you away too fast,
That I was so aghast.' The word "aghast" needs to be thrown out. I cannot imagine you were 'aghast', perhaps shocked, stunned etc.

You have a few stanzas where lines need to be re-worked, they mess up the rhythm. Example:
'If only it is just by looking at the moon.' Cut the words: "it is just". those are "filler words which change the meter of the preceding lines. I suggest the following line:

"If only by watching the moon."

I suggest you read this ALOUD after putting it in a drawer for a week. You will HEAR what sounds trite, ordinary, and where the lyrical rhythm falls apart.

I suggest you keep the original, as it seems most personal for you. Then work on a second draft in a more detached manner, as a writer works on an imperfect piece, or as a painter works on his imperfect canvas.

KEEP WRITING! And I am proud that you exposed your emotions about such a sensitive and gut-wrenching experience. I wish I had the guts to dig deep and write about my grieving. But after 5 years, I still weep, and the pain is too close to the surface for me.

Nancy






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#1399834 by njames51

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Review of No title yet  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello Laura. Thanks for submitting your piece for review. Apologies for my lateness. Remember this is only one review, and one opinion. Do not take reviews too seriously. They are a subjective beast.

Overall an interesting piece. "Oppression" is a suitable title. You speak of the sensation of feeling 'less than', overwhelmed, trapped etc.

My first suggestion is punctuation. Your line breaks need a map for your reader. I leaned against the notion of including punctuation in my poems for a long time, until trusted friends/reviewers beat me over the head about it. And, frankly, good placement of commas and periods does lend to a smooth reading of a piece of writing. So read this ALOUD, and notice where you stumble. That is your clue that punctuation is needed.

I read this a few times, and after figuring out where the line breaks were and punctuation needed, I actually "got" the poem.

'Eyes like flint glowered above me'. I don't like this opening line. It is hard,......'eyes "glowering". I think it's the word "glowering" that hangs me up. Also, are eyes = to "flint'? I would change the opening line.

'My tears smeared where they had once reflected
the painful stream that had run dry across my face
silently, I drew all of my outward self, into my center
managing to detach myself, from myself'

This stanza is confusing due to the line breaks. Are the tears running across your face "silent"? Or are you "silently" drawing your outward self into your center? I'm confused!

'I wanted to escape – from the oppressiveness in the room,
the belittling, demeaning, shameful way you made me feel......'

I would like to know how the oppressiveness FEELS. I would also like to know how "belittling" feels, how being "demeaned feels, how you might describe "shame".

These are small opportunities to use analogy, and imagery, and description to convey to your reader what these words/feelings/actions mean. It would open this piece up so much.

I do like the last stanza and would leave that.

Altogether, a piece that conveys emotion, action, imagery. Yet I encourage you to read this ALOUD after one week tucked in a drawer. You will discover changes that can be made, descriptive lines that illuminate what you want to say, and overall a sense that work can be done to improve this.

Good luck, keep writing!

Nancy









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#1399834 by njames51

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Review of Stones of Red  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello McAlhany, ....thatnk your for submitting your poem.

I know you have received feedback from those who wanted this highlighted in the War Veterens subsection.

To me this is not about war, or sacrafice or patriotic duty. It reads much, much deeper. I read this as anquish from father to son. No matter how one's child dies - it is absolute devestation. No therapist or priest or well meaning friends can ever know the gut wrenching, shock and grief mixed with denial, anger, depression, bargaining with God...and 9after 12-15 months) MAYBE acceptance - at least so the living can live in the chaos of world responsibilities.

That's my take on take on this. I lost my Mother, and my sister. It is surreal, with denial the skill that gets one through.


"The gardenias are in bloom
A scent that gently rides the breeze
Deep breaths steal the Fragrance
On my stroll through hero lane"

A perfect opening, focusing on the environment, smells, colors, ritiuals we are never comfortable with.

"Trickling down, cold misty rain is coloring the stones
The amber sky glows
Last rays of light crest the markers
Red shines from the backside

An ironic color shared with those in this garden
The idleness here is deafening
A chill now has crept into my coat
I must once again walk away"

Again, this is not about war and heroes of war - IT IS YOUR SON! You were his hero, his mentor, playing ball, teaching him to ride a teo wheeler.

"My own two step with death awaits me
If ever you are watching me
You certainly can know that you still live in my life
A wonderful man and a son to a proud father

Enjoy the heavens
You deserve it
Remember something for me son
You're my hero now....."

Again I am quoting too much of the piece.

Your son lives in your life. You raised him, trying to be the best father from the examples of your own father and mother.

This is a short piece. Your words show editing - each word is placed as a painter places color in his own creative NEED to find the creative, the emotion, the passion.

I love this poem. It IS free verse. You seperate the stanzas, you work hard to engage readers with the emotion, the imagery of seeing a headstone - God, growing up, no body prepared me for the whole ritual of death, arranging a burial site, a service. We are in a daze, and despite your son not being here physically - I KNOW our loved ones ARE here. Just because we can't see them, doesn't mean they don't exist. Just as naysayers about God, heaven etc..have absolutely NO rambling BS to prove God does not exist, and Heaven does not exist.

"Trickling down, cold misty rain is coloring the stones
The amber sky glows
Last rays of light crest the markers."

I quote these, because there is no self-pity, no anger, no mental collapse. This piece is for everyone who has lost a child, no matter, by suicide, by war, by cancer, by sons engaging in extreme sports.

i respect you so much for finding insight into a child who was a gift, and truthfully (since I am Catholic) I do not believe in death. Scientic studies have shown that those who have near death encounters 'die": but see their closest family, friends, and describe the euphoric, peaceful, loving olace that is not of this world. They are sometimes resesitated - and everyone of them curses the doctors for brings them "back". They experienced paradise, and doctors put tubes in, determined to save a life.

Love this poem. I read it not as a piece on death and dying - but a piece which illustrates the bond of you and your saon - a love which will continue forever. Many parents SHOULD read this as an example of pure emotion - opening up - saying I LOVE you my son, and a son saying "I LOVE you DAD - "YOU ARE MY HERO".

Very nice blank verse - it is your talent, develope it, experiment, read e.e. cummings, nikki giovanni, mark strand, and May Sarton.

I am proud of YOU!

Terrific effort, and kudos for going outside your comfort zone - revealing a personal wound, knowing it is free, and we support and encourage you on this site.

WAY TO GO, DUDE~!








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#1399834 by njames51

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Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.5)
Augustice - very nice, good imagery, motion. Your stanzas are bright on the mark. Some critizes, but I still enjoy it. No really stops and passion is evidicant. I enjoy your poetry ans I appreciate the emotion.
Work on this more - and you will have a major journey to great writes.
My opinion. It's not perfect, but Robert Frost changed, never let him stop you.
Nice work.
Good luck!
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Review of My emancipation.  
Review by njames51
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hello Sisco,

Well, I understand you are trying something new, but this is all a bit confusing for me. You say this is "DARK". I shrug my shoulders and just have no sense of darkness, horror oor terror.

First your title: EMANCIPATION : this equates to liberation, freedom. Your title is "My emancipation" - so I'm assuming your piece is about YOUR freedom or liberation. Under that you say "Terror awaits a few...." Sorry, I am confused.

The piece really does not give your reader much about YOUR emancipation. Rather it be WHAT, WHERE, HOW, (i.e. you are seeking liberation from a feeling, a situation, person, place, thing perhaps just from yourself). Understand what I'm saying?

The poem addresses OTHERS, not YOU or your freedom. It's all about them, and what you plan for THEM. Perhaps the title should reflect what is in the piece - "How I plan to kill people" etc.

I have no criticism of the title itself: I love the title. But I want imagery, emotion, space, time, scattered stars representing pieces of you - that challenge of finding our librating moment, a painting we can each step back and say..."Ahh". Because each of us can identify with "emancipation". Your title suggests we will internally have a visual sense of YOUR struggle - emotion, images uncommon to a "normal" .........."I hate everybody and they're going to get what they deserve......."

The poem itself is a draft......a beginning. Remember that.
You have settled for mundane rhyming before.......and you know you are a better writer than what you've put down here. I've pointed out in other pieces you've graciously sent me, that many words rhyme..........horribly. Listen to any song these days, and you know what the second line will say. Any Hip=hop, rap, junk song takes any word available just to be cool. Most of he time they just make up dumb words - that are NOT words.

I'm using songwriting as an example because there is so much BAD, BAD lyrical content. Rogers and Hammerstein are gone. Stephen Sondheim is gone. You don't need music to read their poetry. They were poets. Sondheim, especially was given little credit for "West Side Story". Hammerstein bravely addressed Racism in "South Pacific" in his lyrics for "Carefully Taught".

Sorry, I'm not doing a lecture series here: But you are a good writer.
Stanza #1: Remember "less is more" and cutting words is good. I understand the two lines, but they are ordinary. The next two lines are o.k....except this gem.."as they had pleasure; my life to mar..." What does that mean? "my life to mar"....just does not fit, make sense......"mar" is a transitive verb: it flies, flits as it disfigures, defaces, blemishes.
It appears you needed a word to rhyme with "far"........but "to mar"????? OUCH.

Stanza #2: This one roams around: "we have choices...THEIR'S WERE BAD......now what rhymes with "bad"? - "MAD" .
The next two lines .......how does your "essence" fill with hate?
I'm confused by that. "Fate" rhymes pretty well with "hate".

Stanza #3 The first two lines are o.k. The last line, again you use a word like "rue"

Stanza #4: The first line is not properly written, it confuses the reader. In the third line cut the word "all" before "gone". And the final line again is confusing "I will have redemption - until the next one...". Again I don't have a clue what you mean.

Honestly I'm not trying to cripple your efforts, your writing, your progress, or have you hate me.

My suggestion, honestly is to put this piece in a drawer, far, far away. Begin anew with the title "My emancipation" and free style or free verse all the muck and guts and trauma, give us imagery, compare your entrapment or hatred to objects or images in the world tha will surprise the reader. Forget the rhyming for now, and just let your life and experiences flow.
We need (no, we WANT) to identify with your life; and your journey to emancipation.
You CAN write, just do it!

This is one person's view. I see you progress, and I only want to push you. Some of your stuff has been so darn good. This poem is not terrible, but it lacks images, metaphor, cadence, flow. To me it reads as prose, not poetry.

Hang in there! Write, write, write!


Nancy njames51





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#1399834 by njames51

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Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Sisco,

Let me just say, you are a good writer. You are growing in your skills and technique. Little by little, you take observations by reviewers and try and adapt these to your writing. This is good.

This piece, overall is fairly good. One problem I have is with your ending rhyme words. They are cliche. They are too easy, an afterthought. You seem to think..."well I need a word rhyming with......."ask", 'thought", "eyes', "replace", "understand' "you",
"neck", "WOW". These words are o.k., I suppose; but you stretch to find words that will rhyme with these. And some of the words are just nonsense.
Remember, this is not CRITICISM, merely MY observation. Ask ten other folks and they will give you ten other observations.
For example:

It's a moment in time that you can not replace;
Or special person that makes your heart race."

First of all you need "a" following the word "or". In the first line, cut "you can not". It reads much more smoothly as : "It's a moment in time that cannot be replaced".
The next line sounds trite and too easy. The phrase "makes your heart race" has been overdone, and overdone, and overdone by "poets" throughout the ages. You are capable of more originality, my friend.

The next stanza:

"You look confused, I understand.
You love the beach, playing in the sand.
You love the cat and she loves you
because of all the fun things you do.

The first line is o.k.; but after that the stanza becomes mediocre.
Especially the last two lines in that stanza. "you love the cat and she loves you, because of all the fun things you do". AACK!

What is this? Trite, overdone; the reader just shakes his head.

You are too good a writer to stoop to cliche, to the easy route, to sloppy inclusion of boring phrases.

Work on this. Re-write. Then read the piece outloud. Be your own worst critic. Take risks, be hard on yourself. It will make you push deeper, and force you to become a better writer.

KEEP WRITING, my friend.

Nancy






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#1399834 by njames51

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Review of Well-Hid Panties  
Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hey Chiu, hppy to review this. nOt sure what insightful tid bits i have to offer.
Of course the title throws the reader off, not sure you want that.
The piece tends to wander around and then returns to this "panties" thing. Lines such as the following confuse the reader.

"The love I own is rich indeed,
A love so fine, the best –
But well-hid panties taunt the steed;"

another:

"Well-hid panties must be removed
For sordid sexual pleasures;"

It's all so, well confusing. Many reader will be turned off because you don't focus on romance, the lady in question, even the feelings of your heart.

Sex alone does not a poem make. And the quest for unearthing "well-hid panties" is really not too interesting to me, personally.

But it is your piece, so own it, and stick by it. I guess I'm waiting for some emotional content from you.Are you just a "stud'?
Surely the heart goes through tumbles and your heart pounds over the sight of a pretty woman.
I suggest, allowing your sensitive humanness to seep into this piece. And I would change the title.

Only my opinion. Maybe guys who review this will get the gist totally.

I'd keep working and evolving this piece.

Cheers!
Nancy





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#1399834 by njames51

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Review by njames51
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hey Ben, saw your piece on the Request Page. I have found that place is the only refuge I have to get my new stuff read, and suggesstions given.
At the end you tell me this was for a contest and it is in a particular form. i found the rhythm smooth and easy, no bumps or clumps or stumbling blocks. Meter is consistant, end rhymes are not trite or mediocore.
The only stanza that stalled me was the last - the first three I read quickly, effortlessly.....smooth as silk. The last stanza, is there an extra syllable in the first line or last line? Is a word reading rough? Is the meter count consistant as those fluid cadence of the earlier stanzas? Altegether a cool poem to read fast, flawless, and interesting you manage to find language uncommon to sooooooooo many lazy poets.

Favorite, interesting lines:

"At the steps to your kingdom, some may hesitate,
but my quest for your portal is no idle whim."

"In the shadow of glories diminished yet vast,"

I LOVE that line: "glories diminished yet vast". The reader ponders that and says "I KNOW what he means", and thinks about
that throughout the day. Nice work.

Check the last 4 lines. A word is off or something.

Totally thank you for allowing me to read this. It will make ME a better writer.

Nancy





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#1399834 by njames51

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Review of Deeply Wounded  
Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Crissy, a succient piece with mournfullnes. Short but the words are thought out and are not just filler words. I guess I wish it were longer, due to the sorrow of it, and your fine use of language. Don't shortchange yourself. If you have more to say, say it. Altough a nice job.





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#1399834 by njames51

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Review of Flying High  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello Poet, trying to catch up, sorry.
I like the piece. I like the images you use, chariots,chauffeured.
My only issue is that some of your rhymes are not consistant. They seem to wander all over. You two lines rhyme, and then no rhyme for teo lines and then two lines that rhyme. So the reader is slightly confused. I don't see this as an impossible piece to fix, but a draft that you can tinker with, concerntrating on the rhyme sequence. I think you should pick a consistant rhyming patter and stick with that throughout the piece. Technical editing, really. But I'll give you kudud for the melancholy of the piece and the mood you have created. Don't throw the piece away, just tinker with it line by line, and read it out loud. You will hear where it's off, or your syllable count is off. You only gotten 4 stars for this, but I think it deserves 4 and one half stars, o am happy to give that to you. Keep plugging along!

Nancy njames51


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#1399834 by njames51

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Review of Pink Ribbon  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Welcome Aethelwhyne and I'm happy to read your poem and give you some feedback. Of course the subject matter is subjective to each human being. My siste had brest cancer and is now a survivor. My Mothe passed away du to Ovarian cancer, and my sister due to Liver Cancer. Don't ask me to explain how we get through these times of shock - but the human spirit just keeps going on and living life.
Your poem reads much like an esay, due to your line breaks. Prose is NOT poetry. It has an immediacy to it. Poems are NOW - the moment NOW, what the poet hears and ses at one momen in time.

That's not o say, your piefe can't be reworked. It just needs someediting. I will take the beginning and give you one example. Use it or don't. It's merely for illustration:


Bound by
Pink Ribbon,
do you FEEL pain,
my pain, your pain;
Many will know defeat; others rise - all struck by fear:
what "it" can do
what "it" may mean.


This is merely an example of how 'line breaks" can change the orchestrate, the feel, style, intensity of poetry.

Thi is a nice piece. Keep working on your line breaks and see if they read differently than prose.




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

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Review by njames51
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hello Poet. And welcome to WDC. I notice you haven't set your BIO yet. I encourage you to tell us a little about yourself. Also, I hope you have signed up for some newsletters, including The Poetry Newsletter, and the Newbie Newsletter. You can find these by going up to SITE TOOLS and then clicking NEWSLETTERS. Then pick the ones you would like to receive each week. They are free.

I like the title of your poem. However the description below the title doesn't make sense to me. You might put "the rise of an old feeling". In terms of grammer that would be the appropriate way to write that phrase.
The next issue for me concerns the varied lengths of your lines. The first and third lines are short. The second and fourth lines are extremely long. I think the reader has trouble with this rhythm. I would suggest the long lines be formatted differently.

For example: Stanza #1 - I would change to:

Talk not of the breeze.
On the edge of denial,
torturous feelings hang.
Alas! alas!
The furnace in your eyes
burned empathy into ash;
my ashes of agony.

Here I have (my apologies) changed your line format, cut filler words, replaced a few words, and basically (I hope) evoked your sentiments in a slightly different way.
Your emotion is evident in your original draft; however it needs fine-tuning. Where you place your line breaks is quite important for your reader. They must FEEL the sense of being with you emotionally, to place themselves in your spot - to understand that someone has "burned" you, hurt you, your empathy is gone, you are in agony.

Try to work on stanza #2 and cut needless words, perhaps find a better word to replace one not as clear for your reader.

The final stanza is confusing: "no breeze learns to conquer a man" and "reconciliation breeze blows in neverland". I don't have a clue what you're trying to say. Does a breeze learn? I don't think it does. Are you saying you have been hurt, fooled, and now you are "giving as good as you got'? I hear the anger, the sarcasm, but I need your phrasing to be clear.

Work on this some more. It is worthy of your time, and could turn into a fine poem.



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#1399834 by njames51

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Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hey Ben. Glad you sent me that. I LOVE that picture. Yes, I'm not that familiar with that poetic form; but thepiece still reads nicely. I love the break of the stanzas.
I'm not well versed in Christian magazines, except the few "poems" I've read are really mostly prose, or with a a-a-b-b, or an a-b-a-b smaltsy (is that a word?), "puke your guts out" feeling I get. They rhyme, but the rhymes are SOOO cliche and I can't bear to read them.

The format is spot on, however, from a Christian/Catholic background, I feel a publisher wants some clarity from the outset about what is happening.
1. You lie in pstures green. I like that. The word "bedazzled" is a not so common word choice. The second line I would want some amazement or astonishment at God's creation - the sky, the soft grass - the joyousnes of the beauty of the Lord's work.

2. I understand your out of body experience, the transformin. The word "flits" is another strabge term. i'm sure you can find a more moving word. The theme of the last of stanza one is that you are lifted up, but are you joyful, afraid? I would feel joy, but also confusion - why am I out of my body and floating? Am I dead, where is God or the Holy Spirit to calm me?

First two lines I might put: "In pastures green awake I lie/ Dazzled by God's wond'rous sky/ Clouds that move by the Spirit's grace/ Waken me to another place."

The syllables are off on one line. But you get my drift.

The grass, the sky, the peace, the awareness of the Holy Spirit - and suddenly you are floating in an exstatic form/non form.

The only other suggesstion is capitalizing th word SHEPHARD in stanza two.......and also using a capatal 'HE" when referring to God...i.e......."Annointed by His Holy Grace..."

That distinquishs this "man" from all others. In some Christian churches they don't do that. But, overall, respect for GOD, Jesus Christ, HE walks among the lowly, the HOLY SPIRIT, THE Shephard.........these minor changes signifies that this was no ordinary "man"

I think it is well done. Flesh it out a bit, so a publisher can understand this transformation, this joy, fear, prescence of the Holy Spirit, prescence of the Shepard watching his sheep and annointing you because you believed and He removed all anxiety.

The Lord comes not as a shining, well clothes figure - but as a stranger offering water. We wonder, but in a brief moment we know SOMEBODY special - God, His son Jesus, the Holy Spirit - SOMEBODY touched us in a way and we felt "born anew".

Sorry, just my experiences coming out. Because you see, I have been through this many times. A cry for help, penance.....and then out of a deathly quiet night....a small bird sings. That's God answering me. There are no coincidences - so I am a strong believer in Faith and the presence of God. I don't go out giving sermons. It's just my little acknowledgement that I am not alone.

Who knows...you'll be published and then you'll be writing these poems for every issue.

Hope I helped a little.

Nancy





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#1399834 by njames51

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Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hello there. Sorry this is late. I enjoyed this quite well. The use of italics was good. The contrast bewtween the singing and then the obvious sounds, smells, actions of 'the bar" - this must be an Irish Pub. Reminds me of Dickens' Era Pubs.

"Burnt hops...a wince with each swallow....corsets tighten..the heat swells, sweltering...THWACK..." Interesting word: THWACK.
My only issue is that this may likely be the beginning of a short story, you certaibnly have the sound, atmosphere, dialogue down. I would surely find it a colorful scene for a story filled with these wonderful songs and characters. I loved the world of Dickens, his characters are really not so distant from those Irish/English/Scottish "characters" of today. Not much has changed in them pubs. Go to Boston and the pubs'll be quite the same, accents etc.

As a poem, it is nice for the length, and illustrates a specific time, space etc. I think it could be stronger - that is why I see short story as the vessal to flesh this marvelous snapshot out to panorama.



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#1399834 by njames51

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Review of Poison  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello Poet!
This is a short but cute piece. I like the title. I don't think I would use that entire line in the description. It gives the clever last line away. I see where you're going with the "around" and "a round" and "the circle". In the third line it should read "comes and floods".

Overall, this is not great, it's not terrible. I guess it's just rather short. That's fine. It reads fine as it is. However you could invest in expanding this piece to four, 4 line stanzas. And keep your rhyme pattern a-a-b-b, or swirch to a-b-a-b in each stanza. Stanza 1: you could include the first four lines. Stanza 2: you could expand the whole "pain/hope in vain" theme. And continue from there with more imagery.

I guess I just want more from this. So, keep working on it or leave it as is, it's up to you. Welcome to the WDC community! Thanks for posting your piece!


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#1399834 by njames51

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Review of A Lilac Dream  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello Poet,

I got the giggles reading this. It is late in the evening, and I expected another sorrow-filled, angst driven, downer type of poem. But, whoo-who, I found this to be delightfully uplifting, putting a smile on my face, and giggles in my in my nose. (or wherever giggles are).
It's nice to read something where you can drift away, into a land or scene that pleasantly envelopes you. It was a fanciful, lush, giggling place. I really enjoyed being there.

I love the title and your description below. Marvelous. A poem about love, meadows and butterflies..
Any reader would want to sneak a peek into this world.

Now I can analyze each line of each stanza, and yes, there are inconsistencies in the meter, some lines flow ackwardly - too many filler words. And some rhyme is forced, and the reader can feel you struggling to make it to that darn word that will rhyme! And, by golly, you're determined to get to it.
Some of the lines rhyme a-b-a-b, some rhyme a-a-c-b-b,
One stanza, I don't think I heard any rhyming pattern, ne're a rhyme.

I think the reader overlooks that chism in mechanics, because you have enticed them - bribed them with your fluid, wistful language. By the middle of the piece, although I was getting a bit confused, I just carried on, enjoying and wondering what would happen next.

Love the first stanza:

Under the aged willow trees
Quaffs of moonlight upon me
Through holes between the olden leaves
Her pinion pierces through my heart
That sorrow that deteriorates worlds
Enjoys the soul and tears it apart.


Very insightful.
Also:[c:blue}But a sudden life from behind the moon, I hear
The melody of the violin nearer and nearer still
Then this melancholic lilac butterfly
Perched upon my chest and continued still,..


Nice use of language, nice imagery of meloncholy, loneliness, the pain of love, of longing. Nice imagery of the butterfly, the skies, the stars.

Altogether, I giggled, because this was sweet. You have obvious talent, construct sentences creatively, and you don't settle for the common word: example: "QUAFFS of moonlight". Not sure if that word fits there, but I'm too lazy to look it up. You're the poet, you look it up. (Just kidding).

One stumbling pony is a lack of punctuation. Most lines begin with Capitalization. I am not seeing (periods) (commas) at the end of lines. I believe you need those. It's a direction map for your reader and lets them know when they can take a breath. Cannot tire your reader, he needs directions, remember.

But I did like this. It was just sweet and nice. How often do we read a poem that is NICE, playful, happy, escapistic. I sooooooo want to find a meadow, watch the stars and wait for a melodic lilac butterfly.
Nice job!


I want you to hop over to another review forum:
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#1457762 by Not Available.
This is the Reviewers Anonymous
Request Log. Ask if Northernwrites will look over your piece. Northern has the fine ear of a music conductor, and will offer you specifics about ways to fix some of the meter, flow, rhyming manholes you have stepped upon. I bow to Northern for all techie, grammatically correct knowledge of all things written. Invaluable source for you, and for this piece.

GOOD WORK! Keep on keeping down the road, wherever it takes you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


"Nancy's Poetry Review Forum



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Review of Alone  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (5.0)
A deeply honest, detailed, objective view (not colored by the obvious emotional strain on the writer) of a woman's seemly normal, everyday, routine in her kitchen. Except this routine begins after dark - and the woman is exhausted, physically and emotionally. She tries to do "ordinary" things, heat up a cup of coffee, open the mail and check the bills; even stroking the cat as it jumps onto her lap.

However this is someone's Mother, and also someone's Wife. 53 years of marriage, and dramatically today, tonight, yesterday, tomorrow are not, and will never be the same. Lines written such as those quoted below capture what I have gone through (losing my Mother, and soon after, my sister); what my sister went through (watching her husband of 15 years succumb to Leukemia, then watching our Mother die suddenly, and immediately after, our sister).


You aren't sure
how much more
you can take



The phone rings.
and you pause -
considering whether or not
to answer it
and hear more questions
and tell the same story again.

You are so lonely
so afraid
so alone
and yet you crave silence
quiet
peace
just five minutes
where you don't have to talk about
IT.



This is a beautifully written poem, your observations were detailed and illustrate so much how a woman gets by day by day, knowing they have no control; my sister knew the end was near, and her husband knew, she slept in his hospital room 24 hours each day. I did the same with my sister who was in Hospice, I slept in a chair at the seat of her bed.

There is so much sadness in this piece, and for you to write the different events during this heartbreaking time, makes me respect your bravery. And to have written about your Mother's ordeal, is especially moving.

A wonderful poem about the most difficult days of our lives.



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#1399834 by njames51




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Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.5)
A bitter, honest, deeply personal poem, this epitaph following the death of one's father, is so striking in the last five lines, that the reader is jolted upright as if slapped in the face. I was jolted from my casual, laid back mood - the sting of the slap heightened my attention. And I just thought, "Wow, I can't believe he wrote those last lines."

Obviously a well tuned craftsman of language and adapt at many forms of poetic structure, I'm assuming your line formatting was intentional, and your line breaks were intended to follow a prescribed form.

Being more a free verse writer of poems, I might have changed the line breaks, as the beginning lines seemed to wrap unsettling for me. And the absence of punctuation ( I HATE using punctuation, but have collapsed into agreeing to use it - after being scolded by a member whom I respect). Yes, a comma or a period once in awhile does help the reader.

The first line is perfect. Concrete, absolute, stating a fact. I think it needs a period at the end of the line. I don't like the next few lines, the use of "black" twice or the black velvet shadows being invisible...etc. That is the lead-in to the meat of the poem - but reading that, and with no place to take a breath, it all becomes one run-on,long sentence.
I think you could change that lead-in so it better illustrates "casting no more light, like my hope". And the "hope" phrase ties nicely with the first line's decision about hope.

But, the best lines are those that follow:

"and with an eternity of hope
dissipated into the winds of hell —
will your grave be marked
by a forgotten wreath
sent by an estranged son?"

Biting, angry, and quite justified (IMO) when one reads the entire piece, those lines just crush, carrying emotion so vivid, that the reader is MEANT to be bothered, to feel a jolt, to ponder on the relations
hip between a father and a son. And to wonder, how, and why it was destroyed.

Recommended for all to read.

Well done, poet!



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#1399834 by njames51


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Review of Blood Red Wine  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hello Poet,

Well, that was a fast, interesting read. I'm not quite sure what to say, to be honest. The title is pretty dramatic, rather gives one the chills. Your description is confusing and seems at odds with the title. You describe the poem as "drinking in bed...replacing romance with contentment". Odd description to me, but hey, you're the writer.

You have four stanzas: four lines, then nine lines, then eight lines, finished by nine lines. I guess, for me, the lines are too abrupt, too sing-song, too curt and have this drum-drum effect...:

"My hand extends to reach
And grasp.
Without a blink,
Or thought,
For what it means.
For she, or me,
This glass of wine, sat potent
as a bomb.
In front of me."

In the next stanza, you have end rhymes that come and go with no real organization:

"As she returns,
I drink.
Too deep.
Our eyes don't meet.
This is no movie script.
Or chain of destiny.
Just half a glass of wine,
In front of me."

You have rhyme with the words deep, meet, destiny, and me. But it seems so off-kilter. The lines are abrupt, the line breaks seem to be thrown in there anywhere.

The last stanza has no rhyme pattern, no end rhymes at all. Again, the lines just kind of chop around, curtly, and not much is revealed. And I don't see these words as fitting your title or description.

Not to be too harsh, but, frankly...I think you need to start OVER - like put this piece in a drawer far away......and begin fresh!

What do you want to say? really....what do you want the reader to SEE; your insides must connect with the readers' insides. Take a minute, look, feel.......do you want us to see that a romance has become stale?
Do you want us to know that in your guts you're disillusioned with love? I don't believe "drink" has much to do with what you WANT to say.

But, again, my opinion is but one. YOU wrote this, I can only tell you how it reads to ME. I felt nothing.
And that's a shame, because you want your reader to leave with SOMETHING, an interpretation, tears, laughter, a sense of having been in a poem with you....they understand exactly what you see and say. They connect. I did not connect.

But, there's always a new blank sheet of paper, a new way of looking at things, a means of saying what must be said...but coming at it from a different angle. SO, I encourage you to re-tackle this subject, decide the situation, and begin writing.....no dismay, no hum-drum.......just get on with it. It will surely improve.



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#1399834 by njames51


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Review of My Friends  
Review by njames51
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Poet of Sorts,

This is certainly a piece many can relate with, talking about old friends and school, and days when we were younger. The issues I have with the way you have drafted this, is the lack of rhythm in the lines. They don't sing. That may be an odd comment to make, but if you read this out loud, you'll hear where there is no melody, no rhythmatic sequence. The first five lines:

" I think of the good ol' days
When all we had to worry about
Was waking up in the morning
Getting to school on time
And just doing some simple work"

These lines don't establish any rhythm, meter, or consistant notes.

I might suggest or give you an example of moving lines, changing line breaks, that might be helpful. This is merely an example:

"Time goes and time comes,
the past is viewed so sweetly,
with school and friends
and waking still
merely for attendance"

That is basically what you've said above, except in a different way. My example is not perfect. But, I'd like you to re-vise this and focus on the experience.
Don't tell us what happened, help us be IN that experience, so we feel it in our hearts.

The title of the piece is "My Friends".
The reader would enjoy knowing about the experience with friends in school. See if you can focus on "my friends" and school. Let your mind drift and remember, and write down images you recall ; the wet, cool grass where teams were made, sports were played; the smell of the hallways, the classrooms; how friendships formed etc. The reader needs to feel part of the experience with you, and using imagery and comparisons helps the reader relate. And along the way, you'll discover a rhythm in the language that you choose, a song, a lyrical mood, a voice.

Don't be discouraged, this is a good experience to share. And re-working drafts over and over again is the path to the final poem. So work on this, and keep writing!



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#1399834 by njames51


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Review of So Long Mr Stout  
Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Oh my, Oh my, I honestly did not make it through to the end of this. It is extremely long, and begins quite nicely with some clever lines about sentences, and subjects...and rhyming words like equations and persuasions. i like the beginning of the piece with the clever little rhyming words. i think you should leave it on that subject....but then you go into Mr. Stout....and that's almost half-way through the piece. If the sunject is Mr. Stout, then the reader is prepared to hear about him at least by the third stanza. And then, also, your rhyme scheme kind of goes all over the place, rhyming, not rhyming. The meter is one way, and then switches to another rhythm. These are only obsevations, but I consider this just a beginning draft, and I know you can improve on this, cut, cut, cut....what's does not need to be said. Focus on meter, rhythm, images, and rhyming schemes that are consistant, if you wish to use them. Keep on working on this!

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#1399834 by njames51


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Review of Kamikaze  
Review by njames51
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Welcome Shellwen!

Interesting first draft, and I say first draft because you'll likely want to revise this a few times to completely find the finished piece. Initial observation is that there is no surprise here for the reader. All the words used here are basically prose split into lines. The difference in poetry is that we don't spell out the obvious, we cloak using imagery, simile, and use meter to move the piece forward. Your subject or idea is a good one, but, there is more room for rich imagery. Example; the line:

"But traveling across the world has given
Me time to think."

First you could illustrate "traveling" by comparing it to something, using imagery to help describe what that "traveling across the world" is like. The pilot has time to think......the reader wants to know what he is thinking: pondering death, pondering his own mortality, pondering if what he is ordered to do is right or makes sense. Does he think of his wife, his homeland? And how does he describe the people he is thinking of?

These are suggesstions........expand the piece, revise, then revise again.......and again. You'll know when it's finished!

KEEP WRITING! The subject is a good one, the view from his eyes, his mind, his feelings. Keep working on this one.

Nancy



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