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*One of the most sought after reviewers at Writing.Com.* Seriously? *Laugh* There was a time my honesty could be brutal. Residing here 14 years, as a sensitive writer myself, I'm able to temper observations that neither flatter or off-put. I like to see the good, observe how each writing projects. If I review, it's mainly because I see the value. I want to strike up friendships and partnerships, though it can be quite isolating here for a non-conformist, who has bent part of the way, but not fully met with reciprocating compromise. This can temporarily cause me to bend back. *Smirk*
 
So if you want to see how I review, my feedback is public. Don't be afraid to tap in and see for yourself. *Smile* UPDATE: IF YOU'RE AN UPGRADED MEMBER, you don't have to gift me points for reviews. Send me that one free merit badge you're allotted monthly and I'll review up to 4 mid-length poems, or one short story up to 5k words.
I'm good at...
Sleeping. Retired now. I encourage writers with my reviews. I look for strengths and give direction on how to make something better. I am willing to continue to correspond with the writer if there is more I can offer. I look at what drives a reader. I think with my experience, I can see where your art derives from and is taking you. Sometimes, before the writer knows.
Favorite Genres
nature, love, psychological, drama, human interest, history, science, conspiracy, dystopian, fatalistic, tasteful
Least Favorite Genres
Horror, fan fiction, some fantasy and sci-fi, or anything Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones-ish.
Favorite Item Types
poetry, short story, essay
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found some interesting descriptions and a portal to another time through the woman's eyes in this poem "To the brown-eyed girl. There were some very interesting word choices and takes me back to a cartoon where Fred described Wilma's eyes as dinner plates. Here, we have shards of glass.

I had to think about that for a moment. When we choice our words, we have to see them for all of their meaning, rather than just how the eyes do look like something the narrator has seen before. To me, shards are shard and cut, painful and blood are thoughts that come to mind.

What i really liked was:

They are
Polished-brass portals through which
I step through.

And, I might assume you are still speaking of the chards, but brass implies door knobs or something entirely different now. If this had just been some smooth pottery with interesting flecks and striations held within, I can see walking through that portal without fear of life or limb, because of shards or metal.

The image of the eyes being like the sun and how it was described was also warm and inviting and especially good for an initial encounter. But, it also reminds me of what a poet laureate shared with me, preferring poetry that sticks with a central metaphor. A collection of metaphors distract from theme. Perhaps, you have two or more poems there when you break it apart and reconstruct this meeting with the old flame from different ways. They could be poems that interconnect, as if you are replaying this meet-up from each angle of thought and memory on some kind of a loop.

I was also distracted by the title and reading the opening line to say the eyes were not brown but amber like the sun. I was caught wondering why the misdirect. You don't want to have your reader asking questions right out of the gate. Give them a chance to get acclimated. I can't see a true purpose for saying it, unless you wanted to suggest how some light or trick played on the mind caused the eyes to transform into amber.

So much that is done well descriptively and emotively and how this transformation takes place for the narrator who can suddenly see another life. It's a movie moment, the cute meet, though she might be an unwitting participant. We don't get to know here. And, if she's not a willing participant, some might read and go, 'creepy.' Like opining secretly like this is a bad thing. Nothing overt or horrible about this, except the PCness of the world today ruining all the poet's fun to dream another life in some 'Sliding Doors' analogy.

It was a pleasure to read and consider this poem for feedback,

Brian

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2
2
Review of Nature's Lulluby  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I came here to read this short, nay, micro story "Nature's Lulluby that you remark is the first you've ever done. I felt you did pretty well, especially where description and narrative voice help a reader connect.

"Within the lake of leaves I sit, the trees that surround waving in a soft breeze."

First lines are the hook to get a reader and I see a small thing that could improve this. Separate into two sentences and really lean into verbs and descriptions like:

'With the lake of leave I sit. The surrounding trees wave in a soft breeze.'

I only have to wonder the need for present tense. It makes it active. Best when used for poetry. Narratively speaking like this, it's okay to go past tense.

Lovely imagery and connection to nature:

"I look upwards, at the ever blue open, and watch the patches of grey gently expand within the heavens."

I wonder about the mother in all of this, as I'm trying to figure out the characters and what the meaning of their togetherness listening to song in that scene. Is song literal, I wonder, as I'm trying to divine.

"My mind blank, I move to mothers side, listening to the music that winds it’s way through the sea of green."

This again is lovely, but her lullaby at the end not to be confused to what he is listening to here? Because in the next lines:

"Mother calls out, and we slip inside, watching as the first drop falls from the ashen blanket over the world."

Again, beautiful scene, but where is inside I have to wonder? And then I have come closer to realizing that this is a story about an animal, like a dog or wolf:

"With my pack, I settle for the winters eve with nothing but the bliss of nature’s song, her sweet lullaby resounding through my ears."

and then I rediscover her that is singing is Mother Nature, and I wonder if I have confused mother and son, with animal and pack avoiding a coming storm. This piece of literature you have provided is like foreboding of a storm that I didn't realize or see coming until I read through twice.

Short stories be like that. A reader will have time to catch stuff like that. Though, I recommend changing your categories to give a reader a little hint of what this is. It was fun considering this brilliant prose for feedback. I'm happy to have stumbled upon it. Write On!

Brian

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3
3
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
"The Chicken Hauler (A Limerick) was a very humorous limerick within the brevity of a situation, reading more like an adage, but about what? It's the five line variety where the first two lines rhyme with the last, a common staple I remember from when I was young.

It's remarkable to me how we can boil down the essence of life in this way. Just a man with a fresh bunch of chickens, I assume ro raise, before he falls on bad luck and crashes his uninsured truck. So, to pay for damages, and in need of a truck more than chickens, they get plucked instead of his wallet. One could further assume, he was already in debt because of the fowl he acquired, again, assumed to raise.

It is a clever vehicle and device and wonder if a person could use this as a formula to write a similar short limerick. Another vehicle with another payload and a similar result, just making sure it all rhymes. In fact, it's a short formula for life, when things happen in this way, we usually have one of two choices to make.

I really appreciate this poem and how it works on several levels. It was well devised and a read that will give you a smile, or a chuckle, if you're so inclined. I'm glad I stumbled upon this limerick while scanning the boards for some poetry to read and remark on tonight.

Brian

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4
4
Review of Thinking of You  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is a sweet and lightly structured poem in the way it drives on the title theme and gives a list of all the things a person might feel like or being doing when they are "Thinking of You.

all lower case, except for the Title gives a reader some pause, because of how this person thinks of themself in relation to another. I don't know if it's what e.e. cummings had in mind, but it shows the awe one has for another by making them smaller in comparison to their love.

Three of the verses actually describe the distraction from the doing and felt that could be explored more. I was especially pleased by --

when i read
pages don't turn
thinking of you


A great connection with visual to imagine how we can suddenly lose thought in what we are doing and then return to that realization that we've been...thinking of you.

It's a charming, airy poem that really strikes at the sentiment of lovers all around. Makes me think of new love, puppy love or a new infatuation. It is really what I might imagine through the lens of a camera, rather than how it is truly depicted in reality. However, these feelings are real and do exist and well on display in your poem here.

It was a pleasure to read and consider your poetry for feedback tonight,

Brian

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5
5
Review of In The Mist  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Shawn C. Bailey ,

This brief little poem "In The Mist, which is defined as comedy and self deprecating, seems to deliver on those two descriptions as an introduction. But, I also felt that the poem was lacking due to its brevity. I think you nailed the rhyme scheme, but could have taken it further to give a reader some context.

It works as a good open or a tease for something longer, as it leaves a reader wondering could there have been more and what is the situation about. For me, as a reader, to get a true connection is to understand in some part the motivation or something I can relate to, or could connect with, as this is just a revelation about a face-to-face conference. More of a feeling.

Quite possibly, this is not enough to be defined by the romance genre without giving a little more. The last line especially could be more descriptive, as the narrator tells us what they see. What does a person's face look like in that moment that gives us a clue that they're about to scream. Is it the enlarged eyes, a mouth tightening and/or opening, blood leaving the face to look pale? What is the narrator realizing from their reaction that would make this person want to scream?

I do get the irony of the poem, before I forget. That we as humans think it can be so easy to connect with another and each have polar opposite reactions at the weirdest moments. Irony is funny and that is where the humor for this comes from.

For me as a reviewer, that's probably just looking a little bit too deeply into something that was brief and meant to give a smile, and to just appreciate without further detail. It was a pleasure to read and comment on your poem.

Brian

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6
6
Review of Snowflake  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear cazmae ,

I discovered your poem "Snowflake while I was looking for haikus to read and possibly review this evening. And I was especially interested in the use of a snowflake in this structured poem.

I noted that you followed the construct correctly and found no errors, but maybe some opportunities. Especially in the second line where are you have two words: 'falling silently' that can be shortened to 'fall silent', giving you an opportunity to describe more with the two extra syllables. It helps to pack more imagery or color to your poem in this way. I'm writing haikus backwards and forwards in my head sometimes trying to get the richest, fullest flavor of language to lend to that theme.

I would also note that the singular snowflake *Snow5* teased in the title did not appear alone, which saddened me. I liked the notion of a lonely, solitary object *Snow2* being examined up close by the poet. We can use our special powers of perception to translate these fantastic images *Snow3* into emotive, expressive words that can impact someone who would pry to read. I think singular is the way to go. The sleet, meh, not so much.

The only other suggestion I would have is to use a verb other than "turn" that would bring more meaning to the final line, as the summation is supposed to be the most impactful in a haiku. Overall, I thought you handled the subject quite well and could just use a little tune-up to give it that extra little shine to make it special.

It was a pleasure to read and comments on your haiku.

Brian

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7
7
Review of Bleed  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
I discovered this poem "Bleed on the reviewing pages, while looking for something of merit to give feedback upon, when I discovered this theme running through it. The poem strikes on a subject that I've been considering lately about the argument for emotional pain being more traumatic and long lasting than physical pain, for the most part. This poem vividly strikes on that theme.

What's visual here is the suggested desire to replace emotional pain by having one's heart ripped out. It's sad that people who struggle with depression, emotional upheaval, hurt themselves to distract themselves from similar agony. It's well expressed here. In essence, we want to be emotionless, like robots. I found this poem expressed these compulsive feelings all too well.

What you have crafted here is purely symbolic and we could not survive without a heart in reality, but what we feel is that organ making us behave uncontrollably, the way we feel when suffering from a relationship that struggles or fails. It's more synonymous with poetry like this. No one ever says rip my brain out, as it is the thing that regulates the irregular beating that gives us fits. Or the lungs, because our breathing is short and restricted when stomped by love. A poet might stop to consider these things. Perhaps, the brain is the source of an entire body's upheavel.

Every image of pain can be imagined in the way your poem describes. It is very real and emotive and very worthy of sharing for others who can relate. It was a pleasure to read and comment on your poetry.

Brian

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8
8
Review of Your Name  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found this poem "Your Name to be sweet and heartfelt as a dedication to a lost mother. There was some interest in the two contrasting lines/stanzas and their separate meanings and how they pair to form a poem.

I enjoyed the expression of writing someone's name in the sky and having it windswept away. It's a very clear image that is expressive and emotional. It gives me this feeling of the futility of the act.

However, the second line seems to contradict the first be indicating that the name will be there forever, indelibly marked on the sky to stay. To me this means that it has more meaning to the person who is the writer who can visualize that name up there, perhaps the act of writing in the sky in the first two lines is a memory now. It means more to poet because of what it represents to them and how the act of skywriting shows their love, if not in vain, yet with true meaning and purpose.

I thought, maybe, the poem would be too short or not be enough to get the full appreciation of the sentiment, but felt it did hit its mark. I did struggle with the misspelled 'youre' that didn't need the 'E' and was not a contraction of you are. That would benefit the poem greatly if it were edited as such.

I did appreciate the sentimentality in honoring a woman and her life that their child wants to remember in a way that everybody can appreciate. We want to do something, feeling helpless, when we lose our parents -- to memorialize them in a way that's indelible. Because of this poem you have provided to the Internet. It cannot be wind swept here as far as I'm concerned.

It was a pleasure to read and comment on your poetry.

Brian

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9
9
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
When scouring the reviewing pages what got my attention was the title of this poem "The Revelance Of Meaning, which made me wonder if it was a typo or if it was some slang or made up word that I hadn't heard of yet and I had to investigate. What I discovered is a poem that seems like nonsense, but felt if I could find that definition by googling the Internet I might get a handle on it and have a better understanding, and here's what I found:

"Revelance
Reveling in the fact that there it was always more to learn.
To know that you really don't know anything is true Revelance"

Even the definition of this made up word doesn't make much sense, in the urban dictionary, and I can only imagine how it might've been applied by someone who made it up. It doesn't seem to have any application anywhere on the Internet and quite possibly not even to this poem, leading me to believe that this is a typo.

So what is the relevance of a poem that starts out 'boom boom boom' and talks about destruction and who broke the baby by the end. I can only imagine it comes from a young mind who likes the sound of a collection of words in this free associative distribution of English into a freeverse poem structure.

Well I can't say that I had any real reaction to it, I think that the poem has a certain cachet that makes it interesting to consider, even if I can't really figure it out. It might make me want to read more poetry like this to see if collectively there is some sort of common denominator at play, perhaps a style or particular discipline how these words are performing.

Sometimes, we just have to read things within their context or know the person who has provided the piece, who probably has given it a public performance or two, even if at home or in school. But that is beside the point. It was just intriguing to consider and to do a little research and that is how we grow from what we read, and learn in response to lend feedback here in this community.

Thank you for testing the boundaries of my understanding and helping me grow as a reader and a writer; it was a pleasure to consider.

Brian

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10
10
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Your poem "Trying to touch a star acts as an interesting revelation about how we as humans react to one another when trust is lost. This reads more like an adage that doesn't have a true poetic feel, but could be something that would be a meme on some Facebook page.

What I like about it is the honesty and what seems like a revelation after a failure as a human with someone else. It gives context or meaning by giving example of how hard it is to earn trust back by suggesting probably not at all because among us is ever going to be able to touch a star.

The poem speaks to experience and perhaps contextually is relevant but descriptively it doesn't give us much other than the metaphor. And if the writer were interested in doing some thing longer and more intense could describe the actual situation where they learned how easy it was to gain and to lose trust. And it doesn't even have to be about the actual act or acts, but about a scene and some images of what transpires between two humans that we can relate to.

I can only imagine eyes narrowing, or backs are turned, and people become silent. There are ways to describe what this is like for a reader to digest and appreciate because we've all been through it.

Of course, another route would be to become an astronaut in your poem to see if you can navigate space. But that might be too humorous and still won't result in a star touched. I guess that's why we all speak figuratively and forget that it's not actually real.

It was a pleasure to read and consider this poem for feedback.

Brian

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11
11
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Dear Bruce. ,

"Spring's in the Air. feels like a very accomplished poem that has been crafted well and given great attention with its imagery, detail and emotive text.
A very descriptive sonnet about the joy of spring and anticipation of the summer to come that I discovered was linked at "Space Blog.

The title might not grab the average reader, "Spring’s in the Air," but right from that open, describing daffodil as trumpets was a nice visual. The language is so upbeat and sings of the joy of a wondrous season. The pacing and rhythm work well. You brilliantly painted an opening scene that a reader can immediately connect with. The detail lends to this landscape you paint artfully.

There is a lot of simplicity and clarity to this piece that especially speaks to the type of readers this website draws. I think many who revel in these types of experiences can relate, and often attempt to construct what your perfectly state. It was a pleasure to read and comment on your sonnet.

Brian
Space Blog Reviewer

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12
12
Review of Dear Anxiety  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Featured in Stormy's Poetry newsletter and found a poem with impactful words that could sing louder, clearer.

I like little gems like these to read and consider. I'm looking for the brightest moments and discovering how they shine. Your brief piece is clear and easy to understand. But, I thought, it could be even more concise.

Dear Anxiety
My short poem about anxiety

You pierce through my skin.
Poison me with your unwavering bane.
Contrive to dominate my own accord.
In this seemingly perpetual war zone, I am helpless.
There's no escape.

When I look it over I want to get right at the meat of this mini story, vignette or relation about this growing anxiety. What if:

Dear Anxiety,

you pierce my skin,
poison with unwavering bane,
contrive to dominate my accord.

A perpetual war zone; I'm helpless.
No escape.


Now, don't let me put words in your mouth. Just, some words can be inferred and something we can imply like 'my own accord' is just 'my accord'. In your poem you are personifying a part of you, a feeling. You are digging into the emotions, but as personification goes, not describing anxiety as something that does this to the narrator.

I think of Freddy Krueger getting inside people's dreams. If you could put a face to anxiety, what is it? What tools does it employ? These are good questions to ask yourself as a writer and poet to push down the walls to discover more about your ability to describe as you write and find a deeper connection to those feelings. This poem, though, stands well on its own.

Torment is a devil with a pitch fork, prodding someone to feel the flames of hell.
Loneliness is a child within a soul that huddles, afraid to come out.
Anxiety is _____________________.

If you feel like expanding on this theme of yours. You're off to a great start. You can settle for this, or push on. Perhaps, take this information to think about the next time you write, using personification. The next time you want to use a metaphor, or a simple simile.

It's why children think there are monsters under the bed. It's just their fears creating manifestations to excuse inability to sleep, feel safe.

Hope this helps. Great descriptions. Keep writing.

Brian
WDC SuperPower Reviewing Group

I make no claims to knowing all there is to poetry. Just very inspired by your poem.

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13
13
Review of The Hunter  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
I'm reading "The Hunter today as a reviewer of the WDC Super Power Reviewers group.

After giving this first chapter a read, I see it's value. You have clearly created an antagonist, more like an anti-hero. Definitely some darkness and tragedy to what I read. You thread together parts of the story that hints at things a reader will have to continue reading to learn and piece together as far as background, relationships and what these characters will get up to.

I had a little trouble with the initial dialogue passage, only because attribution stopped for a short while and I had to track back to be sure who was speaking. Without knowing character motivations just yet, it was hard to apply which person was talking. If it had been a passage by the end of the chapter, or even later in the story, I think I could guess who might be saying what.

There are some details to these characters, but felt I could not envision them from appearance to mannerisms. Sometimes, that materializes from dialogue, but felt it needed more for me as a reader. I do feel you've teased the book well with this conversation and how it sets up the story. Theme and categorization of this novel are also easy to assume.

I did catch a section that I felt needed an edit:

"Quickly, she came to (her) feet pulling some piece of cloth out of her pocket."

I wondered why the cloth was so nonchalantly burned in the ashtray. Maybe, I missed something there. Seemed no resistance from the other character. Though, I would think I could take a picture with my cell if I just needed an image. I didn't note whether it's informed needed preservation.

I felt this was smartly written and paced well enough that it didn't rush the subject, but laid out pretty cleanly. To me, I would have supposed this could have been a passage from a published novel, as it had that much polish and professionalism.

It was a pleasure to read and consider this chapter.

Brian

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14
14
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear RobertS ,

I am reviewing your poem "The last days of autumn for the Space Blog reviewing group. Nicely worded poem with depictions and descriptions of the autumn season that the narrator takes notice of, but it also connects to some sort of revelation as a reader, I can connect to these words and images in a similar way about how it feels to see summer leave and autumn to arrive, and how the feeling that you will have to go through winter to get to Spring.

As a reader0, I can connect to these words and visual images in a similar way about how it feels to see summer leave and autumn arrive and the feeling that you will have to go through winter to get to spring. I don't think this is about dying so much as it is about the painful wait to get through one part of life. About having to appreciate the world around us and taking assurances that it will arrive anew and begin again in another season.

The poem shows some opportunities for growth as a poet. Many of these sentences are constructed in a manner that speaks more like prose than poetry. Verbs like "goes" are not as active or emotional or visual enough to capture the writer's vision in a way that would captivate a reader. I will say, there is a lot of honesty, directness and openness in this piece that anyone could have a visceral reaction to what is displayed. I particularly like poems about Fall and the message the season can send to readers about life and renewal and the acceptance of death. It's a season full of depth.

It was a pleasure to read and to comment on this poem.

Brian

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15
15
Review of winter  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear wonder ,

I am reviewing your poem, "winter as a member of the group Space Blog. When I read this poem I can imagine being struck by a moment like what you reveal, alone in a probably stillness at midnight in the middle of winter. I know the feeling all too well that overcomes me to put pen to paper when these moments strike a soul. I am trying to grasp what the poet is a opining about, knowing the feeling but not getting a connection from their direction to read these words.

There's some interesting word choices at play that intrigue me, but little imagery or scene to go on to relate these feelings to something greater for contextual purposes. I think this is a moment that needs more exploration, to really define what this moment is, what it feels like, perhaps comparatively. I do feel the emotions strongly and that is a good foundation for this poem.

If I had one criticism it would be the punctuation doesn't seem to be appropriately applied. I would just ask the writer when they read this out loud, where do you find the pauses? These pauses could be informed by line breaks that are employed, or by punctuation that separates thoughts. And there is room to play there to make the reader feel something by these pauses. And I think that would lend more to the piece. Other than that, the structure was very clean and easy to read with these words meted out in a way a reader can take them in by small doses.

It was a pleasure reading and commenting on your poem.

Brian

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16
16
Review of A CHILD CRIES  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hello, my name is Brian and I am reviewing "A CHILD CRIES for the Space Blog group:

There is power in a poem that begins and ends with the same lines/message, especially when it intones the theme of this hopeless, helpless person who cannot speak out. It appears the poem is very personal to the writer and describes some oblique expressions in words while indirectly telling a tale of abuse. I think that is what sells this poem to the reader and something that someone should know when they are perusing this piece of poetry is the indirectness and inability to actually say what is going on.

The message is all too clear that victims know their abusers and allow it to continue rather than stand up for themselves. In a way, it's a confession of that and maybe a defense for one's own inaction, which should never be an apology. It is something that is aggravating to bystanders who wish they could somehow help put an end to the drama, but know that it lies in the strength of the person who won't finally take a stand when they can't take it anymore. I felt this poem conveys that message.

If I had any criticism it would be to the structure. Only that there are thoughts that need to be separated by periods instead of commas in some places. I don't think it is a huge distraction, because the flow of words still function to tell what needs to be said.

I am humbly appreciative of the ability to lend my input on this poem.

Brian

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17
17
Review of UNDERSTANDING  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Hello, I'm am reviewing "Invalid Item for the Space Blog group:

Using all capital letters to write something, and without exclamation marks, speak to me on various levels and make me want to understand the choice. It is often meant to be loud and aggressive, and I could not decipher the reason other than just the riders preference. I would recommend not using all caps, and to let the power of the words do the heavy lifting, as I see this as a distraction.

From a psychological viewpoint, using all caps tells me more about the writer, then what is actually found the actual message. The words themselves are structured in the manner of senses, in this case three... see, hear, feel. They are offered up as examples of how the writer is using their organs to comprehend why their communication with this person they desire has not reached a full understanding. That is until this person uses the sense of feeling, someone expressively, obviously.

It could be that the writer has applied their own fiction to understanding the other person in the short poem that attempts to demonstrate that on the surface people can be confusing and hard to understand until we connect with them on an emotional level. And while the poem does not demonstrate how this process ended up succeeding it does arrive at a conclusion that is life-changing for the narrator, which claims that they will except the other on their own terms.

To me that says I am giving you your space. I think that the narrator does acquiesce, but without acknowledging that there is a chance that their relationship might not be repairable because of the inability to understand one another. That's what I got from a psychological standpoint.

I've touched on some of the structure of this poem and see its mechanisms at work, making it through poetry. I would suggest using more poetic devices to give the reader more to go on. The poem basically is mostly about feeling and could use The writers other senses to describe a situation and to make a connection to the emotions related to these words depicted.

It was a pleasure to consider this poem of deep meaning and gave me much to think about. I would also suggest googling ways to use all caps, in poetry and the power it lends.

Brian


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18
18
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I'm a first time reviewer for "Chapter One . I look forward to reading and commenting on your entry this month. Hopefully, this review will be helpful to you as a writer.

Dear Tina -Happy Fall- ,

There are some very large morality questions at play here that are the true mark of a first chapter of a story that will be a challenging tale to tell. From the burial of a baby boy (without the 'Father' knowing or the 'Mum' present) two young girls actions cause a reader to wonder and speculate conditions created for this opening scene. This is where a writer can milk a story and play on a reader's senses to understand why this event is happening, cloaked in secrecy and who this Father is, who is being kept in the dark about this covert operation. You will have plenty to divulge, sort out as this fictional tale plays out.

You did well to put reader in scene, noting several passages that take their time to describe events in a graph, rather than assuming details. The writer has acknowledges that this type of fiction is not a sprint, but needs to slowly draw out, lovingly, each of the details to be shared with a reader, who might seem an onlooker, but can feel a participant in this process.


I found a redundancy and a typo, if I'm to share a few flaws I'm spotting.

"Betsy set the bread box down by the door and gave the rotted door a shove. It gave no resistance..."
Rather than the double 'gave' you could say 'shoved the door'.

Betsy was misspelled once. "'I know, so am I,' Besty admitted."

I did wonder about father versus Father, because you did capitalize like one reference might have been to God, the other could have been an actual parent. Don't if intentional or overlooked. It changes the story greatly depending on how that breaks.


Whether intended, or not, you do well not describe the type of fiction this is to be. You give very little to tip a reader in title or opening description. I can imagine this can be considered adolescent, young adult or adult fiction, depending on where you decide to take it. It made me think of genre akin to Little House on The Prairie, though the author would have to write further to make that more determinate. What I'm seeing from this is young characters, the eldest helping sister understand decisions like this is what adults do. Where mother doesn't play a key role, we have a role model emerging in the eldest daughter, making me believe this tale could be developed for younger readers. However, older readers can relate, and would revel in this story just the same.

Some of my intial thoughts on your offering for the Chapter 1 contest based on the July prompt. My wife read and said she would read more. So, you know that's a thumbs up there, too.

Brian

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19
19
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I'm a first time reviewer for "Chapter One . I look forward to reading and commenting on your entry this month. Hopefully, this review will be helpful to you as a writer.

Dear Beholden ,

Nicely paced and evenly told first chapter to a story with "Bomber Boys - Chapter One. Very short, however. For a first chapter, a quarter of what a novel manuscript could measure. I found that the story was just getting started when it's cut off by the unknown person curious about the main character's intrusion. This does not set a reader up to anticipate much more, than say, a commercial break with a conflict to shortly thereafter resolve. If going the distance with a novel, I would expect much more plot or details woven into the opening chapter.

I do enjoy the narrative take and what little we learn from the main character. There could be backstory about him, a recollection that could tie into the discovery of that cabin with a flashback. I don't know why he's on the land or stunned to learn there is a cabin. This is usually known stuff and the picture prompt does not suggest a new building. As the writer, I would go deeper on that, as well.

Where I stumbled a bit and other thoughts:

"The woods were quite open in this part, the deep leaf litter having kept any undergrowth down, and Jake was enjoying his stroll into hitherto unexplored territory."

I think you can maintain your everyman's narrative tone while upgrading from underperforming adjectives like 'quite', as in 'quite open'. If speaking to another, it's fine. However, the narration can set itself apart from the way a character speaks, where we need some separation from the two and a bit more color.

The second half of that passage doesn't match the narrative tone, as it is too wordy/weedy with thought. You could break it down into three separate thoughts?

For example:
The woods were (wide) open in this part. The deep leaf litter kept any undergrowth down. Jake was enjoying his stroll into hitherto unexplored territory.

That might be too simplistic. It's doesn't mean you eschew the conjunctive here, especially relating Jake's reaction in scene.

Getting inside the main character's mind is good. I would like to know more about him to anticipate how he's going to handle this situation that took him by surprise. I needed to feel a little bit more about him, as he didn't have anything to play off of until that moment at the end.

I would say something to thicken the plot is needed here. It's nice prose, nonetheless. And, a pleasure to read your offering for the monthly prompt.

Brian

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20
20
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I'm a first time reviewer for "Chapter One . I look forward to reading and commenting on your entry this month. Hopefully, this review will be helpful to you as a writer.


Dear Bob'n Around ,

This first chapter quickly introduces a reader to three characters, and soon a fourth. It seems you've got a protagonist and a brewing romance with the old man and Jim Turner who have some say in who she 'sparks' with. A backwoods story and mention of a island and haunting that lack any foreboding, 'cept for a mouse-hungry owl. There are a lot of elements going for a novel-length story. But about what?

The first chapter is terse and could use something like foreboding to help a reader anticipate what they'll be reading beyond the chapter one. There is the budding romance that might be at the heart of the story, but what haunting and how will that figure in? Should there be something more introduce in Chapter 1 to get our interest?


There were grammar issues and a few spelling and punctuation issues to stumble over from forgotten parenthetical marks like the one below:

You living there might set some strangeness of agin, youngster. Beware.” (agin? not sure)

Spelling:
A Pair of human eyes hove into view in the bird’s stead. (Pair, hove, stead = pair, hover, 'stead)

The omniscient narrative that is important to help a reader follow your story could sound less 'redneck' (for lack of a better word), as the opening lines sort of twist backwards:

"It was a complete wilderness haunted by its own long ago past."

It was a complete wilderness long ago, haunted by its own past...?

Or:
"Bear Island, the locals called it."

The locals called it Bear Island.


Just a few thoughts on all of that. Unless you want to introduce a first person narrator who can spice things up with that Deliverance-y kind of talk?

Typically, a novel's first chapter will inspire an author to pen 2,500 words minimum to about 3-4,000 words total. I think your first chapter is on it's way but falls fairly short. You could flesh this scene out to bring a fuller flavor of your desire to capture a reader. Just a few of my thoughts on how you could build up the basis for a novel length work of fiction.

It was a pleasure reading your entry for the contest. Thank you for sharing your offering for the July prompt.

Brian

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21
Review of Entry for July  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I'm a first time reviewer for "Chapter One . I look forward to reading and commenting on your entry this month. Hopefully, this review will be helpful to you as a writer.

Dear Zehzeh ,

There is so much to discover in Chapter 1 of White Light "Entry for July that I had to scan again and again for extra 'clues' to understand fully, or to the best of my knowledge, what is transpiring here. Being this character and setting is Scottish with numerous language references, I was kept me on my toes to stay aware of what is going on, or being referred to. I think I could read it a fourth time and still find things I haven't grasped yet.

I think that's what's impressive about this effort. The writer, just like the main character, is fueling this story tight with so much to consume that missing just a few lines could leave you running back to reconsider what might have been missed.

The characters too me are less interesting than the developing story at this point. Surprisingly, Erika is one that I would like to see progress the most, because she has 'baggage', in more than one sense of the word *Laugh*, to overcome so that she can fully actualize to help with the plotlines as they venture out.

I can't say I understand everything that is going on, because I can't get a handle on all the references. I'm intrigued to find out what this female Indiana Jones? is up to?? I like adventurous, plot-thickening stuff. As this is the first chapter, I couldn't suggest anything I could see by way of improvement. I would read further to find out if this will hook me, as we really don't know what they'll all get up to yet. But, mystery/clue solving is in the future.

I think this can speak to an intelligent adolescent all the way up to an elderly reader. It's wide-ranging in that sense. I wonder if you would consider American audiences more by giving a bit more detail to early references than haven't assimilated into mainstream English language. I think that would be beneficial to a reader who wouldn't have to scramble for Google to get a handle on the unique words...bothy, for instance, I sort of get. Mizzle? I could look up, too. I feel I should know that one, though. Getting to a meaning sooner helps, even if framed in a context so it can be deduced helps. So, it doesn't detract from focusing on the story.

Other than troubling with the language, I had no problem with how this is set up and plays out. Like I said, a lot to take in for a first chapter. It's quite a pace you have going that some readers are prepared to take on. Seems the characters are apace with the start of this story, as well, so it pairs nicely.

Thanks for sharing your chapter for the contest prompt,

Brian

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22
22
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (5.0)
QueenNormaJean isNancyDrew4now ,

Early prediction, but I think this will be good enough to win today. Especially as Childrens, it is what best suits today's prompt. It depends on the Writer's Cramp judge. Like, who is it going to be. I don't know who I'm writing for. The tastes range.

But, from where I'm sitting, this is a good little story. I think stories versus poetry tilts the scale in your entry's favor. Good luck,

Write On,
Brian

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23
23
Review of Time  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I know I asked for more input from you before reviewing this item, noting you have wanted to succeed at contest writing with your poetry. With blinders on, I will look at this poem you have linked in hopes that I can offer some advice for improvement. Hopefully, I will be able to critique your work in a way that will satisfy.

The poem is mid-length with longer than normal lines, each spaced apart. Poems that have verses are blocked in groups of lines, or have no spaces at all until the end, as with free verse poetry. I would say a reader might take one look at this before reading and feel a bit intimidated.

You begin with a good narrative style, speaking to someone when you create a mental image with the first line (your hook to grab a reader):

Oh! you're here, with the "new year" banner in hand

I found this introduction good (made me think of baby new year) and you have tempted me to read on and discover what will happen next (I'm going to remove spacing between lines to show how you can create verses out of this.):

Question is, for how long, here you're going to stand!
You ran five decades, right before my eyes
One year adding more, if I don't want to lie.

Your race begun with the time the earth is made
All the things you melt down and all that now in your head.
I wonder what you are ? can't you rest in peace?
Don't you have an occasion or holiday, don't you want a release!
Actually, who you are? A friend or an enemy?
Here I'm writing, you read it better, the list of your felony !

Remember? once I was a little boy, you can't deny the truth!;
You took away all the days and every joy of my youth.
You took the things away, with what I was happy
I see you always dictate, it ain't a bigotry?

You were always bad for me, you made me cry ;
I gave you seven oceans, all the tear drops of my eyes.
What you did, all my life, why? just tell me why?
Why that enmity you created? Only to make me cry?

Now I've a question in mind, about whom I loved the most
Tell me, where she stays now, I wanna know it at any cost.
You just keeping hiding her, somewhere in this earth
Tell me she is in which city? Washington, Seoul or Perth?

You know my eyes in search, all the earth, in every corner
Why I'm being punished for? I delayed to tell I love her?
O.K., it's my mistake, I confess, won't talk about this anymore
I will give you few more tears, but keep her safe and secure.

I have still, a lot more things to ask, to listen from you.
Why you took away my little sister, who just born new?
You knew I love babies, but you kept my lap empty,
My life almost eaten up, you see? how much you greedy!

You took them all, time, in a circle I grew up
Now that I see you are, 'life' in name, but a bluff !
O.K., whatever you are and whatever you're gonna say,
I don't have much, the price you ask, I can't afford you to pay.

I want you to make a pledge, only at least for me
I shouldn't have asked you this if I had such key.
Running and running all the time, never want to rest,
Hope you will stop for a while, I think, it will be the best!

Would you please stop running, when my time be on end?
I'll say the world ,"Goodbye!", that's all, ...my friend!
Start then your new journey, restless in your way,
Please dear, make a pledge, say, something say!

There seems to be some natural places to make verses out of this. The language is awkward, perhaps because English is not your native tongue. I see potential with this, though. It seems like a personal subject and one I would not attempt to show how to edit. I think it would take a lot of worth to improve just because of the length and the sensitive theme introduced, so personal to the author, with respect.

My suggestion is to start with something new around 12 lines in length. You could even experiment with Haiku, the basis for many free verse styles. If you look it up, there is a basic game you can play with the words from how many syllables to use and how the last of the three lines reflects on the word pictures created in the first two lines.

I would say I cannot help you further with this particular poem, which I am sure is very special to you. Preserve it in your heart.

Brian

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24
24
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Dear Ben Langhinrichs ,

I had to read through a few times and google a few things about praying manti? Manteses? to truly, fully appreciate the effort it took to create this genius sonnet, "Ladies of the Dance. I don't want to google anymore! *Laugh* Anyway, it gave me a fuller appreciation of the third verse, when matched by the first and second verses that are summarized nicely by the couplet at the end of your 'Shakespearean Sonnet.'

I wish I had the will (and discipline) to write in meter again (a sloppy, hack of a free verse writer), so I am in awe of anyone who accomplishes this feat. You do it with such striking imagery and emotion, connecting the reader with the lightening bug, whippoorwill and the two big green bugs who court and one gets beheaded (yecchh, what kind of life is that? TRANSFORMATION!).

It's sort of sneaky the way you word that final four line verse, because I forget this about their mating ritual. It felt dark for an outcome, but as far as nature goes, it's how it goes. the 'pas des deux' is brilliant! Color me jealous, because as a mating ritual here it adds beauty to an otherwise morbid scene. Such irony and contrast in those lines that gives the read such a rich flabor. Impressed. *Cool*

I was awestruck with the way you depict these scenes that carry a lot of weight with the imagery to reveal nature's rituals. I have to wonder about the final two lines, which to me read just as you say, like 'sorrow' about the dance. An argument can be made that none of these creatures have emotions. That they are just going through the motions. Yet, as a pet owner, I do know that animals can have feelings. Is it reserved for the more intelligent species?

Anyway, I'm likely reading too much into the commentary on the bottom lines. In fact, the reader connects to these feelings, relates from their own experience. In fact, we can personify, if anything else. And that is what makes this poem so good.

It was a pleasure to read and comment,

Brian

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25
25
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Dear 💙 Carly - BLUE!!💙 ,

Congratulations on the Bard's Hall first place win with this poem from May. I'm reviewing you as a member of the WDC Angel Army, celebrating moderators this month.

I've always been intrigued by Bard's Hall but have wondered why I can't figure it out, to participate. Or is it easy? Anyway, I found your poem while perusing the past contest winners.

The prompt by Mary Shelley is a good one. The judge's found your poem most deserving. I take a closer look to examine and see what made it successful. You started with a part of the quote as your lead-in, or hook:

Great and sudden change

What you do here is add imagery to follow: "Like clanging cymbals to the mind," which really grabs me. Then, you hit hard and heavy with 'distortion, disruption, desolation, despair,' each reside on their own line for emphasis (does that sound like the right progression for these words?). You choose hard sounding words with alliteration, a slight vowel change-up midway, that make for good sounding words.

Then, the poet states, "The mind flounders, Unaware." It's after the change that we are hopelessly bound to something like a sea where we are, "Unable to find footing." I would imagine so. Then, "It slips on the precipice of something new, Something not normal. Something out of the blue." I hear alliteration again and this time repetition of a word. We are to wonder what this precipice is. Is it metaphoric? Is it below in the metaphoric foundering that footing is found?

But, imagery changes scenes, "Suddenly thrown into chaos/World turned upside down" and I'm wondering how did it flip? This is a topsy-turvy kind of metaphorical existence. I can see why a person would feel off in a scenario portrayed like this. The poet goes on to say:

Night as Day
Day as Night
Each blended into the other
When will it end.


To me these line mean non-ending. This is what a true nightmare feels like. A great and sudden change can last forever, or what seems like forever, in this surreal existence where we can't fathom where we are or get any control over our situation.

I stop to wonder what Mary Shelley was conveying when she came up with that notion turned idiom. I wonder further how many great minds have tried to interpret it to fit an argument they make for something. It's illuminating.

This was fun. I enjoyed reading and discovering your poem to consider for feedback.

Brian

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