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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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In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is the oddest ode to menstruation I've seen her and for it's underlying humor and kitschy rhyme I can't abhor but have to adore it. Though, I would imagine some women might be peeved. This narrator is responding apologetically, and to men, about dealings with this curse.

What I feel is that the voice in this poem, obviously that of poet, is not trying to fight for the right to be moody and bitchy, but just reveal the humanness of the whole condition. And it is quick frank and honest right down to the tampons and revelations of not tracking when the monthly condition should reoccur.

It comes from the viewpoint of one who seems to have a younger lifestyle and so is not fully in sync with it and life. As to the poem itself, it's not the greatest poetry, but it rhymes and it is clear and understandable. I think it's audience is not mean for poetry houses but for a laugh or the realism it share.

BK
CircumpolarReviewer


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Review of Away  
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear Justine .

"Away is nicely worded and romantic poem using imagery and sensory to put a reader in these tender moments revealed. The feeling of love lost but somehow cherished, is how I imagined this to read.

What it lacked, however, is the ability to pace itself. The lines and the words were needlessly enjambed in some portions making it difficult to read. But, by the time I had gotten to the end of the poem, I felt a strange sense of reversing these thoughts and feelings right back to the beginning. It was like the poem had come full circle in thought and expression.

I think line two started incorrectly and you might have meant 'away' instead of 'way'. Also it should have been 'across' instead of 'a cross', though it made me wonder if it might be deliberated, like trying to set up the pace of the read. But, I could not make an argument for it, as it was not used beyond, or to lend to this theme.

The poem was well described and something I imagine readers could relate to. Very little to argue with when it is a romantic poem pining for it's lover. It was a pleasure to reader and comment. Thank you for sharing.

Brian

I affiliate this review with Haunting Chris Breva group "Space Blog.


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In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Setting with perspective like what was employed by this poem are vital. A reader can easily and quickly connect with the narration or POV as you have conveyed in "Staring at the Clouds. There is something personal about this that makes me wonder, something I'm trying to figure out while I can relate with it. It's odd, as if I am in the moment with the two, even if just watching.

I like the brevity of your poetry 'Staring at the Clouds' and how it attempts to inform us in this particular piece. Wrapping my mind around this unfolding scene, beside the emotions conveyed, are the juxtaposition of the two lying on their backs. So, I had to try to figure this out. I think it leaves some question as to how these they are revealed or posed.

Lying side by side,
Looking in your eyes

I can get with this, because side by side, heads can turn toward one another. At least with him to view the other. But then strangely, expressively...

Feels like miles away
Lying back to back,

Side by side, back to back? Why the sudden change in positions? How do they see each other's eyes? Am I perceiving this wrong? I wonder for a moment if what feels like miles away isn't about in feeling from one another, but what they are viewing. Are the eyes an expression for something else? Let's let the poem finish below:

Staring at the clouds -
I have found you there...

This is what made me wonder. Have you found this other you are lying next to by this connection lying side by side looking at clouds? That I like. But then, how do they look into each other's eyes. Why are they side by side but then back to back? I think it needs to be clarified if they are changing positions.

I think once addressed, it would be easier to appreciate this shared experience. They can look each other in the eyes and feel miles away, but when they look up at the clouds from the ground, perhaps they feel connected.

What might help this poem is establish the cloud gazing first and then insert a moment of eye contact and that feeling of being far away. Perhaps, it doesn't have to end on that note, as this poem ends on a note where the two connect but sharing the view of the sky. You could finish the poem by returning to that.

It would also give the opportunity to express the change of positions. First side by side, then look in eyes, feel far away, then back to back and looking at sky but then feeling a connection through the shared experience. I think just a reordering can help a reader understand what is happening.

Short and sweet is nice. If it were me, I'd be adding more detail. Setting scene includes grass, how's the weather, clothes worn, physical descriptions, sky depictions, use of sounds or smell, anything sensory really. Though, if correctly constructed, short and to the point with the one takeaway can be an eye opener for anything gazing on these clouds of words forming on the page. *Wink*

It was a pleasure to read and lend feedback on this poem,

Brian

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Review of Meaning  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Dear kesan,

Sometimes we are struck with a revelation of such importance as writers that we must pen it down, follow where it goes to give it weight. In this flight of pen, there is a point where the thought construction falls back upon itself. Essentially, the poet runs out of steam, into a wall, loses the spirit of the muse. It feels this poem "Meaning had direction before that last verse struggled, and no more...

I would like to examine this poem to see if the subject and theme pursued survive, if there might be purpose yet to breathe new life into this piece. It's a short poem because of it's truncated line length that lend to a read with pep and comes direct at the outset...

I fell over
Sorrow-stricken
When I saw
The gravity of life.

Right there, image struck. Some event yet to be described is setting up a life lesson, it seems. I had one problem though. I can't imagine seeing gravity. I imagine feeling it, however. Something to consider.

Now I know
What is written
On its other side.

Hmmm, I'm taken to this expressed 'other side' of gravity. I can imagine it could be a metaphorical place that has writing on it? Written is loosely expressed here, but I'm waiting it out to see where the poet is going with this.

Now I feel,
Short of feelings,
That I've found
A reason why.

Unfortunate structure, grammar problem and redundancy. It could easily be cleaned up, but needs to be clearer. At this point, the poet is losing me.

Yes, it seems
That all has meaning
Living is
What really counts.

This stanza alone does not relate to the open. It could be a poem unto itself. Something gravitational, something written underneath, I feel a reason, everything has meaning and living counts.

When a poem has a hook, an idea, it needs to convey it using whatever devices through imagery, metaphor, double entendre, personification. Essentially it lacks descriptiveness to get the message across.

I get these feelings. To convey them in a poem might require a little skull digging to figure out how to equate a message in more than just I feel like this or that. Though, it sounded like there was an idiom at play, something that was setting up but never realized. And for that, I say give it more thought and try to remember what epiphany caused this. There should be something concrete beneath.

Brian

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In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear J.L. O'Dell(Aza'zel) ,

"ODE TO A BAD DRIVER was a fun poem that no doubt was a bit of a parody of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It was jaunty and fun with a bit of suspense with clear detail about the distracted, texting driver.

So much plays out in this poem that it made me feel it was all too real of an incident. I liked the intercedence (made up word?) of the two cops, though I would doubt they would arrive in a moment like that. Though, for purpose of story it makes for a satisfying conclusion to the poem. How many of us want to see these sorts pulled over, hauled in even, and ticketed?

What I also think would help us to know is that the narrator of this poem isn't rubbernecking at the end of this related story. See the irony? Perhaps, have this person pull over, or stopped at a traffic light to watch the ensuing action (safely). I doubt a cop is going to get out of car with ticket book in hand before the narrator can see, having cleared the scene under normal circumstances. And, maybe I'm quibbling too much. But, my mind did go there as I thought about this very visual and comical scene.

I also wondered if when the two drivers go left and right of each other that this negligent driver could drive up an embankment, and harmless to human life, have car collide or get stuck somehow. I've rolled a car over a tree stump once, getting the frame hung there so the front-wheel drive couldn't pull the car any further. Just a thought for an additional, satisfying conclusion.

I did notice one error, something mis-typed that auto-correct, though a grammar checker might, find: "I don’t what to see such a sight."

Overall, a pretty entertaining poem that gave me thoughts. I've written on this subject myself as one who gets distracted to write down a poem while driving. Once, on a receipt from a shopping trip. It's compelling to want to get down something you fear you'll lose when there's no place to pull over while doing 70 on interstate. *Shock* I retired the pen from my cupholder that day. I've got talk to text now! *Laugh*

Kudos,
Brian

I'm affiliating this review with "Space Blog because I want to help Haunting Chris Breva and his group become number one! We'll see...maybe number four reviewing group is in the cards? Don't tell him.


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for entry "September 23, 2020
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
The lord (God) works in mysterious ways...and if we could peek behind the Oz-like curtain, would we be disillusioned? -Brian K Compton

Dear Haunting Chris Breva ,

All very good thoughts and views to have. I concur. We all mean to do well and be the best version of ourselves -- even if that is overemphasizing for purpose the realization, life dizzily passes by while we are missing opportunities to seize Carpe Diem style.

I appreciate the tag in your blog entry (9/23) and the link to my writing/poetry. Happy to be discovered. I feel somewhat sheltered here as a WDC member and enjoy a good shout out from time to time like a pinch to see if I'm asleep and just dreaming on this numb walk through of an internet community.

This is a great opportunity for me to revisit an older poem and see where I've come since. We tend to get complacent, despite the greatest of intentions to passionately expression a discourse placed on high mantles of hope. I could set the bar (mantle) lower for myself, but what challenge in that?

Being prepared to die...easy enough to say we can accept that inevitability. It can come at you in all kinds of ways, as with cancer to end-of-times-type scenarios. Hopefully, I can sound as self-assured as you, and I have during some moments in my life. I'm sure I will have forgotten to take out the garbage or pay a bill on that day and will be consumed with grief with something I forgot...even as simply as telling someone I hurt 'sorry' or that someone who needed an 'I Love you,' kissed upon the cheek with those last words.

With life comes great obligation...a bit too Spiderman-y an idiom? But, it's easier to overlook even when we are trying. There are things in our past, as small as anything you can imagine, that will overwhelm us when the time is right. It's always good to be introspective and be fully invested in self-improvement.

What you share has given me another opportunity to put into focus a writing life that has basically gone south since I've arrived. Unfortunate, when I consider I had greater goals for myself that this community could not facilitate, while requires a lot of my time. But, I am blessed too, because writers like you discover and share of me while I keep on questioning life, purpose and meaning as I age.

Good stuff! Thank you for this,

Brian

I am currently affiliating my reviews with your group "Space Blog, have stopped reviewing for number two and reviewing less for number one reviewing groups.

If you would like, I will link group reviews in an email or in the forum...but for now:

Review of "There was a Dog"
Review of "Responding to a Review"
Review of "Mama Said"
Review of "My Mind Compacted"


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Review of Toe in the Water  
for entry "On Free Verse
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Dear Beholden ,

This is part of the process of discovering yourself as a writer. You never have to settle and you can always experiment and go back and forth amid forms. The consideration of everything from Oriental poetry to traditional poetry of yore to the development and popularity of freeverse poetry today all comes from being informed by the experience of having delved into any and all crafts.

No one form can be greater than another when you have so many poets with so many different approaches to each that we can find appreciation in the constructs and shimmering words laid out for each of us to read and consider.

My early days were my mom sitting back to my bed reading me Irish poetry that stills sings in my head. Music and lyrics were another invention for a young boy with pen to scrawl dreams of love to a pad from his head. When I was taught in high school and college, wide venues opened. The acadamia of it all would touch each region of my brain to realize I had been living in the dark ages my whole life.

To this day, I still discover. I follow a word and it's meaning. I follow a poet and an offering. I consider a poetry form and how it is constructed and how I can take one word, with the vision of one author and construct something as unique and unto my own as possible while honoring the craft with a little ignorance as possible. I still know I can draw from any and all walks of life, any and all forms of literature, because it is all a part of me. It is what makes each genre unique and of particular tastes within genre to inform a reader of at least one poet who really can speak to our souls.

So I say, never make your mind up. Always keep considering and going back and forth from the words and the constructs you like. Freeverse is a beautiful way of interpreting a dance that can be unique unto you. And, if you find an audience and those who appreciate what you set forth -- heaven. This is why we write, compelled to share a part of ourselves, what we are, what we love. And, to find like-minded writers who want to revel in those words, share their own experiences back, true friends and community that can support one another...even in a division of color.

Let us not be divided but be one in spirit of writing above all that keeps us apart. Such a great insight into your process,

Brian

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Review of There was a Dog  
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (4.5)
A review about "There was a Dog and about life lessons that could be learned from this...

I could almost see a moral to this story forming as I saw a reversal of color for the red dog. If a person were to look deeper and assign meaning/metaphor to this dog, his actions, color change, reaction from other dogs, reversal of color and the irony, maybe something more would be revealed to me.

The poem is simply and somewhat awkwardly laid out, with a storytelling style that might speak to younger people. Though, I feel it could be filled with something more that adults could relate to on another, deeper level. There was opportunity with this that will now be lost to the creator's passing.

What I feel is that we might identify with a red dog. It's bold and it's strong and it is an animal that has friends who are waiting to greet him. But, what happens along the way. He falls into a green bog and his red coat appears yellow when the two colors combine to form a new...which is not possible...but for purpose of story, which is most important...we have this. The friends see him and run. Are they scared of his yellow apparition when they see him, as they howl? It's not clear. The red dog insists he is not yellow. He is firm in self and belief of who he is. The other dogs essentially reject him. The irony comes when he runs back and falls in the pond again and the green washes off somehow and he is red again...and that is for purpose of story once more. But, what does it serve? There is nothing or no one other to see that he has not changed. He doesn't even seem to be aware of it. But...

Aha! The reader sees and understands what has happened. The purpose of the story would be...yeah, still unsolvable. But, this poem has something raw and undeveloped to it that was headed somewhere. I could sit here and do all the calculations in my head about purpose of story but I can't bounce off you now, can I? There are takeaways that are obvious. The most pertinent would be how people see us. And they don't see our True Colors. If I could relate and equate.

A person who is self-assured as a writer and shares his vision with the a writing community makes friends and they share associations and experiences with the craft. But, there perception of him is altered by a misunderstanding, by their ignorance and he is left alone because they won't play with a yellow dog. It could be about the shallow and alterable beliefs of these other writers/dogs who never truly saw him for what he is/was. Why is that? Why are they so afraid of him? He doesn't take a moment to chase after them or wonder why, just returns home. He's always the same color, underneath. Jumping in that bog made him different. Perhaps, the writer jumped in some sort of bog, and what does that imply?

Again, more math to calculate and equate the similarities to make sense. This is what comparatives are hard to use, unless they are simple and straightforward and perhaps why this perplexes as reviewer considering it now. It's unjust in any scenario and does show the weakness of others who don't stand with a friend, even while they are yellow. It informs that they were never friends to begin with. in fact, the are in league with one another rather than accepting him with a little pond scum altering his color. In fact, the act of jumping in the bog was an error and not an attempt to change who he is.

It reminds me that there is always an explanation for another's behavior if we approach and ask or let time give us an opening or an opportunity to see a fuller picture. A woman I worked with once was going too fast and forcing me to speed up and take shortcuts on the job I could get in trouble for. I felt a little put off by getting the bum's rush in my work area so she could finish and move on. Then, I learned later that day she was distracted with a family emergency, that she wanted to be with a family member, though she couldn't because of Covid and was waiting to see if she would have a chance to talk with them one more time. Work was keeping her mind off things. She couldn't stay home and wait for a call. So, I understood and it was because I wasn't standing in judgment of her. I was standing alongside her and allowing her to express grief and get through the morning however she needed. And once I understood, no longer in quandary. And I've learned, it's not necessary to stand in judgment of others. Give them space. In fact, support them more.

So, that's where I take all of this from a simple poem about the color altering coat of a dog who doesn't get to play with his other dog friends.

Brian
Red Among The Walking Dead

This review is affiliated with "Space Blog


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Review of There was a Dog  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A review about "There was a Dog and about life lessons that could be learned from this...

I could almost see a moral to this story forming as I saw a reversal of color for the red dog. If a person were to look deeper and assign meaning/metaphor to this dog, his actions, color change, reaction from other dogs, reversal of color and the irony, maybe something more would be revealed to me.

The poem is simply and somewhat awkwardly laid out, with a storytelling style that might speak to younger people. Though, I feel it could be filled with something more that adults could relate to on another, deeper level. There was opportunity with this that will now be lost to the creator's passing.

What I feel is that we might identify with a red dog. It's bold and it's strong and it is an animal that has friends who are waiting to greet him. But, what happens along the way. He falls into a green bog and his red coat appears yellow when the two colors combine to form a new...which is not possible...but for purpose of story, which is most important...we have this. The friends see him and run. Are they scared of his yellow apparition when they see him, as they howl? It's not clear. The red dog insists he is not yellow. He is firm in self and belief of who he is. The other dogs essentially reject him. The irony comes when he runs back and falls in the pond again and the green washes off somehow and he is red again...and that is for purpose of story once more. But, what does it serve? There is nothing or no one other to see that he has not changed. He doesn't even seem to be aware of it. But...

Aha! The reader sees and understands what has happened. The purpose of the story would be...yeah, still unsolvable. But, this poem has something raw and undeveloped to it that was headed somewhere. I could sit here and do all the calculations in my head about purpose of story but I can't bounce off you now, can I? There are takeaways that are obvious. The most pertinent would be how people see us. And they don't see our True Colors. If I could relate and equate.

A person who is self-assured as a writer and shares his vision with the a writing community makes friends and they share associations and experiences with the craft. But, there perception of him is altered by a misunderstanding, by their ignorance and he is left alone because they won't play with a yellow dog. It could be about the shallow and alterable beliefs of these other writers/dogs who never truly saw him for what he is/was. Why is that? Why are they so afraid of him? He doesn't take a moment to chase after them or wonder why, just returns home. He's always the same color, underneath. Jumping in that bog made him different. Perhaps, the writer jumped in some sort of bog, and what does that imply?

Again, more math to calculate and equate the similarities to make sense. This is what comparatives are hard to use, unless they are simple and straightforward and perhaps why this perplexes as reviewer considering it now. It's unjust in any scenario and does show the weakness of others who don't stand with a friend, even while they are yellow. It informs that they were never friends to begin with. in fact, the are in league with one another rather than accepting him with a little pond scum altering his color. In fact, the act of jumping in the bog was an error and not an attempt to change who he is.

It reminds me that there is always an explanation for another's behavior if we approach and ask or let time give us an opening or an opportunity to see a fuller picture. A woman I worked with once was going too fast and forcing me to speed up and take shortcuts on the job I could get in trouble for. I felt a little put off by getting the bum's rush in my work area so she could finish and move on. Then, I learned later that day she was distracted with a family emergency, that she wanted to be with a family member, though she couldn't because of Covid and was waiting to see if she would have a chance to talk with them one more time. Work was keeping her mind off things. She couldn't stay home and wait for a call. So, I understood and it was because I wasn't standing in judgment of her. I was standing alongside her and allowing her to express grief and get through the morning however she needed. And once I understood, no longer in quandary. And I've learned, it's not necessary to stand in judgment of others. Give them space. In fact, support them more.

So, that's where I take all of this from a simple poem about the color altering coat of a dog who doesn't get to play with his other dog friends.

Brian
Red Among The Walking Dead

This review is affiliated with "Space Blog



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Review of Mama Said  
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (4.0)
It's a challenge to string together several haikus to form a poem. In this case, I find four stanzas correctly employing the 5-7-5 syllable format. The relation of story with use of re-collective narration was very good and appealing. Even though, most of this story in "Mama Said feels more present tense.

I dare say this poem is relatable and would find a common audience, perhaps for older adolescents. Almost too iconic, like it could be a template for a tv show script or a moral taught in fiction form...as with poetry.

About the haiku format, I feel the point is to have a take away from the third line. If employing it four times in this fashion, would not four summations to each stanza be in order? I felt the poem did not end on any sort of revelation, but leaves us with the relation of events and how it made the narrator feel.

There probably is an opportunity to find some wisdom in the ending, even though it is right there between the lines about choosing friends wisely and probably about not getting talked into doing stuff that gets you in trouble. It just didn't land where it typically would with haiku.

All in all, a worthy read. Thank you for sharing,

Brian

My review is given in spirit of the "Space Blog as an affiliated review.


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Review of Hugs  
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear princess ,

You must not be able to format text wherever you are posting your writing from. I took a look at this poem "Hugs as a block of text that could be chiseled into something that might be more pleasing to a reader's eye?

Hugs come in every shape and size,
They mean many things to us
Like a hug that says I am happy today.
A hug can say that I am happy for your friendship.

There are hugs to say I am so proud with all that you do.
A hug says that there is no one else in the world like you.
There are gentle hugs and there are great big bear hugs, too
And, there are also tender hugs for someone who is sad.

There are many hugs for everything:
there are small hugs, tiny little hugs, and
there are short and tall hugs, too.
But, one of the best hugs of all is
a hug that says I am thinking about you.
The best hug is the one that says I love you.

You have something here that could be developed more when thinking of all the different types of hugs and who gives them and why. This might be a children's poem or book material, even.

If you describe a little big about a situation that produces each of these types of hugs, it might be more relatable. Imagery is key, visually if for an illustrated book. Maybe, even focus on those unique hugs all the more.

I like the tall and small hugs...the ones you have to reach up for, or reach down to. It makes me think of adults supporting children. What you can imply would be why those hugs come about: A broken toy, a scolding, friend that went away, etc.

Thank you for sharing this,

Brian

This is a "Space Blog affiliated review...(signature pending), *Wink*


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Review of Solitude  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear kesan,

When I read this poem it feels like it is drowning in mundane language and not very poetic. But, considering this poem describes this feeling of nothingness and wanting to be alone, but sad about that, it reveals something to me. That you have a narrative at work here, born out the feelings of the poet who can't motivate, create, or contain bright language to illuminate. Perhaps, a different approach?

I highlight the unnecessary or tired language...

There's always been something missing
I have always felt the lack
Never knew why it was like that
Never knew if others felt this way too
What I need is to
forget
to stop thinking what it would be
If I were not who I am
If I didn't find so much
pleasure
in my own solitude.

Not very many words survive: missing, lack, forget, pleasure, solitude. 'never' is repeated, 'always' is repeated, 'if' is repeated, and 'I' is repeated...not necessarily for effect.

There are six persoal pronouns, which indicates that the writer is projecting an image of one who feels important, integral to this piece. We have to figure out how that factors with a message about one who prefers 'solitude' to redress this poem.

What's very telling is this person doesn't know of others who feel the same way. There is that lack of communication with others. It seems to be born out of this self-image, where we feel we cannot communicate with the outside world. I get that. A withdrawn person who cannot pick up on social cues is one who does not try to fit in.

Is this about being shunned or just not wanting to be a part of a social group, existence? That has yet to be discovered in this brief poem. These are all good things to consider to convey a message of loneliness. Eric Carmen captured it best in song when he created "All By Myself" by reminiscing youth, unable to find people to spend time with, imagery like a telephone that won't ring, being home alone.

These are all good things to employ to give more weight to this message of solitude. A great poet, Emily Dickinson, preferred solitude as well. You can see some of her poetry to relate to that as well. She built a great construct of a home in words to describe herself and her freedom to be as inviting and as strong as a house where she would dwell to pen her words, unshared until after she died.

So many ways to go with this. It was a pleasure to read and react so that I might comment.

Brian

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In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I'm thankful I get to revisit...again...the 23rd Psalm, the most noted from the Bible and just starting to think maybe this is why Michael Jordan chose that number for his jersey? While all other ballplayers wore his number to duplicate him? Okay, back to this poem...

Perhaps, I should feel guilty for not appreciating this Psalm because it definitely applies. It has applied for a very long time, even though enemies is a strong word. I do break bread with a group of souls who have dominion over me because of a inane desire to impose a caste society in the mix for writers who cannot share on the same level. In fact, you may have bought your way into their heaven. You were no doubt loved, but not very well known when stumbled upon each other here, me making for contact, then you departing sadly.

Your poem is very nicely described, but only can imagine from another person's viewpoint and not your own. This is not the Lynda I could imagine living as a homeless person. So what was it? You daughter, perhaps, who lived like this? The poem shows great experience and does directly borrow from the Psalm with the understanding of it and in an appealing way.

It is simple, straightforward and direct in this poetic offering. It uses imagery and a narrative voice that describes a lost soul who is downtrodden and homeless yet has a great connection of devotion to faith. Sometimes, that is what keeps some strong and righteous. The bible fills souls with this strength from that Psalm cited.

I would say this was well conceived, though not truly from the poet's perspective. It implies from another's point of view and how they can try to follow God despite all that they are left with in this life. It's bleakly hopeful at best. It reminds that God doesn't use his well to set everything right, but for those that belief, life a spirit and hearts that need the nourishment of His love. That moreover seems the message with this poem.

It's been a pleasure to revisit and rediscover one who has passed but left behind their gift of words to give readers and writers like me pause.

Brian

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89
89
Review of No thanks.  
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Dear Sairah ,

Wow, this poem is very clever. I like how "No thanks. is devised. You correctly hyphenate to describe these sorts of men who are creeps, a turn off, arrogant and self-centered, controlling and more.

I look at this list as a man and cringe a little bit. I can see how I might from time to time act or behave in some of these ways. It's a poem that acts a good reminder of how woman feel unappreciated or sexualized, as with that opening statement.

This list goes for some long hyphenated expressions of types of male behavior that I find inarguable. It feels the poet has really found a succinct form and words that drive hard on it's founding philosophy to single out and shame men who might behave this way.

Perception in the eye of this narrator comes from a place of anger, resentment and some experience dealing with this. While it's statements might generalize, again not up for debate. It's unfortunate that society over the years has looked the other way on domineering males. This poem captures that very well.

Brian

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90
90
Review of This Love  
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear kesan,

This is a poem that sadly strikes a chord with me, hits home, so to speak. On a night when I am wrestling with my feelings for myself, there is a fifteen year old girl who I failed. A child that wants to be transgender and it filled with even more contempt for herself, cannot love herself. The theme of your poem. And she's currently institutionalized because of it.
This was a straightforward, short piece that put a twist on the unrequited love theme. It wasn't as simple as saying I don't love you. It goes deeper to self-love. Something that narrator is well aware of and knows would doom a relationship, if one cannot love self.

It sets up well to reveal this sorrow. It made me wonder if this person wants to love, but cannot. It is sorrow. It is short and direct like an arrow, quicker stabbing at the heart.

I came here looking for a little knowledge and insight while I struggle with that kid of mine, currently a ward of the state until she can get her life in order. It will never be the same for her, or for me. Thanks for sharing and sorry for all the extra stuff.

Brian

I'm affiliating this review as a member of "Space Blog


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91
91
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I like this recounting of what I basically imagine is idols from TV westerns, mostly from the 50s. I supposed some movies might also apply. The part that made me feel this was about the cinematic were mention of dimples. I don't think western fiction writers would describe their heroes that way. It made me think that only actors with dimples need apply for these old dramas.

Good job on the rhyme scheme and kind of a tongue in cheek recounting of what made those old westerns good to watch. I'm reminded of the Rifleman and other shows with high drama and morals. But, I'm also remind of the parodies of characters like Black Bart and how all shows wrapped up with a gunfight or someone in the pokey.

The last paragraph was fine as summation, but the lines got longer and word usage with 'inextricable' felt too complicated. I wonder if there is another shorter, three line rhyming summation about police/lawmen today? Cops are certainly different when considering procedural dramas of the day, not quite the same.

This was a fun read and thanks for sharing with the community.

Brian

My review is in affiliation with "Space Blog


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92
92
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This was an easy one for me, as I can wear a mask where I go out with lipstick on. Or did you not think of that when you made this poll? *Laugh*

Definitely would wear a suit over all those other clothing options. But, even if I had to expose the lipstick, I could go ala Bowie and add rouge, slick back the hair with some gel. I might even add some clip-on earrings.

Every day is like Halloween for people out in public. Most times folks don't even look the other way if someone is attired oddly, or has garish make-up or something.

In fact, my own kid dresses like an Eddie Munster version of Harley Quinn (hair too spiky for pigtails and dyed pink). Barely draw attention, but does get smiles and compliments.

So, yeah. Nothing smell or half off for this guy.

Brian

I'm reviewing on behalf of "Space Blog.
93
93
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear LM,

This was an odd little poem that had a fun narrative style and can only imagine where the inspiration came from. The Seuss character is a bit annoying with his knowing-it-all-ness, or his persistence invading a home inhabited by two latch key kids.

Here with "The Cat in the Black Hat you create a scenario where a cat speaks to a man who apparently is out for a walk night after night. This might be an unusual question, as most people have their constitutionals. Perhaps, the cat was reading something more into this. And if we are being expressionistic, maybe this is not a cat and man meeting on a street but allegorical attempt at telling a moral.

Either way, it seems silly and non-sensical and I guess that would be the appeal to the writer who set off to pen it. It didn't fully arrive to a conclusion, but rather abruptly ended with the man grabbing the cat that responds with hissing and takes the black hat off its head. And why black? Do that have meaning? We'll never know, I assume.

This is just one of those poems that we write when we have an idea and try to take it somewhere. I would imagine it could have still found a destination, if the writer had left clues about what this was about, context and end game. Mysteries are better unsolved sometimes.

Brian

I am affiliating this review with "Space Blog, as a new member.


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94
94
In affiliation with Space Blog  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Dear Cappy,

Great newsletter and good to hear...about the blog, about the internship and your masters program. I do like the idea of throwing my reviewing skills your way. I have been part of Power Reviewers for a month. But, I would like to spread it around and will give Space Blog reviewing a try.

The incentives are nice. I just hope that my reviews are what you look for in quality and tone. I will look into releasing a few today to get started.

I would volunteer to help out, but just started my own poetry group. It was sort of on a whim because I was set up to teach a poetry class in October. Personal problems at home and decided to just start a group instead. There is some logic to it. Basically, so I don't have to cram everything into one month but spread it out over time.

Anyway, hopefully I'll be dropping some blog posts, too. Just getting my feet wet. It will be easier to review before I can get on board with blogging more often.

I got drawn in to the group by the link to my poem, of course. I support the notion of highlighting authors to get them attention. That was a great and useful ploy for the group to draw attention. Good job, and thanks!

Brian

hey, do you have images you want us to link with reviews?


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95
95
Review of Writing.Com 101  
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: E | (5.0)
I think something that could be added to this list of rewards is the top 100 credited reviewers, to add allure to the reviewing incentives list. Though, I don't think merit badges for this distinction have consistently been given out every month. I noticed in January badges weren't distributed by WDC to top reviewers.

Being ranked on this list and seeing what reviewers are most appreciated for is a good incentive to reward output, even without merit badges by WDC acknowledging participation...linked to public review rewards, mentioned in this list.

It could give a broader picture of how incentivizing feedback in this fashion can inform reviewers of output that is appreciated.

MB monthly just confirms this.

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Happy to be a part of the process, now that I'm getting a hang of the importance of reviewing. I feel this can be the one constant of my participation in this community, since I reemerged as a reviewer over nine months ago.
96
96
Review of CALLOUS  
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: E | (3.5)
This poem "CALLOUSis inspirational and a great tribute to a grandmother with love of Christianity shared. You demonstrate well how this one who lived by the bible set an example for a child who lost their way and were able to find their way back. It's truly endearing.

Ouch! ALL CAPS?? *Laugh* Kind of hard on the eyes. Caps are a clever way for poets to intone message in a poem. If there is a poem that uses all Uppercase letters, it's to imply shouting. I would think that was not the intent here, unfortunate that it detracts from a lovely message.

When I see that people rate this five stars already, it concerns me that you are being flattered and not given true, constructive feedback (assuming that aside from sharing your words, you'd like to improve as a writer). A perfect poem is a publishable poem. There is work to do after applying Upper and lower case to convey this poetic offering.

I'm sorry, I have to type below so I can see it the way that is best to consume:

Callouses

Callouses on her hands
Just as many on her knees
From all the lonely, sleepless nights
She's knelt to pray for me
The love that has always shown through
Faith that was even bigger yet
Was the very thing along the way
That lit my way to "you"
She was the vehicle that you used
To bring a lost girl home again
From the world I was drowning in
Into your loving arms
The many times I heard her read
Or a bible story tell
The things of you she freely shared.
In faith that could not fail

My first thoughts are to remove passive language. "that was" does take away from those direct statements that could impact the read, so...

Her love has always shown through
Faith even bigger yet

Of course, the editing process removes something and reconfigures lines to shorter expressions that could sparkle with strong verbs to pair with nouns. Something to consider. You change, how and if you want.

I liked the opening four lines because of imagery and scene setting for these what's being unveiled. I question callouses on hands from praying. I do like the image of a worn woman who prays despite the callouses. It implies hard, dirty, or servile work. It sets up as devotion to something, a sort of selflessness about her.

What you reveal is so relatable to readers than I'm sure you'll have an audience despite the flaws. Just a few words to help you, if you should edit.

Brian

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I think you meant to title this Callouses? Not Callous. Very different.


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97
97
Review of Destination  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Jamaican Queen ,

Great poem about self-empowerment with a narrative voice that doesn't waiver in its goal to fight for what one desires out of life.

I saw some opportunities to strengthen the voice in this offering. It involves getting rid of unnecessary words to get right to the delivery lines that impact the narrative appeal.

First, I like the first line of "Destination to set this up. It does give an image, one that is contemplative and shows in that second line the assuredness of this character. "True" was especially integral to getting this poem off to a good start.

The poem then goes on to make essentially "I statements" like esteem building, an ethical/moral philosophy. Mantras, essentially.

"I'm willing to use endless motivation"

could be:

With endless motivation

"Conquering this entire world is my only mission"

could be:

my only mission
is to conquer the entire world


Just talking about making more direct statements, to grab a reader. The extra language like words that end in 'ly' or 'ing' can take away from what is projected as strong. It sometimes requires a different approach to an entire statement to avoid anything that might weaken the impact of the message.

"What I wouldn't give to reach my destination" (good!)

"A person like me doesn't believe in giving up (nice *Smile*)
Even through sufferation" (not a word -- is it made up? does it work or need replacement?)

Therefore, I will fight continually
So I could build a strong foundation
Working hard to achieve my goals (with or without 'my' because we know who's talking)
Will is forever be my determination (strong verbs also send message)
And how I yearn to live (a full) fulfilling life of meditation.

Obviously, these are just suggestions from my POV. This is your poem and I respect that. Hopefully, I can just give you another way of looking at this, if you think any of this might help.

Consider 'of meditation' versus 'in' or 'with' connectively for what serves best. Rather than speak to message and its value, I suggest consider the order of events in the revelation. The message is strong, but what comes first? Probably 'meditate,' in my mind. It should lead to thoughts of how to achieve one's goals to reap success.

With goals, there are outcomes. Best way to sum up this strongly worded poem is to reveal what rewards the poet hopes to reap. Since this poem isn't about specifics, but rather attitude, how will you realize outcomes? As a reader, that is what I desire to know to bring this to conclusion.

I think this is a strong piece. It was a pleasure to consider and comment. Thank you for sharing with our community,

Brian

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A newbie review for the Power Reviewers group. Hopefully my spelling and grammar were correct and did not confuse. I'm open to clearing up any confusion about this feedback.

I used a lot of editing marks and it can look messy. I can reconvert this, if it needs clarification.


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98
98
Review of No Matter  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
"...you, and the construct of you, need to get closer to the fire and feel its heat in order to burn."

Dear Deb ,

I can appreciate this poem "No Matter from the perspective of one who is aging and trying to capture something with writing that could fill that emptiness. It's a poem that struggled at the outset to intone is theme and message, though it seemed to try carefully and be considerate of subject.

Here are some suggestions for improvement. If this is to be about 'waxing poetic' or trying to get more about life in that way, the open setting has to change. If this person is writing at a bar, my head does not say at home. Though, some people do have this in their home and makes me immediately think of one who knows their way around mixed concoctions. Whatever is intended by that open, weave in the part about writing, framing this as an open letter to a reader.

The poem doesn't know yet what it wants to be, as it meanders about lonliness but then wanders into writing. I was looking for a connection and missed imagery and words that express over those that are telling. The narrator tips their mask a bit to reveal the poet in this way, writing in third person. It doesn't want to reveal the self. I have no issue with that, but as a reader, I wonder about that and how it reveals itself.

Line that tripped me up:

Does anyone wasn’t to talk to me?

I couldn't think of what happened there or how to fix, but thought I'd point it out. It looks like a poem that was in one of the phases of edits, affecting that moment.

How I relate to this message requires reworking some of the words to show how they could express to someone like me...

on a bar stool
in her tiny condo
she wonders why —
life ceases to exist
when you're alone

Cheap Moscato, she pours
another from a box,
as age comes for her,
she aches and mourns...

No matter what you write,
accomplish in this life,
You could suddenly be gone,
leave this earth...

So what do you write?
Who will read your work?

And then I'd add something about being incomplete amid this emptiness or loneliness. I definitely like connections of feelings to a bar, cheap wine. I would describe more, with words that evoke those feelings. You're half way there. I can see you are trying to get a handle on it, just like the 'character' in your poem that you narrate.

When I get like this, I am detached, too. It's normal. This is all relatable and I appreciate as a poet who would like to be at least acknowledged in this community. But, the other side of that coin is, they want your blood. They won't take you as the person on the face of it, but try to change you or respond to a message to project to the wider community.

Turns out, the turmoil and the fight for recognition is what drives the machine. And you, and the construct of you, need to get closer to the fire and feel its heat in order to burn. Even if you have to fly in the face of convention and what represses you as a person, writer, participant in this community, you have to shove back...hard...with words that best express.

Hopefully, this review will inspire you to keep going after a message and all the things that inform the words that you write. Read as much as you can and see what your calling can still be...fore your character...in this poem...and for many to come.

Brian

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This was going to be an Angel Army review before that fire flared in my belly and it went much longer. Knowing I'm incentivized better by the Power Reviewers group, I affiliate there. Though, this review definitely does not fully fit with their ideology. Anything written here is opined by me, devised by one who choses not to fully yield to the collective philosophy of initiating new writers in community with messages of greeting flowing from affiliated reviewing houses. They are kind enough to indulge me.

Hopefully, I didn't go on too long or dissuade you in my efforts to give an honest and frank review about these feelings your poem has inspired for this reviewer and lifelong professional writer.


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99
99
Review of Ketamine  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear viciousgamergirl ,

I had to read through "Ketamine several times to grasp a better understand of what the poet intends. This gets very technical and required applied known understanding of the drug as patient and what I could cull from my wife, a surgical technologist. The stumper was NMDA and getting through the central nervous system of this poem from technical language and acronyms and the mind dizzying ways you weave together Ketamine's attributes to make this poem so accurate...to this reader (I can imagine why many might step off rather than step up to this one).

First realization after completing the poem and analyzing a bit for context was that this is written by someone who has handled the drug as either an anesthetist and Anesthesiologist (soooo hard to type). The handling of the technical language and weaving it throughout the heart of this poem especially seemed accurate.

While the poem is not meant to be high brow literary art, it is high brow medical information. I could appreciate more how you set up the poem, despite what might have employed some common turn of phrases to move the message along. The open was not informing me about what I was about to get into with it's short catchy rhyme. It actually became an obstacle course of words that was very difficult to read aloud and consume, for a novice. I can only imagine how much this would be appreciated when shared with colleagues in the medical community.

Another realization came from the last two verses and something I had to wrap my head around with information from the spouse. Was this advocating drug use, like either as a street drug or what a person could take from their employer. I think that was not the intent. It took the two of us to decide that Ketamine was imploring the satisfactory results for patient, doctor and all associated. So, that leads me to a suggestion.

Perhaps, this poem could mention 'for your patient' or 'if you're having surgery' as a framework for realizing who benefits from ketamine and why. And this could include, 'if you're going to do surgery' or 'before you open me up, doc' as a reference to give a reader some information. The poem dives into the drug's properties and it's combined us with another drug, but left me hanging a bit about why the celebration of the drug.

Yeah, the poem opening made me think of old romantic poetry, 'Ketamine, O' Ketamine. What you do to me..' Distracted writing this and can't quite get in that vain right now. But the early tone is something I could appreciate at the outset. If this poem paced itself more it might releate to the average audience, I don't know. Just a thought. But, if one has to pull out a medical dictionary to understand, well they might get a full appreciation of this, possibly. I had help. My takeaway was this took either great effort or came naturally.

Nicely concepted poem. I'd give you five stars, but the poem could be a smoother read, despite the technical lingo. Even if I didn't understand all the words, have a nice pace and flow to elucidate the syllables in mind or to the air would really be beneficial. Just imagine getting through this at a poetry reading, and if you can make it flow without disruptions, you've really done something.

A pleasure to read and consider this unusual and entertaining poem,

Brian

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My apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors. You really challenge with this offering for one willing to tackle and give feedback as best I can as a member of the Power Reviewers group I affiliate this feedback with.


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100
100
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Dear Snow Vampire ,

I was attracted to this poetic structure "The Honey Scented Soul when I saw it, because I've been flirting with shaping freeverse poetry to look like this. I wouldn't have the patience you have for the syllablic structure and a rhyme scheme to boot! That takes some crafting.

I just know when I flirt with this, I'm attempting to start a poem with a small thought in a few words and start building on it line by line like getting to an emotional awakening and hopefully a poignant statement at full boil. Then, I taper the words back is if collecting until I end with the final somber words of acquiescence or conclusion. It depends on what I'm going for.

What you've done here is to come full circle from that opening line. Between the lines in just one stanza you set scene and compare this sacrifice compared to a bee, or more specifically what it takes to produce honey. The resolution of sacrifice is that final product and to 'savor' its worth, which must feel that much greater from this sacrifice employed.

'Honey Scented Soul' seemed an apt title, thought provoking for a reader prying to view the meaning. I guess what I could point out was that the sacrifice to produce this poem and the associated rewards helps the poet savor the outcome all the more. Whether in irony or comparatively, that is the outcome.

Congratulations on this. It was a pleasure to consider and lend feedback.

Brian

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