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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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Review of Toe in the Water  
for entry "On Free Verse
Review by Brian K Compton
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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127
Review of There was a Dog  
Review by Brian K Compton
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

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128
Review of There was a Dog  
Review by Brian K Compton
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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129
Review of Mama Said  
Review by Brian K Compton
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

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Review of Hugs  
Review by Brian K Compton
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

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131
Review of Solitude  
Review by Brian K Compton
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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Review by Brian K Compton
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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Review of No thanks.  
Review by Brian K Compton
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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Review of This Love  
Review by Brian K Compton
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

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Review by Brian K Compton
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

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Review by Brian K Compton
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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Review of Writing.Com 101  
Review by Brian K Compton
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.
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Review of CALLOUS  
Review by Brian K Compton
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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Review of Destination  
Review by Brian K Compton
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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Review of No Matter  
Review by Brian K Compton
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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Review of Ketamine  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear Crystal Dragon ,

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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Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Dear Thankful Prosperous Snow ,

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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Review of Query  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Dear Eliot ,

Here I've discovered your poem "Query and it got me to thinking. We want to put ourselves out there knowing what the response might be. This was a unique construct with it's layout -- a potential poem constructed like a love letter from one expressing so eloquently to another, who might not receive and reciprocate the message the same way. That was a bit of a run on sentence, sorry.

You set up this ode of sorts with the narrator's expected response by the other, projected, about not getting too serious too soon with the relationship. But the poet launches into it anyway, from this observance of mine as a reader, that distance can make a heart grow fonder. It reminds that we passionate writers might tend to over-romanticize a relationship/courtship before it's ripe, because we hold an ideal in our mind, something we want to sentimentally hold onto.

That's what I saw with this poem that was so smooth and lyrical with it's crisp, tight statements forming the central stanzas. The voice in this poem is on point with that delivery, one that would ordinarily woo another. Perhaps, not enough is known about the budding romance and it's prospects. I don't even think it's necessary to know. As readers, we plug these words and thoughts into our own experience and formulas to observe our own way.

How can one deny that when apart, memories of a special night give one longing that continues and intensifies even from a distance, while apart. It's particularly moving and saddening, as well as bittersweet. I forgot to add, I liked the title. Half thinking of it like a cover letter for an application. Maybe, intended?

Well done,

Brian

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Review of Hopeless  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Dear Amber ,

"Hopeless is an interesting poem to consider. It has the physicality of lyrics that fit the common theme of personal struggles with life, love, self and more. What perplexes me most is who it speaks to. The narration at the outset feels like it just opens up to the reader. But by end, it is addressing 'you' and that takes me down two avenues...something spiritual that controls fate and destiny, or some lover who has troubled this dear voice to speak in such a way.

I see a progression in this poem that is like a big dramatic snowball growing as its rolling downhill with steam. This poem's narration is the key. You have this person at the outset that has the head and heart confused at which is right about this emotional condition. It feels fairly calm. But the more the poet opines as the narrator, the more tragic it feels because they seem to be talking themselves into this sadness, this low self-worth.

What gave me pause was each moment this person seems to be losing their mind, getting a little crazier about this loneliness and this pessimistic view of things to come. It is so overdramatized, if it went further it would border comical, but doesn't go there. It hits somber and ominous tones by end.

The construct:
That was the thing I could see improving to give greater weight to these words that intone a message. I talk about how this starts to feel like a voice getting away from itself. But, if that's not the direction to be perceived, what if the read could be slowed down and we could tame those lines that could be awkward or could use better expression. Let's me suggest a different view conceptually (also, either go all lowercase or just lower case i, but it was mixed on the i's):

Didn't know how alone a person could feel
Until that person was me

My heart says I'm loved
My head says the heart lies

Where should I turn, too many options?
I now know where I am headed

Why should I wait?
I may not like this path, but
once I'm here there is no going back

It's already decided it seems
There is no hope left for me

Didn't know how small a person could feel
Until that person was me

Turned to the darkness, that lay ahead of me
There is no tuning back
I don't need anyone, messed up quite a lot

So let me go. There is no future for me
I'm drowning in pain and misery

Take me out of this prison, free me
Free my soul, for it lives no more

Every road is filled with thorns
I keep walking, till my feet refuse to bleed
Dragging myself across the thorns. no light seeks me

I lie bleeding on the thorny roads
begging you to free me.

That's just for structure and giving the associated lines their own couplets and verses to keep those ideas separate as thoughts are forming. I can't really speak to the rest, language use, punctuation, line length or potential for enjambment. It's the poet's vision and I just wanted to give you a slightly different framework to consider.

I would say that picking a theme through metaphor and imagery, as with thorns, could be used consistently throughout poem to convey this message. You could introduce a gentle flower at the start and build from there to the pain felt at the end with the thorns.

Lots to consider. It was a pleasure to read and lend feedback,

Brian

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Review of For You  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Emily ,

There is a lot to draw from this smoothly written, rhyming poem. I was captured by the narrator's appreciation and relationship with a 'buddy' that 'drew me to you...the reasons that I stay.' What buddies talk like that, I wondered. Perhaps, this is a budding romance.

This is what we readers want to take away from "For You. We've seen all the bittersweet stories of boy and girl who were just friends until one day...when they realized it was something more. It's tragic and yet it's hopeful that this poem gets the reciprocation it deserves. We want more, as readers. Though, it might not be about that. But, let us have this one.

We're given a deeper insight into the nature of your relationship with this person, when s/he reads the couplet, "For the one I'll always laugh with/ (Though I know you've seen me cry)" for instance. It hasn't always just been about happy things and good times with this friend of yours, s/he has been there to see you through the hard ones as well.

The other couplet, "For my friend so full of intellect/ 'Let me copy when you're through!'" is also engaging because we are allowed to feel like we just overheard even the tiniest portion of a conversation, or a joke even.

I found this just a bit awkward, but honest, giving it some sweetness. I think it delivers something to me as a reader who can easily relate. It's straightforward and doesn't go for the usual metaphor and hidden context that most poems deliver to get us to think.

I had one problem with the line using the word 'copy' and I can only assume duplicate or mail in something without trying. Just thought a better expression could have been used there to elucidate.

Overall, a pleasing poem to read and happy to lend feedback,

Brian

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Review of New York  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear magli ,

This poem "New York reads like something straight out of a tour guide of New York city. There are the monuments from skyscrapers to lady liberty. There's something for everyone, including shopping and places to transact. Then, it's broken down by dreams and aspirations of its inhabitants that could be transients dreamers, or people in business.

The rhyme scheme was not consistent, with a break here or there with a few lines to long or short. Not a lot of poetic devices like imagery or metaphor unless just the basic cliché. It could do more. It would seem New York is something experienced by the poet. I suggest explore deeper.

First and foremost, they say employ the senses. There's the things you can see, but more specifically, how can readers interact with the visions. You mention seasons but don't lend those visions of nature and how it adorns the city and with what? Certainly smells and the sounds that abound.

I think of Ice Skating and blades cutting the rink, or taxis and honking or the sounds of people. There might be a special view of the statue in the harbor that serves best. How are some of these people dressed? How are they ascribed? I think huddled masses with liberty, but it could show people who have become secure in their environs in New York. Perhaps, even forgetting the lineage that made their lives possible there.

The end line was lackluster. It uses a gloss word to describe the city, that could have leaned into personification or something to give it more life. Lots to consider with this poem that was raw and could use more detail and further work with the construct for a smoother more appreciative ride.

Brian

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Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Jenny ,

I can address this poem "Why did you leave? in several ways with its theme that is common to most who arrive at this writing community to share their odes of love and loss. This is definitely one of those sad, tearjerkers. One that I am sure is close to the author and must be treated delicately.

It takes bravery to write from the heart and share these innermost feelings. It's a poem that is like a letter to the world and to the love that was lost. But you could cork it and put it in a bottle and throw it in the ocean and it would probably serve the same outcome. Message lost at sea.

To me, a poem like this is an opportunity to get down those feelings, therapeutically. It rids oneself of the baggage of a relationship by creatively releasing the critical thinking processes to produce a poetic, satisfying piece that can be read and appreciated by others. hopefully, return on this investment are like the tiny deposits we put in a bank to give back to us.

This is a worthy effort. Foremost is the rhythm and flow of the read with it's rhyme scheme that function well. The message is bittersweet and seems like a break up, but it could be about someone who must travel, leave for a long period when this narrative voices wishes they would say. Obvious they still love each other and it's a painful departure. It could have been an extramarital affair, or someone going off to war.

That's what makes this a universal poem that would relate to average readers who can understand this kind of fare. It's simple and to the point and easy to understand and relate to, with it's nicely worded language that for those who've suffered the same, might get a lump in the throat.

I wouldn't recommend changes. We are not going for Shakespeare but mainstream Americana. It's your basic boy meets girl, they break up but still confess their leave, with one left behind to suffer and dream of a reunion. All good and relatable stuff.

Brian

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Review of Once Upon a Pen  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear WhisperWind ,

I really enjoy a good poem about how a writer copes with struggles, especially when you personify the writing aid. "Once Upon a Pen is a good title theme to drive this narrative look into what inspires without employing muses and faeries, but a little imagination about an instrument that words flow through.

Obviously this is a story of writer's block. The storytelling aspect in those first lines were sort of parental and distancing from the actual subject/writer in this poem. The pen doesn't seem a major figure in this story at the outset and in fact feels like the poet disconnecting from self in third person narration. It's an intriguing, psychological look at what we writers do to inspire us.

I can imagine part way in to this poem that the true inspiration from this story IS THIS POEM. It's as if the poem recounts the struggles up to this poem's creation and then in the moment has a vision to write out of the funk. The pen becomes magic, rainbow expressions appear and this poem starts sailing.

I think this offering shows truly the ways writers can get imaginative and instruct about their struggles to relay to others who might feel this way. And all poems like these have happy endings? The fairytale ending is fiction. In reality, we have this. We have a poem that must go through another chapter, perhaps a trilogy or an episodic series to complete it's journey For me, that next step is editing.

If it wasn't written with pen, we'd be introducing the eraser. Perhaps, the editor's pencil, with it's blue markings to highlight sections, words and places where improvement is possible, but not necessary. This is just a review with some thoughts about what I saw that might help you advance this vision a little more.

For instance, I'm all about direct action. Verbs lag behind nouns as poets tend to use commas too much. I suggest a new placement for crumbled to make it an adjective so we can get rid of that pesky comma as I illustrate below:

And threw down the pen while paper crumbled,
Was tossed in the bin.


And threw down the pen while crumbled paper
was tossed in the bin.

It's not a big change and more direct. It's a minor issue for me, maybe not at all for others. Something I suggest to just consider how words are arranged and how a new sentence construct can make a read flow better. (Though, careful not to lose that poetic flavor or voice that defines you.) Commas and indirect verbs tend to slow or trip up reads, and can be employed when you really want that feel. I like a smooth read there.

Just a small oops here:

Everyday it her watched her pain.

And one other point about that sentence that a poet could really consider...employing the right words to fit with metaphor, theme, or in this case, personification. Among the sensory tools, would you say a pen has sight or touch? I do not imagine a pen with eyes but plastic or metal skin. It should convey feel when the pen associates with the writer's pain. And 'watched' is not a strong word here.

What do you want the pen to experience in that pivotal moment? How is the pen like a muse? To me, a reader has to consider why this pen is so important to story. It seems the hero, the angel, the empathizer, the instrument that has magic and the power to change the story.

Perhaps, when personifying, you want to give this pen some relatable properties that can be employed to hone theme and metaphors. This line and all words that personify should align and give the reader an ability to surmise what's special, help visualize and connect with that instrument.

(at this stage of the review, I realize how much I'm putting into this. long-winded it might seem, I'll try to wrap up as best I can.)

I realize the pen does not contribute in the conflict-resolution aspect, because there is none. There could be. And, I realized this when I read:

A poetic rainbow soared across pages.

I know considering a rewrite might alter the free associating episode that produced this raw piece. Editing a dream is very hard. We are informed by the vision and the outcome. Sometimes, we take that vision further, once experience informs. I'm informed by that rainbow.

If it were worked into the poem earlier, as that moment of inspiration described, it can go beyond this something suddenly changed, where nothing was visualized, felt or realized.

I really like the employed feathers in connection with that rainbow. The poet is soaring toward something. It could suggest power of that pen to be described. Personify the gift of it's elements...through that touch that connects to the writer's imagination. I say this because a pencil was my tool of choice once upon a time, when properly sharpened, it artfully scrawled upon my notebooks until visions appeared.

There's something about the employment of some instrument, just the right one, that makes these visions come forth. In the way you personify your writing instrument, you could give it characteristics and abilities to give weight to this piece, really flesh out this fantasy of how writers connect with their muses in unique ways.

I think you are onto something with this and have great imagination to bring it to life. If you play with it more, who knows what more it could yield. I find most often here writers never edit, just move on to the next. Hopefully, I didn't go on too long and bore you. Just saw something with potential and wanted to share how I responded and where I see this poem going.

Brian

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Further apologies if there are grammar or spelling issues that might make this review difficult to understand, as I am legally blind.


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Review of Pain  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Elexis LaFay ,

This is a poem that has the brave heart to tell it like it is about one who toys with affection. It's a poem about setting boundaries and finding strength, which makes statements to affirm newfound conviction.

The beauty of "Pain is its awkward nature. Revealing oneself and getting stronger as the lines at first reveal the pain and then divulge what will follow show a narrative from a point of view of one who plans on becoming a survivor.

This poem did like detail or visual images to give us a scene or characters, but it is still relatable and subject well read in these parts and among the fare that many might relate with.

This was straightforward and perhaps could use poetic devises and structure to lend to the overall theme. Or, it may be a poem that is just one part of a poetic journey to fulfillment. Time will tell.

Thank you for sharing this,

Brian

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Review of Hope  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear Angel ,

I saw a lot of good in this poem "Hope devised to send a message or messages about hope and its relatable themes. I felt the poet was nurturing this offering of hope in an encouraging way. It was a poetic construct that seemed to not know what it intended or needed to be. I think the writer was consuming a lot of information and using multiple approaches of framing those words that would be lacking in the luster it deserves.

Foremost, I enjoyed the message of hope and the points it gets across. These words deserve a keen observist to put all these thoughts into context that readers will nod in agreement with. I think it is basic logic and is considerate of how we react to situations that try our will to put forward our best selves in these situations the poet describes.

Second, is the form or forms used in this poem. It fooled me into thinking this was a rhyming poem in the beginning. It might be more freeverse than traditional with its undisciplined blend. Focusing on traditional rhyme really forces a poet to consider what's chosen to give rhythm that pounces on those paired words, as it needs.

I felt at the outset, this poem did well in that regard. But, it may have been difficult to achieve throughout and was abandoned, especially by the last verse, for freeverse with an end rhyme. That was good, too. These are things that distract a reader from message and what is needed sometimes, if you really desire, to capture an audience.

Another concern is to borrow clichés as question into the opening of the poem. I do not have a problem with this, if they are not overused and are what is needed to begin building this idea. Perhaps, taking one anecdotal question and building off that, one verse at a time, with any point being made here, might be enough to chew on before going on to the next. The focus on hope was supplemented by more broadening messages and may have strayed a bit from the title theme.

This is what I like about being singular in approach to something being discovered in words this way. You can build theme and subject through comparative words and use of imagery and metaphor to focus more keenly on what you express. If more subjects try to rear their heads, associations can be made, but should be brief. Better to save these other notions for other poems to get that same special focus. Clear and concise with use of poetic devices could really help send this message of hope.

I could and probably have written a hundred or more poems on the subject of hope from all different angles. It is a very good theme and message for a poetic construction like this. Your title alone was enough to draw my eye and interest. Hopefully, you're not done with this message and continue to strive with your art to relate these feelings to audiences who will pry to see what you've written.

It was a pleasure to read and consider your poetry for feedback. I apologize for any grammar problems and confusion with my attempt to review. If there are any concerns that need clarification, please respond and I will attempt to revise my feedback.

Brian

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