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

I've considered this poem "Homecoming for its descriptive ability regarding a cat that greets owner upon arrival home. What I can relate to as a person owned by two cats is that they do what they want, but they can be very rewarding to the owner that thinks they own them.

Your description of the feline and its actions help the visual perception of story and give a reader a smile about the pesky pet's behavior. I think I see a couple opportunities to improve the read of the text.

1) Mewing from inside/calls to me: hurry!

I had to read a few times to understand the open to this poem. If you can be precise or tease a reader enough to guess what is happening, it helps so we are not already lost. Making 'mewing' the noun in this sentence structure is making me look at this several ways before I can decide.

'Her mewing'? Would that work okay? Does it have to be described as mewing, yet? I know the scene. I've been on the other side of that door. Tease the reader, maybe, here?

2) paws massage my shoulder.

This seemed awkward. Would it be better to say, 'paw massages my shoulder...'? I've been told by structuring words this way requires a hyphen to show their connection and probably should be 'paw-massages...'

3) Whose green eyes are that in the mirror? I thought we were describing the cat? Unless you are, then how did it get gold locks? Or, did the face of the cat interrupt that of the human in the reflection? Then, more precise description needed.

I thought the ending was cute. But, did the cat get redundantly described as 'tiger-striped' there? You could change it up. I like the image of the toes there. I would look for one other way to describe kitty and it could be about the action rather than appearance. It could be "disembodied paws poke from beneath the jacket hanging over the chair," or something.

On the title: I don't think 'Homecoming' best describes this poem of yours. You could call it 'Tiger' or 'The Beast Within' or simply 'Where Have You Been?' just to name a few.

Just a some thoughts or ideas I had to share after reading this charming little poem.

Brian

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Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
"Land, sea, forest. was a difficult poem to fully comprehend, so I took my time. I've revisited on three occasions over a period of a week. Now, I'm ready to give it a try.

ground my home, coffin my cave, come forth if you are so brave.
Steal from the poor, give to the rich, all at once..."BURN THE WITCH!!"

Sea my land, ocean my earth, come and prove your worth
Throughout the test of time, begins to rust, forgets to shine...

Fauna my children, plants my priest, innocence and truth are what you believe
Always found in luscious green, always there but never seen.


What I am trying to relate is the land to sea to forest when we have ground sea and plants as the introductions to each stanza. In each, it is equated unfamiliar properties, like expressing the sea or ocean can be land or earth. Either this is redundancy or there are some intricacies to this poem that cannot be understood.

There is also the structure and cadence to the words formed that sound spiritual and mystic. But the inconsistencies are in the comparisons because we go from witches in first stanzas, to nothing in second and priests in third. There is no true progression.

What I find are a lot of misleading imagery that does not fully coalesce. It does give visions and some thought that the poet was creating something otherworldly, but it did not fully come together for me.

I think what would have helped is a better description line. The title might be just what it is on the face of it and therefore a poem that does not go below the surface where I got lost and did not see the poet's dream.

Brian

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Review of If I  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
"If I is a simple poem driving off the title theme almost like a song without a chorus. I think it did need something that could be inserted to restructure like a break of that repeated intro and landing line seven verses long.

Pretty much ever stanza would end with the repeated, "I would know it was you." I think going beyond three or four verses with the revelation could be overkill to a reader. The poem is free verse. It's not tied to structure or rhyme, but could be built so that could get away from the same expressive rut.

The revelations, however, are perfect. It's a feeling you get that you know that someone is there. This could be meant to imply a special connection with someone all the way to feelings of a spirit of someone no longer living. We can feel another life force, sense some presence.

What's also important is how special this someone is, that it moves the narrator to express and share what it feels like to know and speak of the connection. How many people know when they see a shadow on the wall that it will give a feeling of who it was? Or, walk into an empty room and know that someone had been there, or could be present.

It's a special connection that is worthy of sharing in this poem like an ode. It can relate to readers who've had similar feelings and can find connections and relations to this type of special someone.

I think with a little restructuring, like adding a change up or a chorus, would make this a more satisfying read.

Brian

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Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is actually a very sweet poem full of innocence and experience. It's amazing what little ones can teach us, like basic fundamentals and things we forget. Things we forget that a special and deserve to be appreciated.

We have a poem in "on a walk with my child that expresses how things are viewed for the first time, or experienced by a little one sharing with parent. It's a great device for uniquely expressive poetry, because children don't come complete with standardized expressions and clichés. They wave "to the shadow folks *and) to our surprise, they waved right back!"

In this way, parents also use their own imagination to have fun with what they see and share together.

This is a nicely shaped poem with mostly couplets that doesn't force too much on a reader or go too fast, as with a little one who is taking in everything slowly and deliberately. It is this sort of appreciable pace that sets a narrative tone that also acts like a teacher. As parents, it's important we properly express what we see to them. It shows care to open their eyes to the world in this way.

The only part I struggled with a little was the child 'wrapping your small hand around mine.' While the small hand can probably clutch the width of an adult hand, I don't imagine it going around. I visualize a grip or clutch of the back of a hand. I imagine it warm and soft. There might be better ways to describe this without giving a reader a brief hiccup.

If I could be picky about one other thing...where do 'the echoes hide'? The second line of that couplet was about counting leaves on a tree and did not answer or connect. Might have been lone verse that lacked cohesion or enough description. I like the idea of shouting into the tunnel of a playground slide to wonder about echoes, or something like that.

Overall, it was a pleasure to read.

Brian

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Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
"The Friendship Tree was fully focused on how a tree grows, ages and withers. It gives a reader and wonder of how imagination inspired a poem like this. It did need to be a little clearer on where the tree produced a seed from the area of a root that would relate to a friendship regrowing. A weakness or inconsistency within the poem.

Much like the tree used as a metaphor to describe a friendship, this was unruly at times despite a consistent rhyme. It's tone was consistent throughout with this building relationship like a tree, where the main focus remained. I didn't see characteristics of a relationship within the tree metaphor that I could attribute associations beyond generalizations of a friendship that had it's ups and downs.

The poem started out sowing seeds, plural, but only one tree growing from this. I would think a better metaphor would be to plant one seed together and watch that friendship grow. It doesn't get into how a tender tree starts out, it just shoots right up and is protecting the two from storms. There could be a proper progression to follow, as with the stages of a friendship.

They have fun together at first, then get through some drama before friendship gets stronger through trust and being their for one another through all the trials and tribulations. They are the tree and because of their bond, they protect each other, shelter one another.

I think the visualization of this tree must either stay with them or be portrayed wholly and separately from them like some mystical, magical thing imagined between them that helps this relationship along.

When you talk about 'fix her' I came to realize we don't understand how to care for a tree. Irony, perhaps? Perhaps, through misunderstandings of what it takes to maintain a tree, it could get diseases that aren't fatal like apple scab rather than ones that are untreatable like root rot. Just research and consider the life of a tree and how that is similar to a friendship.

With a tree metaphor, you can could have a love so strong, it invites shade in the hot summer. It protects from the blasts of winter. It provides a place for birds and other animals to nest or roost. Maybe, something about how it changes in fall just as friends go through changes over time. But, even while growing, still the same through all the years.

There is so much to explore with the extended analogy for a friendship. You could take what is here and do so much more

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

Brian

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Review of Strings  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Dear Alena Victoria ,

Powerful emotion in this poem "Strings that uses a few metaphors that I would have liked to see developed further. I was intrigued by these 'strings' which as a common, albeit cliché reference to be tied to something or someone, are manipulated by the narrator in this poem to protect oneself from being used or manipulated.

What I am impressed by is how these words can be transformed into song lyrics. Most songs are about emotional struggles, about overcoming obstacles, usually a relationship that has put someone at a deficit. It is all covered here in straightforward fashion.

The open:

How long do you think you can pull on my strings
How long do you think you can control me...


These are questions and it should be noted with the proper punctuation, especially so we know where the thoughts end. It is okay to run on and ramble, because this would typify a person emotionally trying to sort these feelings out:

Breaking my heart, killing my soul
I can’t handle this anymore


I would add a comma after the first line and a period after the last. We are starting to get somewhere here.

The strings are in my grasp" (My favorite line)

A period should end that thought. I also think it might be important to end the verse there, or use a line break to emphasize this thought. It is like the title line, a song's opening line to chorus.

I pull them tightly
Breaking each strand one by one


These two lines are effective. In my mind, I was toying with the structure. You'll do it whatever way suits your poem. For me, I was thinking: 'pulled tightly, each strand/breaks one by one.'

I'm not sure if it's a thing, but some songs have a sort of sub-chorus, and in your poem you have this:

I refuse to be used by you
I refuse to be controlled
I refuse to let you break my heart
And hurt me anymore


I want to add punctuation throughout this poem to help realize the importance of each statement made. 'I' statements like these can be powerful. Now, the following section has some metaphors that could relate to strings, but don't. There's emotion in these words, but how do they relate to strings that control? About taking power from the puppet master...

Abuse is like a fire
It burns your mind and soul
Even through the pain and agony
You can still rise in the ashes
The flames are in my hands
My turn to control them
They lead me through the darkness


Only you can describe the feelings you have. 'rise from the ashes' is what I think you mean. It is a commonly used metaphor. To set your poem apart, I would avoid it and try to build on your title theme to make this unique to you. If you desire.

I refuse to be a toy
I refuse to played with
I refuse to be lied to
I wont let you hurt me anymore


Powerful 'I' statements again that are important to this poem. I think the four lines twice stated should be stand alone stanzas. You could break up this poem anyway you like, or leave it a block of text. Freeverse poetry can bend any which way; but the more pleasing it is organized, the better for the reader.

I enjoyed reading and commenting on your poem. It was a pleasure to consider and lend feedback.

Brian

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Review of Today  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Now here is a poem in "Today that I had a lot of thought about. I read that this is about a person who feigns facing the world by hiding under metaphorical bed covers. It seems imagined.

The poem is a respond to 'word prompt' as described in description. In reading the introductory line of poem, I realized the prompted. But carpe diem it was not. So many opportunities to describe that it is ironic the poet did not step up to this and deliver a descriptive message in response to:

"time and tide wait for no man..."

It's a famous line that has had many iterations throughout the centuries. With a little research, you will find many passages, descriptions and critiques on what this is about. I think just going for something without giving it proper context can lead to boorish and immature expressions that do not fully realize a very famous and worthy quote. It is an opportunity for a writer to expand horizons with discovery. So, I do the googling to find essentially:

The opportunities of life will pass you by if you delay or procrastinate in taking advantage of them.

You could go in many directions with your inspired poem, as some examples here might suggest:

You've had so many chances to get research grants or earn a master's degree, but you never get around to applying for any of them. You're going to end up stuck in the same dead-end career for your whole life, if you're not careful—time and tide wait for no man.

Right? Or, how about:

It's time to leave. Aren't you finished dressing yet?
I can't decide which necktie looks best with this shirt.
Time and tide wait for no man, dear.


One must not procrastinate or delay, as in 'Let's get on with the voting; time and tide won't wait, you know.' The proverbial phrase, alluding to the fact that human events or concerns cannot stop the passage of time or the movement of the tides, first appeared about 1395 in Chaucer's Prologue to the Clerk's Tale. The alliterative beginning, time and tide, was repeated in various contexts over the years but today survives only in the proverb, which is often shortened (as above).

Another proverb, time and tide wait for no man if you don't make use of a favorable opportunity, you may never get the same chance again. Although the tide in this phrase is now usually understood to mean ‘the tide of the sea’, it was originally just another way of saying ‘time’, used for alliterative effect.

Stop procrastinating; do it now. Or, just do it. Nike? Like the course of neither time nor the seas’ tides can be halted or delayed, so you’d better get on with what you’re supposed to do.

Yup, so much to take away. But time and tide could wait for an impatient writer who doesn't want to put in the work before setting down thoughts in words and resulting actions.

I think this poem does express particular emotions about fear and not wanting to approach a new day, or try, for fear of failure. I think it's a little left of the proverbial saying but came forward with about the same notion.

Hope this feedback inspires a poet to consider research before writing to a prompt, any prompt, even if not famous.

Brian

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

I enjoy coming across lyrics from time to time and see how writers here craft them. I found the structure of "I WOULD IF I COULD a bit unusual, assuming the labeling of verses to be unnecessary. But, I enjoyed the simplicity and straightforwardness of the song.

The description line read a little awkward and suggest 'life with my children' or 'my children's lives and mine' to read better. I also had some suggestions for the chorus. Flow is important, obviously, to lyrics. The personal pronoun is used a lot. For flow, I think first line of chorus flows better as, 'if I only could...' Without hearing how it would be performed, that was my observation.

Getting to line three of that song's chorus, perhaps dropping the introductory 'I' and connecting the second line to the third line as a way of rocking from one thought to the next might work more fluidly.

I am also intrigued by what inspires the song. The description line suggests what it's about. Yet, the song lacks description other than Collingwood. Because the town name is unique to the song, and family is important, I would tie just a few words with those times in the song for flavor.

I also like the idea of Collingwood as the title, feeling like a Crosby, Stills and Nash folk song or something, in my head. Not for me to tell you what to do with the song; but as a writer, I imagine there are ways to give people connections to an era, things a family did during that time, what Collingwood was like in those days, etc.

Nostalgia and sentimentality are very effective tools to a writer recalling wistfully. What would the song sound like if all the personal pronouns were dropped and all you talked about were the kids and Collingwood? There are different ways just to look at this song you were inspired to write and see other possibilities.

I don't know if you are a performer of music or what genre you'd classify these lyrics as. I do think lyric writing is a worthy cause, if you have a song in your heart to match. I wish you the best with this and your future writing endeavors,

Brian

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Review of The Lost Ones  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Dear Agent-409 (cool username BTW),

I really enjoyed this passionate poem "The Lost Ones that sets scene and story and relates to reader the sadness of a two "lost ones" who find each other during the war. It is a poem that could have even more impact with some minor edits. I have questions to go with suggestions.

My first wonder was why "Him and her, he and she..."? Either we're talking about two couples or it's redundant. I get that the poet is going for some kind of freestyle rhythm in the read, but is it worth distracting a reader to indulge in wasteful words? Sometimes, we have to separate our own personal tendencies to treat the poem with more love and respect.

A gardener just doesn't let a bush grow wildly, but precisely prunes to help it grow where it needs to bloom more satisfyingly. I would cut one of the two utterances to put focus on the more important words. Another way to get around it is to separate the two lines within the full stanza's text, if you want to get back to highlight that budding relationship. Try him and her earlier and produce the he and she a little later, to keep them in the mix without redundancy? a thought.

Also, some articles and prepositions detract from the strong words employed. Some words I suggest deleting...

First suggested edit: He would sing sung back the tales of youth.

Second: AndDespite the destruction...

Third: to watch as one sun become...

Fourth: For The path was littered...

Fifth (a bit tangled): [original] They wished only for what had once been...
                    [suggested] They only wished what once had been...

I don't like to suggest tightening too much. But, I find as I get rid of other words, the storytelling aspect is weakened by an edited narrative. I looked hard at one expression: with bombs bursting horizons. Horizons should be singular, if it is shared. I also thought dropping 'with' and getting right to 'bombs burst their horizon' it might be more direct and poignant. Just hard to tell what the poet fully wanted to convey, so I can only suggest and not recommend a change.

I think there are more opportunites to describe. A reader might wonder how they met. If we want to skip that and get right to the union, that's good, too. But, what are we seeing but some strong emotions within the visions of war. I think it could be explored further. It has great potential and a very nice piece to read and consider.

I appreciate you sharing this here and having a chance to lend feedback.

Brian

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

This poem gives a reader pause to wonder why the poet put these two contrasting flowers together in a poem for a reader to witness. I enjoyed the theme and the takeaways with little objection to the statements.

I saw moments within the text where I was imagining different ways to handle the words. I think my own biases apply sometimes, but are not necessarily what is needed for the author of this work. It reminds that writers work in different ways, approach subjects differently. But, I want to share what this poem revealed to me.

As good poets know, the opening stanza of the poem is vital to hooking and keeping a reader invested in the words we apply, any developing narrative or story. I found a few moments where I thought this is a direct telling of what is being witnessed and felt.

It felt a bit intrusive to say what to feel rather than let me experience as the consumer. That again is a matter of taste. But when I look at these following words, I wanted to rearrange them in the vase of my own thought:

A drop of dew fell sensually through
The open lips of a rose.
It cascaded down to a closing frown
Of night-time orange marigold.


How my mind was reforming this vision:

Sensually, a drop of dew licked
the open lips of a rose,
a small cascade fell to drip
the frowns of night-orange marigold.


The sensations I feel need to be unique and metaphysical. Word associations are important, as I attributed the color of the marigold to the night. I also changed that open to make it seem that rose was more special, as if the dew chose it first over the marigolds, even though we know that would not be true.

I enjoyed the overall tone and theme of this poem and the potential for personification and the perspective that both the rose and marigold are unique to one another and special in their own ways. But, I disagree that the marigold is forever, because it is an annual that would need a gardener's love to return every year by saving and replanting its seeds.

The rose is a perennial and more highly coveted as a gift between lovers. The connotations in poetry alone would tell a reader one is better than the other.

But, here you had a poem where they shelter together. Despite their contrasting species, each is loved by the narrator of this poem who attributes their values. And from that perspective we can trust that they are equally appreciated.

It was a good poem and one that I was inspired to read and lend my feedback on.

Brian

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Review of In Crowd  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
{font:3.5}Dear RadioShea ,

  I'm reading a poem in "In Crowd that has a theme and subject matter with
  driving phrase 'wanted, included' that I can currently relate to. But, when I
  think about it, this is really something that a tween could read to totally
  understand what the struggle is all about to be among peers.

  Sad that it's so cyclical and true, how a poem like this reveals we can
  get trapped by the need to be a part of something. In this life, if you don't
  have enough self-esteem/backbone, the need to fit in could get people to
  conform to fit in. It's a natural instinct to want to belong. What's worse,
  is when others see this weakness, exploit it to apply pressure to make people
  feel left out, or want to try to appease or buy in, thinking you'll be
  included.

  I found the structure of your poem to be solid, but the grammar and
  punctuation needed work to make this a fully coherent read. I liked the
  driving words and quite possibly as the title to this poem instead. the
  summation also worked for me. The poet had to break from what started
  to sound like a mental mind chant of a whiny, resentful person and lead
  to an awakening, like coming to the realization and the lesson to be
  learned from this poem.

  The writer turns the narration about face on us by turning away from
  this blind mantra to show that the mindlessness is being mimicked for
  purpose of conveying story. I can appreciate that you broke from that
  character to portray the true voice of reason.

  Ultimately, this poem embraces difference, being unique and not trying
  to think like all the rest. What's the latest trend, how to speak, what
  to buy or how to behave in circles. This celebrates breaking away from
  that and relying one's true ability to shine for makes us special.
  Nice work.

  Brian

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Review of Porcelain Hands  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Dear Scotty1615 ,

This poem "Porcelain Hands was very smoothly written and flows well for a freeverse poem that uses some of the traditional rhyming flavor to start the ride and get us in the mood for this offering.

Her hands flow to the beat.
She moves with the rhythm
and makes me feel complete.


Here you are setting up tempo and rhythm, keeping the lines short and punctuating a bit with that rhyme to set the mood, set scene. We have a buddy romance poem in the works, one that gets the reader involved with the narrator to see where this hopeful write goes.

Like porcelain hands that
look fragile to touch.
I reach in slowly
gently.
Afraid so much.


This also is smooth and reads nicely, with a few hiccups from the punctuation issues I saw. You ended the first sentence too early or needed a comma, as did 'slowly, gently, Afraid so much." At this point, too, I noticed inconsistencies in capitalization. Some poems start with a capital on every line, no matter what. Freeverse, thanks mainly to e.e. cummings, uses low case throughout. But, sticking with normal capitalization, within the lines that act as broken up sentences with affect on flow, you can pleasurably display this text.

Feeling the warmth
and delicacy.
I slide my fingers through hers.


I would put a comma after 'delicacy' as you connect two thoughts here. Getting back to setting scene, you do nicely to describe using words that have an affect on how this voice is sensitive to his tender subject.

Our eyes meet and I tremor.
We melt together
and drift away
with blissful murmurs.


These lines I like best and they do well to punctuate the end of this brief scene. We are inspired by something that feels in the moment. Anyone who loves attraction and new beginnings can appreciate the way this interaction is depicted. Words like 'tremor' and 'murmur' work so well as sensory, emotional words that do make us 'melt' as we consume this scene.

The beauty of some poems is knowing when to end, how to complete a brief encounter descriptively without lingering or meandering over subject. The fits a perfect sequence of events. We are not going back and forth inside the narrator's mind with wonderment. It is straightforward and reactionary within some brief moments. This toys with perfection, as shown to a reader.

If you had a slightly better hook with words as strong in the beginning as in the finish, you might have something even more powerful. The opposite, however, could also be true. How do these encounters begin? Maybe, it's not boom! impactful moment. This slides in soft and slow. It feels like something that could have already been building. It's like we turned on the radio to get to the sweet chorus of a sweet song. It's a moment like this that hooks us and makes us a fan of the melody, in the case, your poem.

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

Brian

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

Here is a short little poem with a provoking thought. A wonderment that might be rare, but a pleasure to consume and consider. It's an odd question and one that my google search could not find evidence of being proposed before this. Though, it does suggest when we stir, it is the devil. When we pray to settle our minds, the devil is sent away. But, it is interesting to note that it would get the devil's attention.

Now, you could propose the devil expressively, as in a part of ourselves. We stir something evil within when we are trying to connect with god. We might think the worst thoughts as we pray, like he won't answer. Like I really see the opposite side of good while I'm praying, because we always ponder the alternative. That might suggest a person of faith who has doubt, who has not been influenced by good and seeks pray to strike a more right balance.

It also might denote superstition. Our minds work in wonderfully weird ways sometimes. We have our own truths to label things, explain or categorize to fit the functions of the inner workings of a developed mentality. And, if I'm overanalyzing, it's the writer just going with it and composing something out of thin air.

However we develop our philosophies through critical thinking, I think it's important to research and find if there is evidence supporting or contradicting suppositions like this. It could bring a whole new set of thoughts that could fuel an even deeper and more thoughtful, spiritual perspective.

Thanks for sharing,

Brian

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

There is much for a reader to witness psychologically with this poem, but a narrative voice that is overanalyzing a relationship in question that would suggest this person is suffocating the other. Perhaps, deliberately showing signs of insecurity or obvious signs of a rift in the relationship?

It's common to wonder if they've lost that special feeling, that the relationship needs to be rekindled. Here we have a poem that goes as far as to wonder if a cancer has grown between them. Usually, that means these problems have lingered for so long, it would take a miracle or a surgeon's touch to repair...figuratively. I found this wonderment akin to a Righteous Brothers song dramatizing about losing someone, who's lost that loving feeling.

I'd pay particular attention to sentence fragments and punctuation errors. There's a way to get away from some of the fragments because of the growing questions. As they add up or run on, as it were, add those question marks at the end of incomplete thoughts that ramble on to the next question. Area I highlight:

Am I wrong to think that if I’m online and you’re online? (need to remove 'and' or the ?, I assume)
That I must give priority to your messages because you’re all mine (?, ends in question mark)
Am I supposed to be ok with you not praying because of me?
As though a cancer that gnaws at your spirituality (?, add another question mark)

Overall, it was intriguing to read. I like to see inside the minds of narrator's. It's dialogue driven. No showing. Poetry can come at all angles. Sometimes, describing character nuances and the visual things, while adding other sensory detail, can spice up a poem. This observant narrator could dig deeper to paint mental pictures for readers. The images could be attached to emotions the narrator gets from collecting all this evidence that leads to doubt. Just a suggestion, maybe for future projects.

Thanks for sharing,

Brian

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Commemorating 13 years of Power Reviewers group.


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

I read this with great interest. I'm sharing my review as part of the 13th year of SuperPower Reviewers.

Wouldn't a prayer be like a lottery ticket you didn't have to pay for, except to feel vulnerable monologuing to someone you doubt cares or even exists? This poem reminds how difficult it is for people to fully commit to faith. They need proof through some divine intervention.

A close look at the context of what is shared in the bible, God wants to provide lessons rather than 'take the wheel' as one way of describing it. Can you imagine being told all the time what to do without experiencing life on your own journey? Lessons are learned along the way. Maybe, the lesson was to seek the help of friends? Building a bond with people who can be like Jesus and give of their time and gifts, isn't that divine?

Whatever it is we're supposed to do with our lives, it requires putting in work on our part. That is what this poem reminds me about. We want the fantasy, but aren't we being selfish to believe it would be handed to us (land in our lap), rather than work toward goals to achieve what we desire. And in the end, the process is what teaches us the value and meaning of life. There is also that sense of self and accomplishment as masters of our own destiny. That would sound like there is no divinity, and that might be the truest approach to question God's existence.

We can have everything, if we choose to believe it is to be happy and secure in whatever outcomes we are delivered. I think this poem is a teaching moment for anyone who'd rather lean on others, to be let down by them, rather than relying on oneself. And, that can include choosing the right friends and they in returning committing friendship in return.

Well done. Sorry I only spoke to message, but it was a weighty one.

Brian

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Review of Who Am I?  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Strange Brain ,

Well done, using all the words for the Writer's Camp prompt. I look at the list: News broadcast, cycling, banana peel, lotion against sun burn and fences, and thought it couldn't be done, by me anyways.

When I think of that list, it lacked enough cohesion to try. It felt like it would take a lot of work to stick those words together, but here you did it. I understand what I was not considering. That was to use them as basically metaphors in statements that could offer a kind of cohesion.

I liked the conclusion, which did not require any of the suggested words. It felt right, because you are using someone else's words to make a statement. While the first three stanzas weren't necessarily connected to one another, you make it work by noting that they all came together because of the writer's prompt. Not the ideal end, but it does function.

Good job with this.

Brian

Happy 13th Birthday to the Power Reviewers Group

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Review of Night Shift  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Dear Joto-Kai ,

How many people have read this poem and said they don't understand it, or just slop some words together and tell you how good it was and move on? I'm going to attempt to unravel the mystery of "Night Shift, though it may seem very apparent to some.

The Hamlet quote is a nice description to introduce this piece. I have it in my mind to wonder if this is about death, but it is most definitely an expression for it and the necessity for sleep.

I had to consider these surroundings. I had to wonder what was happening to the narrator. I can assume this person who is tired and working the counter at some quick mart and trying to stay alert. There is this trippy, subconscious atmosphere being described until the narrator becomes a little more alert when someone menacing walks in. I could assume from the wordless exchange this 'customer' could rob or do damage of some kind. But, we have to wonder how coherent the voice in this poem is.

I liked the use of colors to describe surroundings that become surreal. I like the notion that caffeine cannot help in this severe state, this obligation to mind the store. It's ironic that to sleep perchance to dream is still observed because these revelations border the surreal. And, it lends perfectly to poetry when it loosely describes glass doors and sneering faces.

It appears the arrival of life brings this person nearer to consciousness with the realization that the mind will continue to play tricks once the boredom inspired by these conditions set in again. The encounter with the customer perhaps was fuzziest for me. It may be apparent to others. I can assume this person, like an apparition, knows the narrator is in a position of weakness, maybe because of sleep state, with the "I could have done it" line? It's assumed this person came into the store somewhat obtrusively or aggressively? Rushes somewhere dark to get something to purchase? I just couldn't wrap my head around the muffled 'cellophane' screams or the significance of a smudge left.

Best descriptive moment for me,

"Addled, adrift, I sway—
a leaf in the wind—
moving as I must..."

I also like doors like glass curtains. There's a fuzziness to these surroundings. There is the mind at work trying to strike a balance between this altered state and reality. It compels with a sense of danger, helplessness, in this condition.

Some of my other wonderments include: how does one fan their toes out, assuming they wear shoes? Visually deceptive without further description like there could be sandals on feet? Just a small thing I wrestled with.

Hamlet contemplated death. This person contemplates sleep. A poem that sets up well and was fun to consume in it's funhouse, imaginative way. Though, loosely based on experience, no doubt. Thanks for sharing.

Brian

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Review of Quantum Poetry  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear peach ,

I took a leap of faith on quantum physics when I discovered this nifty little poem "Quantum Poetry. I like the idea of parallel universes and subjective truths. Superstring theory is fun to spray about in a poem. I think about how those nine dimensions might work with a poem like this in only one dimension of time. I think you tease with the possibilities with this witty little anecdote.

I think the heart of this poem definitely ascribes to poets and the construction of words with bendable meanings, based on how we relate and teleport those meanings to readers. Here you say:

"Quantum poetry by its very nature changes what it describes.
Why not challenge comfortable explanations?"

Indeed. This is the heart of where I take on subject truth. I think each of us can apply our own meaning, sometimes opposed to the author because we something deeper, hidden. We see words like sliding doors with different meanings, that when reassembled could be a differently colored Rubik's Cube.

You've touched on the imagination of words and what inspires writers in any dimension. I think how you end the poem applies the notion that what matters here is likely not the same somewhere else. That dimension could be just across this internet portal to another writing community member who takes a slightly different view. I have my own unique truths about the way the world and words within it.

That does inspire someone from another dimension, in the same time. Hey, it's me!

Fun to read and consume,

Brian

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

I enjoy poems about nature and discovered yours quite randomly and noticed a few things that were enjoyable and some things I thought could be improved about with "Reverence.

What stood out was the unusual rhyme scheme, which the form I did not see noted. The poem is simply described as observation of a hill. I think the poet went much deeper with the rhyme scheme and expressions used to show a scene in nature unifying, having an affect on the viewer.

Quite possibly, we take something away from how this is described to reflect on the attitude of the narrator. By the gentle depictions of a new day dawning, we take in the vista with trees and sun and the slanted hill.

I had to wonder about the adjectives 'slanted' and 'raging' because they doubly describe or over-describe what is a soft arrival. I think I'd reconsider those words. What I found to be a fatal flaw is 'coniferous,' as it equates to 'leafless.' Conifers, I had to check, are pines. No leaves. They might be leafless, if they are being described as bare. But, it's misleading.

I liked that you worked in emotion with 'frightened' into the scene. It can describe how something looks, and does quite well where it sat. I liked the anticipation of morning and how light was showing on the bark of oak. There's your leafless.

I think overall you handled this poem pretty well. I could be wrong, but I think you could revise the part about how trees are being presented. And, I will take a note of your rhyme scheme that flowed within that text effortlessly without forcing words.

It was a pleasure to read and comment,

Brian

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Review of I am not a poet  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
whatever you write is poetry

Dear Fitz .

A bit of irony with this "I am not a poet, since it is a poem and you claim not to be a poet. Either you copied someone else's thoughts about not being a poet...inconceivable. When I read this I was reminded of what a former poet laureate shared with me, that whatever you write is poetry. However, she wasn't saying whether it was good poetry or not.

Let's consider further this theme you developed that is meant to be more expressive about the writer's feelings about experience. This is where you actually discuss what is described as poetry. You're not saying you cannot construct verses, like you have shown. You're saying you have not lived life well enough to relate deep, emotional experiences. I can appreciate this tack you've taken.

I like the title as the opening line and setting up the argument that you support with your lines of verse. It shows good structure and forethought. How it lays out might seem a little too dramatic, but that is what poets do. Further proof you are a poet. I think it was said in an actor's studio that not having pain to draw on as experience can also inform oneself as pain (don't look that up, I embellished). You did that with this poem.

Here is a narrative of someone wanting to experience, needing to explore and feel. It gives the reader only one question to ponder, 'what's holding you back?' I think you set out to describe common experiences to the more supernatural or nature experiences to share the pain of lacking emotional depth. You summarize about this at the end, using words 'frozen,' 'numb.'

The writer hasn't explored enough. There is still something lying beneath. But, that is a poem for another day. We are informed about this numbness, this sorrow for lack of sorrow, and joy. As a reader, we might want to assign what causes a poet to opine in this way: like easing off the meds a bit, or what childhood trauma is being repressed, or assume there's a fear of failure -- the future and ability to approach these things shadow or dwarf one who is not up to the task.

Your poem is appropriate and lays out well. It covers all it needs. There are technical issues with the write that could be addressed. I see potential for a tighter read that might come from further experience, when you are ready to revise, after some growth. One specific issue I caught:

"I have yet to choke on the black and complete despair
of losing someone valuable to yourself
or the loss of ones self..."

This both goes to the need for a tighter write while addressing 'yourself' and first person. It sounds awkward and repeats 'self,' and should read 'valuable to myself (or me, with tighter write).' I would suggest leaving out one of the references. It could read:

I have yet to choke on the black and complete despair
of losing someone valuable to me...


The repeated first person is needed for dramatic event. If another person, say 'you' was introduced to the poem as comparative, as if speaking to someone specific or the reader, you could get away with 'myself' and 'oneself' in those lines. But, it's not been established in the poem that the poet relates to anyone else but self. Though, there is some vagarities when we stumble upon the phraseology in stanza two: "or the experience of dancing butterflies/as the one you adore brushes up against you."

So, there you have some difficulties in rewriting while constraining the text not to be misunderstood or misleading. Otherwise, a fine write and an interesting perspective. It was a pleasure to read and lend feedback.

Brian

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

What I see in your poem "Death Of A Thousand Cuts is a depth of a emotion bordering on the dramatic. I see a title that doesn't fully coalesce with poem in the 'vers libre' construct. I'm reminded of my poetry instructor at community college pointing out my choice of adjectives and how my words didn't sound poetic enough, after I saw you use 'nasty' to modify.

I think the depth of emotion this poem conveys shows you have the strength to dig deeper and connect with those feelings that inspired this effort. Connecting those emotions to actual events with facts linked to nouns and descriptions to describe location, people, their projected behavior that cause such deep emotion allow a reader to connect fully to subject.

That being said, there aren't many who've dealt with love in this way who can't say they don't connect with the message. My point would be, to be unique, to really move someone to come back and read again and again, you need flashes of images, moments that depict these feelings to wash over us. For instance, like a German/European Art film with abstract construct of images to deliver a message we think about long after we walk away from the theatre. In your theatre, what words wash over you when you replay events that cull these emotions?

That's more of what I'd like to see with this poem you have offered. I think it's great to work with a poetry form while developing text to fill it. It's a great way to develop critical thinking and writing habits at the same time. If you like the form, or another other for that matter, I would suggest applying words with a paint brush of thought when filling those forms. To fill with emotion, try punching us directly with fact -- take a shot at the gut, the knees, places where we don't see it coming. I'm speaking expressively, you see.

You no doubt have had a wealth of input on this poem and have heard many reviewers go on about your write that you might have had input like mine before. So, whether you ever edit this further, or just adjust how you might approach a poem, I hope you'll keep these notions in mind.

Brian

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Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Dear Madridista ,

I was intrigued after reading this article to find your bio at another website. It gave me pause to think of all you have experienced as a poet and journalist and I am a bit envious of your position. I think you use it well.

As for this 'non-fiction' item, and I don't know if this website allows 'news' as a category, I was surprised by the mix of hard news with feature story. Your story dovetailed from beginning to ending, but I was taken away after introduction wondering how this was all going to come together.

Obviously, being on another continent, where we are oblivious of most problems of the world, this served as an appetizer to better understanding your nation's politics and regional culture. It made me want to learn more, which I found a good thing about what you shared.

The article was straight forward. I gave a synopsis of the political environment, a distraction with the amusement, then to the harsh reality of a history of its people and government. In our newspapers, we separate this into front page news and feature news. But, I found the odd combination stimulating and thought provoking. I think the cookie cutter ways journalists are forced to create content in America doesn't allow for this kind of a approach to news coverage.

It was a pleasure to read and comment. I hope to return to your pages to read more.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer


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Review of Lost Lust  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Dear Gaea ,

I'm reviewing your poem as a member of the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group.

There's something intriguing your poem "Lost Lust that I could connect with. It takes me back a bit to an attraction where two flirted, couldn't resist and began to explore. Your poem successfully revealed to me that forbidden intimacy from long ago.

Only thing lacking is some kind of setting, situation, description to go on. I could feel the emotion and appreciated clever expressions used to describe how this tryst ends and goes no further. I liked the open and ending verses. Just needed more filler between.

The wheelhouse of this poem was described in the following lines:
A wink of an eye, it was gone so fast,
Unlucky for me, I wished it to last.
A true lust, that’s hard to ignore,
A taboo love, we couldn't explore.


Though (In) A wink of an eye is cliché and believe this is where you could put your mark on it...find unique expressions, possibly through descriptions about how quickly that time passed.

I often write a poem in it's first draft with whatever comes to mind. Then, I look really hard at the language and try to improve it in a way that expresses more fully through imagery, the senses, whatever expressions that can put a reader in a unique moment. It's quality work, but to challenge oneself to rise above the rest, you could go for more, revisit these moments and let the memory become more physically representative of these emotions. As best I can put it.

Felt I needed a better understanding of the taboo part. Perhaps, knowing they shouldn't be exploring their compulsions and any hint what that might be. You could describe what draws them into this desire...perfume, her hemline, his attentive eyes, excuses to near. Things like that. We ask ourselves, what is it about them or the situation that charges it so? So much, that this sensual poetry is created.

I arrived at your poem looking for least viewed items on this website, knowing it would benefit the poems or writers who get ignored here to have attention paid. It was a pleasure to discover and be able to lend feedback.

Brian
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Review of Silent Dolls  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello,

This review went on longer than expected. It was a pleasure to read:

I like that your description line shows how you took a subject that has caused you to respond in poetry to bring to light. It's how we share with the world to appreciate perspective and if we can see the world through another lens.

Here you have a poem in short lines that are double spaced and made me wonder of the need for the structure. Perhaps, it is how these thoughts lay out for the poet in meting out words of discovery.

What I found right off were some minor grammar issues that created sentence fragments that could be fixed through adjusting puncuation. The first two lines did not complete a thought before the first period landed. I would give thought to connecting thought cohesively in this manner.

Let's consider the first four lines where I want to show you a different structure as well:

Vibrant, coloured eyes,
soulless and enchanting,
stare deep into you,
mirror your vanity.


another way, removing more punctuation:

Vibrant, coloured eyes
         soulless and enchanting
stare deep into you
         mirror your vanity.


I removed the 'ings' to more directly relate to subject. I tighter edit would remove "you" because "your" follows shortly thereafter. Word economy is helpful in hitting those key words to trigger reader response.

More opportunities with remaining text:

Critiqued by countless eyes,
a perfect replica silent in frames
on display for the world --
a manufactured beauty.


There are opportunities to rearrange eyes to show what is going on. and the need to remove 'ly' and 'ing' words can get a cleaner, easier read.

The next lines are more difficult to re-envision. The author knows best how to display their write. I've already infringed too much upon it to show how it could be structured more pleasingly.

Upon a pool of disdain,
the lies of images
Seen as clear as day.
The urge to share,
to tackle mundane,
A profitable business
made with lecherous intent.


Just edited some minor stuff. The above just lacked flair, though concretely revealed subject. Though, I question what kind of dolls we are talking about. I initially thought of people on Instagram, but this could be about pornography, too.

The silence of dolls,
dressed in perfect palettes,
are made to please,
and made for fun.


Another thought comes to mind: escort service. It almost sounds like they are forced into it with the word 'silence'. It made me wonder what is being portrayed here exactly, since I cannot infer concretely what the poet suggests.

I found your item in the review boards and hopped in to see if I could offer feedback. I was drawn by the title and the notion of reacting to these 'social media models' though I do not know what they sell.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer


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Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hello,

I discovered this article in the review boards and had some thoughts to share. Let's get to it, shall we?

I have not heard of this. I think this is an article that would do well to contain citation for readers who would want to discover where these facts derive from to confirm or debunk the argument you make in your "article" that reads more like an essay or editorial. You should have some statistics of some kind to show in relation to Covid19 how we're supposed to be better off not wearing masks, as you summarily describe in your final words.

I feel the introduction to this piece lacked clarity about what your specific topic might be. It may be clear in your head, but I had to read awhile to assume that you are saying it is safer without a mask in the midst of coronavirus over wearing one because of the threat of Legionnaire's Disease. It caused me to Google, since you provided no supporting evidence. I think you may have overblown it:

"If diagnosed early, Legionnaires’ disease poses less of a health risk than COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Most cases can be successfully cured with antibiotics, and Legionnaires cannot be spread from human to human contact."

That's just one part of an article I discovered and it gave me pause to ponder what we're talking about here. Either, you didn't do enough research to sound knowledgeable on this article, or you have a bias toward not wearing face masks and will use anything to argue against them.

This also totally negates the fact that hospitals rely on all kinds of masks for surgery and more, and there are no epidemics in those environments. But perhaps, your argument misses because a mask in the hands of the wrong person, used incorrectly, might cause this disease? Ignorance is the key factor during these times about how the virus is spread and what our best defenses are against it. And with the application of masks, how to properly care for them. And masks do little to protect us, just from spreading Covid. Seems there is more at play than just masks, but how we distance, conduct ourselves, keep ourselves sequestered and clean.

Either way, it's safer to wear a mask. And since Republicans on up to the President are now endorsing them, it's because everyone is seeing the light. Face coverings have been around since the plague and possibly belong (not looking it up). They just got more sophisticated. And if there are particular types now that are more dangerous to wearers, those masks can be, and would be, recalled and retracted from our current situation.

I appreciate the effort to enlighten and give a perspective, but it's dubious in its attempt. But hey, this little writing community isn't a threat to hit the mainstream internet world. Just a few members tasked with reviewing who tune in, maybe read, or move on. WDC really doesn't carry much weight in the mainstream internet traffic arenas. You can write stories like this all day here.

I hope I'm not sounding sarcastic. Just know it's not in the best interests of people who shouldn't be mislead or given an excuse to continue with this childish belief they don't wanna wear a face mask cause it's icky.

Health and life or our citizenry during a very infectious time in our nation needs to get people unified to defeat this deadly, tricky disease.

Brian
Circumpolar Reviewer
If this were an essay paper, you would get worse than a failing grade. On just how it's written and laid out, it's barely passing for structure, lack of citations, false or misleading information, etc. I won't be as harsh.


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