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


This is a long standing argument that I have considered from time to time as a reviewer and writer in this community. I am happy that you addressed it and leant your experiences and passionate takeaway. However, I think there is more you could consider in "On Reviewing Etiquette.

Now, the circumstance you illustrate is perfect. It is the kind of situation that many reviewers come across. We want to help. If someone says they are not good at poetry and want to get better, it says to a fellow poet, show me another way. How do you illustrate that in words? You could offer different examples of where an author could have gone with an idea, as they might be stuck.

In the process, some reviewers might get high handed and rewrite an entire piece for them. This is a natural instinct. It is most likely not welcome, except in rare cases where someone really wants another vision of what they are trying to attempt. No one is saying here's how your poem should read. It's how it could read from the reviewer's perspective, if they are kind and not arrogantly phrasing their feedback offerings.

Would I rewrite another person's poem. Almost 100% No. Do I consider it in some rare instances, Yes, quite often. And the way it is done is in samples of what could be said. We offer stronger words and adjectives and suggest different structures, themes or how to align metaphors and imagery. It's natural to do all these things as would any English teacher who needs to illustrate what is considered best by them.

No one here claims to be the expert, just writers with experience. It is okay to offer revisions. If a writer is not very good, it may mean they have not considered reading good writing. So, another way to demonstrate, is to point them in the direction of good literature like their own, that they are trying to accomplish.

You did such a great job of relating experiences, the failure, the sting and the realization when you have had happen to you what you had done to others. All perfectly natural and not preventable. It will happen as long as this website exists. And for what it's worth, the reviewer gains something from the process of deconstructing and reconstructing. In fact, the review gets more out of it.

Perhaps, reviewers should rewrite the horrible poems into something beautiful and wholly separate from the piece they are reviewing. If it is good enough for their own cache of work, it should be included with a notation of thanks to the original writer for inspiration. As long as they are only using it as a prompt and not sampling heavy sections of the poem. This might also honor the reviewee in a small way.

Good share and takeaways. I appreciate the insight which I have become familiar with in my years as a writer/reviewer here.

Regards,

Brian

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As a legally blind writer/reviewer, I hope you find my grammar and spelling accurate as it's getting harder to edit these reviews. If any concerns or questions, I would hope you follow up and point out to me anything that needs clarification. 5.9.18


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177
177
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Dear grandmapenny,

You make some very solid arguments about reviewing in this community. You launched right into your points like I was walking into the middle of a conversation. It gave me a chuckle.

I think with a lot of patience, a reader can glean a lot of good takeaways from the viewpoints you share. However, it's riddled with structural and grammatical errors, like run on sentences and fragments. That doesn't necessarily mean it's bad, just could use some improvement.

Overall, this feels more like conversation that writing a structured essay, as I see it. You need a thesis, or a main point, to build these 'arguments' you make. It helps for coherency, so a reader can follow your line of thought and where it's going. You point out midway through this article that you noticed a lapse to state something.

It's okay to has something like this out and get all the information you have out there. What makes it easier for people who come to read is have the information flow from one thought to the next logically and structurally.

The one argument that caught1 my eye the most is the stories about 12-yeqr-olds and people who write for therapy here. It's to be expected that people are unaware of a writer's background or the reasons why they write. I expect when they see something that doesn't sound coherent, some might react in a negative way. Bad on them for doing that. They should take the time to consider background, if it exists, for context before sending words. Some just don't have the patience.

Which brings me to my point. Is this the best place to protect a 12-year-old and the mentally weak from harsh realities about their writing abilities? There are safe havens here, but I don't think WDC can protect all writers from criticism. The art of critiquing has been around longer than the written work. As long as someone could grunt discontent. It's a natural part of our reality.

It's unfortunate, but is what it is. We hope that when someone suffers, others are there to pick up the pieces after the fall. After all, who among us has not suffered from sharp criticism in our lifetime, even at 12? How we handle it and move on with resilience is more important. We can't always protect those tender feelings.

I found you have given much thought to reviewing and show great courage to speak your mind and come with keen observations. It was pleasure to consider and lend feedback.

Brian

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Hope in Yourself  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear Kengi ,

I liked this poem "Hope in Yourself because it has logically set up an argument by presenting examples of what 'hope' gets you, while sending a message about self-reliance above all. The poem plays heavily on the Hope theme and drives home many points, almost too robotically at times.

I wanted to see more fun and play in the text rather than driving every line of the first three stanzas with that solitary word. And the way I mean this is, try to start a stanza with the word and introduce all related subjects to it. Start the next the same way. I think if you wanted to go for repetition to make a point, that could have come in the third stanza with hope, hope, hope, hope to start all those lines before turning on the next verse and sending the message home.

There is some poignancy in the things you say. It is a message that many readers can understand because it is straightforward, it speaks it self in plain terms. With poetry, we try to express by showing and taking the message to the next level for an awakening. This is something that can yet be realized with what you have shared.

It is an empowering message. I like the call to action at the end. We should all aspire to wake up from the trance that holds us. But what is it? I think knowledge of why we give in to something greater than our own self will is a theme worthy of consideration and a poet's hand to explore.

Ultimately, what I get hung up on is the phrase, 'hope in yourself'. I think 'rely on yourself' or 'depend on yourself' is a more apt depiction to go with this message. Hope does not drive the machine. Hope is wishful think. Hope that you wake up? That is not the strong message that you desire to convey here. I can see beyond the words used to what you really want to say, knowing that a slight adjustment and a move away from living in a fantasy world is what people need to survive.

I really do appreciate this poetic effort and what you have shared. When a poet is compelled by a message that should be shared, by all means deliver. Fortunately, in this community, we have reviewers that can see between the lines and help you embolden that message.

Regards,
Brian

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As a legally blind writer/reviewer, I hope you will find my grammar and spelling accurate as it is getting harder for me to edit these reviews. If it should provoke any concerns or questions that could be misunderstand, I would hope you would follow up and point out those passage to me for clarification.



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Broken  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
This was a very compelling read in spite of the overdone themes and imagery that spark emotions in this well-structured and paced poem.

I had to read through twice to grasp that opening imagery, taking the strongest clue from the description line. The introduction in verse one would be lost on a reader without that cue and I wondered how to make that scene with imagery more accessible to the wondering mind prying to read your words.

Ruby-colored liquid
Stains her hands.

This is very visual and just enough of a tease for the poems opening. I had thoughts whether progression should have revealed the expression of 'rain leaks' as the actual introduction. But, I think the act of cutting oneself would precede the tears. If already crying, the next action to cut seems more consequential. I like the idea of this act being a compulsive action that brings about the realization about the true pain of no love. The line break 'Ruby-colored liquid/Stains her hands' did interrupt the read a bit. I prefer an expression to finish rather than break in this situation, unless it is to get a natural pause, which I don't believe was required here.

Red droplets
Trickle down her arms.

In the first two lines and in the following two lines, I somehow felt compelled to think adding the word 'The' to start either sentence would seem natural, but only once. But, maybe not at all. It may be personal preference here.

Rain leaks from
Her stormy eyes.

This is very visual but an odd image when the work 'leaks' is used. Now why is that? Again, is it just me? There is a wealth of words that could come from an online search of a thesaurus to better frame that, to my mind.

Her voice escapes
From dead lips.

This is chilling, especially on re-read. Is she dead? My mind wanted to know that second time through. Is it final words? what are they? Though, as expressions might go, from somebody emotionally numb inside, except that there are tears. Where the tears from physical pain as she was dying? Not clear enough, but vague enough to tease a reader to want to know. We read on...

She gazes at
The setting sun
But that departing radiance
Does not look back.

Ah, good. Still alive. And, a very nice expression to imagine that we look upon the sun as if looking for a connection to it, to nature. While we may feel comforted by it, I get an eerie feeling of one who is realizing the sun does not know. There may be no one person, thing or spiritual entity that could know this suffering. It feels very alone.

She sings out
To the stars
But those distant beauties
Do not listen.
She reaches out to Heaven
And is overwhelmed
By darkness.

These lines present some challenges. These expressions are not as strong as the first, though they are easily understood. It doesn't reach deep enough to move a reader. We are looking to the stars and heavens for something, a sign, an acknowledgement? But 'do not listen' and feel 'overwhelmed by darkness.' This really intones the sadness.

Her hair
Remains unstroked.
Her hand
Remains unheld.
Her lips
Remain unkissed.

These lines explain well, but seem robotic because of structure and pattern of language. The repeated 'her' and 'remain' within the narrative form are going for theatrics now. And while that is acceptable, the tone is overdone and needs a little finesse when showing. Could it read more like:

Her hair
remains un-stroked
with a hand
un-held, and
lips soft,
betrayed and
un-kissed.

I get the 'un' words and yet that are grammatically over the line, but do intone this pressing message of what we get...unloved...an actual 'un' word.

Her heart beats
But her soul bleeds.

The last line is your dismount. It gets like an eight out of 10 for me, but perhaps it could stick the landing a little better. Everyone's heart beats. It could 'beat on' as if she wishes it would stop. And while a soul bleeds is known by many, it is cliche. Beats and bleeds are not as closely related. We already had the bleeding from line one. Do we ignore that she might be bleeding out? Could it not be her soul we are concerned with at the end, but if she is willing enough to live?

Again, it detracts from the beginning of this poem. Is this all theatrics. A reader may wonder if the narrator is separating from self and fantasizing about dying, as if the mere drama of the agony like bleeding might bring one to rescue? Or, can we refocus that ending to say the soul does something other than bleeds? What is the soul's cost at this point?

Soul to me is equal to spirit. A spirit feels emotion. Though, the idea is to go for expression, the heart is not functioning expressively and the end but ironically functionally. So, the soul must ache, grieve, weep, die or what? That to me is the poser, then.

Well, it was fun to explore and consider this poem. It is not a direction reflection of the poet's depicted beliefs that I argue, but the way a poem states itself to be understood correctly by its audience. In helping you hone your aim at writing through these scenes, perhaps you'll find a better focus within the scope of what you have done well to craft here

Brian

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As a legally blind writer/reviewer, I hope you will find my grammar and spelling accurate as it is getting harder for me to edit these reviews. If it should provoke any concerns or questions that could be misunderstand, I would hope you would follow up and point out those passage to me for clarification.



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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180
Review of No Sound  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear Trevor,

This poem "No Sound, dedicated to depression, really gets it right with the depictions of how if feels to send out warnings and have no one realize or respond and feel all alone with melancholy. I also know because people who suffer usually make a lot of personal pronoun references. A lot.

This is such a tight and easy rhyme and this has a really good flow and rhythm. I think the lines to be so short, it's equal to greeting card fare or a children's poetry. That is not to say the deep subject matter, however, is equal to that. This is a really weighty subject. And for that, the way it moves so quick and smooth, it doesn't capture the mood of depression. But hey, sometimes irony works.

Right out of the gate with that first verse, there was this two step with the that one word, where you introduce it but collect new thoughts around it, getting this narrative off the ground and going. Each thought put emphasis in a different place in the next line. It was not a rhythm that the poem continued to carry, but for an opening it was a nice hook.

I felt the expressions, however, just like depression, felt insulated and not fully expressed. There was some brief imagery with the moon and birds, but too generic and not carried out or connected to metaphors. Those few words could have been a touchstone for expressions to carry out the message and tone of the poem. If depression is your thing, it might be hard to reach in that bag of imagery and pull off some coherent connective references. But, it would be worth the try or effort how to learn to use such devices to connect to wider and greater audiences.

The other thing I notice with people who write about depression...it can go one of two ways: unemotive and lost or dramatic, which was your poem. It ends like someone who wants to say something but instead demonstrate through non-verbal actions that they will just lie here and wait, as if for death. In reality, it is to draw attention. That to me speaks psychologically to a reader and gives that flair a poem needs to give it vibrance.

So overall, I think you did well. It was a clean and neat read that was easily enough understood, albeit understated while just a bit dramatic. I feel this poem should relate to many readers.

Brian

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BOOK
Life’s Little interruptions 🥀🦋  (18+)
Poetic 📝 Jottings got the virtual hardware w/ inspired words cast to a world wide wind.
#1149750 by Brian K Compton



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181
181
Review of Dilemma  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Ximena,

e.e. cummings would call this poem "Dilemma an antithetical jotting. He was prone to leaving unpublished notes and thoughts in journals that were eventually published after his death. This reminds me of poignant thoughts that a writer might have, without searching deep or finding a connection to true meaning about the mind's meandering.

This poem is a look inside the narrative mind and its psychological workings. The whole idea turns on the notion a person is always looking for love, while knowing it's impossible to attain -- beyond attractions and distractions. The most telling is the last two lines. It's the big reveal and it's irony: while we want it, we're so scared of it that maybe we don't want it...the obligation.

To a reader looking at the psychology behind the narrative, something deeper is at work in your poem. This speaker is not ready for love, projecting a weakness or flaw for the wrong partners, unsure of what they want. They know they want love, but they haven't defined exactly what that should be. This is like the set up of a much longer conversation.

Really, those last two lines deserve further discovery. I grant you that the voice in this poem has probably had bad experiences. It might mean they are drawn to the wrong people, or judging people the wrong way. This further reveals a need to decide what the future holds without another in their life, about self-reliance. Usually, someone who is strong and knows what they want, draws suitors like a moth to a flame. The vetting process is key.

So, all of this I get from your poem. I think it is the stepping stone to more poems. Maybe, you can have a setting where the eye wanders and wonders and can describe each potential candidate, describe their behavior: too cocky, too poor, not good looking, athletic, a ladies man, etc. Be like a P.I. for love and detect their habits, physical descriptions, if they notice the narrator.

It's like a mini story, that includes scene, description of setting and activities for flavor, perhaps mood, and then the types being considered. It takes one courageous act to approach just one of them to see the response. Will he be a winner? Will he be a smooth talker, seem interested, rush things or take his time, will he reveal and be honest?

I think just getting close to the flame and feeling the heat of emotion can serve a poem well. And, I think that if you can get beyond the neurosis to truly, bravely discover, it could be a fun little project. You can just imagine the encounters like an artist with a sketch paint drawing these scenes on paper. It could be about how they approach other women, behave among other men, respect the world they live in, etc.

Go deeper with this. I think it would be a rewarding experience to detect people's habits in a detached, objective matter to write concrete evidence like a police report to see if you can figure out the suspects in some imaginary line up for true love.

Okay, I've gone on too long. Tt was a pleasure. Good luck,

Brian

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BOOK
Life’s Little interruptions 🥀🦋  (18+)
Poetic 📝 Jottings got the virtual hardware w/ inspired words cast to a world wide wind.
#1149750 by Brian K Compton



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
182
182
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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183
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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185
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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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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