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12/7/2012 c1 76The Autumn Queen
The metaphors in this are fascinating, and the way you've worded them really brings the images out in a great light. I won't say best as everything can improve, but really great. My favourite was the beginning of the last paragraph; it really screamed out emotion and frustration while at the same time presenting an imbalance of power and a horizon feeling - the sort where there's something that could be reached but is simply too far away. A beautiful display there.

I think though you could vary the pauses you've used I only see commas and fullstops with a single semicolon (to be honest, I don't agree with the semicolon usage on a grammatical standpoint), but I think some of your images could have come out stronger if you altered them. For example using dashes for more emphasis, and in some cases I think a fullstop worked better than a comma, eg.
[But I am small,
12/5/2012 c2 75thewhimsicalbard
Goodness, I'm swooning.

You didn't add too much; you didn't try to change too much; you did just enough to give this piece the edge it needed to be great. This is the best poem you have ever written.

I want to start with that fourth stanza. That is exactly what this poem needed. It gives the speaker so much complexity, and adds so much color. There's an extra layer to the story now, and it's cohesive. I found it absolutely captivating.

I seriously can't get over this. The personification of the trees you've added might as well have been a steroid for emotion. The trees take on a much more prominent role in the poem, and it works wonders. Jealous trees, gangly, naked branches, these trees like spider webs, black barren branches... Wow. The stark contrast of black and green against the stars in the sky is so perfect in this context: I see exactly what you want me to see, and I think I feel exactly what you want me to feel.

"For you see,
The stars and I are lovers:
Have been ever since love was love,
And envy grew green."

You say so much with these lines. You make the trees envious, and you connect that with the romance between the stars and the speaker. The green color conjures the image of the sprouts that the speaker made earlier, and then you immediately change the color to black: you irreversible tie the trees' jealousy to the romance that the speaker has with the stars, and that gives you so much more room to paint the speaker's doubt, his frustration, his inability, and I can feel it so keenly that it hurts.

This is the best stanza, though:

"You see,
A river once ran wild here
Beneath my head,
Beneath my feet.
And the trees drank
And I swam
And the heavens shone
All together."

The reader can see what's been lost, and it hurts them almost as much as it hurts the speaker. The metaphor is so much stronger now, too: any reader who feels like they've lost something good - be it love, innocence, a friend, anything - and can't get it back can relate to this poem now. In 25 words, you've captured the sense of loss that the speaker feels perfectly. I'm at a loss for words to explain how good of a job you've done here.

I've said once before that many of your poems are on the edge of being great; this one is not. This one simply IS.

9/27/2011 c1 115ArekuKawaii
Enjoyment: I had trouble getting into the beginning of the poem because it seemed a little too forced to me. However, when I read the first two lines of the second stanza I started to enjoy it. I really believed that the trees were confused and had a personality. I really enjoyed the second half for the third stanza because I enjoy the thought of stars as lovers.

Word Choice/Description: One of the reasons I couldn't get into the beginning of the poem is because of the word 'slung.' In my mind it just seemed to sit there out of place with the rest of the words. The 'gangly, naked branches' made me imagine a teenage boy going through puberty and trying to figure out what is going on and that is why the trees were confused in my mind. I really enjoyed those words as descriptions for the trees.

Flow: The use of 'you see' in this poem really made it flow in my mind and gave it a personality. The last three lines of the poem seem a little forced once again and stall the flow for me. I think it is the line 'between riverbed-me' that really stalled it for me.

Subject: I wasn't sure on the subject at the beginning of the poem and read it as a description of a forest and its emotions it can have but as I got farther down I realized it was of the river. I really enjoyed the river speaking of the forest and how it personified the entire forest. It made me wonder if a river would truly love the stars or how it sees the rest of a forest around it. This is an interesting subject and really made me think.
9/7/2011 c1 75thewhimsicalbard
I promised you I'd get to this! Sorry that it's a little bit late in coming, but better late than never, right?

I'm also feeling like this is going to be a very helpful review. I think I'm on top of my game today.

The trend I'm finding with most of your poems is that they're right on the edge of astounding; that certainly applies here. Parts of this poem are very strong; parts of it need help; both things are easy to categorize.

The first strong point is (bet you didn't see this coming from me) the bluesy tone, and above that your speaker in general. He (and I'm choosing to call him he because I identify with him, though in theory it could be either gender) has a really raspy voice. Someone might say about him, "That man could never sing, even when he was younger." He's seen lots of things, but... He's not really that old yet. He's not young, but he's not old, either. And while he's deep and spiritual, I don't think he's wise. It's a very interesting character you've created here.

The second strong point was your adjective use. Gangly, naked, frail, and riverbed-me (that's kind of an adjective, so...) were all great choices. Another thing that I'm just now noticing as I analyze your adjective use is the repetition of the word "old." I didn't even notice it during the poem, which speaks to your clever usage. And, now that I notice it, it adds yet another layer to the speaker. He is fixated on the concept of being-old. Great stuff.

Your strongest stanza was either the second one, or the back half of the final stanza. I'll get to that more in a little bit.

I do have some substantial critiquing to do, so brace yourself.

First, I find that there is an unsettling lack of rhythm communicated in the first two lines. Blues, as you well know, is entirely rhythmic. It's a very vague, ineffective intro for what you want to communicate. If you want advice, I'd suggest tinkering with line breaks up there, or perhaps finding a place for another idea that you had but couldn't fit into the poem when you wrote it. If it helps you develop a more active, conscious rhythm, it's probably a good thing to put in.

After those first few lines, I was able to pick it up, so don't let it bother you too much. I wouldn't take too much away from the substance of the poem.

The next bit is a dubious criticism... I'm not sure if you meant to do this or not, so I'll be sure to explain myself fully. I'll put it bluntly: your verbs lack action. It is incredibly difficult to write a good poem with more linking verbs than active verbs, but you do seem to have pulled it off here. Now, I know that this speaker is sitting on a riverbed; that implies a lack of action. But, the question is, did you mean to do that, or did it just happen? And, if your answer is the latter, does that fact help or hurt your poem? The word "are" does get repetitive after a while, but it isn't the end of the world. Still, there are a lot of places I feel like you could be more colorful with your verbs and at the same time maintain the rhythm.

This is a small bit of criticism, but there are times when your punctuation either becomes repetitive or doesn't make sense. If you haven't seen it yet, there's a really great link that I put over on the RG's boards sometime last year in the Resources for Writing. It's the only thing I've ever posted there, so it shouldn't be too hard to find. It's an excellent punctuation resource - in fact, it's where I learned to use the dash and the semicolon effectively. If you think it will help, give it a shot, and if not, it's no big deal; your poem won't suffer too terribly if you ignore it.

The last bit I want to cover ties into my favorite stanza comment earlier. The reason that I'm having a problem picking my favorite stanza is that almost all of them contain ABSTRACTION, and loads of it. Abstraction, if you didn't know, is use of words of feeling or idea that vary depending on the speaker. Some instances in this poem (some of these are worse than others - I've capitalized those): friends, JOY, LOVE, PEACE, lovers. Most of those appear in stanza three, and as such it is my least favorite. It's a really weak stanza because the images are not at all rooted in the concrete. They're all just ideas floating around in the sky. Abstraction in a poem, as a general rule, adds nothing. It might as well be blank space. This is my strongest criticism, so if you only listen to one thing, pick this one. That third stanza could almost be skipped. It really doesn't add much at all (except for the spider webs - that was good).

And that's all I have! Hopefully this was worth the long wait. I decided to do this just after I finished doing my lab report that's due this afternoon. It's been a long first two weeks of class.

Great poem overall, hope to see more soon, take care, and I hope this helped!

8/26/2011 c1 2fires
I dig it.

You've managed to convey a sense of separation and a frustration towards the obstacles life throws in the way quite nicely.

Kuddos on using the moon/stars as the object of desire; it helps emphasize the importance of what is being kept from you (being the only things that light up the night and all).

Trees are especially good obstacles in this case, rigid and jagged and scary and casting shadows that make the dark that much darker. And comparing them to spider webs was just aces.

Also, let us not forget laying yourself in a dry riverbed, a lovely touch illustrating exactly what sort of state your deprivation has left you in.

And in all this, bravo to you, you managed to avoid the banality of melodrama. In fact, the attitude comes off as more resilient and defiant, despite the effect of the loss and/or struggle or whatever. Like in the end, even if there's nothing you can do to overcome this, you'll at least give those goddamn trees an enemy. A very nice 'there is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn' moment.

Keep writing the good things.

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