|Reviews for Christmas Eve|
| Littlethings 2/21/04 . chapter 1
I don't know you...I just signed up for this fictionpress thing, so I set out to find stories to review.
I noticed the reviews for this poem did very little justice to the actual writing, and more to the intent behind it. (No offense intended to those writers! It is very hard to calmly dissect something that involves s.i.v.)
Yes, it is depressing, however I would disagree this point is "not good."
Now, writing clinically depressing poetry is a grand tradition, and often the poor words in such poems are so badly abused I want to take them home to cuddle, but I was gratified to find that this was not the case in this particular poem.
The last stanza was the strongest. The rhythm is slightly off on the third line, but the last line "being me should be a crime," is quite powerful. Two things impress me:
1. That you had the power to stop the poem there. Many writers who come to a good line feel the need to explain it and in doing so ruin its personalization. You ended the poem at a perfect moment.
2. The line itself is a very good expression of the feelings involved. Now, as I say this I am slinking warily away from objectivity, so keep in mind this is a very personal opinion section: I had to stop at the end of the poem, the overall structure and lines were pulled together very well, but I can’t say I was truly compelled until the last line. Not only did I find it very powerful, I realized the rest of the poem came together upon its completion. I was stirred, memories and such that I won’t detail here. Suffice it to say that bringing up those feelings was uncomfortable. That’s not a bad thing. Poetry needs to make people feel. If it can’t, then it is just prose with line breaks. (Not that I have anything against prose of course, but that’s another review). So if you hear that your poem makes someone feel depressed, I beg you not to feel insulted or annoyed or misunderstood. I don’t know that you do, but I used to, and I’m projecting (I warned you I would…). Analyze the feeling. If it was the poem that made the person sad (i.e. it made them recall repressed feelings, the diction was sparse, or the structure/topic unsettling) this is probably a step in the right direction for the piece. If it’s just the person going "oh, don’t hurt yourself anymore" they haven’t distanced the author from the poem, and you should probably not trust their judgment as a good editor. Now, I don’t mean to invalidate their feelings. It is perfectly legitimate to worry about self-harm. I never used to understand what people were upset about, so I would blame the poem. Again, I project and beseech you not to do so immediately. Digression aside, I personally felt very strongly (lump in heart kind of way) at the end.
Ahem, I now hope to return (or achieve) semblance of coherence (bah, I’m tired):
1. "Sketching death in the sand" I loved this line because it brought up so many different mental images. Normally, specific is better, but in this case I enjoyed tossing around images in my head. What would death drawn in sand look like? I also appreciated the allusion to the sands of time, or hourglass archetype as a reference to mortality. I am unsure of whether this was intentional, or merely an incident of the collective unconscious. But either way it works.
2. "Many words for what I’m doing" A clever little witticism. It would have been very easy to continue the trend of listing actions, and you saved the stanza from angst by recognizing this. I don’t really feel that the last line fit very well after this one. Simply a matter of rhyme. "Point remains my tears are seeping," I like the "point remains" because it continues in the style of the last line. A heartfelt, but equally tongue-in-cheek expression. However, the word ‘seeping’ seemed vague without reason. Tears need to seep into something, but without naming that something the image is half-finished, and pulls the reader away from the poem, just for a moment, to think…"what?" It’s hard to write rhyming poetry without stretching for rhymes, but you managed it in the rest of the poem quite well, and I would like to see the rhyme fit better here too.
(It’s probably unfortunate for you, I never would have nit-picked the last line if I didn’t like the one before it so much)
3. The third stanza continues in the pattern of the previous one. I really liked the way struggle is treated, and almost felt a verbal sigh when the line "didn’t even feel anything" followed it. I felt very drawn into the poem at that moment. The idea, believing that someone would be so desperate for feeling that the absence of pain during a struggle would be almost…annoying to them. It was heart breaking, because I know the feeling, and I can’t be sure, but I would expect that after reading that even those who have not would at least understand it better.
4. Well, I already talked about the forth stanza, but just quickly: the loss of control suggested by "hoping this is the final time" added to the emotional impact. Self-harm is a conscious action, so hoping that it won’t occur again seems odd. Well, then don’t do it…kind of thing. This is faulty thinking of course; someone who hurts themselves has no more control over it then an alcoholic has to drinking. It’s a conscious choice, sort of, but the person involved doesn’t feel that they have any power over it. This is something that’s very hard to explain. That simple line does it very well.
Whew. I’m quite tired. I don’t know if this was coherent, but I just wanted to write. Please don’t feel offended if I should have happened say something on accident that might provoke it. I am merely trying to tell you what I think. And also, this poem brought out some strong feelings in me, and I didn’t do a very good job of separating myself from what I perceive to be the intent behind the poem. That is a fault of my own, but I think authors deserve honest reactions, so I tried to provide one. Last apology: I know I’m rather long-winded, but I simply can’t understand why other reviewers write such short reviews. I think that to truly express what a poem means time needs to be taken. So if you have gotten this far in your reading, thank you for your time.
Bah, still tired as before.
| Bleedingtree 1/12/04 . chapter 1
kt kt kt... never think that being you should be a crime... just yeah... distraught b/c of this poem now... makes me sad! not good...
| DreamNightmare 1/2/04 . chapter 1
aww :( ur poems r so great even if theyre so depressing...jus keep up teh good work n dont hurt urself or ill fly over there n hurt u again lol