Reviews for Corpus Christi
Midnight In Eden chapter 1 . 4/6/2008
First of all, let me just say that the topic at hand and the story you've told is interesting. However, my main critique of this poem is in regards to its overtly prosaic feel. Take away the line breaks and you'd have a short story.

I think this is partly due to the strict nature of the iambic pentameter. You worked so hard to keep it throughout such a long piece that it feels like you ignored other issues within the poem - it feels all about the technique and not about the overall poem. I'm not saying that's the case but that's how I as a reader feel.

Disregarding the iambic pentameter, I think where the main reason for the prosaic feel is the large number of "little" words you use. For example, in the first stanza you use "some" on line three and four when neither are really necessary - the latter could be replaced simply with "a". Then in the next stanza "more tightly" feels superfluous next to "palm squeaky". The "that" of the third line isn't necessary either. I feel like there's a proliferation of empty syllables in this piece that drag the poem along, making it feel plodding instead of poetic.

I did like the descriptions though, things like "One spoke patois like some Creole cliché./The other had a skin disease" (though I think you should cut out the "it seemed" after this, again, it's adding to the overly wordy feel of the poem).

In taking the length of this piece into consideration I'll admit that you don't have to use creative and vivid phrasing throughout but I do think there's room to improve on some of it. For example "Grabbing their cash, I went back to the inn" feels very flat when it could be a little more interesting even with the iambic pentameter taken into consideration. Then there are sentences like this "I waited for the sign of the lowlifes/like me. Nothing. Jesus, I hated them/as much as I did Rob for this dumb game." that were very "telling" and in that, quite flat as well. Like I said, I felt this was simply prose with line breaks and a clever meter.

I also felt that, perhaps due to the strict iambic pentameter, some of your enjambment just didn't feel right. In the first stanza it was "varsity/football", in the second stanza "nor/my last one " and "come/in time" are the same, the third works very well actually - even and smooth but in the fourth "slow/and careful" brings back the disconnected feel that should be absent from this (in my opinion).

In the end, while I like the underlying story, the plodding feel of the poem makes it a little dull for me and I didn't enjoy it as much as I should've. There were flashes of brilliance though in both your wording and your plot but again, it just didn't quite read right to me as a piece of poetry.

Midnight