Reviews for Neo Enlightenment, Seattle concrete, stolen iPod
Brenda Agaro chapter 1 . 3/9/2010
That was awesome! I really like the structure and imagery. I'm impressed by the word choice and voice.
Pandora's Flight chapter 1 . 2/2/2010
I really enjoy your poetry. It's very original. I like that :]

[Opening] I'm definitely digging the opening phrase

"Give a man his music and he will give you a spiritedly crooked smile"

This draws the reader into the piece and keeps me wanting to read.

[Writing] Your diction is incredible. And I absolutely love it 95% of the time. I feel like sometimes the writing gets overloaded with your strong diction, like in the stanza:

"A rhythm is a schism turned cosmopolitan via enlightenment/

in the neocolonialism of footsteps."

I give you the credit for knowing and using all of those words. But it kind of makes it hard to understand sometimes. I find myself having that problem all the time. Because I love learning new words and want to use them :]

But as for as that 95% goes. Phenomenal. I can definitely see you as a published author or poet. You have some aesthetic lines here.

"Even in death his fingers tap the air like bird wings"

Beautiful.

[Ending]

"with someone else's soundtrack in his ears."

Awesome. Good job of connecting the piece back together with the prompt.

[Other] I really liked the resurfacing of 'via' throughout the piece. At first I was a little skeptical, but the more I looked at it, the more I enjoyed it. It almost gives the piece a continuous feel.

Good job in the WCC :] You definitely deserved a win.
spartasghost chapter 1 . 1/29/2010
Hopefully this review is acceptable. For the WCC challenge.

Descriptions/Images:

This was something that I enjoyed the most about the poem. In the same way the title gave an abstract sense of a poem, images were given in creative fashion that brought me to visualize the poem. One line that I found to be one of the best images of the poem comes in your line “a rhythm is a schism turned cosmopolitan via enlightenment in the neocolonialism of footsteps.”

Word choice:

The chosen vocabulary in this poem was another thing that made it so special. I know the old saying, “never judge a book by its title” but when I first saw the title, it clearly made for an interesting choice. Honestly, I felt that just by the vocabulary in the title alone almost guaranteed this poem to be a winner (with no disrespect meant to the others in the contest, this was just a very unique title). Also, this poem contained many words that added to the quality of the poem, such as “neocolonialism” “haggard” or “schism.”

Enjoyment:

I certainly enjoyed this poem, as I had to read over it two more times before I offered my review. I'm not usually somebody who reads poems, but I loved the title, the topic, and many of the cleverly chosen lines.

Other:

I felt this poem was abstract (my opinion at least), beautiful, and complex. It took a couple of re-reads to go over and make sure that I was able to understand what it was trying to say before I offered this review. There were plenty of favorite lines from this poem, especially the opening and endings. This was a well-written piece that deserved to win. Congratulations on winning the January challenge. :)
Zombiesaurus Rex chapter 1 . 1/23/2010
Hey, here's your WCC review.

Form:

I loved the free verse. Many poets don't seem to get how to use free verse effectively, but I think you have it down. In particular, I like how you broke up the poem to give emphasis to certain lines. The way the poem is broken up makes the images feel rather jagged and harsh as I read them.

Very effective use of form.

Images:

The images here were so stark. Like the form, many of the words you chose gave me a feeling of jagged splinters sticking out and (I think) complemented how rough the imagery was.

One particular image that struck me was: "like a smiling boy nodding / to me, with someone else's / soundtrack in his ears."

Now, my immediate impression here was that the boy was stealing his life (soundtrack) from someone else. Nothing he has is actually his, but just scraps taken from elsewhere. Given your mention of plagiarism in connection to the suicide, I would guess that what you're getting at is how repetitive and bland people's fondest dreams and aspirations are. And then those dreams fall apart.

Interesting thought.

Flow:

As with other aspects, I think the flow here was pretty ragged. It feels like a unifying theme of the piece; how broken and messed up everything is. I like it. It gives the poem a fairly consistent mood which helps bring the imagery out and make it stand out against the background.

Word Play:

Your use of words was beautiful. Good, strong vocabulary you've got going for you, and you use it well. I especially liked the repetition of sounds you had going with: "hope, / though you could say that hope is the rope / that took him to another word."

The juxtaposition of the concept of hope with the rope (a hangman's noose, perhaps?) was also pretty powerful. I think it's a pretty cool turn of phrase, and a nice image.

Good solid poem.

Zombiesaurus Rex
yourKonstantine chapter 1 . 1/22/2010
opening.

An interesting opening. I really can't decide whether I like it or not. Nonetheless, I kept reading. :)

ending.

The ending was nice. Considering the theme, it really fit. Of course it also went with the poem. "Someone else's soundtrack in his ears"-I love that line. Ties the whole thing up. Lovelovelove.

writing.

I like your writing style. I don't like a lot of poetry because it seems very cliche, but yours has a nice narrative style. Also, I like the formatting of the piece. I don't know if that goes in this section but whatever. Haha.

enjoyment.

Altogether, a very enjoyable poem. Sort of slow at first but it picks up. Definitely not so slow that you don't want to continue reading.

Good job, and congrats on winning the WCC!

-Kristen
YasuRan chapter 1 . 1/16/2010
All these artistic images were so brilliant and deftly painted in my mind that I can't help but fave :D
tonight we bloom chapter 1 . 1/9/2010
the line that was in your summary was one of the best lines i've heard in a while. so beautiful. the rest of the poem is truly exquisite, too. i would love more opinions/constructive criticsm from you on my new short collection, "a moonbeam away." any advice or help from you would truly help a lot.
Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 1/8/2010
I loved the fantastical imagery you used. This poem read like music: with a beat of its own.

Good job and good luck in WCC!
Charactarantula chapter 1 . 1/4/2010
After reading this the other day for the first time, I said to myself, I'm probably going to owe this girl an in-depth review courtesy of the writing challenge contest. I assure you, you already have one of my two votes locked.

Now, you know it's good when you don't recognize a multitude of words! I'm not a complete idiot, but I had to look up a couple of them to truly understand what exactly you were using this piece to say. Had no idea what a schism was, or what neocolonialism was. And, honestly, I double-checked on cosmopolitan because all I could think about was the ice-cream flavor. I’m still in high-school, so bare with me.

I'll break down my feeling line for line, I guess, since I'm not sure how else to review poetry.

The idea that a man can be happy no matter the circumstances, if only he has his music, is terrific. And totally true, at least in my case... Music can definitely turn a day around, and the fact that I never realized that until I read this line is quite strange. I might not ever look at a simple song again.

Your imagery in the second stanza was powerful.

Even in death his fingers tap the air like bird wings-

And even though I still don’t completely understand what exactly the rest of the stanza is saying, it sounds… perfect. I’ve never read anything of yours before, but I’m interested to see if all your poetry has this interesting tone to it.

Now, the idea that the man’s fingers are still tapping is completely metaphorical, I’m assuming, and from what I can understand you’re saying something, (I can’t completely say exactly) about the inspiring power of music. Though some music has a greater effect on certain people, hence the “schism turned cosmopolitan,” and I can only assume that this rift in genre taste grows when people lord their music as superior over others, hence the nod to neocolonialism, which is, from what I understand, the assertion of economic/political ideas over former colonies of countries like the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. Interesting.

So a woman, that’s not you, but clearly is, hence your mother, “lifts a haggard hand upward, puffs the pale plagiarism from a dead body lingering on a sidewalk, turns it into art…” So, “enlightened” by the image of our musically tuned gentleman dead on the sidewalk, you create some form of art. Being this poem that I’m reading right now, or something else. From the inference that it was a suicide later in the piece, the idea that the idea was “plagiarized” is interesting, and certainly adds quite a bit to the line. Also, freaking awesome alliteration!

The mother remains in the background, commenting on the immense pain that suicide causes living people. An interesting thing to say. True, but certainly sad. The reuse of the word “via” in the title and throughout the piece adds an interesting flavor. It sets an intellectual mood, and every time I re-read a stanza, coming across that word, just…rubs me right? I don’t know. It works exceptionally well.

“the side with the picture, and the side of blank emptiness.” Great image. You even develop the idea farther in the next line, and it gave me those creepy chills. I’m seriously impressed with this poem, and I don’t like poetry. Pissed, really, that I have never come across your work before.

So, one side gives the game away. And the other side gives nothing to the imagination. A catch-22 considering there is no in between. No spot for creativity or originality, linking to the plagiarism jab from earlier in the piece.

This poem suddenly becomes incredibly depressing towards the very end. Not that the idea of a dead man on the side of the street isn’t sad, but “hope is the rope that took him to another word” leaves such an impact on me. Maybe I’m not getting the intended effect, but I read this as this man’s hope and aspirations failing him are what led to his suicide. Now, compared to a boy with “someone else’s soundtrack in his ears” I imagine that the unoriginality of people’s dreams and aspirations leads to depression. I just put an Oscar Wilde quote on my profile page that relates…"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."

This poem took me a while to digest, but I’m not the brightest bulb in the box, but as I read it more, it speaks more and more, and even if I’m not taking out what you intended, you can rest assured that I was very much still personally affected. And that’s the author’s job.

Great job and good luck!

-jake
ExcuseMeWhileIKissTheSky chapter 1 . 1/4/2010
im fond of the use of the word via. this is very dream like to me
Ayx chapter 1 . 1/4/2010
Your work is always so

thought provoking!

Inspiring.

'There’s two sides to this puzzle, I think,

the side with the picture, and the side of blank

emptiness.'

Brilliant

Ayx
thewhimsicalbard chapter 1 . 1/3/2010
Let's begin by saying that your poem was intellectually challenging, and a welcome change from what I have been reading lately, but I have to say that this poem was tough to get my head around.

First, let me go over my big picture ideas of your poem, after reading it several times.

Your imagery in this poem is very well-developed, though it does not so much create a mental picture as it does a feeling. An interesting way to perceive a poem, certainly.

The overall, one-sentence theme of this piece is that you have to live life and acquire experience either by living the experiences out yourself, or by living the experiences of other people, but never merely making commentary on the experiences of others. I think. This one was more than a little difficult, and there were a few parts that were unclear. See the end of the review for a completely and detailed list of things about your poem that made my head hurt. :p

And now, for a piece by piece analysis:

Your first part is simple, easily readable. At this point, I see a stereotypical old man, probably white, with graying hair, smiling on a day when the clouds are the same shade as his hair, or darker. He is standing on a sidewalk in Chicago. He is smiling, as you said a crooked smile, while jazz is playing in the background. The message at this point is that music is the lifeblood of all mankind.

After the second stanza, I see this old man on the ground, with white chalk outlining the edges of his body. Near his ever-tapping fingers, the chalk is smeared. The message at the end of this is that the differences in people's interests and loves in music, based on our own experiences in life and made relevant by social pressures, tear people apart, when music is what makes us all happy in the first place.

The the consonance and assonance in the next part exude a feeling sweeping in the style and actions of the woman, the artist, whom you describe (just a thought here, but I think the word "hefts" would have been a much better choice than the word "lifts"). She is breathing life into this man, or through him, perhaps, and, unless I am much mistaken, writes a poem. The message after this is still developing from the previous. Right now, I'm curious to see where it goes.

This was the hardest part to get my head around, and honestly, I'm not sure how well I've done, but here are my thoughts (from "and my mother" to "the people who live"):

My first response is immediately that I did not have any idea until now that YOU, the corporeal person, were present in this poem. It's an awkward shift, and makes this next part very difficult to decipher. This is probably the weakest part of your entire poem, in my opinion (don't misunderstand me, it is still excellent. That is comparative). Here is my idea of what transpires, in story form:

My mother scoffed in the background.

She said, "People don't realize what suicide does to other people."

I found it ironic that she derived all of her existence from people who actually live.

Am I inaccurate?

What I am not sure of is if the woman who lifted the hand in the last stanza lifts her own hand or the hand of the dead man. It is important, because that changes the poem significantly, depending. My interpretation was that the woman lifted her own hand, and wrote a poem or something, which is what you would do. You did a great job of forcing your readers to extrapolate (on a side note, it took me every bit of thirty seconds to remember the third letter of that word...). Your mother reads the poem, which is about the man's death/suicide (at this point, I think the man's death may have been influenced by his music, though I'm not sure), and she finds it inordinately depressing. You, however, find her commentary ironic.

Now, we get to the heart of this poem. The first half is an experience, the second half is derived meaning. The poem, at this point, no longer focuses so much on music as it does the contrast between people who get out into the world and live, and people who watch life fly by them. You classify those people - based on your previous reference to enlightenment - artists/writers/musicians/poets/whatnot and non-"whatnots". Artists are people who live and pass their experiences on, and everyone else wastes precious oxygen. The current of your anger against people like this is buried deep within the poem, but it is certainly present.

Now, I do apologize profusely, but I really struggled with the last part of the poem, and I had to reach a conclusion rather indirectly, and I'm not sure how well it adds up.

I'm not sure who exactly "him" is, and that is really limiting, but I'm going out on a limb and saying that it is the man who committed suicide earlier in the poem. THAT is really interesting, as ropes and suicide often have much to do with each other. However, my imagination had the suicide as a jump from the top of the building, or someone altogether losing the will to live, and falling dead dramatically on the street.

So, I'm saying that hope is what convinced the man to live from one day to the next, living off of something that isn't truly his own, much like the boy with the stolen iPod, and as such he cannot be truly sustained. The life that the man sucked from stolen hope failed to keep him alive.

Wow. That was tougher than I expected. Hope this was good enough for an in-depth review. Sorry if this isn't quite right...

-

Here is the full and complete list of things about your poem that made my head hurt, all in one convenient location!

-I am not sure who owns the haggard hand, the dead dude or the poet chick.

-Your style is pretty stringent on punctuation, but some quotation marks, at the section marked "people don't realize...to other people," would really make this thing easier to read.

-the "him" in the penultimate stanza is also unclear, and there is, as far as I can see, no nearby reference to anything that would alert the reader as to the identity of the "him."

-the entrance of the author as a personal entity is unexpected and is akin to changing viewpoint midpoem. That's not a good thing for the author to do.

So... My final summary. This has a lot of potential. This is more than just primitive teenage angst poetry or nursery rhyme horse-crap. This is the real deal of poetry, and though it could use some polish, it has a real message, and I would love to know it, even though I might not be competent enough to read to the level of your writing. I can see the picture, it's just fuzzy, and parts are missing... I came away from this with something, for sure, just probably not as much as you, the author, would have liked.

I didn't listen to the "try and do some easy fix stuff first" bit, because I've been a reviewer for quite a while, but I would like to know if this is up to standard of RG standards for in-depth analysis of a poem.

Thanks for your eventual reply, and excellent job on a poem that ought to be considered a scholarly piece of work,

thewhimsicalbard (aka Fitz)
deefective chapter 1 . 1/3/2010
Hmm, I have to say that I did not like the first two stanzas at all. They just seemed really extra to me. They were a tad longwinded and the rhythm was off. I think the piece could've done without them. As for the rest of this, I liked it a lot better. They were shorter and more abrupt but the flow was much smoother here. I liked the imagery of the woman lifting her hand, very nice word choice. Also, that ending stanza was nice to read as well. It had that storylike quality to it which can be a good way to end a poem.
lookingwest chapter 1 . 1/2/2010
I read this yesterday while looking through the WCC entries and you are the reason I decided NOT to go the poetry route, XD, I think this is amazing and extremely well done. This is just the kind of poetry that I absolutely love, and for several reasons more specifically...

I love the way that you format the poem because it really gives it that correct jerky and very narrative flow, and I can just imagine it making a superb poetry slam in all respects, the way that you break up your lines and stanzas is unique and logical.

I also like the imagery you create because they're just so...profound sounding, haha. I really enjoy where you took this prompt!

Favorite lines:

"Like a smiling boy nodding"-because I can totally see this perfectly.

"...my mother is scoffing in the background,"-love that narrative aspect that comes through there.

"a rhythm is a schism turned cosmopolitan via enlightenment"-that has almost perfect rhythm, I've never heard such a...well fitting line, XD. As soon as I read that I'm like, "Okay. She needs to be published in a literary magazine. Now!" I really hope that you submit some of your work someday, if you haven't already, to some magazines, it's great!
Isca chapter 1 . 1/2/2010
Faithless Juliet,

Enjoyment: I enjoyed reading this poem; it flowed well and the subject was interesting. The only thing I didn't particularly like was the title; it felt too long (but that's just me being nit-picky). The format of this poem is different, but I like it - it's unique, while still allowing the separate lines to flow into one another.

Tone: I like the wise tone of the line, "Though you could say that hope is the rope that took him to another word." The hope/rope internal rhyming also makes this line quite catchy and memorable. I also like the angsty tone of the line, "Like a smiling boy nodding to me," because it's so raw and beautiful.

Descriptions/Images: "Even in death, his fingers tap the air like bird wings." This is one of my favourite lines from the piece - not only is it a great simile, but the image here is so poignant. My other favourite line is: "A dead body lingering on a sidewalk." Your use of the word "lingering" here adds such depth and vibrancy to the 'dead body' imagery; I'm impressed.

Word Choice: I like that the words in this poem blended well together. "Give a man his music," for example, was a lovely way to open the piece - the phrasing here is smooth and flowing. I like many of your word choices: crooked, schism, neo-colonialism, haggard, etc. These words, in particular, definitely enhanced the sophistication of this poem.

Keep up the good work,

-Isca

(The Review Game - Poems - Depth)