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by alliyah

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136 Reviews

Points: 15350
Reviews: 136

Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:08 pm
FireEyes wrote a review...

Hey alliyah! Incoming review!

I love the formatting and style of this poem! It's really cool and I shall review it now!!

So I shall start with critiques. I was put off by

a biological impulse in sea turtles and pacific salmon causes them to return to their birthplace
It didn't seem to fit with the other definitions you came up with. But reading further it made sense as to why you put it there. Along with the definition titles, I see you don't word them as a definition would.
a specific plot of land has been carved into my bones;
Like here. You didn't say "that has been carved..." you made it into an action sentence. I guess that wasn't a critique, more so something I wanted to point out that could be weird for other readers.

This is a personal thing but I would have wished you used proper capitalization and punctuation. It would make it more like you just changed a definition for nostalgia. It would bring it to another place I wish your poem went to.

But I'm done with critiques, let me praise your work now! I love the idea of poetry being in the format of a definition. While definitions are supposed to be neutral in presentation, yours is bitter and contemptuous.

I also like the parts where a definition comes back to normal writing as to act like a voice of reasoning in your poem from the bitterns of the italic parts.

But that's all I have for today. I hope you found it useful! I'll probably be back tomorrow for another review! Anyway byeeeeeeeee<3


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24 Reviews

Points: 4033
Reviews: 24

Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:37 pm
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paperforest wrote a review...

Hello again! This is so lovely and bittersweet and beautiful, I'm not sure if I can write a review that will do it justice! I'll try to do my best. First off, the subject of nostalgia is one that I have a lot of personal associations/connotations with (everyone does, I'm sure), and yet even though a lot of the specific images you've created don't fit with my own definition of nostalgia, I found myself suddenly nostalgic for the memories described in the poem, so you've absolutely succeeded there. Anyways, on to the specifics:

On rereading the very first line, the word "bitter", though I first just accepted it as part of the "bittersweet" that everyone uses to describe nostalgia, on its own it feels not quite right. Bitterness of feeling is, to me, associated with jealousy and envy and a selfish sense that things never went quite right, which jars with the rest of the poem because, though it's seeped with sadness, it's also overflowing with love for a home that is no longer so close.

In the lines:

to the sweat and hum of mayfly summers,
winters where the snow absorbs even the sound of breathing.

I'm blown away by the way this imagery picks out such seemingly small things, and yet they perfectly evoke the entire feel of the seasons. I'm just going to nitpick that on rereading, the lack of "and" or "to" or some other separating word between the two lines sort of blurs them together, like you're almost describing the summers as winters, and by the time I get to the last line I forget how it's grammatically related to the start of the first line of the stanza (this is where a repetition of "to" might be good), although if you're going for the effect of blurring/forgetting the present to try to live in the past, then it works and isn't too noticeable.

The next italicized bit, about the apple, feels very sparse on imagery compared to the first italicized stanza, and because of both that and the fact that it's a very specific memory, it didn't really make me feel anything - I feel like with more atmospheric/descriptive words it might be more emotional? But it does describe a situation that fits the theme really well, it just felt a bit, I don't know, detached maybe, for me. The flow also felt a bit off, perhaps because of how many times the word "I" is repeated. Also, though I really like the sound and meaning of line
it should be noted that certain feelings are decidely irrational

I'm not sure that the apple bit really "backs up" or proves it - it doesn't seem irrational to want a potted plant, whether or not that's because you miss home. That's not a big thing, it just feels a little out of place upon rereading.

For the "2:" section, I'm unsure about the grammar of the definition/non-italicized parts. (The impression I'm getting from it is that the normal bits are the actual definition, and the italicized bits are additions, like thoughts when the narrator is reading the definition. It's a really cool effect.) But the line:
2: a specific plot of land has been carved into my bones;

though I love it, it's an action, not a thing that could be the definition of nostalgia, so it sort of jarred me out of the poem because I was trying to figure out how it still worked with the definition format. You could probably just put a "that" between "land" and "has", but then it doesn't quite lead into:
but a memory can never really be returned to.

so maybe you could say "there is" before "a specific plot of land". I don't know, this is just me being grammar-picky, and I really like it the way it is.

Also in this "2:" section, I absolutely love the first and third italicized bits, the first is such a specific thing that happens to be true for me as well, so I may be biased here, but you've perfectly captured that feeling of "I know exactly where home is but you won't have heard of it (and you just want a place name when all I have is images and emotions)". And the third has such an unexpected line
laughing because we had no idea who we were

that made me reconsider adolescence all over again, and it's just such a beautiful idea. And then the image of dust-coated memories also felt new and yet somehow familar, and mostly sad but in a good way, after the memories you've described.

The middle stanza in this part, although I liked the energy and happiness of the memories it describes as I think it's the right tone to set before the sadness of the third stanza, it felt a bit cliche to me because every country song ever talks about first loves and pickup trucks and being a rebellious teen. Also, I assume Broadway is a street in this town, but my first thought was Broadway, New York and all the musical theatre connotations that come with that. I do like the phrase "first learned to leave", and maybe it could be expanded on - is it just referring to leaving that area for the first time, or is it talking about leaving home for the first time to go to school, and all the consequent times you leave as you grow up and move further from home both physically and mentally.

I also like "pretended to be rebels", like they wanted to be rebellious but were too nice to actually do dangerous/criminal things :) I feel like this is the only indication of the character of the friend group, so maybe giving more specificity to these memories would make them feel less cliche (who was the first love, was the ride in the pickup truck smooth or bumpy, was it a warm midnight or cool and windy, who is "we", is it the sort of group that listens to loud music on the radio or talks quietly or whoops when the truck goes over a bump, etc). (I'm sorry, I'm spouting your own words back at you. I've learned from the best! :))

The last italicized stanza in this section, about home not being an address, is really beautiful. It fits perfectly between "a memory can never really be returned to" (also beautiful and sad) and leads so well into the very last stanza of the poem. There's just a couple grammar things that make it flow a bit oddly:
an address, or place, or a person,

I think there should be either an "a" before "place", or no "a" before "person", because the "an" before address either applies to all three items in the list or just the first one.
also, in the phrase:
i've searched and searched to try to find it,

The "to try to find it" is a bit clunky and redundant. I'd either chop it off, or replace it with something like "for so long now" or "and hoped to find it" to keep the rhythm of the line.

As for the last section, the sea turtles and salmon lead into the "natal homing" nicely, and I love the alliteration and consonance of "where" "once" "were" and "fear". It's sad and revelatory and perfectly encompasses the feeling of the entire poem, and once I'd read it I felt like the poem was leading us to that point the entire time. My only complaint is that the sea turtles and salmon kind of came out of nowhere, the only thing that makes it not completely out of context is the definition format (it's nice to see that the format is really pulling its weight there though), but even still, the ocean scene is miles away from the fields and dusty streets of the rest of the poem. Maybe migratory birds or butterflies would fit better? Or if you were able to find some way to weave the idea of the ocean into previous stanzas, though the rest of the poem already works so well the way it is, I don't really want you to change it.

Alright, sorry this got so long. Overall this poem is beautiful and emotional and it feels really finished and professional and I love it. I don't know that it needs to be edited, but if you do then I hope I said something helpful!

alliyah says...

Thank you for this excellent & thorough review! You raise some great points, especially on the continuity & grammar/phrasing parts that I'll be looking into.

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95 Reviews

Points: 818
Reviews: 95

Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:50 pm
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Clarity says...

I always love your work, this is wonderful.

alliyah says...

<3 Thanks!!

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69 Reviews

Points: 50
Reviews: 69

Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:28 pm
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The poem is a very exceptional piece, and it leaves me with a homesick feeling as well this reminds me that the place I live in though beautiful, is not the home I grew up in.

alliyah says...

Ah, thank you!

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326 Reviews

Points: 83
Reviews: 326

Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:22 am
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Horisun says...

This is awesome! Please don't change anything about the poem itself! It's amazing.

alliyah says...


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281 Reviews

Points: 1576
Reviews: 281

Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:45 pm
silented1 says...

This poem is fantastic. Can you PM me a copy of this poem? I want to keep it for myself. What's the poem a week prompt? Can you link me?

alliyah says...

Thanks silented! If you join the Poem A Week club on the site, there's a new prompt every week - you can share poems you complete from the prompt in the club forum too. This prompt was to write about the main square of your hometown - I interpreted it somewhat loosely.

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27 Reviews

Points: 257
Reviews: 27

Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:27 pm
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Morgan wrote a review...

Hi Alliyah. I’m Morgan and I’m new to YWS so if I’m doing this wrong pls don’t mind. lol

I think you did a good job writing this. Just like what Chinku had said, the narrations really give the reader a vivid image of what this poem was based on and it was really evocative. When I first saw it, I was surprised by the nos-tal-gia (noun) part. It felt professional to me and I really enjoyed the piece.

alliyah says...

Thanks Morgan and welcome to Young Writers Society! Were here any specific critiques or things you think could be improved about my poem?

The poem is written in the "definition style" of poetry - so it's intended to mimic the structure of a definition - which is why it had the different introduction. It's kind of fun, because readers expect definitions to be hollow, so poetry written in this style can challenge their assumptions. :)

Thanks for the comments! Have a good day.

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18 Reviews

Points: 91
Reviews: 18

Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:28 pm
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Chinku says...

Hey there alliyaha!

Happy to read your poem, that even the 1st one after a long time. The narrations before the stanza makes it easier to understand and gives an intense meaning of the tale though.

An usual life of a person, who fall in love, run out of home and came back to home as a home sicker makeing the tale worth it.

Most lovely part of the story is, the comparison/link up of turtle, salmon and human, all the living beings are home sicker and the all come back to home when the day ends. Yes, sometimes it's not the birthplace but it's definitely a home.

All the best

alliyah says...

Hey Chinku! Good to hear from you, hope you've been well!

Thank you for the comments, I'm glad you were able to piece a narrative together with the poem I was worried that it might feel a bit disjointed with the different sections.

Have a good day!

Chinku says...

Doing well, guess you too!
That was absolutely a fine work.


Hearing these stories makes me realize that I never did anything with my childhood.
— The Internet