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when i descended in search of you

by AvantCoffee

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955 Reviews

Points: 123981
Reviews: 955

Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:10 am
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alliyah wrote a review...

I'm here! (Started this review a while ago, but finally had time to finish it!)

So as I said on your wall I really dig this at a conceptual level - like the recovering of stray notes and thoughts and memories that make up grief and getting over someone. It's poetry that definitely mimics thought patterns, because in remembering people in places there's often this feeling of things being left unsorted - and needing to rearrange things back together and that's the sort of feeling I get from these poem fragments.

The trick in a piece like this is working a way to get continuity into the fragments, so that those who don't "get" it at a conceptual level can still appreciate the ark of the story-line - if there's one thing I've learned in poetry is that people seem to love narrative and will either write-off things that don't have it, or write-in narrative if there are enough threads to make a story -

So I'm going to comment on some of the individual parts, then get back to continuity/overall-impressions.

I'm not sure if the opening couplet is strong enough - it's a good image/metaphor, but compared to some of your other pieces it's not at the same level, it felt like it needed one more twist, or an extra piece of imagery to pull us in. I do like that you've got the "you" / "i" voice right from the beginning though - the topic is clear.

I'm going to assume that based on the line at the end that talks about the 7 stages of grief/loss that all of the 7 fragments are maybe arranged in order of that - which I think is pretty epic, and I think you could be more direct in your exploration of that. If that wasn't the intended set-up, then some of my feedback might not be directly relevant.

So in part II. - the denial stage - it's interesting because the speaker still seems very much in love, which would go right along with denial. Here your blend of spiritual, natural, and relational description is just perfect. I can't discern what the difference between the parenthetical lines and non-parenthetical lines are (especially because "just like that" is once in parenthesis and once not), I think it'd be more effective if you parenthesized words that if taken out would alter the meaning of the stanza - like the words "in love" - > so then it could be read "I am in love / before heaven is a witness" or "I am before heaven is a witness" --> I also think in that line "is" ought to be "as".

part III. I love that you start with the word "chronologically" because for me it evokes an appeal to logic, when the rest of the stanza isn't rooted in logic but emotion. Also this idea of someone driving the speaker into a traffic jam and then forcing them to walk is a great image, because it works to portray a moment, but could be read metaphorically as too.

part iv.
the contrasting images of desert and "chill to the bone" are great - because you bring out how the images are actually complimentary. Love the digital and nature language mix too - this stanza is fantastic - only critique is that you repeat "bone" twice, and could maybe switch it up.

part v.
The first two lines really lovely again, like you're actually saying words that don't make like sense prose-wise, but yet they evoke such vivid emotional resonance and still manage to paint a picture - kinda like modern art. This stanza a real bitterness is coming out - like salt in wounds, and then the "all I got" reflection.

I can't figure out a logic to the italics, or even the parenthetical aside. Perhaps the parenthesis is a more critical/logical or hind-sight view. I would almost like more parenthesis so used in more stanzas so it would be easier to discern a pattern.

Also not catching the "two syllables" reference - is it the two syllables of their name? or a specific word? A bit too vague to interpret for me there (though I admit I'm intrigued).

This stanza also felt like it mapped really well on to the Kubler-Ross model of the 7 stages of grief - with the depression, lonliness, reflection all coming through.

part vi.
The image of falling asleep on the floor is really interesting - because it puts a big question mark up for the reader. Like why are they sleeping on the floor - have they been kicked out of a shared bed, are they sick, are they just too distraught to get to their room, are they too tired to function anymore. Also the descriptor of "masochist" makes it seem like it's the speaker's fault that they're in love with pain - which puts an interesting reflection on the rest of the poem so far.

One part I didn't like is that "yours" in the line "and that song has become yours" isn't clear if it's talking about the speaker or the subject because the stanza doesn't use an "I" before that line. It also seems a bit too out of nowhere - a reference of a song somewhere else would give us something to tie us to it. I really like the blunt "this is not love" - from both a narrative perspective, and an ethical perspective - that just the internal note that this stanza isn't romanticizing pain itself, is helpful.

part vii.
Okay, I'm in love with the first four lines here. I like that you hold off on the stages of grief reference til the end because it makes us read it again - and part of the thing about grief is it's not always a ladder but a cycle so being forced to read it again, actually achieves that effect. And also <3 PLUTO being the header of this stanza is so nicely symbolic - like it's the forgotten planet, that is no planet anymore, the conclusion that does not conclude, and since the final stage of grief is "acceptance" it's just really cutting - like maybe the speaker doesn't completely get to acceptance.

Also the word play with "stillness" and then using "still" is fantastic.

I also like the idea of an opposite side of a tomb, though I wonder if calling it "snow-blinding" distracts from that beautiful image too much. had to look up what the word "afterimage" meant, and yeah, I'm wondering if that final stanza has almost too much there, like I found it difficult to follow - though at it's heart I think saying "I'm still looking for the pieces you've left, but I'm scared of what's on the other side of this tomb" is really exceptional - it's not just heartbreak, but it's like, the speaker is asking, "what comes next? and am I ready for whatever is after this emotional/spiritual/relational death? because I don't want to move".

Overall Narrative
I think as a reader there is definitely a sense of emotional continuity, though it is really difficult to parse out a narrative from it. I actually really appreciated stanza three a lot because it gave us what looked like the most straight-forward concrete image, that could also be taken symbolically. Some of the other images, felt almost too overloaded to be able to see - and I wonder if there'd be a value of taking another stanza and sort of stripping down some of the adjectives and turns to give the reader another really direct image.

The story / emotion that came through was a grappling with a deeply felt loss, where the speaker is still holding on and working through the emotions, like the subject is still present, and they're reliving the moments and memories. There's sadness, anger, resentment, and then in the end - maybe even hesitation of whether they wanted to be rid of the subject.

The continuity of the poem as far as images and themes wasn't immediately apparent, besides the bookends of winter/snow - but it looks like on closer inspection you do have quite a few threads of images that run through the poem - like visceral body/bone descriptions, warm vs cold, paths/travel, and movement/progress.

I felt like having that one stanza off-set to the right and then the other edged in, took away the feel of this being one coherent piece. And am wondering what your reasoning behind the off-set was. It could be interesting to make the poem as a circle with the stanzas each being set off in a circle - so when you finish part seven, you begin the poem again, though that might also defeat some of the downward imagery that the poem is using.

I found the italics also to not feel that meaningful, but I appreciated the other formatting that you used, and like I said at the beginning, I think dividing into seven parts was really smart.

Sorry the thoughts are a bit scattered! This was a really enjoyable poem to read, and I'll be thinking on some of these lines for a bit. Please let me know if you had specific questions about my review - or wanted feedback on something I didn't get to.



AvantCoffee says...

alliyah!! <3 For some reason I missed the notification for this. Thanks a huge bunch for reviewing this poem!
What I loved about fitting the pieces together in a unified poem was the new themes that started to emerge (of which you're pretty spot on about). I'm not sure if it was also clear enough alongside the grief and loss order, but I also hoped for the 'frozen world' of each part to loosely descend lower than the previous in what it represented (like how I imagine some classical-type hero would descend into hell).
The italics in part 5 were actually more a replacement of quotations to distinguish what is said as a mimic of the style of the 'you' person %u2013 this whole poem was sort of meant to be a stylistic mimic as a kind of further nod to their influence, which is obviously more subjective to myself than to another reader. I mostly left out private meanings or integrated them in more universal meanings (another example is part 2: my actual first name means 'dew from heaven' in Hebrew).
That's an interesting view of the parenthetical lines as being a logical or hindsight perspective, and I might need to consider that more~
The two syllables is related to their name as an attempt to fit with the language/writing/articulation theme there, but is also more subjective again. (Since you're probably the person I've revealed the most to regarding this, I've been curious to see if you ever figure out the person's identity)

This is barely relevant, but when you brought up the 'stillness' and 'still' it reminded me of the poem 'The Wilde Swans at Coole' by Yeats that inspired the use of those words there!

I love your conclusion of the final tomb message. Your ideas on the poem overall are really useful and I really appreciate the part-by-part breakdown. c: Hmm overloaded imagery is something I'll look into for improvement, as well as maybe that part 2 set off from the rest; the intention of the offset was to emphasise the radicalness of the romantic content in contrast to the more bitter tone of the rest of the poem, but maybe that choice doesn't come through as much.

Anyway, like the first poem you reviewed of mine this reply is turning into a novel, xD so I'll wrap up. Thanks so much for reviewing the poem! <3 I'm glad you liked it. I'd like to see a poem where you take pieces of poetic snippets you've written overtime and patchwork them together if you're ever inclined to try it out c;

alliyah says...

Ah thanks for the reply! Was going to reply to it earlier, but definitely got consumed into the unclassified throw-down.

- I'm intrigued with your poem's tie-in to your first name meaning -> since I took a year of hebrew and actually if it's the word I'm thinking of, it's like a very similar name to my sister's first name.

-I think that the stages of grief ordering was really well done too - because if you'd been too direct, it wouldn't feel as organic I think?

-Also knowing their name is 2 syllables, and they write poetry, makes me kind of think it might be one particular person I'm thinking of - but I'm not sure I'll guess!

Yeah overall - it was cool to know the different layers of meaning that you had in here that I hadn't even known! :) ALSO I'm totally going to take you up on the challenge of writing a poem of poetry snippets myself once I have a bit of free time!

AvantCoffee says...

Lol I get that - the classified end of things was pretty chaotic before it came together this time xD

I think I saw your sister's real name somewhere on the site once, and yeah! it's very similar! I also found that interesting :3

It wouldn't be the best to guess in a reply here anyway so you're good. If I say one more thing about this poem, it's that I worked on it with hindsight that what moved me about the person was more the mingled ideal of them I had overlaid to fill in the blanks of them being gone, and that ideal probably ended up being what I needed more than the fully known them %u2013 I almost want to write another poem specifically validating this idea of idealised aspects that, really, were reflections of the me who wanted to believe in positive things I couldn't on my own. Anyway, that's a wHOLE other slant on this

I really love that those extra layers of meaning were interesting to you! c: And YES, please do the poem snippet challenge ahh I would love to see what you come up with!! <33

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25 Reviews

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Reviews: 25

Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:50 pm
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RanaNoodles wrote a review...

I just want to point out the vocabulary in this poem! I had to search 'subaqueous' up on Google to figure out what it meant, but it's really fitting for the section of the poem. The section above it ends with 'down', and the first word of this one is 'drag', so it was very fitting.
Also, in the 'Desert' section of the poem, I love how the first few lines end with 'you'. I can't tell if he or she is feeling angry or in love, but I really like it both ways.
The last section ties everything together in a shockingly satisfying way.
"I am told there are seven stages of grief and loss," and the fact that their are seven sections is so brilliant.
I was a little confused at the format, but that's the only thing I would change!
I hope this was helpful!
-Rana Noodles

AvantCoffee says...

Thank you for the feedback! I love your interpretation of the %u2018desert%u2019 section. I%u2019d love to know how you think the format is confusing and suggest how it might be different if you are open to replying here. Thanks overall for this~

RanaNoodles says...

I think, on the format, that the indents on 'sleep', and 'predawn' seemed a little bit random to me, but that might just be me; I don't read or write poetry a lot. I would probably change it to a more consistent, up and down, format, but I can't tell if that's fitting for the poem itself. Anyway, thanks for responding to my review and I hope this was helpful!

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48 Reviews

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Reviews: 48

Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:06 pm
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LadyGemstone wrote a review...

Hello! Gem here climbing out of her jewelrybox to write a quick review on your poem.

I saw that this poem and honestly just loved the name in itself. I was not disappointed when it came to the read. So anyway I decided to check it out. I really like it! I love this format. It reminds me of a dictionary, love how it looks so mint and nice.

Just the flow you moved the poem along smoothly, and you put a lot of emotion into it a lot of feeling. I'm not going to point out flaw because to me right now first second and third read I don't see any, so sorry! I loved the poem, that's really it.

Keep writing, and as always have a nice day. I hope to read more of your work ,so yeah just keep up the great work, and good luck.

And with that Gem climb back into her Jewelrybox until the next time.

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19 Reviews

Points: 337
Reviews: 19

Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:22 pm
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EmileeBrightman wrote a review...

Hello! I'm here to right a quick review on your lovely poem.

I saw that this has been sitting in the Green Room with no reviews, so I decided to check it out. And, I love it! I've never seen a poem written in this format, and I love how nice it looks.
I loved how you moved the poem along continuously, and you put a lot of emotion into this piece. I'm not much of a criticism reviewer, so sorry! But the thing is, I just loved the piece, and there's nothing that I would say you need to work on!

I'd just like to say that you're an excellent writer, and don't ever give up on your dreams! I hope to read more of your work because I know it will be just as good. Keep up the great work, and good luck! :)

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
— Henry David Thoreau, "Walden"