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Hometown

by BlueAfrica


Here's a link to the original version for comparison.


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Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:57 am
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alliyah wrote a review...



Hi Blue,

here to review!

I like the premise a lot of this poem, and even though I think a lot of people have written about home-sickness, I like your take on the driving more and more north to try to get away from it - that element adds a good twist to the usual narrative.

Another thing that I think you did really well in this poem is how you broke up the stanzas, leaving the lines that start with "but" on their own emphasizes the repetition, and makes the "but" sound even more melancholy to me, maybe because their the only stanzas lowercased and alone, and really work - and I think the formatting just all works really nice.

A few points on wording & content

On my first read-through, I couldn't really capture that stanza one was describing you away from home; at first it seemed like a recollection of your child-hood and I think could be read both ways - I think if the "growing up" part or another line that's more obviously adult or current it would be easier to gauge what's happening right away.

I think you could have dwelt a bit more on the fence post thing because that's such a good image - like your family building, and literally laying down roots, and then the new people exposing your home etc. I like the image a lot, but I'm not sure the language you use gets into the imagery very vividly or the emotion even - I also am not sure about the wording, "hours of hole-post diggers" - is diggers a noun in this instance like a tool, or a describing people, or your own family or hired people? It feels like it should be "hours of hole-post digging" but I'm not really sure what you're referring to so can't say.

In the next section it just starts with a verb "filled" - but it's not clear if it's still the people with the old house or different people adding some pronoun like "they" or "someone" I think would help with clarity. I like the image of the sisters hunting tadpools because it starts to widen the background story of the speaker while adding imagery and setting a nostalgic scene. For me the ferry wasn't as resonate because there wasn't a personal connection added in besides the parking lot description. I think the short abrupt sentences in that stanza are good though - because they do make the old town seem stark // I almost wish we had a whole contrasting stanza of what the town used to feel or be like, to expose what the speaker is actually longing for a bit more - is it buildings, or people, events, memories, connections? I don't feel like we are given quite enough to know.

I don't think that the "my grandmother depressed" needs an "is" - because much of the rest of the poem is written more conversationally, and it's implied in how the stanza is laid out. I think that was a particularly stark image, I almost wanted more parallelism though - like if the grandparents are so important to the speaker - they could be mentioned in their memories, and then the sisters are left out of the family recollection altogether in that same stanza. In that way it feels like the poem has a lot of loose ends and trails that don't get completed or looped back too - creating a feel of an unfinished story

I think the way the last sentence is phrased is quite interesting - and the contrast of freezing/burning works nice too - I think a bit more temperature imagery could even be worked into the memory stanza. But I really like how you've phrased those last three lines - there's something deep there that really resonates and aches.

Overall I like the premise a lot, and I think this nostalgia home/but-not-home feeling is one of the weirdest ones out there, that doesn't get talked about enough, but I totally relate to, and love what you said in the opening and closing because I think you speak a lot of truth into emotions that I've felt (and I think others have too) -- I think the narrative and imagery could be a bit tighter really, but the poem as a whole does feel fairly polished.

Let me know if you have questions about my review, or wanted feedback on anything in particular that I didn't get to. Best of luck on the journal too! I've been submitting a bit of poetry out into the world recently and it's exciting but also a lot of "bLeh! What does the world want! Is any of this /actually/ good?" XD So all the best to you!

alliyah
Image

Happy #RevMo




BlueAfrica says...


Lol THE BIGGEST MOOD like I think I'm ready to submit to a journal and then I read the prior issues and go "oh no I've only ever written crap." I think it's really just that I've developed a more straightforward style over the years? Which I *like,* and it's helped me as I've tried to make my poetry-writing more purposeful, but once I actually start submitting I'm convinced no one *else* will think it's poetic enough.

Two questions:

Re: the ferry, would a personal tie-in help there the way the cafe is tied to dad? Like "the ferry we took to Sarnia for my sixteenth birthday" or whatever? Bc I was trying to zoom out from "here's how our property changed" to "here's how town changed" to "my family's not even there anyway so why do I even bother."

Also, when you say the narrative feels unfinished, is that a "and it needs to be finished" or a "but that works for the overall what-you're-trying-to-convey"?



alliyah says...


Ha yep, big mood!

Yes I think that'd work for the ferry detail & still feel like it was zooming out. And I think the unfinished narrative for me wasn't a good thing because I just wanted more continuity & background -- but I could also see how leaving things out, not finishing threads, might be mysterious and go with the theme for others.



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Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:37 pm
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Magestorrow wrote a review...



Hey, Blue! I'm finally reviewing another work of yours.

The first thing that came to mind when I read your poem was a song from the podcasts Welcome to Night Vale/It Makes a Sound. The song - Sad But Not Depressed - focuses on the singer's resentment at their childhood being destroyed, and I think your poem shares many similarities with it. There's a lot of pieces on how childhood is metaphorically destroyed, but few of those works talk about the physical destruction of childhood places. It's what made me enjoy this poem so much.

One of the things that I really loved about this poem was how you combined the changes in your hometown to your actual experiences - you did a great job at making the reader feel your homesickness and frustration. I also loved when you threw in where your family was now. Though the comments about your grandfather and grandmother made me feel sad, I felt a little bit of shock when I saw that your parents lived four states away. It showed just how much you missed it; besides the homesickness, there really wasn't a reason to go there.

The large variation between stanza length threw me off a little, but that's ultimately a stylistic choice of yours. If you enjoy that more, go for it! If not, I would suggest moving some of those one-to-two line stanzas to the larger stanzas - save for the last line at the end.

The only other critique I have for this poem is a missed word in the lines down below:

my grandfather is dead now and
my grandmother depressed
and unable to feed herself


You forgot to add a verb into that second line - going off of the first line, there should probably be "is" right after "grandmother".

Besides that, this poem looks great! I'm glad I got to read another wonderful work of yours.

Image




BlueAfrica says...


Thanks for the review! %u2764



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Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:25 pm
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Necromancer14 wrote a review...



This is seriously depressing and emotional.

"Always thinking driving north will freeze the reality burning inside me

But I guess I don't drive far enough"

I really like this part, along with the beginning. it's a genius idea for a sad poem.

There's just one thing in stanza four; you go a little overboard on the word "and".

Other than that tiny little blip though, this was a wonderfully sad poem.




BlueAfrica says...


Thanks for the review!



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Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:47 pm
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26Gemini says...



I will try to review this later. Hint on how I view it, I only review things that really stir my emotions. <3




BlueAfrica says...


Thanks! I look forward to hearing more from you :)



26Gemini says...


You are very welcome. I look forward to being able to review more of your work.




If it wasn't for poetry, I couldn't express myself.
— Rosendorn