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napo2020 #1

by BluesClues

Title suggestions welcome!

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915 Reviews

Points: 123561
Reviews: 915

Sun Apr 26, 2020 3:55 pm
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alliyah wrote a review...

Hi Blue,

here to review your poem!

So this is definitely short, sweet, and straight-forward which is good because it means you've captured a theme and the whole poem communicates that without distraction. I think I'm going to spend most of the time talking about interpretation & theme, I got a little confused when reading of where the italics dialogue came from, but then realized that's the "someone" so I didn't really have any issues with the formatting. The phrasing and formatting felt straight-forward and clear - but if you have questions on what I thought about any of that let me know.

Overall I think the message of the poem is that the point of people's worth (specifically women's worth) is not to be "likeable" - they're going to be strong, joyful, & fighting whether you like it or not, so watch out! Definitely some strong feminist themes, because this poem read as if could be about a particular "sort of woman" but also just about all women or people who subvert expectation of them.

I like that you took two labels often given to women and subverted them (ie. b*tch & flower) I actually think this poem may have been more powerful if it had either used "b*tch" or alluded more to the fact that women get called dogs? Though maybe you were not intentionally alluding to that at all?

The flower comparison I think is stronger and more clearly subversive, because people often call women "flowers" or "snowflakes" or other things like that to highlight their vulnerability / innocence / weakness / objectified-beauty, and you showed how a flower might actually be very strong, and not exist for the pleasure of onlookers but just because it wants to grow and exist.

My favorite line in the whole piece is "People don't like her" -> because it comes right in the point of the poem, where I'm feeling like, "am I supposed to like this dog / flower, is the narrator wanting us to be sympathetic or angry towards them" .. and then it gets crystal clear, and I realize any dislike I may have had towards the subjects in stanza 1 are reflective of my own biases against people/things that are bold and joyful.

One aspect I had a little trouble with -> is I kind of wish you had more clearly linked up how the joy & strength themes connect, right now it feels like your describing two aspects of a person that don't actually interact. It's like if I said, "The fish is blue, the flower is red. People don't like them. The fish swims in blue waters. The flower is beautiful because red is the best color. The flower won't stop being red." (This is a wayyy simplified version just to make the point, that the poem is describing two separate things that aren't feeling linked up.) There's an implied statement that goes with the final line "the flower breaks through concrete" -> oh I guess the dog won't stop being happy too, but you don't explicitly say that, so I end up feeling a little like that thread was unresolved. If you could connect how the two characteristics interact a bit more, I think the poem would have more impact.

One way to get around this would be to add more characteristics than strength & joy, like a dog's care-free sloppiness, or a flower's confidence even when her petals are bent. Or you could link them a bit more to the aspect of "fighting" -> there seems to be a way that "joy" is fighting against those who would have us act another way, joy is fighting in the sense, that I'm not going to let anyone else take control of my emotional reaction or expression, because it's mine. And "fight" also relates to strength too -> in the straining against expectations and things put in their way.

I didn't feel like the last two lines came out of nowhere, they felt linked with the rest of the poem, and conclusive too, I just don't necessarily see how the dog-characteristics and flower-characteristics are working together, which makes it hard for me to see the final two lines applying to the dog. I also like that the last two lines could be seen as an allusion to the glass ceiling for some bonus feminist themes. Yeah, I think that's all I've got! Feel free to message me if you wanted more feedback since I mostly just babbled about interpretation. I really thought this poem felt strong and bold without being cliche or inauthentic which I think is difficult to do - I think a lot of people could benefit from the message. And whether intended or not, I think the way you're subverting labels given to women or "certain people" is important, ESPECIALLY in poetry -> where it is too easy for folks to just say, "She's a flower" and not worry about what that's saying. :]

Title suggestions: "Damn these weeds" (another stereotype about women is they aren't supposed to swear! so that'd be fun!) "she is a flower; strong", "if she were a dog", "you ought to know", "concrete punches and other things we flowers do"... Yeah!

thanks for sharing Blue <3

- alliyah


BluesClues says...

Holy HECK what an interpretation! I'm, like,,,blown away. I wouldn't have even thought of this as feminist poem or of the play on "b*tch" and "flower," but I??? honestly love it??? HECKEDY HECK HECK HECK and thank you so much for such a great, in-depth review!

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481 Reviews

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Reviews: 481

Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:43 am
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Meshugenah wrote a review...

Hi, Blue!

First, I absolutely love your last line, but it comes out of nowhere. There isn't any lead up to it, and the effect is a bit like a punch, really. So, if that was your intention, then good! Otherwise, I would try to find a way to lead in to it a bit more, but that could very easily mess with the structure you have going. The only place I really see to do any adjusting would be the third stanza, second line, replacing the lawn with a sidewalk, etc. unless you add. And, I almost don't want you to add anything, because I like how quick and generally straightforward this is, with the comparison of two dichotomous ideas (dog, dandelion) and their similarities.

Ok. the more I think about it, the more I like this just the way it is, and after thinking and letting it fester in my brain a bit, I'm not finding your last line to be as much of a punch as I did initially. I think part of the issue still, though, is that "punch[ing] through concrete" is so specific to the flower, so you end up with no parallel ending for the dog metaphor. Which, again, can work in your favor or not, depending on what you're going for.

Thanks for the read! <3

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442 Reviews

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Reviews: 442

Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:40 am
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Tuckster wrote a review...

Hey there Blue! In honor of NaPo I've been on a poetry reviewing streak lately and I figured I'd swing by and offer my thoughts on your first NaPo poem. Congrats on already composing 1/4 poems, by the way!

I think my favorite thing about this poem is a two-way tie between the way you used the length of stanzas to communicate and the final two lines. It was a really strong, vivid, and beautiful image. There's a desperate violence and determination there that absolutely embodies the essence of the poem. It's just a really good line.

However, I felt as if the idea of punching through concrete could have been better tied to the images of the dog and the flower. For the flower, if you extended it just slightly to a dandelion pushing between the cracks of a driveway, it would tie perfectly into the idea. It's slightly more difficult for the dog metaphor, but if you were able to devise a way that you could connect it to the theme it would be even more final. It would connect everything and draw it together so that it's not just a single great line, but a great poem because of that line.

As far as titles, I like something with the theme of dandelions. I'm picturing kind of a Golden Retriever dog (could be because you included dandelions, and dandelions are yellow, so yellow is in my head and gets projected onto the dog). Golden Growth is perhaps a little too on-the-nose and cliche, but something along those lines, focused around the theme of dogs, growth, and dandelions is definitely in the right ballpark.

Overall, this was a really great poem that utilized some really difficult poetic tools, like stanza length and imagery, to capture an idea. It was impressively done and a truly fantastic start to your NaPo. I look forward to seeing what the next few weeks bring! If you have any questions about my review you know where to find me.

See you around!


BluesClues says...

Thanks so much for this review! I thought about that with the concrete imagery - I had a couple different versions where it was like "the way she'll grow/if only through a crack in the sidewalk" and things like that, but none of them felt strong enough. I'll have to keep tinkering with it!

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153 Reviews

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Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:56 pm
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whatchamacallit wrote a review...

Hi BluesClues!

I love this poem. It's really simple, but also really powerful.

"Insuppressible" or "Irrepressible" could be possible titles? Those might capture the spirit of "her", whoever you are describing.

I honestly don't have much to criticize about this poem. One thought is in the third stanza, maybe using "dandelion" singular to match with a singular dog? So it would be,
"...and a dandelion raises her cheery head from the lawn:
watch the lamp! damn that weed. Some people..."
Or something like that. I think it might make the stanza easier to read, keeping the number of the nouns and therefore the conjugation of the verbs the same - but that's just a personal opinion, so it's totally up to you.

But your grammar is perfect (I love when people use colons correctly!), and your imagery is beautiful. This is a great poem! Good job.


BluesClues says...

Thanks for the review!

(Also, I have an English degree now - so I, too, like proper colon usage :))

You are beautiful because you let yourself feel, and that is a brave thing indeed.
— Shinji Moon