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Young Writers Society



Counting Eggs

by Hijinks



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5 Reviews

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Reviews: 5

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Wed Mar 02, 2022 5:43 pm
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Acrius wrote a review...



Good afternoon. I think it would be better to just jump right into the review and share the hings I enjoyed before I start the speculations and criticisms. The act of expanding upon an idiom with a narrative based poem is very interesting. While the poem doesn't exactly follow an actual storyline, the reader gets quite a bit of hints at the context of the speaker's feelings and and the things likely to cause them. I'm not completely sure of how literal the chicken analogy is, which caused me to be somewhat unsure of some lines. One of which was the use of the term "feathered armor." I imagine any sort of armor made of feathers would serve a very niche purpose, but offer no real protection. Initially, I interpreted this as admission to vulnerability, but the previous line "You don't have the privilege," hinting that the armor has some advantage. My overall idea of the poem is that the speaker is either having a direct conversation or an internal thought with the second character about how used they feel. If this is a direct confrontation, then the poem carries a bit of a courageous (for the lack of a better word coming to mind) tone. If the poem is more of an internal or personal dialogue, then I feel as though it shifts the tone to be much more somber because this is the speaker coming to terms that they are being used and are watching their eggs (which I also have an idea about) be taken away from her and not even appreciated very much. Now if the poem is completely literal, then the hen is watching her children get taken away and likely used as food or some other mass produced resource. This ties in with the poem having a somber tone, because who would feel anything but after realizing the of your children. If the whole thing is metaphorical, then I interpret it as being someone feeling as though the eggs are the fruits of one's labor (whatever that may be) and that their efforts are being taken for granted. On a very small note, I'm not a big fan of the font, but it doesn't take anything away from the poem, it's just me being a bit nitpicky. Also, the illustration at the bottom of the page gives me the idea of the signature of a formal written letter. Overall, the poem was quite an interesting read that really got me thinking about a lot of aspect of what was written.




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Mon Feb 14, 2022 6:26 pm
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alliyah wrote a review...



Hey hatch! :) (just have to use your old nickname for this review ~)

Excellent twist on such a common saying to make it to something new! :) I remember once my poetry prof in college told us we all needed to write a poem about the phrase "stubborn as a mule" from the perspective of a mule - > and they turned out really intriguing, this kind of reminded me of that - you added a totally new layer of meaning to a saying people use often without thinking. The poem also reminded me of the movie "Chicken Run" which the older I get, the more political it feels to watch - I think it takes a lot to change someone's perception of something they already have in their head, because our first instinct is to go with what we already think - > but doing so can create an interesting layered experience as a reader too if done well and make them question other assumptions. In this case you did well in challenging the assumption that chickens are merely passive, unfeeling producers, but gave them an emotional response to laying eggs that did make me think!

Interpretation
I think the very base level of this poem I would interpret as a description of a chicken that is angry with the person taking her eggs - either because the person takes her granted, or teases her with the phrase "don't count your eggs before they hatch," or because she's mad for the egg stealing. The chicken is also silently plotting her revenge and makes the reader wonder if the phrase ought to be turned around that maybe the person taking the eggs ought not "count them before their taken" because they're not the one in control, really the chicken is.

The poem can also be interpreted at a little deeper level from an animal rights perspective, a capitalism perspective, a feminism perspective or all three.

> Animal Rights - don't take animals for granted as unfeeling producers, we ought to appreciate them and realize they're the ones to thank / the ones in control of our food chain, not us. Giving the chicken an "I" voice in the poem really helps them claim this emotive response too, as not just an object but a being with personhood and emotion.

> Capitalism Critique - treating each other as a means to an end or assigning value based on counting creates an alienation between ourselves and our food / environment / and each other. As seen in the poem the very act of counting creates damage between the relationship of the chicken keeper and the chicken in similar ways that workers may feel exploited by being reduced to their capital productivity. There's a little revolutionary vibe in the threat that the real power isn't in the "keeper" but in the ones who actually control production ie. the workers. They may appear harmless in their 'feathers' but this is actually where they hold their means for resistance. In this line -> I like that you don't give the "keeper of chickens" any extra ownership in the poem you don't call it "their coop" but rather "the coop".

> Feminism - This one I would have a little bit of trouble justifying because you didn't use masculine pronouns for the chicken keeper or feminine ones for the chicken-> but I tend to associate egg-laying chickens as symbols of motherhood, so I'll roll with it. I think one could interpret this poem from a feminist perspective in a critique against assigning value to women in only their bodies and ability to (re)produce. The chicken in the poem is fed up with the chicken-keeper's obsession with counting / stealing her young and acting like the eggs are his to count and keep, when it is really hers. The lines about the inherent danger of the body are interesting too - > feathers are flammable but they can also hide matches, so they can be means of demise or weaponized, maybe in a similar way that women's bodies can be a danger to themselves or used as a weapon against others. The chicken says she is "unruffled" by his teasing because she does not root her own value in this counting he does. And that her body in fact isn't only "fire fuel" but is a privilege (you don't have the privilege of "feathered armour") so in a way reclaims the value of a body that would be objectified or weaponized as something she uniquely keeps. Interestingly the threat she gives back to the chicken keeper is he better watch out or else he'll have those eggs in his own hair -> meaning that she probably doesn't assign a lot of value to the eggs themselves either, but that they are her's to control.

So in each of these interpretations I think there are many ways that people can relate to the chicken and if they resonate with her voice consider it empowering. I think it'd be interesting rolling with one of those interpretations and making it a bit more "in your face" of even more human in the descriptions of the chicken so that the reader is caught even more off guard. An example of how to do that would be for the capitalism critique version using traditional labor words like money, production, exploitation, manager etc. or in the feminism version making the chicken-keeper more traditionally male (like in their clothing descript or something), or bringing up other subtle women's issues even ones that may be a stretch to pertain to chickens would solidify it more.

Things I liked

> Emotive Language Throughout
I really thought this poem worked with the emotive / angry vibe that you chose for the narrator - I like that she seemed sure of herself and confident rather than powerless in the situation and I'm also glad it didn't take like a joke ending or something because I think that would have really undercut the different ways this can be interpreted. Little phrases like "last time I checked" and "we both know" also were just perfectly placed in making the chicken seem very human-like in her turns of expressions and powerful. Good use of "I" voice throughout too as that helped me resonate with the chicken rather than just seeing her as an object of pity or contemplation.

> Imagery
Even though it's a short poem, you've got some nice little kernels of imagery in here to make the scene come alive as the chicken paints it. With the "burble of oil" rolling down her feathers (Ah! that was such a good metaphor / phrasing and evokes the image of "cooking chicken" in oil too which makes it that much more vivid) and then the way you described the cracked eggs on the chicken-keeper in the 2nd stanza too was really nice. As well as "feathered armour" ! These little gems make the poem stick even more and were expertly done without making the poem feel cumbersome or distracting to get through.

> Form
Not going to comment too much on this - but I didn't find anything distracting in terms of capitalization / punctuation. I'm glad you left out quotation marks as this made the poem feel "clean" and I liked that the two stanzas were fairly close to the same length too - the poem just felt very "clean" easy-flowing overall.

Suggestions

> Image Pairing
I'm not sure the chicken tracks image is the first thing I would choose with this, because it doesn't reveal anything extra to the scene and doesn't expand on any of the images you've already got going. I think a cracked egg, a lit or unlit match, a feather explosion, or a nest would lend itself more to the images you're already painting in the poem itself. I liked the font choice though, felt feminine but also kind of aggressive and formal which I thought went will with the poem.

> Title
I think the title similarly could work a little more to add to your poem rather than just be a reflection of what you've already got going on. Maybe "don't count my eggs" or something a little more aggressive / active or descriptive.

> Narrative / Emotional Continuity
My last comment is in my first read through I had a hard time resolving that the speaker was both angry that the eggs were being stolen, and yet she was willing to toss them at the chicken-egg stealer. It felt like an inconsistency where it was hard to pin down exactly what her anger was about, and because that anger is the main focus of the poem, that created a little dissonance for me. As I mentioned in my interpretations I think that a person can resolve that maybe the anger isn't about the egg-stealing so much as being taken for granted / being used as a means of productive / teasing or taunting / alienation / general loss of autonomy etc etc etc so I don't think it's a contradiction, it just takes a little extra thought to link up the two thoughts for me. I don't know if in such a short poem you could do some of that "making sense of it" for the reader in the poem itself -> like more explicitly laying out what she is angry about, or if that would take away from its ability to be read so many different ways. That just might be something to keep in mind for future writing though is as a reader you want to be able to follow the logic of the narrator generally and readers also (generally) like emotional consistency as it's easier to relate to, unless there's a reason not to have it. In novel terms -> even if I don't agree with the stakes I want to be able to put myself in the narrator's frame of mind and be able to sympathize / understand them.

And really these suggestions are more nit-picky minute preference things, because this poem was really well written so there's not a lot I would change if anything. So feel free to just consider that section as extra random thoughts I had while reading.

Overall
Overall this was an absolutely eggscelent chicken poem with lots of layer of meaning that was really fun to read and review and will keep me thinking for a long time later. :)

Thanks for writing! Let me know if you wanted extra comments on anything or had any questions about my review.

all the best,

~alliyah





I was flummoxed by fractious Franny's decision to abrogate analgesics for the moribund victims of the recent conflagration. Of course, to display histrionics was discretionary, but I did so anyways, implicating a friend in my drama to make the effect cumulative. I think a misanthrope would have a prosaic appellation, perhaps one related to autonomy and the rejection of anthropocentrism. I think they wouldn't think much of the prominence of watching the coagulation of tea to prognosticate future malevolent events, not even if those events were related to jurisprudence.
— Spearmint