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by Lavvie

A/N: Decisions regarding punctuation and form (e.g., capitalization or a lack thereof) are intentional and for stylistic purposes. 

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416 Reviews

Points: 775
Reviews: 416

Tue Dec 15, 2020 5:44 am
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Willard wrote a review...

Hey, pal.

First of all, I wish you well. Your poem and accompanying wall post expressed something absent from YWS and the outer world. There isn't bleak enough conversation about the illness in mental health. Whether it'd be for one reason or another regarding what's socially appropriate, it takes a lot to articulate one's struggle with the weight it deserves. 'maniac' alone brandishes a stigma that could, if done true to its word, strip away the triviality of 'being crazy haha' and present a work unflinching, guttural, honest.

Which you did. Your work was pleasing from both an artistic and indulgent perspective. Illness can't be cured, that'd be a loaded wish, but I genuinely do hope greater stability is found in your life. You deserve it. Anyone does.

forgive me for existing in a parabola,
oscillating between 2 points; a mountain & a cave.

Let me describe.

Biting. Your word choice compliments your form. Starting with 'forgive', rather grave, sets a tone without excess. 'parabola' and 'oscillating' are pretty (lovely sounding vowels, too). A digit? A semi-colon? An ampersand? All in seven words? So much is accomplished in your brevity, which I think leans into your style. Some can gripe about what's necessary in poetry, so be it, but an image created by the shape of words can do more to the brain than the content itself.

Although my main point of critique is about the framing, it is well established, the attention centered on 'Let me describe.'.

at times, the cave is Platonic.

BONKERS wordplay.

disfiguring truth, it hides me
& shields the beauty of the sun. in my blindness,
i am bewildered, withered by darkness.

at times, the cave is an open hole. there are slivers of light, piercing
through shadows of shackles, molten metal
on ankles attached to feet. i move in a scramble of limbs, out.
My eyes are suns, bright.

Bodily descriptions of the intangible ('disfiguring truth') and not ('withered by darkness') embrace a primitive ugly paired well with the subject matter. Articulating the lows by truly digging low goes a long way.

Since this is framed to reflect a bipolarity, the cave and the mountain, I feel there are moments that dampen the quality of the poem but are necessary in the structure. For example, the last two lines of stanza 3. 'My eyes are suns, bright.' hinders the flow, personally, by being simplistic in nature and echoing the line before. 'i move in a scramble of limbs, out' is a killer sentence that makes an awkward punctuation choice work. Yet, even though the sentence structure sticks out more as a sore thumb the second time, the final line transitions into the next two stanzas better than if it was left out.

If that makes sense. I don't think there is much one can do about it, haha.

Let me describe.

Please do :)

at the top, the mountain is framed by blue & soft white, disguising
opportunity. i think too much too fast & soon
clouds swirl white but opaque, just as clear
as the cave.

'just as clear as the cave.' is gimmicky in contrast to the rest of the stanza, though I hold no negativity. What else is there to do?

'i think too much too fast & soon' trips over itself in such a neat fashion. It rings true of mania in both the delivery and the content.

at the top, the mountain is joyless despite appearances. i waver,
muddling colours until everything everywhere turns brown.
my lenses are muddled & i sink in perpetual guilt
of truly never getting anywhere

Since the second and third line are separated by a period, the repetition of 'muddled' reads redundantly. The two lines are disjointed to the point where, opposed to the stanza being entirely cohesive, it works like an underhand toss to a swing of the bat. 'i sink in perpetual guilt/of truly never getting anywhere/happy.', pointed and anguished, is enough to stand on its own as a strong ending. A tie-in isn't necessary to drive the ball home.

So, I guess, my main critique revolves around the limitation of the structure. Then again, not only does the structure hammer in the message, you worked well within the restraints. I've always admired your work and it's no different this time around. Disregard any of this review if it comes off as drivel. This was a wonderful poem. Thank you for writing it. All the respect and well wishes.


Lavvie says...

wow this is such a thoughtful review (far from drivel, that's for sure) - thank you for taking the time to write it & I will seriously take into consideration your suggestions as I move into my revisions this winter break.

thank you thank you, fellow poet. always means a lot from you <3

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1266 Reviews

Points: 37999
Reviews: 1266

Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:15 am
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niteowl wrote a review...

Hi Lavvie! Niteowl here to leave a quick review on this lovely poem! As you are probably aware, since I believe you've reviewed some of my past poems, the subject of mental illness/madness is one of my favorite things to write about, so I'm interested

For the first sentence, I feel like the parabola isn't actually the right math term, since it only has one peak or valley. A graph with repeated curves/valleys is actually called sinusoidal since y=sin x oscillates between -1 and 1.

I think colon or dash might be more appropriate after "Let me describe".

Interesting use of the word Platonic, since I usually don't see that word in this context. However, I feel like the third stanza reads more like the allegory of the cave than the second.

I respect the ampersands as a stylistic choice, but I still find them a little distracting, probably because I don't see them that often.

I'm not crazy about the beginning of the second cave stanza. I might tighten it up a little "at times, there are slivers of lights, casting shadows on my shackles." I might also move "in my blindness, i am bewildered, withered by darkness" to the end of this stanza.

I'm not sure the "eyes like suns, bright" fits here, since this is the depression section and that sounds more like mania to me. Unless this is supposed to be a transition between depression and mania? I'm not quite sure.

In the first mountain stanza, "disguising opportunity" doesn't make much sense to me. I might allude to how the mountain looks joyful and peaceful, so it can then contrast to "joyless despite appearances". I think that could be a really cool metaphor for the "but you don't look sick/isn't it good to be happy?" misperception that tends to surround mania.

The final stanza is just *chef's kiss*, though I might consider not repeating "muddled".

Overall, I think this is a solid poem that builds on the idea of mood swings as peaks and valleys. Keep writing!

Lavvie says...

Hey nite, thanks for the review! In fact, when I posted this, I thought of you and I'm thrilled you dropped by. I'm headed into this winter break with the expectation to do some revisions of my 2020 poems, so I will definitely keep your thoughts in mind (particularly the repetition of "muddled" which I was not aware of at all lol) <3

Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
— G.K. Chesterton