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Isolated

by PurpleMoment


can't hEAR
no...
it's much more:
i'm a goldfish in a bowl
I see the world around me
I watch
mouths flapping
I'm on a lONEly island
I stand awkWARdly
among foreigners
isolation is not a stranger to me
no...
I'm deaf


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Thu May 12, 2016 6:26 pm
AlmondEyes says...



To be honest, I found this poem to be quite odd.... But I liked it. I honestly have no idea what to say about this poem....

Keep writing!




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Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:52 am
Hannah wrote a review...



ear one war?
That's interesting. This is intense and truthful, Purple! You hit some pretty strong comparisons. The idea of the goldfish in a bowl really brought in that sense of soundlessness that we get when we imagine being underwater (even if water actually carries sound quite well), and giving us the motion of the mouths helped us certify that we couldn't hear.

The thing is, you've just scratched the surface.
I read a book last year called Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, which dealt with the feelings of being isolated from your language. The subject material focused on the Japanese occupation of Korea, when their rule outlawed Koreans from using their mother tongue almost over night. They suddenly had to speak a language they'd never learned, and it effectively muted them to only speak at night, by the light of candles, by the light of secrecy.

What made her piece so effective was she didn't try to explain it, but instead tried to make her readers FEEL that frustration. She opens the book with French. She continues to use French heavily throughout her book, often without translation. She uses English in a non-standard way and uses words that evoke visceral reactions to frustrate and isolate her reader. They effectively feel as shut out as those whose language was ripped from them. From the next, not from the experience.

I guess I'm not recommending that you completely take after her, as this might not work well in such an experimental style, but consider using more visceral reactions to really draw the reader into the poem's experience. Name our body parts. Name our gestures. Use words that draw lines through motion and always bring us back to our bodies. I know hearing is a little more difficult to do, because there's no imagery in vibrations carried by air, but give us the feeling -- the dull vibrations, the way they ripple in our body. What makes you deaf? Give us the science of it by demonstration rather than explanation.

But oh yes, keep playing with your words. Tell us about this war. Are you angry that you're deaf? What are you fighting?

I really, really want to see edits of this.

PM me with any questions or comments, love.

Good luck, and keep writing!




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Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:24 am
niteowl wrote a review...



Hi Purple! Overall, I really liked this until the last two lines. If you feel the need to explicitly state the theme of the poem, then something needs to change about the piece. Personally, I think you already do a great job showing that with the goldfish imagery, although you could add to it (something about signing? A hearing person trying to communicate and failing?) if you wanted too. I also wasn't sure what EAR ONE WAR was supposed to mean. Are deaf people and hearing people at war now? :P But seriously, I feel like it took away from the otherwise lovely piece. Again, great job and keep writing!




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Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:49 am
Audy wrote a review...



Purple,

I like you. I like how you play with words, and I like how you scrutinize them. It's as though words were sponges, and you can just pluck one off of a shelf and squeeze it for every inch of meaning - survey it under a microscope, or listen to it squeak against a dinner plate, or the soft ruffla sound against a scratchy palm. This sort of scrutiny is what every poet needs, and I suppose every writer as well. We're people who love words. And that's what I feel in this, a love of words xD

Now for the technical crits. I don't enjoy punctuation, because blechk. Although, I will agree with Starlene in the sense that you need to keep it consistent. Now, I'm not talking about the capitals in this poem -- we'll get to that in a second -- what I'm talking about is the grammar, yes, because you never want to compromise the poem over silly things like grammar. There's nothing worse than falling deep into the muck of a poem you love, and then the dream clouds burst and you fall out of it just as quick because there's a misspelled word. In this case, it's your ellipses. I just want to murder them.

Ellipses is the lazy-man's punctuation. It's akin to having a live audience being cued by applause cards. It's telling the reader exactly what you want them to do, and you don't want to tell the reader anything. You want to be so subtly swift, that the readers won't even notice the punctuation, or the words on the page. You want for them to be totally entranced in their own imaginings and images. I promise you, if you take them out, you'll still have that pause you're going for without the flashy lights telling us to do so.

Enough about that. Let's move on to content. This poem expresses this need to be witty, or profound, but it comes across as more experimental / gimmicky, and slightly obnoxious. I mean, I tip my hats to you for the clever word play, but the problem is that there's no real purpose for the word play. It's just there to be there, and then it screams at you - it's those cue cards again. If there were a reason for them to be there, then I can go "ooooh yeah clever!" but I don't see how finding words within words pertain to isolation or the experience of isolation. Maybe I'm missing something?

This:

i'm a goldfish in a bowl
I see the world around me
I watch
mouths flapping


is the highlight for me. I want more of this. I want to be the fish. I want to feel him, and smell him, and truly get that sense of isolation. You don't need many words to do that, I don't want a novel or a scene, I just want an arc. You've drawn out the tension, you've got the conflict, now you need to make me care.

What I find most jarring about this piece is that it seems like there are two poems here, or rather, two tones. One is the stanza I quoted above, which covers an emotionally profound sort of experience - but it only scratches the surface - I really wanted more of this. The tone in this part of the poem is rather serious.

The other half of the poem is more "in-your-face", witty, and kind of this mad creative side, where it is trying to be funny and silly and playful, and I like this too. But the mixture of these two things are working against each other for you. I can't seem to take this poem seriously, because it's so immensely silly, and I can't seem to truly appreciate the playfulness of this piece, because there is such a dark undertone that kinda kills the fun.

That being said. How the fish ends up forgetting that he was deaf all along - how very like a goldfish, utter comedic gold.

~ as always, Audy




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Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:58 am
Starleene wrote a review...



Hey there again!

Starleene here!


I have arrived for another review! I hope you’re ready! 3…2…1…Go!

Alright, I was going to say that I notice that your caps butting seems to be fighting a war with you, but then I took a closer look at the, seemingly unintentional capitalization, and realized that in fact, it was purposefully done. Brilliant just brilliant, but I do have to warn you, that if you’re going to do something this risky, I would make sure that everything else about this poem is exceptional.


“can't hEAR”

Capitalize the “c” in can’t. And if this is a statement, make it so with a period.

“no...”

Again, capitalization.


“it's much more:”

Caps.


“i'm a goldfish in a bowl
I see the world around me
I watch
mouths flapping”

This is my favourite part of your poem. Remember about the capitalization. Don’t forget to add a period or semi colon after bowl and period after me and flapping.


“I'm on a lONEly island”

Beautifully said.


“I stand awkWARdly
among foreigners
isolation is not a stranger to me”

This is by far the saddest part of the poem. The feeling of isolation must be horrible and, as I assume, this comes from personal experience, may I say that I’m sorry you had to experience that feeling.


“no...”

Capitalize the “n.”

“I'm deaf”

This is a statement so don’t forget your punctuation mark.

All in all, this is a good poem. It could use some work but the feeling and emotion was there so there isn’t much to complain about! Good work newbie! I look forward to reading some of your other work!

Good Luck! Happy Writing!

Starleene Out.




PurpleMoment says...


You are the best reviewer ever. Thanks!!!



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Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:43 am
AlmondEyes says...



To be honest, I found this poem to be quite odd.... But I liked it. I honestly have no idea what to say about this poem....

Keep writing!




PurpleMoment says...


A lot of Hearing people don't understand this poem. It's about being deaf.



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Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:36 am
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Aley wrote a review...



I find this intriguing because of the simplicity of the poem. I would think that something with this much emotional context would require more, but really I think the heart of the matter is here. The poem could use a little bit of attention to make sure that the message you really want to send does include WAR along with EAR and ONE. It seems strange, the phrase ear one war. Perhaps adding more emotion into the poem aside from the feeling of captive oppression and telling us about the awkwardness would help the poem progress and give you another word you could add to the strange phrase.

I would also like to know some context about why this realization is coming about. Is this "no..." used in lines two and 12 statements of denial, or statements of a pause and trying to understand because the idea is still forming?

I like how you used "mouths flapping" as the hearing people watched by the fish instead of the fish itself. This is very unique and a nice touch of personality.




PurpleMoment says...


More connections and flow. Descriptions. I want to engage my readers and yank at their emotions. Show them. Not tell them. Thanks! :) I value your advice!!! :)




Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and the shadows will fall beyond you.
— Walt Whitman