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"poetry is like pencils"

by whatchamacallit


A/N this poem is probably trash, but hey, I was having fun! Anyway, feel free to rip it apart. (Just a note ~ capitalization is on purpose, as is the misspelling of "infinities", but I'd love feedback on anything else, including formatting / tone / interpretation!)

(This is a slightly edited version, here's a link to the first one:

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106 Reviews

Points: 5921
Reviews: 106

Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:59 pm
WinnyWriter wrote a review...

Hey, this is so creative. The format, the sarcasm, the irony - it's a work of art on multiple levels. It's interesting how you have us thinking that your comparison of poetry with pencils is going to turn out more inspirational than the comparison of poetry with paper, and yet both of them end up in the trash. It's kind of cool, because you've veered away from what might be typical or commonly expected. You even took a different direction than where the reader may have though you were going. I live how you've "colored outside the lines," so to speak.

Some of the lighter font was hard to read, but it's cool how you set it up. Great work!

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71 Reviews

Points: 5463
Reviews: 71

Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:41 am
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I'd just like to say that a) I loved this poem and b) as a math nerd, I'm slightly offended that your poem assumes that I didn't check the product of your exponent, because 29 equaling 215 sounded very wrong, and it was! You probably know this, but because I'm annoying, I did it in my brainplace, then checked with a calculator, and it's actually 512. (Did you rearrange the digits, watcha? Sneaky, I like it.)

Haha you caught me!

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304 Reviews

Points: 20007
Reviews: 304

Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:27 am
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Vulcanite wrote a review...

Hi @whatchamacallit here to do a short review on this quickly, warning I have not done many reviews in while so sorry if this is bad, now lets get into this poem.
I really liked reading this because I did look at it from a I'm having fun prospective, I also really like the theme to go with it. I like this also because it was not like three lines, it was more then that, so it was worth a read. I find if its super short I just don't really feel like reading it. Also if you were having fun then well good on you because this is pretty good, if I was playing around I well really hew noes what I would have come up with. also I really agree with @alliyah's review so I'm not going to go into the things that might need improving or anything like that, because I think that's has already been done, anyways I got really cool images while reading this, it was so easy to follow, and it sort of made me feel happy, I don't no why, maybe because I don't really see this often, but sometimes doodling about has real good out comes in the end.

Anyway I don't want to bore you with my compliments I just want to let you no that I really liked it. This is all that I can say, I really loved this poem and hope to read more in the future. :)

I hope that you have a great Day/Night

@Vulcanite siring over the green room sparing shards of reviews as she went

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Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:01 pm
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Juan2411 says...

I just wanted to say that I think this was absolutely brilliant. All of it. I wish I had more experience and knowledge as a writer to properly review/critique it, but I just had to say something about it. The format is super original, refreshing, and still very understandable. I think you nailed the tone you were going for. As a new-ish writer, I could totally relate to this, but I reckon even experienced writers could too.

Overall, super pleasant to read and I'll likely soon binge-read all your other works. :)

Aw thank you so much for the encouraging comment! (Also I see you're new here, so welcome to YWS - if you have any questions about the site I'd be glad to answer them!)

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985 Reviews

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Reviews: 985

Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:21 am
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alliyah wrote a review...

YES! I really love what's happening here!

This is my favorite experimental formatted piece of your's yet!

It's a little more than a "writer's block" or a "eh poetry is hard to write" poem - this one deals with serious author-self-doubt-feels that I think every single poet can relate to. I've definitely circled around some of these feelings in my own writing, and can relate to the content a lot I think. You've managed a few really sharp word-phrasings too, that make this poem definitely feel less like just conceptual art and more like "poetic". I especially liked the almost summary at the end

theatrical fire
(or exponents)

this review is gonna be all over the place because it's too late for me to be awake here -> but let's talk about that "exponents" metaphor for a moment.

I love it on two levels 1) you've used it to make a contrast between science and feeling / craft and emotion -> where the mathy / exponential side is in conflict with the desire to just write and feel, really clever metaphor, I also love how you keep touching back to it throughout the poem from "infinity" to the finitude at the end. Also the idea of exponents, fits so well with a poem that feels almost like the external manifestation of anxiety spiraling, where each loop around the thought gets progressively more anxiety-inducing. Really neat, and unique! You could maybe do a bit more to set the "fire" image more in contrast / conflict with the exponential one -> where fire is free and consuming, exponents are growing and rigid. You kind of circle around the theme of destruction quite a bit, but I think it could be more explicitly contrasted with the exponential theme.

A little wording question - > I read your author's note and am curious why did you choose to misspell "infinities"? It definitely tripped me up a bit, trying to wonder if it was a European spelling or a way to mean "infinites" rather multiples of "infinity" or something. I'm not sure what purpose that served, but I'd like to hear the intention if you're willing to share - if it was to have a more "authentic" mistake in the poem, I think it might have been interesting to have done multiple mispellings and then have some of them like crossed off aggressively.

infinitees, inifinity's, infinites, infinite?, infinite? infinies?

Another little cautious framing critique here, I found it interesting that a poem that is about self-doubt in poetry had an author's note saying "this poem is probably trash" ~ don't ever sell yourself short! This is a really interesting and cool poem! Poetry is about 25% framing anyways, so even if you think a poem isn't good, if you present it like it means something I think it sells the message all that much better. Still I wonder if this was an ironic inclusion to touch of the subject matter.

Some ideas for little formatting things you could experiment with if you throw this in like powerpoint or a photo editor ~

You could include real smudges at the ashes part, or like some grey background there.
I think numbers spiraling off of the exponent number would be neato!
I think the stanza about the pencil's sharpness would have been interesting if it had came to a point maybe with a more triangular shape there or the text getting teeny-tinier.

Another suggestion -

I loved the way you had little poetic bits in this where the language moved away from the internal reflections and got a bit more flowery I guess. Like the part about the "trim slope of graphite" and the "lead-scuffed white shrivel" - those were fun movement parts that gave us a break from the intense internal dialogue, but I would have loved if these were a bit longer - don't be afraid to really wax-poetic in those asides! Especially if they're off-set somehow I don't think it confused the "story" or the logic of the speaker's thinking in this. I think for a piece like this, the more hectic the better really.

A compliment -

Do you know something you're really good at? You just really nail that "internal-brooding voice" in your poetry. I notice this has a somewhat similar tone to the voice in "blurry cracks" (whoops I actually just went back and clicked that poem and saw I had a whole comment saved, so clicking submit on that!) and I think the whole internal-brooding-thoughts thing is something really hard to do in a way that seems realistic, inspires empathy, and isn't boring. People don't tend to like being philosophized at, which is why poetry that's too much of an internal-dialogue sometimes misses the mark, but you do a great job being direct and very realistic in how you portray the voice of the internal mind.

Other things
I think I'd normally advocate a bit more order to the indents, but I think for this subject the disorder worked, and you still managed to collect a sense of organization by using stanza breaks for different subjects/movements in the piece.

For formatting I feel like this poem takes a bit to get to the meat of the issue. You even kind of acknowledge this in the poem. But I'm not sure the start with the paper and the scrunch was quite as strong as the other sections - the break up of "in / the / trash" was also maybe a little too dramatic, as the reader is just dipping their toes into the poem at that point.

I thought the way you formatted "ashes" was quite effective, and also how you used the multiple arrows >>> was great! The "pop goes the weasel" oops moment definitely made me smile, and I think gave the poem a little light moment too.

Overall this was fun / enjoyable to read, and thought provoking! That's about all I've got at the moment, but if you wanted feedback on something I forgot to cover, please feel free to let me know and I'll make sure revisit it! :)

keep on writing ~

- alliyah

I love this review so much, you're amazing alliyah! <3

The misspelling of infinities was meant to make it visually look like it rhymes with three -> forced spelling meant to represent / lament about forced rhymes. That might be too subtle or not super obvious though?

As for the "trash" comment in the author's note, that was meant to be a bit of a continuation of the poem - or at least, the tone.

I like all your formatting suggestions, I think I'll play around with some of those!

(also I just realized, I wrote blurry cracks and this poem both right before bed, I wonder if that's why they're similar in some respects? Maybe my nighttime poetry is broody xD)

Again, thank you for the awesome review!

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7 Reviews

Points: 464
Reviews: 7

Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:52 am
CreativeUsername wrote a review...

This had a very unique format. It was really fun to look at and my brain actually wanted to read this, which doesn't happen ever. I also like the uh weirdness to this poem (is that a word????)

As for critique:

I personally feel like there were too many parenthesis. They messed up the flow and rhythm of the poem and I think the poem would be better with some of them taken out.

Another thing I want to say for critique is that I didn't really understand the poem concept. That being said, I still enjoyed the descriptions and comedy aspects even when I was confused. It felt random but that's what I loved about it so I guess this turned into a compliment?

So all in all, I did thoroughly enjoy reading this and you should definitely write more poetry. That's all

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170 Reviews

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Reviews: 170

Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:41 am
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starlitmind says...

Ahh, I always get so excited when I see you’ve posted a new poem!

This was so cool and really fun to read!! I can tell you had some fun with this c: I love how unique this is!! <3

I love the “crack goes the pencil/pop goes the weasel” part, and the little oops above it! xD and how did I not realize infinities was misspelled

Aw thank you so much Star <3

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