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Reflect · Poetry Minific ·
Organised by Anon Y Mous
Word limit 50–1000

Original fiction.

Show rules for this event
#1 · 1
· · >>Anon Y Mous >>Baal Bunny
It isn't clear to me from the description whether or not you can do pony poetry here. There isn't a rule saying that it can't be based on established IP like the normal OF rounds.
#2 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
Were trying. I can’t figure out how to form the rules to say if it’s pony or not.

For now, though, it is going to be only original fiction.

Thanks for your understanding!

EDIT: I made a blurb which should help for now.
#3 · 2
· · >>Trick_Question
>>Anon Y Mous

Unless, of course:

One were to submit "Pony Poetry" as the prompt and it were to win... :)

#4 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
>>Baal Bunny
Using FiM-based ponies would still violate the rules on IP.
#5 · 2
· · >>Trick_Question

One would have to be:

Extremely sneaky, then. And if there's one thing poetry's good at being... :)

Mike Again
#6 · 3
Poetry scary.
#7 · 2
>>Baal Bunny
I, too, know it may well be difficult beyond measure
When the wheels of fate do not seem to
Challenges hinged on simple yet unquenchable desire
Inspire (expire)
Rapid-moving multifarious quadruped, wings of bone, o heavenly enclosure!
#8 · 5
I want to compete in this, but I'm a little ill this evening so it won't be in the cards unless I wake up early and feel well. Good luck to all! I might decide to read some of the art you make even if I don't take part this time. Maybe. No guarantees! :derpytongue2:
#9 · 4
Before tonight (and barring the occasional, infrequent prompt poem written for this website), the last piece of poetry I wrote was back in 2011. That has now changed.

I hope everyone is doing well, and I look forward to partaking of the fruits of your labors.

Good night, and good luck.
#10 · 6
It's been about two years since I last did anything around here. But I promised people at Bronycon that I'd be back eventually, and I enjoy writing poems occasionally (even though the last time I did so was even further back than my last appearance here), so here I am.
#11 · 3
· on 00111111 · >>_Moonshot
Clearly the winner.
#12 · 4
· on Upon Reflection, I Have Several Regrets · >>The_Letter_J
I'm posting a short review on this one because the longer one was deemed to take up too much memory, and I would probably get sued by the government or something. Alas, I cannot regale you with enough glowing praise to fit 3 Jupiter's worth of Bibles.

Too long; didn't read
Twenty out of ten shitpost
So: instant top slate
#13 · 1
· on A Thin Crescent on the Water
This is the first one I'm reviewing, so I'll leave an overall comment up here.

I'm not going to be great at sifting hidden meanings out of poetry, so don't be surprised if things go over my head. I can comment on what I do get out of it, and I'm good at analyzing poetic structure, but I don't think many of these entries will end up being very structured.

On this one, I do see the arrangements of similar words together, but I don't know if there's some scheme behind which ones you pick. Do they have to be close anagrams, differ by no more than 2 letters, etc.? I don't see a pattern to that, or to how many syllables are on each line. So I'm going to conclude it doesn't follow any structure except having words containing a roughly similar set of letters on a line.

As to meaning, I wouldn't have known it was about the moon's reflection without the title, but I wouldn't call that a weakness. It's a legit way to communicate the meaning. Some of the phrasings are striking, which is probably mostly what poetry is after, though I can't tell how much of that is deliberate and how much is an accident of the form chosen. I only get a vague sense of what the poem means, though. The speaker seems to like the moon and is speculating on ways different people might react to it, I think.

It's really hard to judge poetry, except from a structural standpoint, since so much of it relies on a personal reaction from the reader. Some of them, you can just look at and tell they took a lot of effort to write. Barring that, voting is going to rely on whether they strike a chord with someone, and that's pretty hit or miss.
#14 · 2
· on Upon Reflection, I Have Several Regrets · >>The_Letter_J
People always play fast and loose with the rhythm of limericks, so I'm not going to get bent out of shape here. People also like to correct others about what haiku are, relative to similar forms of poetry, and I'm not knowledgeable enough to say whether these are actually haiku, beyond having the correct syllable pattern. I do think haiku are usually self-contained, rather than having a continuity, but I don't know for sure.

This was amusing enough as an exercise in blowing off steam, and it's nicely about the write-off itself. It'll be interesting to see if this poet contributes art as well. It might even add some after-the-fact meaning. I wish I had more useful things to say, but it's just there to make the joke, and it's not something anyone's going to be looking to tune up later.
#15 · 2
· on 00111111 · >>_Moonshot
The title is lost on me. It's binary for 63, but I don't see how that number is significant. Given the "No u" theme, I might have expected some exclamation marks interspersed with the ones.

Is there a structure? In the first stanza, all the lines have 4 syllables, but in the second, some have 5. Most of the rhymes are good, but some are stretching it a bit.

I like the theme that stupid arguments have been going on since the beginning of human history, but to me, the ending disarms that by making a glib in-joke that doesn't really have anything to do with it. Honestly. I would have ranked this higher if you'd stopped with 2 stanzas.
#16 · 2
· on Paper Planes
So this one is fairly structureless, meaning I'm not going to have much to add. Where to put line breaks is mostly going to be determined by keeping them all roughly a similar length or by the poet's whims.

As to the message? What I get out of it is that human life is as silly a thing as a child making up some nonsense. Which isn't a bad way to phrase it. I kind of like this one.
#17 · 1
· on Replaced · >>Bachiavellian >>Trick_Question
This reminds me of beat poetry, where the phrasing is more deliberately steered to forming repeated patterns of rhymes. The only problem with that (for me, anyway) is that this kind of thing is usually used to demonstrate off-the-cuff prowess, like how quickly the poet can come up with these things off the top of his head. I even need some bongos along with it...

Anyway, to the story. It's a bit easier to analyze a poem that tells a story.

I'm not up on the lore surrounding this kind of changeling, so I'm relying on what I can get from the poem's text. As I understand it, this boy was swapped with a changeling, who was terrible to the human parents, so that he would be pressed into service to the fae queen. But then I get confused about whether the female he's escaping with is the queen or someone else. At first I thought the queen, but then the queen is pursuing them, and then I have no idea who she is. Maybe one of the meekest ones you mention, except there would have to be more than one, since someone of that description raised the alarm.

I like the narrative, but there are two things that just don't carry a lot of weight. Enough attention is given to this companion of his that she seems important, yet I never really learn anything about her or why she wants to accompany him, then he throws her away rather easily. Then there's the big twist at the end that so much time has passed and his world is no longer recognizable to him, but it's not presented as anything more than a cold fact. What does that mean for him? He's so ho-hum about it that he doesn't seem to care, which is a strange sentiment to end on.
#18 · 3
· on ‏‏‎ ‎ · >>Trick_Question
There's an obvious structural arrangement into stanzas, but there's not a regular rhythm or syllable count per line. For me, these are rather long lines to really have the rhymes register without a meter helping me get there.

The first two stanzas speak to a common sentiment these days about MLP coming to an end and how the fandom will persist, but I don't know what the final stanza is saying. That MLP will still be there through whatever bad things continue to happen in life? I don't know. I couldn't figure out what the princess and the naked people have to do with anything.
#19 · 2
· on Change · >>Anon Y Mous
I like the structure to this. There's no regular rhythm, but I don't know that would add anything for lines this short. A bit of the language is stretched (particularly the "clicks"), but for the most part it's effective.

I feel like something's gone over my head here. Stanzas 2-4 give some lovely picture of seasons changing, even though they're a bit out of order. Even that could be a deliberate effect. But the other stanzas place a mirror in the woods and make me a character. That's the piece I'm missing. I don't know what my role is supposed to be or why this mirror would be there. I can take a stab, assuming the mirror is a pond and I'm the sky or some such, but there's nothing I can come up with that makes everything fall into place. I like the language, but I only got half of what it was saying.
#20 · 1
· on The Rediscovery of Man · >>Bachiavellian
Again, I'm not up on the subtle differences between haiku and related forms, and whether it's technically appropriate to have a continuous narrative. The syllable counts were right for the few stanzas I checked, and none of the rest seemed out of sorts.

For me, this one falls victim to a common problem with poetry: the structure restricts how much story you can tell in a single line or stanza, since you're fighting to get all the rhymes and rhythms and whatever right, so when you actually have a narrative to get through, it gets stretched and compressed by how well it can adapt to those structural considerations. The effect here is that there's a fairly short setup with a very drawn-out resolution, and it feels like a lot of it drags. The message is one I would have expected as well, though I rather like the surprise that the man immediately treats the beast very casually, despite his appearance.
#21 · 2
· on Hervorgeholt (After Paul Celan) · >>Trick_Question
The way the structure mirrors the characters' placement in the photo is nice, and in general, the selection of where to do line breaks keeps the thoughts and images nicely organized.

I have no idea what this all means, but I can say what it makes me think of. I would guess the men are soldiers taking the women and the boy to a concentration camp, but it's not until the description of the men that I get that impression. That's because the description of the women didn't seem to depict them as concerned about anything. The last stanza about them is foreboding, but seemingly in a way the women aren't aware of. Until the second stanza, I had pictured these women as flappers posing for a family photo in a tavern, but I can't put my finger on why that imagery came up for me.

I don't get any of the references in the title, so I'm going in without any context they might provide.

If death of the author is truly a thing, then this forms a very striking image for me.
#22 · 2
· on When Boy (Monster) Meets Girl (Also a Monster) · >>Bachiavellian
Structurally, it's a bit irregular in rhythm, and some of the rhymes are stretched or outright broken. The pattern of where rhymes are placed is nice.

This is a cute story about two misfits finding each other, but it has the same issue I mentioned before about pacing getting skewed by how it fits the structure. So there's a build-up here, a point where everything comes to a head, but not really a resolution. Not that we need to see this played out to a successful relationship, but so far there just seems to be a physical attraction, so there's not a lot of depth to it. Plus while both had been lamenting being lonely in general, neither had voiced any concerns about romance specifically, so it may have been more effective to play this as finally resulting in companionship for them, rather than full-blown romance, unless you wanted to lengthen it to add that element in.
#23 · 1
· on Self-Refraction
It looks like the only structure intended here is the rhyme scheme.

I'm getting a struggle against self-doubt here, and a pretty severe case of it, perhaps even bordering on suicidal thoughts. That will speak to enough people. I'm of two minds about how it plays out though.

On the one hand, it feels like a really passive thing. The narrator isn't struggling against it at all, just complaining about what he has to endure. That does create a sense of helplessness, but it also means there isn't a moment of triumph when this instance of it subsides.

So on the other, it doesn't feel like there's that much of a struggle going on, that this person is trying to do anything about it. That tends to make things feel less active.

But in the end, it'll probably come down to how close this is to the reader's own experience.
#24 · 3
· on Turn and Return
Okay, this is the kind of thing I was talking about when I said you could just look at some poetry and tell it took a lot of work.

This has a lot of intricate structure to it. Most lines have the same syllable counts, but a few are off. But the way you repeat lines! On one hand, that means you only have to write half as many lines, but it greatly increases the difficulty of the lines you do write so that they continue to make sense in context as they get shifted in the next stanza. And then they not only make sense, but have new meaning instead of just repeating the old one.

As a story, it's on the vague side, though. This princess apparently gives up her magical power in order to revive her realm from destruction, but there's not much depth to it beyond what default we can assume of someone in her position. More of her specific connection to the things she sees would help, but of course the trick is to get that to work with the pattern you're using. In a story, it's usually better to find why one or two of these people are important to her rather than just having a faceless multitude of bodies, and likewise with her memories of what the realm used to be like. But that'd obviously be a lot of work to do, since it's not as simple as adding in a couple of anecdotal paragraphs to a standard narrative. While there may be better story arcs in this event, this poem is the most impressive.

I wouldn't be surprised to find out this is an already established poetic form, but it's not one I'm familiar with.
#25 · 2
· on A Thin Crescent on the Water · >>Bachiavellian
Cleverness is like... (click here)

I might end up posting that as a review for all of these poems, I fear.

Poetry sometimes uses structure to force creativity to emerge, but constraints applied improperly can turn a poem into a chore. In this case, you've attempted to add as many words as you can which match your constraint without concern for the amount of meaning they add to the piece.

I think this would be better trimmed down to remove the excess, like, "overlies river's roil". That's not doing anything for me.

You're also splitting sentences and thoughts in two, perhaps in order to make waters appear deeper than they are, but it doesn't add anything. Why do this:

miles lie, reverse lore’s simile
over lover’s eros, rovers, livers,
or losers; loose rose, verso, overlies river’s roil. solve solo,
no lens enlivens inverse Selene.

When you could do this, which is far easier to read and less jarring:

miles lie,
reverse lore’s simile over lover’s eros, rovers, livers, or losers;
loose rose, verso, overlies river’s roil.
solve solo, no lens enlivens inverse Selene.

Also, 'revels' is in there twice, and I'm guessing that wasn't intentional. It's the only word like that in the poem and it doesn't seem relevant for it to be the sole outlier, unless I misunderstood the message.

EDIT: Please note I tend to sound harsher than I intend to. Just because I'm picky or contrary does not mean I didn't enjoy reading your poem! I'm only trying to help and am socially not so gifted.
#26 · 4
· on A Thin Crescent on the Water
According to fable, the author still sells sea shells on the sea shore to this very day.
#27 · 3
· on 00111111 · >>_Moonshot
I'd suggest:

Adding a third stanza that carries the fight into the internet age so you can introduce the idea of dueling memes before giving us the ot-ful anti-climax. Other than that, though, I got n-ot-hing.

#28 · 3
· on Upon Reflection, I Have Several Regrets · >>The_Letter_J

I'd like more pomposity before the anti-climax. Since they're haiku, bring in the forces of nature and get all grandiose on the idea of writers' block before giving us the limerick. It's poetry--go nuts with it!

#29 · 1
· on The Rediscovery of Man · >>Bachiavellian
I think the story you're trying to tell here is a simple one: a selfish man must learn to deal with rejection from love lost. However, I think some aspects of your approach may make it complex and difficult to read through.

I think attempting to compartmentalize each "individual idea" in a separate haiku may be a mistake. Some of the haiku contain very little information, sometimes an idea that could have been conveyed in two or three words. Others feel cramped. This also happens within some of the individual haiku, as you try to stick separate ideas into each of the three lines. This degree of rigidity makes the poetry feel unnatural.

It also feels like there's a lot of padding. The story takes much longer to tell than it should. Part of this is the formatting, but in some cases there are entire haiku which don't contribute much:

My mind cleared enough.
We talked that night, he and I,
the beast and the man.

This haiku appears in a place where we've already spent many haiku learning this directly. Some of the same rules that apply to prose apply to poetry. Show, don't tell. Don't tell the audience something we already know.

This is less important, but while haiku do not need rigid 5-7-5 structure, so many of these take that exact form that when you deviate from it with 5-8-5 or 5-7-4 or 5-7-6 it is noticeable.

At the end of the story I am not quite convinced the man has learned. He only cares about the girl's happiness because he worries about losing his own humanity. He's still just as selfish and doesn't seem to understand what love is.
#30 · 2
· on When Boy (Monster) Meets Girl (Also a Monster) · >>Bachiavellian >>Bachiavellian
It's weird how things are suddenly romantic. Basically they're "lucky" because they're both ugly, and they both assume nopony who isn't monstrous could possibly love them. Mutual ugliness does not translate to romantic chemistry in my mind, and bumping into somepony who starts gently touching your face is super creepy. The idea that anypony can find love can be adorable, but I don't agree with the way the message is being presented.

At the very least, they could share something in common to spark a shared interest. Why not have them meet at the bookstore?

She’s tried everything—spared no expense.

The separation between everything and spared does not fit the rhyme scheme. It would be better if you cut the word "she's". Same deal with " 'Cause" on the bottom line there. I'd also strike "of" before "his drawers".

I'm not going to continue picking like this, but the rhythm here needs to be attended to more carefully. The approach here is very sing-songy and for that to work it needs to be more exacting.
#31 · 5
· on 00111111 · >>Pascoite >>_Moonshot

00111111 reflected is 11111100

That makes the letter ü

Author, when you read this, I hope you know that I hate you.
#32 · 2
· on Self-Refraction · >>Bachiavellian
My suggestion:

Would be to regularize the meter for the first couple stanzas, then have it start staggering and stumbling as Our Narrator's thoughts get more jagged and unhappy before smoothing it out again at the end.

#33 · 2
· on ‏‏‎ ‎ · >>The_Letter_J
I like this poem because you can read it down and upwards (Backwards?). I think that’s why there is not title. It’s insinuates that you should flip the poem round.

Backwards is better because it sets up the end of the world and has a better outlook on things.
#34 · 1
· on A Thin Crescent on the Water
This piece is really interesting in that unlike most other forms of poetry, I'm pretty sure that it's meant to be read silently rather than spoken out loud. I mean, I tried reading it out loud a few times, and it doesn't really have much of a flow to it. On the other hand, seeing the similar words with your eyes has a striking effect that's emphasized by your use of all lowers. Cool decision!

Unfortunately, I'm a bit lost as to what this actually means. I'm getting romantic and nautical vibes based on your word choice, but I'm not able to parse any coherent images or thoughts. Even reading >>Trick_Question's clarified version didn't really help.

So in the end, the words certainly look pretty, they sound a little funny, and they mean something incomprehensible to me. I'm not 100% sure whether or not that was your actual goal here, so I'm hesitant to give suggestions. Would love to get some more context when the round closes!

Thanks for entering!
#35 · 1
· on The Rediscovery of Man
Really interesting choice to make stanzas out of haikus. I'm with >>Pascoite in that I can't quite recall how this kind of format is classified—I vaguely recall that an extended haiku has its own name/type, but I don't remember the rules and the nomenclature and whatnot.

I will actually have to disagree with >>Trick_Question in that I wish the individual haikus had stronger encapsulation of thoughts. I thought the strongest stanzas were the most self-contained, with a couple of stand-out examples being the fifth one and the second from last one. Outside of these, the ones that didn't really have a strong idea associated with them definitely felt like connective tissue to me. They brought me to the next idea (and sometimes would need to take 2 or 3 stanzas to get there), but I felt like they didn't really do anything else.

In the end, I kinda get the feeling that this could be reduced by about 20-30% if you focused on making each stanza more meaningful. I feel like you're trying very hard to make the reading experience from one stanza to the next as smooth as possible, and while that's a nice thought, it has the unfortunate side-effect of making many of these stanzas feel like filler. I think it'd be okay to risk a bigger hop or two from one idea to the next, if this means you'll be able to give the piece a greater sense of focus.

Thank you for submitting!
#36 · 1
· on When Boy (Monster) Meets Girl (Also a Monster)
So this is another entry using smaller poem formats as individual stanzas, this time with modified limericks. It's a neat idea, and I like how you pull of some of those third lines. Incorporating internal rhyme is a personal favorite of mine, honestly.

I'll have to reflect what our other readers say about thythm and beat. I get what you're going for, but there are definitely places where it doesn't quite sound right. Take this line for an instance:

How they could have found such good luck.

Based on the limerick pattern (unstressed-unstressed-stressed), I get the feeling that we're supposed to read the line as:

How they could have found such good luck.

Unfortunately, my natural reading of this line is more like:

How they could have found such good luck.

... which makes me stumble in my reading. I'm expecting the first two syllables to be unstressed, but reading like this conflicts with the need to end the line on a stressed note, and nasty things happen in the middle.

I think a better alternative might be:

How they both could have found such good luck.

Since the word "both" is a stronger stress than "they", it takes priority and fixes the beat back to where it should be.

Honestly, these kinds of hiccups are a prevailing issue, and I think they do warrant a second go-over.

As for the story itself, it's cutesy and simple, which is a good thing, I think. But I think I'm having trouble figuring out why our two protagonists are monsters. I mean, at the moment, it doesn't really add a lot to the message or story, other than the zombie foot thing in the beginning. Also, I have to agree with >>Trick_Question that the chemistry felt forced.

So in the end, I think you really should look at your beat, and maybe put in a few new stanzas elaborating on why these two characters fell in love.

Thank you for entering!
#37 · 2
Sup y'all.

I'm giving $20, subject to increase, to whoever solves my poem.

Not giving any more clues than that. Have fun!
#38 · 2
· on Upon Reflection, I Have Several Regrets · >>The_Letter_J
Okay, I need to make a note real quick.

We have been blessed by RNGesus!

Allow me to explain: the previous two entries in the gallery were, in order, a poem using haikus for stanzas and a poem using limericks for stanzas. Immediately following those two, we get this, which is a poem that uses haikus and a limerick for stanzas. This is clearly a case of the Gallery page trying to tell us that 1+1=2.

Okay, actual review, now.

I think I'll have to kind of reiterate what I said about The Rediscovery of Man in that I would have liked to see the haikus be a little more self-contained? They way they are right now, it does feel a little like you're devoting a lot of stanzas and words to conveying an idea that would take half the wordcount to say in regular prose.

As for your limerick, there's some beat issues in your second and fourth lines. For instance, I would maybe suggest adding a stressed "just" between "knew" and "what", to maintain the two unstressed syllables for every stressed syllable pattern.

Overall, well, I'm going to have to be honest and say that I personally don't really like meta entries. I know this is kind of meta-meta, in that you're playing it deliberately for laughs. But, I dunno, I guess this is just not my cup of tea. Still, this definitely does has its charm.

Thank you for submitting!
#39 · 1
· on Replaced
I really like your rhyme and meter, here. It does a great job of evoking the feeling of a folk poem, and I think the breaks in the beat were well-done to add emphasis.

A couple of technical points to note: if I'm not mistaken, in a 'traditional' format like this, you're supposed to (1) capitalize the beginning of every line, whether or not it is the start of a sentence and/or clause, and (2) you're supposed to read without pause from one line to the next, unless there's a punctuation mark at the end of the line. Not major, but notable.

As for the story, I also quite liked it. It's paced a little slow at first, before we switch to the boy's POV, but by the time I was about halfway through, I was fully engrossed.

I think what >>Pascoite might have missed was that the boy's companion is the daughter of the Fae queen, whom he has tricked/manipulated into assisting him. But if someone else is seeing something that I'm not, feel free to let me know!

Overall, this is definitely one of my favorites from this round. Thank you for entering!
#40 · 3
· on ‏‏‎ ‎ · >>Nemesis
And the award for the hardest Gallery link to open goes to.....

There's a kind of intangible quality to the mood of this one that I really like. Something about the way our two characters are talking to each other kind of strikes me, and I'm not exactly sure why. It's nice, though.

Now, I will have to echo Pasco in both his major points, regarding the line length and the meaning of the last stanza. Is this a reference to a historical event or a piece of literature? I know I'm missing something.On that note, I'm also not sure what the meaning of the blank title is. If anybody has any ideas, feel free to tag me!

So overall, while I like the feel of this piece, I'd really like some more context regarding the overall meaning.

Thank you for entering!
#41 · 3
· on 00111111 · >>_Moonshot
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. You meme'd on me so hard, and I didn't even see it coming.

Okay, jokes aside, I loved the stupid brutality of the first two stanzas. Every line is a club to the head, and it's wonderful.

The structure of the last stanza is a little murky to me, though. Since the lines are longer than 3 words on average, I'm assuming that there's a way they're supposed to be read, but it's not coming across strongly right now. The best that I can figure is that the last word of the poem is supposed to rhyme with the last syllable of the third stanza's second line, but that's about all I can gather in terms of cadence/flow.

Overall, this was a lot of fun. It made me punt my forehead straight onto my desk, but it was fun.

Thank you for submitting!
Post by _Moonshot , deleted
#43 · 2
· on Change · >>Anon Y Mous
This is a really cool format, and I think you execute on it nicely. With each stanza setting the scene and describing a state of change, it really adds a layer of implication to the last stanza.

I've got mixed feelings about the use of second person. On the one hand, it does add a feeling of unsettling-ness to the whole affair, but on the other hand, it feels a little contrived/cheap to me. But still, when I replace the "you" with "he" or "she" in my head, it definitely loses some of the impact, so I think it was the right decision, although I'm still kind of disoriented and taken out of the flow by it.

I'm not quite sure how to fix the issue I'm describing without removing a part of the poem's identity, so I'm going to take it as a sign that this might be more of a personal hang-up than a major problem.

Thank you for submitting!
#44 · 1
· on Turn and Return · >>horizon >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
No it isn't. It tries to be, but it isn't. Plus that's not what I meant; that's a meter, not a poetic form. I meant the structure, like a sonnet or a villanelle.
#45 · 2
· on Turn and Return · >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
Holy flip on a stick, when I figured out the gimmick I actually swore out loud. This is probably one of the coolest things I've seen in a Writeoff poetry entry.

I think you use the repeated lines very well for the most part, integrating them into new sentences and meanings. There are a few places where their use wasn't entirely perfect, but I'm willing to forgive the details in light of the big picture success. It meshes nicely with both the prompt and the theme of the story, and was just overall fun to explore.

On a side note, I'm kind of guessing that the princess here is Twilight, but with her serial number scratched off. At least, that's how I read it. :P

Thank you for entering!
#46 · 1
· on Paper Planes
I honestly thought we'd be getting a lot more free verse entries, but this was one of our only ones!

I really like the mood of this one.—it's almost like a haiku with how contemplative it is. The relationships that it draws between art and human existence aren't completely answered, but I think that's perfect for the scope of a short poem. You clearly meant to incite thought, and you did.

Thanks for submitting!
#47 · 2
· on Hervorgeholt (After Paul Celan)
I really like how the tone shift from one section to the next is emphasized by the change in formatting. This is a great example of a gimmick being executed very well, IMO.

I'll have to admit that I feel like I'm missing something when it comes to the context of this piece. I tried googling the names in the title, but I'm not 100% sure how it relates to the poem other than the obvious holocaust connection. Is this based on a real photo?

Now, as much as I like your use of the text align, I'm afraid I'm scratching my head just a little bit at the free verse itself. For the third section, I understand that the line breaks are mainly dictated by the need to keep the text narrow enough to fit between the other two sections. But for the first two sections, the line breaks feel kind of random to me. There's not much of a pattern to them, either in repetition or in meaning, so the whole piece almost feels like very pretty formatted prose to me.

Overall, there is definitely a somberness to the piece that is lent to it by the nature of its subject matter, but in execution I never got a sense of how the pieces are supposed to fit together. Granted, this might have a lot to do with my ignorance on how the title relates to the poem, so I'd be eager to see if anyone can offer an explanation.

Thank you for entering!
#48 · 1
· on Self-Refraction · >>Trick_Question
This one definitely has a rawness to the tone that I can appreciate.

But overall, I kind of get mixed feelings about poems that try to describe emotions and thoughts mostly directly. I personally think poetry as a medium is much better suited at speaking in terms of imagery and metaphors to describe complicated feelings, so to me the direct approach that you've decided on feels a little blunt.

I'm also a little confused at the overall payoff. I feel like the poem never really elaborates on or expands upon the concepts that it introduces in, say, the first 2-3 stanzas. Everything else, while it presents new information, feels kind of like a reiteration of the same tone/mood. I personally have trouble with getting a sense of development or completion out of this one. I like >>Baal Bunny's suggestion regarding using the meter/format to reflect the narrator's developing emotions, but I think there are many ways you can choose to address this area.

Thank you for entering!
#49 · 1
· on ‏‏‎ ‎
I thought the poem might be about Friendship is Optimal.
#50 · 2
· on Upon Reflection, I Have Several Regrets · >>The_Letter_J
There once was a poem I spied
Banality, failed to hide
Its off'ring was meta,
That didn't get bettah,
But what can I say? Least you tried.
#51 · 4
· on A Thin Crescent on the Water · >>LoftyWithers >>Trick_Question
There's also a kind of acrostic here: svvs moon beam. I have no idea what svvs might mean.
#52 · 3
· on 00111111
>>Anon Y Mous
You may be onto something! I was looking at what numbers the reflected version could be, depending on whether to take it as unsigned, one's complement, or two's complement.

Here's the other thing: if you take the original, it's binary for a question mark. When we sandwich your mood in there:

ü mad?
#53 · 2
· on Turn and Return · >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
Yep. Structure's called a "pantoum".

I've never dared to try one. It's hard as heck. This holds together really impressively, especially in the few lines which shift meaning by altering punctuation.
#54 · 2
· on Hervorgeholt (After Paul Celan)
Very nice:

I would've liked the idea of "being Known" to come in again at the end. Maybe change the meaning of the phrase as it travels through the poem: only one figure in the photo is Known, but the essential archetypes on display are now Known throughout the world. Something like that. :)

#55 · 1
· on Change · >>Baal Bunny >>Trick_Question >>Trick_Question >>Anon Y Mous
It was me.
#56 · 1
· on Change · >>LoftyWithers >>Anon Y Mous


If you're saying you wrote this one, then you've just disqualified yourself from the contest...

#57 ·
· on Turn and Return · >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
I've had to read this poem dozens of times, but it works. I feel like I'm still missing a clue as to who the character(s) are. I have multiple ideas that fit, but I haven't been able to eliminate the last couple possibilities. I think I'm okay with that. I am impressed with the structure, but I think that structure comes at a cost which balances the value of it.
#58 · 2
· on Change
>>Baal Bunny
I won't say either way about authorship. I'm just providing an answer to the question at the end.
Who is this reflection?

You stare

Also because I like Mojo Jojo and the Power Puff Girls.
#59 ·
· on Paper Planes
The tessellations and limits of Pythagoras made me think of Escher, but his art is far from soporific. Interesting imagery.
#60 · 3
· on Hervorgeholt (After Paul Celan) · >>Trick_Question
This poem describes this photograph of a boy surrendering outside a bunker during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
#61 ·
· on Self-Refraction
#62 ·
· on The Rediscovery of Man
It took me a few readings before the structure grew on me. I like the self-contained verses. You could roll them up into prose paragraphs. Would you lose anything? A question I'll ponder when I next inject poetic forms into my prose by removing some structure.
#63 ·
· on When Boy (Monster) Meets Girl (Also a Monster) · >>Bachiavellian
Cute. It reminds me of how I met my wife.
#64 · 1
· on Upon Reflection, I Have Several Regrets · >>The_Letter_J
What can I say except defy expectations ?
#65 ·
· on Replaced · >>Trick_Question
The rhythm and rhyme mostly work, as does the odd structure.
#66 ·
· on A Thin Crescent on the Water
Maybe a latin u? Google Translate gives me trouble with it, and won't round trip most of my attempts like "Capillus suus canis cresceret."
#67 · 2
· on A Thin Crescent on the Water · >>LoftyWithers
Save versus moonbeam?
#68 ·
· on A Thin Crescent on the Water
System V Verification Suite
#69 · 5
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has participated in the first-ever poetry contest! Whether it was reviewing or writing or both, you guys have been a great help. It has been a blast. I was so nervous that everything would go wrong, but thanks to you guys, it went perfectly.

Don’t forget to guess who you think wrote what and don’t forget to vote!

Until next time. <3
#70 · 2
· on Paper Planes
This starts edging toward:

One of the reasons why I don't like reading poetry. It makes me think of a snippet of a conversation I might overhear in passing and feel oh so grateful that it wasn't a conversation I was involved in. Because I don't understand what it's talking about—I had to look up "tessellating," for instance, to make sure it meant what I thought it meant, and the whole parenthetical bit just leaves me scratching my head.

Now, it's perfectly fine to write a poem that makes arch commentary about current events or ways of thinking. But when you meet a reader like me who doesn't know the details of whatever current event or way of thinking you're commenting on, well, the poem doesn't do much...

#71 · 1
· on Replaced
I don't agree with >>LoftyWithers about the rhythm. The cadence was so terribly off for me I ended up reading it as straight prose and it was much better that way.

I agree with >>Pascoite that the protagonist doesn't quite do it for me. I'd rather have less background color and more character depth here. I think in general this could benefit by trimming down.
#72 · 2
· on ‏‏‎ ‎
I was totes lost until I read this.

The last stanza I think is just describing the chaos of people leaving the fandom, but the diehard fans will get there in time to rescue it? Something like that.

I think it's a bit too inscrutable.
#73 · 2
· on 00111111 · >>_Moonshot
U ot not have done this poem.

As much as I hate shaggy dog stories and wish you would have done something more with the great potential you built up, this is the only poem out of the seven I've read so far which was actually pleasant to read. To the top of the pack you go.
#74 · 1
· on Change
Ooh, this is great. No suggestions.
#75 · 2
· on Change · >>Trick_Question
#76 · 1
· on Turn and Return · >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
Holy crap. This is wonderful. Bravo.

I don't have time to do a bit part here where I replicate the scheme or I would.
#77 · 1
· on Paper Planes
As a mathematical Platonist, this pisses me off, author.

But I like the poem, and it's one of the better ones. I'd put it even higher, but I think I'm missing some too-hidden cleverness (the worst kind). The &P especially gives me pause.
#78 · 2
· on Change
Ah, wait, here's the one I was looking for.
#79 · 2
· on Replaced · >>The_Letter_J
For my part:

I would've liked this a lot better with a more regular meter and form and with fewer examples of twisting the sentences out of shape to make the rhymes work. But then Keats does this same sort of thing—check out his Lamia, for instance—and he's totally famous and stuff. :)

As for the story, we spend the first few stanzas focused on the fairy child in the human world, but we never come back to him. Having him at the beginning led me to expect some sort of confrontation when the grown-up human child returns, so the lack of closure at the end leaves me all itchy. I'm also unsure about some of the details during the course of things. Where did the human child meet the human witch who "taught him well" if he's been a servant in the fairy queen's palace his entire life? When he bribes "the meekest of the fair folk" to make good his escape, what goes wrong to have him end up in prison? And the sequence of events: our guy woos the princess, then tries the unsuccessful escape, then goes back to wooing the princess from his jail cell? I need a few more steps filled in for me to follow it all, I guess.

#80 · 2
· on Hervorgeholt (After Paul Celan)
>>Pascoite said pretty much all I have, though for me it's super clearly about the holocaust.

You need to pretend you didn't write this poem to follow the rules of the contest. Maybe, "I think this poem might be about this famous photograph I've seen before".

After the competition you'll be able to write a retrospective to explain whichever poem or poems are yours, but you have to be catty while the competition is ongoing.
#81 · 2
· on The Rediscovery of Man
Very nice:

Since you're using haiku as stanzas, let me suggest giving each stanza the exact 17 syllables of traditional English haiku and then structuring the poem into two groups of 17 haiku, each section then being a haiku of haiku, if you will. You can then go Even Crazier and connect the first 5 haiku thematically somehow, then have the next 7 advance on that, then let the last 5 round the whole theme out. But then I'm a nut for that sorta stuff... :)

#82 · 1
· on Self-Refraction
Well, this is me. Definitely strikes the strongest chord. As >>Bachiavellian implied, a little more show might help.

I'd like it more if the words didn't rhyme. I don't think you need that structure here.
#83 · 2
My top three:

The amazing one
The holocaust one
The mirror in the wood one (although the one that seems like I wrote it was a very close fourth)
#84 ·
· on When Boy (Monster) Meets Girl (Also a Monster) · >>Bachiavellian
her brows look like sin

Wouldn't a cyclops have only one brow?

I enjoyed this, but I wish it had used the fact that the characters are monsters more. The bits about the zombie misplacing his foot and his fingers getting caught in her hair were great, and the line about falling in love and falling apart was decent enough, but I wanted more of that.

In fact, I don't think the fact that the girl is a cyclops even matters at any point. She could just as easily have been any other type of monster, and all you would have had to change is a few details about her physical insecurities. While the zombie got those good bits I pointed out above, she didn't even get one groan-inducing eye pun.
#85 · 1
· on Replaced
I enjoyed the story this tells, but I agree with >>Baal Bunny that it needs a few more details filled in for the story to flow better. And the last stanza just seems a bit lacking to me. It doesn't really wrap up the story, in my opinion, it just tells us that a lot of time has passed in the human world. But since he was taken from the human world when he was an infant, he shouldn't have any memory of how it was before anyway. I think it might have been better if you got rid of the last stanza or two and then either ended it there or cut back to either the daughter or the changeling for a final stanza or two. The changeling might be the better option because you started with it too.
#86 · 2
· on 00111111 · >>_Moonshot
I'd forgotten about Ot. I'm glad to see it still lives on.
#87 · 1
· on A Thin Crescent on the Water
I didn't realize you could turn a game of Boggle into a poem.
#88 ·
· on The Rediscovery of Man
I once had a girl
friend break up with me like that.
I took it better.

I counted your lines.
The syllables weren't quite right
In a few of them.

Still, I enjoyed this.
Haiku are fun to play with.
It was a good read.
#89 ·
· on ‏‏‎ ‎
>>Anon Y Mous
If that's what the author was going for, then I give them points for trying, but I don't think it quite worked.
#90 · 1
· on Turn and Return · >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
This is clearly impressive. It did start to feel like it was dragging on a bit too much for me towards the middle, but that could just be an unavoidable side effect of reading every line twice. And really, this probably gets more impressive the longer it can go on for.

This is also the only entry where I can make a pretty good guess at the identity of the author. Though I am basing my guess on the fact that I have only seen this type of poem once before, and that one was written by one of the authors here.
#91 · 2
· on 00111111 · >>Trick_Question >>Pascoite
>>Baal Bunny
>>Anon Y Mous
I forgot about this contest until just over an hour before it was due. I had this huge plan for the puzzle I was planning and just kept cutting and cutting significantly because obviously there's so much you can do in an hour :S
So yeah. This was written half as a puzzle, and half as a joke. There are so many mistakes in here it's not even funny. Yup, messed up with the syllables. Rhymes were almost 100% complimentary of rhymezone.com, and therefore a stretch. I'm not even part of the community that was actually around when "Ot" was a thing. I just learned about it a couple days before writing this and decided to include it because I thought it was memeable. How did this do so well. Help. Please. I'm going insane. apoisdfahpsfhipah

(Thank you so much for leaving comments though. Even though I didn't take this seriously, it was my first poem since middle school, and I really appreciate that people took the time to take a look at it -- even if it was anonymous!)

I even managed to mess up the puzzle, but at least I haven't given up on that part yet. No one's come up with a solution yet, although people have been incredibly clever, perhaps even cleverer than I! I think a couple comments are headed on the right track, although I won't say which ones for now. To make things right, I'm maintaining the prize money at $20 despite losing anonymity, and releasing a quick poem hotfix to make things a little clearer. Hint: the hotfix itself acts as a hint! (And hopefully I haven't messed it up this time too! Although probably I have! :D:D:D)
Here it is:
When Ogg and Grogg
Hungry, beaten
Found a bullfrog
So idly, then,
“Mine!” said Ogg, but
Grogg was faster—
A fist was shut
A fight, a blur.
“No u!” cried Grogg,
“U!” an answer,
Punching, mud slog,
Untimely slur,
In the end who
Won? A winner
Never found to
Claim their dinner.
A hundred years
Ogg Clan Grogg Clan
Joined their blood-peers
To reclaim land,
“U!” yelled Grogg Clan,
“No! No u, Grogg,
Our reign will span
A million fogs.”

A war to last
Permanently, to
Honor Groggs past
Prove they were true
To arms! They fight!
Bullfrog damnèd,
“Duh, we were right!”
Ogg programmèd.
Five thousand years,
Much had changed, yes,
Ogg was high-gear,
No mace, no mess,
Poland steamrolled,
Then France, to scrap,
“Nö ü!” one doled,
“No u, old chap!”
Today the fight
Gone, but still there’s
Still that damn blight
Gossip backstairs,
“U! No u!” is
“You’re fake! I’m not!
You’re bad for biz,
Idiots. Hotshots.”

And in the future, it continues
Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares? You lot?
But in the end you’ll find it in you
Dispel the fight with one word:


No deadline, so no rush. Again, whoever solves the poem wins. Happy puzzle solving! :)
#92 · 4
· on Turn and Return · >>Trick_Question >>Pascoite

Thanks, folks:

Congrats to our other medalists, and sorry I didn't get around to commenting on everything.

As folks noticed, pantoums aren't the best for narrative poetry--the repeating lines make it drag--but as soon as I saw the prompt, I couldn't get the idea out of my head. I'm actually thinking it needs another couple stanzas in the middle to show what our princess here actually did, using a spell to enhance her magic that then sucked the life out of every other thing in the world.

Also, if folks could point out the lines that aren't iambic pentameter, I'd really appreciate it!

#93 ·
· on Turn and Return · >>The_Letter_J >>Pascoite
>>Baal Bunny
The fact that this poem beat the living crap out of everything else is proof Writeoff readers have good taste.

Every single reader top-slated it except for one reader who bottom-slated it, possibly to reverse-effect-poison the slates in order to improve their own poem's score. I can't imagine another reason you'd bottom this.
#94 ·
· on 00111111
Had I the time and inclination, I'd look at the 'i' and 'o' letters.

It matters not, however. It's a good poem without the gimmickry.
#95 · 1
· on Turn and Return
Every single reader top-slated it except for one reader who bottom-slated it, possibly to reverse-effect-poison the slates in order to improve their own poem's score. I can't imagine another reason you'd bottom this.

Well, that would be appropriate, given the prompt.
#96 · 3
· on When Boy (Monster) Meets Girl (Also a Monster)
Congrats to Mike and Hagdal on their medals!

As for everyone else, ya'll clearly suck at voting. :P

Retrospective: The Glurgy One

Okay, so given the general moody/dark tone of the prompts that were submitted, I got the feeling that there were going to be a lot of sad-ish poems this round, so I kinda wanted to balance it out by writing something humorous. And since it's October, I got the silly idea of writing about a cute monster. I actually didn't start writing until something like 9PM, so I think the general decline in quality as the poem progresses is kinda indicative of my sleepiness at the time.

I originally actually was only going to submit the first two stanzas of this poem on their own. Then I kinda thought it wasn't enough, so I decided to maybe make this a series of snapshots at monsters facing self-esteem issues. Then, for some reason, I decided to make it a story. And I think it's pretty easy to tell from the general uneven pacing of this how little actual planning went into things before I just wrote. Blurgh!

Yeah, regarding rhyme and meter (towards the end of things especially) it was just getting late and I don't think my head was fully in the game anymore. The romance aspect really was probably an overreach for the amount of time I had to work with. I think I should have stuck with my original idea of having unrelated scene-lets with a much wider cast of monsters.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Totally agreed about the romance. It's not very well-implemented, and it doesn't make use of the characters as well as it should.

I'm not sure about the "everything" line breaking the rhyme scheme though. What I was going for line-by-line in each stanza was:

A (unrhymed)
C1 - C2 (internal)

Since "expense" (B1) still (kinda) rhymes with lens (B2), I would think the rhyme scheme is still intact. Unless, I've totally missed what you're trying to say. :P

Agreed on your suggestions about meter. I was playing fast and loose, and it definitely bites me here.

Thank you for your review!

Thanks for leaving your thoughts! Glad you liked it!

Wouldn't a cyclops have only one brow?

I actually debated for a little while over one brow or two. I ended up going with two, because I thought that sounded more ridiculous. Like I mentioned earlier, I was originally just going to have this be a one-off joke piece with only the first two stanzas, and I made the decision in light of that kind of tone.

Yeah, I totally agree that I underutilized the monsters. I originally tried to work in some lines about the cyclops saying something along the lines of "you're the only one I see", but I just couldn't get the rhyme/meter to work, and ended up with the "fine-looking guy" line instead.

Thank you for leaving your thoughts!

Big thanks to Anon for setting this round up! Had a lot of fun, and I look forward to the next one!
#97 · 3
· on Upon Reflection, I Have Several Regrets · >>_Moonshot >>Trick_Question
>>Baal Bunny

Well, I can't say I'm surprised that this got last place. In my defense, I had originally thought this round started a few days later than it did, so I ended up only having about an hour to put this together.

And yes, this was very autobiographical.
#98 · 2
· on Upon Reflection, I Have Several Regrets · >>The_Letter_J
I'm surprised this got last place!
I took a look at my meme and then took a look at your meme and went like "Wow yours is so much funnier people are definitely gonna place yours above mine"
And then PEOPLE went and committed THIS TRAVESTY instead
#99 · 2
· on Upon Reflection, I Have Several Regrets · >>The_Letter_J
It was still amusing!
#100 · 1
· on Turn and Return · >>Trick_Question
>>Baal Bunny
I remember someone having an issue once where they misinterpreted the way you rank and put the stories in reverse order. Maybe something like that happened here? Though I also would believe someone panned it to improve their own chances. That's happened before, but it's been a long time since there was an obvious case of it.

As to iambic pentameter, there are a few lines that stuck out for me. This one did in two ways:
And mourns to realize her world's been killed.

This only works if you pronounce "realize" as three syllables, whereas I think you'll find most people pronounce it as two. Even then the stress is forced, and I'll bring in another line that does the same thing.
And emptying her sorry, worthless hide.

If I use bold caps for hard stress, regular caps for light stress, and lower case for unstressed, I normally pronounce that as EMP-TY-ing, but to fit the meter, you have to say it as EMP-ty-ING. Allowing for a three-syllable "realize," then it requires RE-a-LIZE, whereas in everyday speech, I'd say RE-A-lize. These aren't that awkward, and you certainly do see people muscle words into the meter a bit at times. It's just the little difference between something that merely works versus something that feels very natural. And iambic pentameter is a meter that's supposed to mirror natural speech fairly well. Other words that felt that little bit off for me were concentrate, prophecies, calamity, she'd donned. And maybe "home again." If it was just one or two, I might have glossed over them without noticing, but that many did get my attention.