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Can It Be Salvaged? · Poetry Short Short ·
Organised by Anon Y Mous
Word limit 100–2000
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#1 · 3
A fair turnout - thanks to all the contributors!
#2 · 1
Oh wow these are good. This was hell trying to decide what was best.
#3 ·
· on Clunker
I hope you don't mind:

If I get down into the details on this, author. 'Cause I like it a lot. This stuff's what went through my mind about how you could maybe improve it.

I absolutely love the imagery here and wouldn't mind at all if it was taken even further, the deer wearing flak jackets and combat helmets or all dressed in black like ninjas or something. But the structure's a little weird with rhymes at the end of stanzas 2 through 5 and then again in stanzas 6 and 9, so I don't know what to make of that.

See, for me, poems are all about patterns. When the writer establishes a pattern, I see that as a signal, and when that pattern gets broken, I figure that's some sort of opposite signal. Here, I'm seeing a pattern form, then break, but I'm not getting any idea of what signal I'm being sent. Something's happening, but from context, I can't figure out what that something is. It's the same with the punctuation. There's none except for that one question mark at the end of the the poem's middle line. Its position makes me think that everything should center on that one line and the question it asks, but I'm not seeing anything in the line itself that makes it stand out thematically or dramatically.

And the story the poem tells leaves me scratching my head. The guy's attacked by deer who disable his car and leave him stranded in the snow as night's coming on, and at the end, he's worried about his insurance? Maybe the first part of the poem could focus more on the deer, on them planning this ambush to strike at the human oppressor, and in the end, what's got the guy panicking are thoughts of his payments schedule?

The language, too, works against itself throughout. All the stuff at the beginning makes it seem like the deer are doing this with a purpose: "To ruin the driver's night", we're told. But at the end, the dead deer are "Laughing silently at the walkers luck". There's no luck involved, though: the deer had this planned all along. I also wondered why the deer bodies are already stinking and rotting mere moments after the attack, and I'm not at all sure what "manic" is doing at the end of the send-to-last line.

Like I said, though, I like this a lot. I just think that with some revision, it could really shine.

#4 ·
· on The Wreck
Very nice:

But I guess I'd like some idea of what the narrator's looking for. I mean, "accept the real challenge, and crawl from my wreckage" to do what?

Of course, I'm very story oriented even when it comes to poetry. Maybe it's enough for the narrator to simply express this dissatisfaction without going further and giving the reader some sort of "compare/contrast." But I think it would deepen the poem if the narrator has a vision of what actual wholeness and functionality would look like, a vision that he can show us while showing us how, by his own estimation, he's failing to attain it.

#5 ·
· on The Wreck of the Starship "Vigilance" · >>Pascoite
I'm a sucker:

For big story poem things like this, so I'm all for it.

Still, commenting on the form first, author, if you're trying to do "The Wreck of the Hesperus," the even-numbered lines have extra syllables...though Longfellow couldn't keep a proper rhythm, either, throwing in extra syllables and pulling them out of lines all over the place for no apparent reason. And the rhyme scheme's kind of backwards from Longfellow's, too. I do like the way the rhymes run through multiple stanzas, but having "here" and "hear" there at the end is kind of cheating.

As for the content, I don't think I'd like to live in this future. :) And I'm not quite sure what happens in the second-to-last stanza. Do they strip the ship even after the narrator's told them there's nothing there?

#6 ·
· on Unfixable
Very nice:

I'm having a little trouble connecting the two themes, though. The whole "unfixable" motif works well from beginning to end--though maybe "secret" in the first stanza could be applied to the place under the bed where the narrator hides the broken camera so we'd have a "secret place" there and in the third stanza. But I don't quite see how it ties in with the "never talking about anything but surface issues" part of the poem. Maybe if the father survived the stroke more or less intact and the two never talked about it? Right now, it works, but it doesn't really snap and crackle for me.

I'll offer two nitpicks. "Pentinence" doesn't seem to be a word--"penitence," I'd guess it's supposed to be. And it seems to me the last lines of the first stanza would be stronger if the subjects were reversed:

And I never mentioned it to him again,
Nor he to me.

#7 ·
· on The Wreck of the Starship "Vigilance" · >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
Thee meter is flawless here, ad the story is interesting to boot. I think someone did this same structure once before and gave it a name, but I can't remember what. I like the way it works, though. The sound ending the last line of a stanza will end the second line of the next one, the end of the second becomes the rhyming first and third, and the pattern loops around from the poem's end back to the beginning.

We even get to know the character and his situation quite well. If I have one complaint, and I'm not sure I'd even call it one, is that the end feels anticlimactic. Yet that's kind of the point: that the protagonist fades back into his life, since there's nothing he can do about it. It does make me wonder what actual difference he made, and that also may be the point. The one survivor wasn't in any shape to become slave labor. She probably would have died anyway, and I haven't gotten a picture of this society detailed enough to know whether it would be worth it to them to try nursing her back to health.

Like >>Baal Bunny I'm not sure what's happened. It seemed like they sent him over to determine if anything of worth was there, and he told them no. So what are they stripping? And had the lady died by then, or he had concealed her? Killed her out of mercy? They just didn't notice her?
#8 ·
· on Clunker
Hmm. I like the tone to this one, but I feel like the way the ending describes him, there's a whole lot of his personality and situation that aren't coming through. As plot, it's fine. He runs into a herd of deer while driving at night, but it seems to be trying to say something about the man, yet I'm not seeing what it is.

It felt like you tried having some gimmicks in the poem as well, but they were intermittent enough that I don't know whether they were intentional. It comes in how you have these kind of constructed personas ending in -er. Through most of the poem, you only have clunker, but then toward the end, you file in crawler, stander, walker, and in somewhat similar places in their stanzas. That progression also seems to follow a toddler's development, and I couldn't tell whether you were doing something thematic with it. Maybe it's just there as an Easter egg for whoever notices, and maybe it is supposed to convey some meaning. If the latter, I couldn't figure out what.
#9 ·
· on The Wreck
There's an intermittent rhyme scheme here, and some of the few rhymes that exist are stretches or lazy, so I don't know whether it was on purpose. Structurally as well, the only thing I can say for sure is there are four-line stanzas, but there's no meter, and the lines themselves are divided by complete thoughts rather than some artistic or structural reason. Of course a poem doesn't have to have structure. I'm just looking to see if there is one, and I don't think there is.

As a story, this is a nice lament about someone being unsatisfied with that he's become, and that epiphany in the middle about him being the wreckage himself was well handled. I don't really have much to say about it other than I liked it.
#10 ·
· on Unfixable
This poem is filled with wonderful imagery, and the structure seems more tuned to having a complete thought take three or four lines with the divisions between each favoring punchy phrasings. The language here is great.

If I take each stanza separately, they provide a nice crystallized moment, but where I get lost is in trying to connect the dots between them. Sometimes poetry will invite the reader to make their own suppositions, but as this is a very personal account, I think the author already had a clear idea of how they were supposed to be connected. The first stanza is about choosing not to communicate, and the last is about an inability to do so. Related, yes, but I'm on the edge of knowing whether the poem was making a point about those quasi-related things.

There was this theme about communication and secrets, but the one stanza that stands out to me is the penultimate one, because while there is a secret there, it's not really a case of someone withholding information or not being able to state it. Maybe his body withholding the information, and I understand how this stanza is necessary from a plot standpoint, but maybe some more overt metaphor calling it a failure of communication would have helped unify it all.

Still, lovely atmospheric piece. For the second poetry round in a row, all the entries were done well, and it's a shame someone has to be called last place in a good field.
#11 ·
· on The Wreck of the Starship "Vigilance"
Thanks, >>Pascoite and the other person who voted!

I think this might need another set of stanzas at the end to wrap everything up better and maybe make it not so horribly depressing. Then it can start on the rounds to the various magazines!

#12 · 1
· on The Wreck of the Starship "Vigilance"
Thanks again to >>Pascoite:

For the comments. I did indeed write another set of stanzas for this and sold it to the website Silver Blade where it appears in their current issue. :)