Join the Neopoet online poetry workshop and community to improve as a writer, meet fellow poets, and showcase your work. Sign up, submit your poetry, and get started.

Last Night (Shark Pool Submission)

The chili has been simmering
for two hours now,
the rice cold and no phone call, again.
I’ve fed the cat, dog and
helped our budding baby girl with her homework,
made sure she washed behind her ears,
she’s in the bed, but still no call, just the silence of winter’s
end and its cold running though in jarring shivers,
she’s really pushing this trust thing … but she
does deserve any me-time she can get, just wish
she’d call and confirm it, not leave me here waiting
for … knock knock knock,
a policeman with a solemn face says, Mr. Jones?
to which I reply "yes, is there something wrong?
We regret to inform you Sir that your wife was pronounced dead
at the scene of an automobile accident tonight, I am sorry for your
loss Sir but we will need you to come in and identify the remains.
Here is my card, we can offer grievance counseling
for you and your young one Sir, and again, I’m so sorry to have
had to bring this news tonight.

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Editing stage: 

Comments

This certainly falls within the pool of " life poetry". I actually sat here staring at it wondering what it was missing. The not knowing, the waiting, the anxiousness is screaming in here and then I realized I wanted more (as strange as that may sound) I needed to know why. What would be the reason for no call. Why would someone leave their loved ones to worry because I get the feeling it has happened over and over. I guess I'm saying the "meat" is missing in the chili, so to speak. You did a great job at the emotional anger/worry, but the why is tugging at me. Hope you understand what I mean by that.

Kim
(V)

Thanks for dropping in and commenting, by the way, I sure
did smile when I saw your name as I remember being a fan
of your scripting.

The meat of the matter; not so sure about adding to the "why",
in relation to the event, it hardly matters at all, or wouldn't to most
in the situation, although it might not be a bad idea to give a little of
"why", just to engage the reader.

thank you

Richard

author comment

Tardiness, inconsideration, a flat cell-phone battery, can all cause it. Yes there is the child to consider, but that feels like a burden of guilt on her, not your own anguish in this work.

There are hints of deeper issues-
"no phone call, again."
"she’s really pushing this trust thing"
which I feel could have been explored a little deeper.

The cop dialogue doesn't quite ring true to me, I've never had that knock at the the door so I wouldn't know, but realism could well succumb to poetic license here.

I think my strongest critique of this is the over-use of enjambment.
A development, almost concrete, from longer, worried lines to succinct stabbing gut emotions, would give it more dramatic punch.

I'm not giving you much here, am I Richard? Sorry, but I've had my guts torn by those missing phone calls and this poem doesn't carry that feeling for me.

Also you could have a look at the punctuation. This is one case where it could really work for you.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

So much whirling around me; the *poetry* of it escapes me at the moment.

The song Mr. Jones (all the versions, including Bit Al & the movie with Richard Gere). The same question Kim had and the terror of knowing it could happen to anyone, anytime.....part of me always lives in this terror. If there's anything to critique, it can't be found in my present emotional state.

~A

If your critique is officially for the shark pool, would you please edit your comment to reflect as such?
Thanks so much.

~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

Kal

You have aptly pointed out that this work is neither prose nor poetry and to stand in its entirety must make a decision. You have given Richard much to work with. Quick and to the point.

Well done. ~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

There was once a lady,
Who was waiting for her hubby
Who was later than late...

She consoled herself,
Perhaps he was visiting
The goldsmith to buy her a ring,
Perhaps he was at Super Cee,
Buying bread and milk.

Then the doorbell rang,
She saw a policeman
And
Said I know
Tears ran!

Sir your poem just made me recall
gr8poetry urs

loved

Did you actually join any of the workshops?
Why not?
[grins toothily]

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

This was a rough draft that I thought could
benefit from honest critique ... I see it needs some
work to bring it up to speed, which I already knew but
was hoping the emotion of the situation would help to
carry it. Thank you all for your honesty here!

author comment

"I've had my guts torn by those missing phone calls and this poem doesn't carry that feeling for me."
It did remind me of those feelings, I just think it needs more work.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

On re-reading this several times I no longer feel as confident of the critique I have made.
Perhaps the quiet understatement of it does add to the unspoken anguish, especially around the child. Maybe I was seeking more drama, fear of betrayal instead of the agreed "she
does deserve any me-time she can get".

If that be the case, and your intent, then perhaps the conversation with the cops could be more internalised fear rather than actual dialogue.

I am most curious as to your intent here. Either way, it needs some work.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

In most relationships there are times when one or the
other are less considerate, whether it be attributed to
betrayal or just the "tired of trying syndrome", it happens,
the daily duties never stop, especially when children are
involved, pets as well ... this guy is rolling on the inside,
while taking care of all that needs to be taken care of, that's
what I wanted to show.

The language of the policeman is virtually a scripted form
letter they are taught, it is their duty to inform the next of kin
in cases like this, they are taught to get it out quickly, so as to
remove themselves from the situation and let the weight of the
news hit the family. We often see our policemen as brutes and
thugs, but this is one job that no man/woman wants to have, but
most will have it to do if that is their chosen profession.

I thank you for your valuable critique, I am going to see what I
can do to make this piece have more impact, which was my intent.

Richard

author comment

Jess

I think within your reviews of this poem, you have touched on areas that hit you initially, and areas that may have touched you differently upon a second look. It is good for Richard to know that you thought enough of his work to give it a second look. That is very positive.

You also made mention of your own reaction to a similar situation and you wanted that feeling to creep in from what you read. This shows Richard that a reader will always look for ways in which he/she can relate to the work. Short works such as poetry and poetic prose are meant to have impact quickly.

All in all, you have conveyed to Richard what worked for you in the piece and what you felt could be improved upon. I'd say you have offered Richard much to work with. My only suggestion would be to wait until all of your thoughts have come together and present one constructive critique rather than several. But all in all, nicely done.

~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

Your prose is outstanding, the impact of the story at the end is good,.While I was reading i was thinking, infidelity. Why I went there I do not know. I enjoyed the details of the waiting for the call and how Mr. Jones tries to march on with life, while worry occupies half of his brain yet moving like an automaton.

I don't see any thing to be done different

Eddie

LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS
IT'S ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN.
VIVIAN GREENE

Eddie

Though you express how much you enjoyed this work, I must stress that proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation in any written work is critical in order to lend credibility to your thoughts. I fully understand that you have a friendship with this writer, but the idea of this workshop is how to give and receive a critique. As it stands, it appears that you like this submission because Richard is your friend.

~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

Last Night (Shark Pool Submission)
Submitted by themoonman on 2:25 am, 1 Jun 2011

The chili has been simmering
for two hours now,
the rice cold and no phone call, again.
I’ve fed the cat, dog and
helped our budding baby girl with her homework,
made sure she washed behind her ears,
she’s in the bed, but still no call, just the silence of winter’s
end and its cold running though in jarring shivers,
she’s really pushing this trust thing … but she
does deserve any me-time she can get, just wish
she’d call and confirm it, not leave me here waiting
for … knock knock knock,
a policeman with a solemn face says, Mr. Jones?
to which I reply "yes, is there something wrong?
We regret to inform you Sir that your wife was pronounced dead
at the scene of an automobile accident tonight, I am sorry for your
loss Sir but we will need you to come in and identify the remains.
Here is my card, we can offer grievance counseling
for you and your young one Sir, and again, I’m so sorry to have
had to bring this news tonight.

I think you need to decide if you want this as prose or poetry because as it stands it's a little of both and far too wordy for me. It needs paring down, the filler words especially for we use them in prose but rarely in poetry if we get the poetic devices right in the overall piece. your beginning doesn't warrant me feeling like I want to go further into the piece. It doesn't grab me, poetry needs a punch from the get go, this one needs more than Chili simmering. What you've done is set out a nice scene that I could relate to in a book in a paragraph of a chapter of a much longer story. I may not remember it in the context of the book. With a poem it needs the reader to be captured by not only the language and metaphor of which this has very little, but to be captured by the emotions a story brings out. I didn't feel anything as I read this, it felt more journalistic like a list of what you've done in this particular instance. Remember the ordinary things can be transformed with metaphor and that nothing that seems weird is weird in poetry. Find a metaphor to weave through this that shows rather than tells this story and I will return.

Chez
"The perfect woman perpetrates literature as she does a small sin: as an experiment, in passing, to see if anybody notices it - and to makes sure that somebody does." - Nietzsche

Chez

You have pointed out to Richard the underlying theme that this work is neither prose nor poetry and needs a lot of help to make it stand as either one or the other and that is must be able to stand on its own merits and not as a scene from a novel or even a short story.

You have encouraged Richard to show rather than tell his tale and have given him some of "self" with ideas such as "nothing that seems weird is weird in poetry". That is excellent advice to this writer and might help him to improve his presentation of this subject.

Well done with constructive critique.

Thank you.

~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

Rereading this today, not *blindsided* by your poem. (I hate when life blindsides me, but I know it eventually does in one or another manner, or so it's been.) I think the fact that it is neither poetry nor prose works, given the weight of the subject.

Sorry Richard, there's not one word I would change for the full *effect*.

~A

Workshop: The Shark Pool is open
First, after reading your poem, I was wondering whether your piece is fiction or based on reality. I found the discrepancy between the story-line and showing your emotions too big. A few prose sentences can easily fit one poetic line, it's a matter of distilling. I think your display of details of good, but need to work out more, instead of skipping it. To put abstract imagery to balance your poem, drawing an final conclusion maybe. Conclusion: your piece is too describtive, lacking that fire what's so charateristic for poetry.
Greetings,
Erwin

(a poem a day keeps the doctor away)

If your critique of Richard's poem is officially for The Shark Pool, please edit your critique to reflect as such.
Thanks so much.

~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

Erwin

You have been able to provide Richard with an idea that some of the prose lines in this piece could be honed down to more poetic phrases. As it stands, it is neither prose nor poetry.
You were able to convey to Richard what you liked about this piece but offered ideas to help improve those parts as well.

I understand that English is not your first language and given that, you have done well to convey your message to Richard. The submission needs something "more".

I think Richard will be able to take information from your critique and use it to either improve this work or apply it to future works.

Well done.

~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

Richard

I will do my best to provide you with an honest review of this work. Please keep in mind that most critiques are subjective and opinion weighs heavily with each reader.

This is a sad scenario, but certainly an all too real life event. One never knows how it will end and so we must be very careful of the thoughts we keep; the words we say. It is a heart-wrenching work and most readers will hear your voice and find a place to feel the loss. You will reach your reader with this subject matter.

Technically – hone, hone, hone, hone. For poetic prose it is too wordy. If you choose to leave this in poetic prose format, you will need to work on brevity. Say what you mean with the least amount of words possible - yet keep that poetic tone with metaphor and imagery. It sounds tough but I believe this submission would work well in a poetic prose format.

That said, you might consider formatting in paragraph form using all the rules of correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. Practice brevity. Each word carefully selected and perfectly placed.

For A Quick Example:

"Chili has simmered for over two hours, our baby girl is asleep; pets are fed. Nothing but cold rice and a silent telephone remind me of winter's reticence. Its shiver pushes trust to an end."

The above also needs a lot of attention. Perhaps changes in word choices to really get this empty and worried moment to press on your reader's feelings.

All in all, I think this work has a lot of potential. I hope you have found this critique to be positive and helpful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and absorb your words.

~Pamela~

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

Firstly, Pamela, thank you, you have been doing a great job of critique on critique and all the rest of us need to take up the slack. It is not just for the leaders and moderators to do, it is part of the total workshop.

OK. My only COC (Crititique on Critique ) here is the opening paragraph

"I will do my best to provide you with an honest review of this work. Please keep in mind that most critiques are subjective and opinion weighs heavily with each reader. "

We don't need that, we are beyond beougois politeness and are getting straight into the nitty gritty. I would like to see all such disclaimers eliminated from Neopoet. It is a given.

That said you have identified the best aspects of this work and the worst, and I agree with you about "double critiquing" as Anna and I have done.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

Future disclaimers will be eliminated.
Thanks Jess.

~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

For me this poem works as is, because it is written as if it were actually happening, which gives another level of credibility. Were the words, the phrases, more perfect, perfected as a *poem*, it wouldn't be a so engaging, so very emotional, so very stark and raw, unnerving.

But that's just my opinion. I look in depth at some Plath poetry. She's far from perfect and perhaps that's her perfection, she wrenches your guts out with sublime metaphors uniquely hers, Richard you wrenched mine with the scenario you portrayed.

~A

Anna

I see you have followed in Jess's footsteps with multiple responses to this work. As I mentioned to Jess, one might suggest compiling their thoughts to put them together in one constructive critique rather than in multiple postings as it strengthens the credibility of the critique. As this workshop is as much about giving the critique as well as receiving the critique, I felt it should be mentioned.

I love it that you have gone above technicality to provide Richard with your own emotional reaction to the submission. This work is written to have an effect and Richard has succeeded in doing just that as you aptly display. Because this piece has such a profound emotional impact on you, it leaves you unaware of any technical flaws or vantage points that may have occurred. As it stands to you, none of that matters. Should it? I don't know. You cite Plath to make your point.

All in all, a critique from the gut. Well done. ~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

Just as a point of clarification: My first one 5/31 @ 2.57 is based on the original read. The second 6/1 6.30 am based on reread. My last one 6/1/6 7:11 p.m is another after yet another reread.

So, my question is, all poems are different, and perhaps we do react differently with each read, mostly; I remember a poem I heard read by Donald Hall. I weep every time I hear or read it. Always the same reaction...as with Richard's poem.

Name of Horses by Donald Hall

All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer,
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.

In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields,
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with oats.
All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield, the mowing machine
clacketing beside you, while the sun walked high in the morning;

and after noon's heat, you pulled a clawed rake through the same acres,
gathering stacks, and dragged the wagon from stack to stack,
and the built hayrack back, uphill to the chaffy barn,
three loads of hay a day from standing grass in the morning.

Sundays you trotted the two miles to church with the light load
a leather quartertop buggy, and grazed in the sound of hymns.
Generation on generation, your neck rubbed the windowsill
of the stall, smoothing the wood as the sea smooths glass.

When you were old and lame, when your shoulders hurt bending to graze,
one October the man, who fed you and kept you, and harnessed you every morning,
led you through corn stubble to sandy ground above Eagle Pond,
and dug a hole beside you where you stood shuddering in your skin,

and lay the shotgun's muzzle in the boneless hollow behind your ear,
and fired the slug into your brain, and felled you into your grave,
shoveling sand to cover you, setting goldenrod upright above you,
where by next summer a dent in the ground made your monument.

For a hundred and fifty years, in the Pasture of dead horses,
roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribs,
yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter
frost heaved your bones in the ground - old toilers, soil makers:

O Roger, Mackerel, Riley, Ned, Nellie, Chester, Lady Ghost.

Most other of my favourite poems affect me differently with each reading..

I am sorry. I didn't catch your question. Could you repeat it without the poem please? I will do my best to address your concerns.

Thank you. ~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

Anna, it almost goes without saying we get something new from each reading of a good poem. But this workshop is about giving enough thought to comment deeply at first response to give the poet something to work with.

It was distinctly un-necessary to quote a whole other poem in your response. Succinctity is also something we are seeking after.

200 words seems like a good rule if thunb ro ne,

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

I am the mistress of choosing my words well and the plea for succinctness. However, I am a poet first, therefore I quoted a poem because if one looks for flaws, one WILL find them. Even in Donald Hall's poem.

My point.

~Anna

My apologies, Pamela, I didn't complete the question in my sentence, however, I addressed my concerns by answering Jess below. To reiterate: if we look for flaws we will find them.

Even flawless diamonds are a rarity, especially when choosing the magnification.

~A

I understand. Yes, of course we will find flaws in anything put forth by a human hand if we look for them. Whether they matter is another choice.

My point is, for the sake of clarity and critique in this workshop, we should compile our thoughts, even after multiple readings, and put forth one complete critique. That takes a bit of time and commitment, but there is nothing saying a critique ever need be rushed. Doing so offers credibility to the critique and offers the writer something concrete to work with.

~Pamela

.. .

~"It's ALL about the Poetry~

Please join us in The Shark Pool

I want to thank each of you, Jess, Theo, Anna, Chez,
Eddie, Erwin and Pamela ... You've all given me much
to work with here. I suppose it would come as no surprise
that I knew when I submitted this piece that it was neither
poetry or prose, but close. It was written for effect, to cause
one to put themselves in a very real situation ... but I do think
I will add some "poetic devices" to bring the piece more into
the poetry realm.

Thank you all for your time and effort on this piece, it is why
I'm here on Neo, to receive this kind of honest feedback and
I'm glad to've participated and believe I'll sign up for the next
Shark Pool.

Richard

author comment

It seems to me, we as individuals and as poets have distinct abilities to be offered in poetry and in critiquing. Perhaps we should try on each other's hats, so to speak. On mature, well written poems
that have a distinct *voice*, I focus on eliminating unnecessary verbiage that detracts from the *heart*
of the poem. On immature and fledgling poets, I focus on helping the poet either find their *voice* or hone it until it rings with truth.

I find poetry to be like a bonsai tree, the *negative* space around the tree which has been pruned into perfection, defines it.

~A

...but, it doesn't sell me. I think you were too anxious to get to the ending, or something. One thing you might try is adding something like a sink dripping, or a clock ticking to bring out the tediouesness of waiting. Another idea I have for this is, to remove the dialogue altogether! I wouldn't sell your readers short; I think they'll still get you ending...with a visual of maybe the knocks, and then the policeman n the rain.
It DOES read a little like pure prose so, you might "fluff" it up a bit with some poetic phrasing.
I'd sa a "good" rough-draft.
sincerely,
docmaverick.

Neopoet is "newtriffic" !
...from the heart, or a reasonable faxcimile;
david a. goodwin #{:>{)} @==

I appreciate your input, in fact I really like the
dripping sink and may just use that when I do
go over this one with the critiques in mind.

Richard

author comment
(c) Neopoet.com. No copyright is claimed by Neopoet to original member content.