poetry critical

online poetry workshop

elizabeth and me.

i met her on a wooden bench,
said hello between all of those
shirt sleeves, long coats, chapstick cases,
leather purses, and awkward conversations.
i would have filled auditoriums
just to reach her.
we separated
(our goodbyes uncertain because of distance)
that day.
that night, i thought,
i want to write about elizabeth:
about the sound of her voice,
and how it echoed
at any time at all;  
about how i was
never really sleeping when she called,
but sometimes i said i was,
just to put inflection in my voice
because i thought i lacked
that certain something,
and for weeks all i cared about was
that certain someone;
about how, even though
i didn't really know her,
i told her that i loved her anyway,
because i believed love was a reflex.
now i believe that love is unfounded.
i want to write about the night
she stopped talking,
and everything that has happened
between then and now,
and ever since.
i haven't slept, and i realize
how out of hand i was,
how we both were.
i want to write about where
i should move from here, because now
i want to go far away and forget
that i ever wanted to write about elizabeth.

5 Sep 06

Rated 9.5 (8.4) by 8 users.
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Inactive (10): 1, 2, 6, 6, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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this poem gave me so much to think about. i really liked it, but it could be tidied up a bit.

L2 i think this line should be deleted. as a poem, don't limit your readers by giving time frames, let them create their own
L6 i'm a pedant for grammar, i'll admit, so i really suggest you insert "and" in this line
L7 i think it would better as "would have"
L8 don't understand the purpose of a semi-colon, wouldn't a period work better?
L9&10 this is difficult to follow, as it seems like you say goodbye after reuniting. maybe, instead of commas, you should use parantheses, so as to make it an afterthought?
L14 change the line break so "of her voice" is on the next line, the emphasis will be much stronger
L17 i think this line is not really necessary, or if it is, then maybe re-word it
L18&19 i like these lines, but they don't seem to fit where they are, maybe move them elsewhere?
L21 maybe move "i wasn't" to the end of the previous line
L22 change "even though" to "but", since you use the phrase in the next stanza.
L24 give "that certain something" it's own line, to mirror L26
L27 add comma at end of line
L33 move "that night" the end of the previous line
L34 move "between then" to the start of the next line
L36 maybe use "ever since"?
 — inutile

thanks a lot, inutile... i incorporated your suggestions.  this was a pome i was definintely looking for tightening in.  hm.  if there's anything else you see, please don't be shy.  this one, especially, means a lot to me.
 — midare

nice words. flow, as usual, top class.
would you consider swapping lines 8 and 9? that way it is clearer that it was that day you started talking about in the first strophe?

in line 11, it would be better to save the repetition and make it

that night, i thought:
i want to write about elizabeth

consider inserting 'has' between 'that' and 'happened' in line 32.

more later, maybe after a second/third read.
lines 25-29 are incredible.
 — varun

Oh, sad!  I got right into this with you.  Let's go find Elizabeth.
 — Isabelle5

Line 9 - separate!
 — Isabelle5

The lack of caps only draws attention to the unbelievable amount of times you've started a line with, or used, I.
 — unknown

thank you very much, everyone.
varun, your suggestions, as usual, are top class.
i used every last one of them.

isabelle, thanks.  the problem is now that i keep bumping into her.

and unknown, imagine repetition.

 — midare

Imagine having a real poetic education.
 — unknown

how about a username?
some poems of your own?

bug off.
 — midare

how about:

'now i believe that it is unfounded'


'now i believe love is unfounded'

because you are past the past and into the present with a newer deduction?

i think the word entirely puts too much stress, if you leave it out, the statement has much better value, line 31. then in line 30 it would have to be 'the' instead of 'that'....
 — varun

only thing to do is

 — varun

could also be

'now i believe it to be unfounded'
 — varun

lines 17-18

i want to write about how i was          &n bsp;       
never really sleeping when she called,

okay, here we go. final clasp on 25-37... forgive me for all the scatterings...

i want to write about how,
even though i didn't really know her,
i told her that i loved her anyway,
because i believed love was a relfex.
now i believe that is is unfounded.

i want to write about the night
she stopped talking.
and about everything that has happened
between then and now,
and ever since.
i haven't slept, and i realise
how out of hand i was.
we both were.

thanks for taking my earlier suggestions...
 — varun

thanks again varun.
more tightening.
 — midare

Hold on to your milk-teeth poet. Cull the I's, or better still write alternative versions and experiment with using I less.

In answer to your questions, I have posted many poems including:

During a time of half-wit marvels
Lizard & Marigold
Bertha has waited twenty years for a letter from her lover
In a bungalow without central heating in November

I choose not to use the known function.

You have some maturing to do Midare, with regards to receiving critique, if you believe it is acceptable to tell a critic to "bog off" in a workshop environment.
 — unknown

says the poet who has, on occasion, deleted his poems to remove critiques.
i was defending my point of view.
you, who then responded with "Imagine having a real poetic education."
if you want this to be a 'workshop' and social, try explaining yourself.
elaborate.  what exactly about the repetition of 'i' is bothering you?
think about if it's just you, then, or if you feel as though you represent a broader

and believe me, i'm mature enough at accepting critique.
you're nothing compared to arminius, or morchius, or any of the other roundabout
poets who like nothing more than to disassemble words.
their critques can be usually accepted with courtesty.
you're just the kind of unknown author with nothing better to say.

there's no point in offering courtesy to a rude comment in the first place.
i only told you to "bug off" after you were off-base yourself.
 — midare

I deleted a lot of expletives, it's not comparable. You lost your cool here. You still are, uncool. Unknown and known is a figment of your paranoid imagination -- you have paid too much attention to the social side of the site and not those who ignore it and use the site for it's purpose. You should try writing another version. You will I guarantee see my point. If you don't know how to rewrite a poem or rephrase sentences to avoid I, I will help you.
 — unknown

yeah, any suggestions would be welcome.
i wouldn't be sure how to proceed with a rewrite.
 — midare

You pompous ass, hiding behind Unknown and antagonizing the poet!  Stop that!
 — Isabelle5

I believe that I have been forthcoming Isabelle. What an outburst.

I'll be back when I'm next on Midare.
 — unknown

Forthcoming to me means the poet knows who she is speaking with.  Anything less than that is not forthcoming.

Sorry, ahem (let me fix my goddess hat)
 — Isabelle5

Hi midare - I love the sentiment in this poem. I agree with 'unknown' re the amount of 'i's (however, if anyone critiquing your poem is going to be rude, you have the right to reciprocate  *pats back*). Too much repetition?
Just as an example:
(I would delete l1 - it gets stated in l12
leave lines 2-10)

that night, i thought(,)
i want to write about elizabeth(:)

about the sound of her voice,
and how it echoed
at any time at all(;)

about how i was never really sleeping
when she called,
but sometimes i said i was
just to put inflection in my voice
because i thought i lacked
that certain something,
and for weeks all i cared about was
that certain someone(;)

about how, even though
i didn't really know her,
i told her that i loved her anyway,
because i believed love was a reflex.
now i believe that love is unfounded.

i want to write about that night
she stopped talking.
and everything that has happened
between then and now,
and ever since.
i haven't slept, and i realize
how out of hand i was,
how we both were.

(not sure if l38 is a good lead-in to a great ending)
(lines 39-42 are terrific)

These are just suggestions. Sorry for re-writing.
Another good one, midare.

 — unknown

this is beautifully and delicately constructed and written.
 — opal

thank you very much, everyone.  really.

isabelle, thanks.  i guess it seems like now that unknown author wants to get along.
i can deal with that.

opal, yeah... i'm still learning.

thank YOU, especially, sam.  don't ever feel bad about editing my work.
because, y'know, you write better than i do.
(and if you can see, i just took your changes, verbatim.  so much better now)

and now i'm going to bed.  goodnight.

 — midare

you might have just re-inspired me... mmm..

 — unknown

Thank you for the compliment, midare. However, I am no better (or worse), a writer than anyone else on this site. We sometimes just need a third eye to catch what we cannot with our own work. I'd like to be your third eye, but I think you already have a good one by way of varun. He's good, heed his words.
Write to me sometime...tell me how school is going.

 — unknown

I enjoyed reading this.
 — danny1982

Modesty, Sam.  It does not fool those of us who know your writing.  imc
 — Isabelle5

wonder if i could read sam's poems... and wonder where it is that i could...

 — unknown

v, go to "list all poems", search "sam", then click on the exterior google link.  she's the first page.
 — midare

merci mon ami.
 — unknown

so i receive comments from you saying how you want to write like me

but hell,

i want to write like you

i love this
 — crista_lee

Great poem Midare...perfect as is I'd say. Well, maybe a bit of sprucing, but it's great how it is. Speaks of puppylove taken too seriously to me. Reminds me some fixations. Well anyway, great work. Instead of putting, "...and forget about Elizabeth..." you beautifully, and sadly put, "...and forget I ever wanted to write about Elizabeth..." that latter is so much more poetic. I'm glad you thought of that. Some of the poem seems a bit trite, but the amazing parts more than make up for it. 10/10 PS...I look forward to some sprucing. You're onto someting with this poem. Title perhaps could have to do with writing too...Writings On Elizabeth...just a thought.
 — MrChris

line 10 midare... could do without 'that'... probably just make it 'at'.
 — unknown

good catch, unknown.  thank you.
 — midare

 — varun

My name is Elizabeth.  Maybe we know each other and I'm your Elizabeth.  Just kidding I can't remember meeting anyone on a wooden bench.  Anyways I liked this  I've totally been at the not knowing the person but saying you loved them anyways.
 — myteenangst

maybe line 9 could go in between lines 7 and 8?

and sorry, but i think line 10 should read "that night", not "at night".

line 28 could read "the night", not "that night", perhaps.

line 29 should end with a comma, not a period, in my opinion.

lines 30, 31 and 32 sort of don't make sense, do they? line 32 is covered by line 31, although, i think i like all three as they are. i don't know.
 — inutile

this poem is cute...well maybe "cute" isn't the best word to use when you are left by a person you cared for,or maybe even for being the one that was leaving the person that is "left".isn't it strange how people say you can tell them anything,and when you do they tend to leave you?i guess this is why so many people are so guarded about what they say to the ones they care so much about. is there a chance that maybe elizabeth(if she's a real person,i didn't care to read any comments that might of carried this information)left you(the poet)because she was too guarded or blocked that...she didn't feel as if she deserved what you were willing to give her?never having any experience with being the one left or the one leaving,i am naturally curious about these type of...situations,and yet i seem to feel so connected to this poem in this strange way.even if it's not the way you(the poet)meant to interpret it. but to be honest with you(the poet) i don't know which would be worst being the one left and never knowing why they decided to leave,or being the one leaving because they loved you too much.i'm sorry i've seem to have used your comment space for my own venting needs.but thank you for posting this,i neede this...
 — Cherish

Would be Elizabeth and Me, no?
 — unknown

would it?  that hadn't occured to me before.
huh.  i'll look it up.  thanks unknown. :)

 — midare

a beautiful poem with a lovely title.
 — unknown

 — unknown

I think the criteria one must subscribe too, is, did I enjoy reading this poem?  Or as the author presumes to describe it, a pome.
Well firstly there is nothing in the presented exercise, which to my mind suggests a pome.

However that appears to be least of the problems regarding this rather inarticulate and narcissi exercise.

The voice is a weak ineffectual facsimile of emotion, virtually submerged in the excessive use the small i.

Chapstick cases I must admit is beyond my ken.  Therefore, I intend a plea of ignorance to their possible use.

In your suggested poetic prognosis you stated you wished to write about Elizabeth, yet you appear to have compiled little in regards to the good lady herself.
Concentrating entirely upon the insignificant small i.

Which if all truths were to be, known Elizabeth could quite possibly be, or is in every sense significantly relieved to see to back of the small i at any distance.
 — unknown

i- 23 occurrences
 — unknown

well, that's why i titled it 'elizabeth and i'... not just elizabeth.
you can write about someone in implication, as more than just a person.

'i want to write about elizabeth' maybe means more than elizabeth,
or, rather, 'i want to write about what elizabeth meant to me.'

there's always more than one way to write about elizabeth.

elizabeth is a person and a turn of phrase.
same with the use of a small i.  would anything change if i made
it a capital I?  would you still have an argument?

does it make it less poetic if i write about myself?
why else do we write and post on a site like this?  the whole exercise
of poetry critical is inherently narcissistic.

and, if you read between the i's and the her's and she's and elizabeth's,
you do actually find that i write about elizabeth:
elizabeth and i.

thanks for taking the time to look at this poem and critique.
best of luck in the future.

 — midare

Hi midare,
Taking your points as being reasonably valid observations.
Would you be courteous enough to extend the same privilege to an unbiased reader?

My first observation in regards to your posted work was that represented nothing more than another hideous flat pack effort of little poetic merit.

The main weakness as I previously indicated is in the poetic voice.

If you do not understand what I mean, read your posted work out aloud several times over.
Using if you may the somewhat limited range of tonal inflections suggested by your implied miss use of grammar.

Your selected writing style has a monotonous undertone of mediocrity.

Are you really suggesting that both you and Elizabeth are indeed as pathetically uninteresting as their individual characters suggest?
If so, then your posted work has undoubtedly succeeded
 — unknown

Well done, friend.  We usually differ on line breaks, but nothing seems amiss here.  I especially like 28 and 29.

The tone comes across as casual, conversational, as though it was no effort at all.

I think the title should be elizabeth and me.  I don’t have a coherent reason, just a gut feeling.

 — unknown

Midare you received alot of flak about this pome, but I think there is something very beguiling about the rhythm, repetition and tone. There's a core meditation on love which is slightly blurred by a lack of precision, but with more tightening/polishing/editing you might get there. e.e.cummings comes to mind, and not only because that poet preferred uncapped verse too.

And just a note about anonymous postings: own it, don't fake it.
 — Selwyn

This makes me want to know more. It makes me want to know who Elizabeth is, why you pretended to sleep (I'm going to assume that you are the persona, here), why you stopped talking to her..

The first stanza actually made me think that this was about Elizabeth Bishop, but the rest left me questioning.

I feel as if if I *did* know Elizabeth, it might spoilt this pome. Are you still up for tightening it? I have a few small suggestions, but I'm not sure if you're still working on this.
 — wendz

yeah, i'm always up for comments.
seeing how i can't write anything else these days.

 — midare

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