Quote by Ganoosh
I challenge you all to go to the front page, find the first post with 0 comments, and post a critique. It will probably take you ten minutes. You can talk about mechanics or specific word choices or whatever, but more importantly just give your general impression and *respond* in a personal way to the writing that you read. Say some good things. If you can't find good things, make it a stretch. It shouldn't be a chore, it can be a way for you to express yourself and further develop your own ideas about writing at the same time as giving somebody else some feedback on their work. That's the kind of thing that builds communities.

This is exactly what S+L needs, no gimmicks, no bull shit, just responses on everyones work. Within a week this place would be buzzing if everyone done that.
Hi all.

Have no idea why I've stumbled back here. Wish I didn't in all honesty, it's depressing.

However, while I am here I'll add something. Personally the lack of traffic won't be fixed by anything other than the people that use the forum, I remember when I first started writing and wanted to post my work somewhere, I searched around a lot of places, and any that were empty or devoid of meaningful critique I left and never looked back; that is what is happening here. A revamp of the forum, in my eyes, won't make much difference, the only change will be made by the people using the forum. Think of it like a restaurant, there's 2 next to each other, one has a lonely couple eating and the other has plenty of people eating, what one when you stop and think about it would you go into? You would think sheep, and go to the 'popular' one as all those people can't be wrong.

The people that are here and do post, need to put some more effort in, and then others will join. As much as I love the idea of individual stickies to an outsider that's daunting, plus all those with stickies will be more interested in their own than anyone elses.

When I frequented the forum I put my heart and soul into S+L and went way and above the crit for crit rule and so did so many others, although intimidating, most of the regulars were welcoming and informative. That just seems to have been lost. I would rather 2-3 lines of opinion on my peice than none at all.

Bye all.
Quote by Something_Vague
I saw CHUNG and I thought...maybe, but nope.

Me too, then I though, I'll ban the ****er, then I though, can't do that either.

I'll critique this later.
Hehe thanks all. Yeah this is more prosey than most, I might toy with the structure a bit, since there's a hell of a lot of internal rhyme going on here, I could make that more apparent. I've also been toying with the idea of changing the anchor line to use roots as the anchor instead, it would probably fit with the theme a bit better, opinions?

Thanks again all.

I'm good dude. It's just nice to see at least some of the regular faces around still. I hope you do finish this one, its worth it. Oh and if you get the chance I'd appreciate a comment on mine if you get the time.

This does work. I've just been negative to someone else for such a small piece that's trying to just encapsulate a single moment, it not having enough substance for it to be memorable. While that is true with this piece too, it does work, just.

I'm half and half on the smile line, while I get that it's the clearest way of conveying what you need to say, I'm not sure the repeat of smile is good enough, there's plenty of words in the language that cover what you've said that would be better. Based on the lines before its clear you have a strong idea of what words work and what words don't. Refracted/reflected, thinker/thought/tongue...but then the smile line seems almost dumbed down. After that it gets worse repeating 'cannot'.

I also struggle to see the purpose of the inanimate/animate lines relevance, sure it sounds good, but in terms of the preceding lines it falls flat, I'd find something that extends the intertwining, a simile of some kind. I realise your rationale could be that you're both statues, soulless without the other, but then how could you smile, that's animated...? It may seem small but it's noticing the small things like this when deconstructing a piece that is the difference between, average and good. I realise I've just shat all over the whole nature of the piece, but there's got to be another way of expressing it is, it's contradicting. If you want to run with the idea, then you cannot use the smile line previously, you would have to be statuesque, nothing, no smile, zilch. Get what I mean?

Great idea but the attention to detail is lacking. :/
It's worth working on.
I like the idea here. Just parts of it left me confused. The first stanza for a start. If it is a waterproof mac, it's exactly that, no amount of rain will soak through, the image is flawed, I know that's petty, but I really hated it.

Stanza 2 does nothing and says nothing, if you want to keep it expand it. Why a library? You could reference something to do with previous storms, records being destroyed not only in terms of the amount of rain, but being physically destroyed too, a kind of irony to the piece...

3 & 4 serve purpose and perpetuate the image, nothing bad to say about them. The final stanza is by far the best. I think there's a few tricks you've missed here, you could for instance, make reference to bodies of water throughout, start with a puddle, stanza one, a river, stanza two, finally building to an ocean; it would give the piece a timeline, building to a crescendo...

This is fine to begin with, but there's so much scope with an idea like this to take it further.

I'd also change the last line, since its repeated throughout it would make sense to make it different and more finite. Maybe "and still the rain falls" that slight switch in phrasing would have more impact.

I realise some people don't like going back to expand a piece further, citing that the moment has gone, while that may be true for emotional pieces, because they're so specific, but pieces like this if you can't recapture the idea you had originally once you've re read your own writing then the piece fails to deliver the message in the first place. The idea here is grand, and since you've decided it's more poetic than song, expand this, I think it'll be worth it.

If you've got time, I've got a piece on the first page somewhere.
I'm a fan of small ditty pieces and I'm not. On the one side they lack the character and substance of a longer piece, for the most part, and on the other they're a little sound bite that encapsulates a single moment.

With this it's the former. I didn't like the blinking line, that after the line before makes it seem empty, I get what you're saying but it doesn't follow it strongly enough, it's one thing to have a great stand out line, but part of the reason for that line being successful is where you go after it.

I'm not a fan of the 4 line stanza either, to me that stanza says what the rest of the piece should have done, as though you wrote the first part and thought, I didn't manage to say what I wanted, so lets add this bit to make it clear what I meant and undermine everything before it. It needs to be integrated into the piece itself not stuck out on its own. Not to be harsh, but if you couldn't say what you do in the last stanza in the main body then the piece didn't work.

I'd also be inclined to combine this with a few other similar pieces, if you have them, I'm sure you're writing enough based on the meaning I get from this. With a longer piece you'd get more substance, character and really drive home the tone you're trying to achieve. While this works, I'm sorry to say its easily forgotten, by the time I start to feel for the character it's over and I don't care anymore. I'll stop there cause I think I've got my point across. It's not a poor piece by any means, but it lacks the depth that would be achieved with length.

Hope that wasn't too harsh.

Quote by #1 synth
for most of the night
dancing figure cut
with beams of light;
an acoustic set of healing chords,
weaves body language sheet music
we tap feet to unconsciously;
wraps the bare walls up,
seals the windows leaking heat,
beacons in her shadow,
resonating like a warm wind stirs a field of wheat;
a joyful reverence
for the infinite
call to arms
to bring color to the colorless

I love the tone and feel this gives off, the imagery is pretty unique for such a piece. I'm not quite digging the few parts at the start you seem to skip words, grammar. The first 3 lines especially. "Unconsciously" is that correct, or if that is the line itself, I keep stumbling over it. The rest reads great and sounds great. Then the final line, is there a way to change colourless? Idk perhaps my old pretentious self wants to find something different there, something funky.

for most of the the night;
laugh that wildfire that burns away the underbrush and wills the saplings rise,
skin that barn-house in Iowa whose red paint guise never seems to falter,
hair strands are those fireflies that haunt the Georgia skies,
and eyes contain a sparrow’s first flight, awkward and triumphant, small being
being filled with wonder and surprise

I'm indifferent about this. I love the imagery, but something just doesn't seem right, the longer sentences maybe. It's more the last line, the double 'being' just I can't put my finger on it. I think it lacks the control that the first stanza and the last has, I can get the loss of control of feelings when in the situation, but if you were mirroring this in the piece then why in the middle?

for most of the night she is a flaming bush,
an autumn thrush,
the early morning dew,
the twilight dust,
but after each shadow has been extinguished,
and i stand there like a child fumbling to unzip her dress,
and as the straps fall off her shoulders and she steps naked from the cloth,
she runs her fingers through my spirit
lifts my chin enough
for me to watch her dissipate
as her human form, overflowing and supremely bright
is again forsaken
to return to walk this world as moonlight

The twilight dust was such a let down, loved the three previous. And the rest after is stunning, loved the chin line, just so out of the blue... Didn't like supremely bright though, it lacked something, or it's just a tiny bit cliche, and the last line, great in what it says but it's heavy handed, the double 'to' maybe "returning to walk this world as moonlight" your shout.

Dylan, this worked on so many levels, enjoyed it, a lot. Keep it up bro.

Looks like I'm nesting.

Same. Although the last had some highs too that made me consider it. For me 1st, just.
Quote by AngryGoldfish
When you say "lack of willingness", what do you mean? Willingness to do what? We've tried to implement new regimes and encourage youthful activity, but if the people aren't there then what can one do? Users stopped critiquing after they moved on—which is unavoidable—and no one replaced them. Is that the fault of the mods, the regulars or the newbies? Neither. I'm blaming no one for the forum's decline. It happens all the time on the Internet and can't always be avoided.

I believe that when the regulars move on in life, they stop indirectly teaching and encouraging the new users to write and critique. Once those regulars leave, there is no one to teach the replacements. But which came first, the chicken or the egg? Who's fault is it? Again, no one. It's just the way things unfolded. Allen and I could have been more dedicated to the established routines, but ultimately we wanted to bring about changes more than maintain the old.

I'm not blaming anyone. I've been stalking here for a good 4/5 months. It just seems a lot of people are expecting something for nothing, there's a load of pieces with 0 replies, because everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move and critique their piece. If everyone sitting on 0 made an effort to critique someone else on 0 then you'd be getting somewehere... The standard of critique is not important, just the effort going into it.
Quote by jiminizzle
There are some helpful tips down in that announcement on things to look for when critiquing, but otherwise, just start by following your gut--did you like the song/poem, or parts of it? did you dislike parts of it? then think about why that might be. What effect are some of the writer's word choices, images, etc. having on the piece? If you start by just saying what you honestly think, people will appreciate it and by reading, critiquing, and reading other people's comments, over time you'll learn how to more effectively say what you mean and be helpful.

Let me (or I'm sure any of the other names you see post often) know if you have any questions or want any pointers, comments or tips ever. There're some really knowledgeable people hanging around here who would be glad to help out if they are able. Feel free to send a private message to my profile or post in the community thread too.

This is putty much what I was gonna say. Do it to the best of your ability, but it's the effort that counts. If the piece writer can see you've taken a while to compose your opinions on it, no matter how "helpful" they were in the end at least you made the effort and that should be reciprocated by the writer on your piece. Over time as you learn new things you'll be able to spot them in others pieces. The idea of S+L is to help you grow through feedback on your work as much as it is reading others and learning from them too, then putting both into practice when you critique others.
I'll get to this tomorrow.
Oh dear lord I'm crying with laughter again.

Still is the best thing ever....
Quote by seventh_angel

I don’t think
our clothes will ever smell
like the fusion of our scents,
because, even though we
exchange coats when your teeth
sound like a Parkinson’s victim
playing castanets
at a later stage, I still
with my jacket on in the morning.

This has the idea down, and the execution for me in terms of structure is good, all it seems to slow on is the diction. I find "don't think" as an opening heavy handed, considering the 'S' alliteration you have going in the next few lines. I'm not a huge fan of the image, but it did make me chuckle so I'd always keep it. I'd maybe consider moving about the last few lines though, I'd put the line break after jacket, remove the on completely, just the image of "leaving" with the jacket is a lonely image, and less specific than it being "on"... I did like the this.

I just wish
you’d leave that shell of shyness
I'd change 'that' to 'your', that sounds so vague
more often, because I’d be
willing to heave a barrier
that’d protect you from everything
that could hurt you in the world.
But leave the gate open,
Barrier to gate, I'd beef up gate into a better word.
for there are miracles in milliseconds
shaped in small responses and reactions
that you’ll never notice if
you’re too busy staring at
the same walls that gave you nothing
but stillness in return.

That's a stunning part. It reads with pace, it flows and the diction is spot on, I'd go as far to say that it's the repetitive sounds, similar syllable count and a bit of meter in there too. If you've got the will, working on the rest of the piece to this standard would be awesome, a lot of it would be line length and the odd word change, so it's easily done.

You’ll never make me believe in madnesses
until you learn to love yourself,

but I’ll help.

Madnesses is a horrible word, I loathe the way it reads and sounds in this piece, I rarely advise it, but if you have to, get a thesaurus for that one. I like the ending, not love, it's a little bereft of impact, sometimes an anticlimax is preferred, hell its my usual route, but here even saying "but I will help" has more zing to it... If you want to get a bit fancy with the structure, triple space it too.

Overall this has a great overall feel, some good parts and some average parts, a bit of fine tuning with diction and phrasing and it's on it's way. ill be back to read your stuff.

Quote by #1 synth
mods, there are at least five threads on the front page that break the rules- titles or otherwise. most have been up for days. you guys still active? not that theres too much of a demand for more activity since this forum is not doing too hot right now...

I noticed that the forum isn't looking too hot right now. It makes me sad, very sad. It's not a lack of quality writing, just seems the lack of willingness. There also seems to be a massive divide between the established/newbies, more so than I've ever seen...
Fix that, might see the forum perk up...?
Hi. It's been a while. I might be fleeting, I might be nesting, who knows...

Grand Mother Nature

If ever an air of disappointment was
more apparent, it was when I visited
my grandmother, the resentment at
lost conversations and unvented symptoms
of loneliness stuck to lips like thirst,
not even weak cups of tea could shift.
Her parched tongue would fire off quick -
lipped quips to dampen the tone before
my thoughts could drift onto matters
less trivial, more personal.

"The trees were green last time you came".
At 91, I can't see that seasons seem temporal,
but the leaves invading her patio bring
veiled blame, and the weathering to our
foundations is too severe that synthesis
is beyond me and grandmothers' nature,
for stubbornness is hereditary, and it's clear
she's not yet dropping anchor into the soil
to secure her last few years on these barren
plains, "There's work to be done", she spat,
while handing me a broom, my arid mouth
refrains from asking for a bag or two, so
back into the womb these lost conversations
go, I sweep in vain, with the hope of
clearing a path, one her and I can take
through this wasteland of resentment;
I guess I think she'll always be there,
to stand and make tea, while knowing
what I meant when I said, "time can age, but
we will never ever change."

Her scolding stare leaves me to spot a
single lonely leaf laying in the corner,
maybe the final conversation we'll ever have,
and momentarily I forget how harsh a mistress
Grand Mother Nature can be..
Aint the place for this mate, please read the rules of each forum before you post.

Cheers a lot guys I am going to utterly overhaul the form of this piece when I get in, I did overlook the structure for sure, I was caught up on the idea of having the interchangable words, check back and I hope it'll be a little easier to read, it was something I was worried about.

Yeah I did ponder removing 'to' from the internal poem, and left it in the end, but I will remove it in the edit.

I agree with the above. I think it'd work for you so much more to keep the physical descriptions crow related, you do switch between the two, only once mind, but it was enough for me to question your coherency.

The only other thing is what was your point? Beautiful wording and atmosphere, great succinct imagery, but it reads and it ends, I get little on an emotional level, I suffered from the same thing. It needs a single line of focus, a target, someone we can share the animosity and loathing at, the haphazard kingdom does enough but I'm sure this would spiral onto new levels with a defined focus.

I like the fact you keep the structure to a degree, a solid syllable count here would really aid the flow of this, not that it needs major work, just tweaking here and there.

This is a winner, in need of a little refinement. Really up my street man.

If you got a moment I have something floating about, page 1/2.

This just reads and behaves like something much bigger, it's very very compact, even for me, I have a very similar style (2 years ago I posted a lot here...) and it kind of kills itself in its intricacy, especially the second line. I do like what I read but I wished it was a little more expansive, the idea is there and clearly you're capable.

Then the last 2 lines descended into nowhere, there's no intricacy and although the idea is there again, it felt too different to the rest. I like the isolation of the lines matching the content, but if all of this was on a grander scale you could still achieve the same feeling.

I'll be reading more for sure.

If you've got a minute I've got a piece floating around on the first couple.

Quote by Ad*Astra

Paper Tongues

If I'm honest man there was so much about this I liked, I loved the language the tone and the pace, at times the line spacing was a little awkward, but since this is a song, it is easily overlooked.

The only 2 parts I didn't really like were these:

I watch you rubberneck
I'm a nervous wreck

For an opening line I just wasn't sure this worked, it comes across very jeauvanile, "I/I'm" didn't really work for me, I don't know, it didn't really draw me in like the rest of the piece did.

so I'll keep spinning like an undiscovered
planet in a distant world until I'm dizzy
or I just can't stand it I will twist and twirl

This didn't seem as coherent or as well thought out as the other stanzas, it was almost like you were rushing to end the piece, it's a little bit wordy for me, hypocritical I realise, but you get what I mean. The majority of the above is aimed at the last line.

Other than that man, this was a really well crafted piece, I really enjoyed the read.

I've got a piece floating around if you wouldn't mind.

I think he is hoping that my return will result in some kind of soddamy party.
Quote by clichealias
Well, you are a feminist. I doubt you'd ever appreciate Bukowski either.

This is something I recognise, yay!!

Quote by clichealias
..... not sure what to call this...... little pieces of me........ c4c?

What IS deviance in a society rapidly drifting toward contradiction? What's sin today, will saintly be tomorrow. It's hard to tell what's acceptable these days. It takes a lot of reading magazines, and updating yourself with the latest Wikipedia articles. Lots of news, with just enough fear so it doesn't seem like they're trying to scare us so much as warn us.

Musing are good, they expand knowledge in people that have the capacity to do so. Capitals are ugly though, so I'd italic "is". I guess definition of 'they're' in the last line would go some way to direct the reader, I mean for all I know you could walk around wearing a foil hat cause you think extraterrestrials are listening. This is a hard thing to crit, it is little pieces of you so technically, which I'd normally focus on, I can offer very little. What you say is true though.

People talk to me about morals and I laugh. Do I really need to be in sync with a society whose unsure itself where the black and white lines of deviant and acceptable behavior are drawn?

I won't be satisfied until the lines are completely blurred an ugly grey color. And no one can tell the difference between right and wrong any more. A totally chaotic reality where people are completely lost of the value of anything.

We're well on the way, aren't we? Ugly could be replaced by something less standard, something with a bit of venom? Other than that it's coherant, clear and self-motivated so it's all pretty spot on.

I guess I have to strive toward these beliefs to make any sort of sense of my life. I make money selling burgers and french fries, and I'm 22 and I hangout with teenagers still. Is it okay to tell a girl at work that youre a gentleman because you always ask permission to cum on a girl's face? Is that socially acceptable behavior?

Lose the 'and' before you mention you're age. I like the change here. The cum thing is a little blunt, but I guess the base-ness of it works. Not a lot to say.

Is it okay to come to work high? Is it okay to tell a girl youre going to make her cry, because her boyfriend doesn't know how? Is that sexual harassment? Or should I just **** her boyfriend and take her to new york city with me?

Here's where it descends a little too far, it just seems a little rant like now, too many questions, too much rhetoric, not enough focus. I tell us about here in a more narrative form, bit of description maybe, I know that's my niche, but a little bit would work wonders.

In a life that may as well have never existed, I am totally justified in pursuing meaninglessness and nothingness. The pursuit of nothingness is a graceful, destructive stroll, around the same circular avenue for eternity.

Beautiful ending, I need to say nothing.

I've got a piece floating around on page 2 probably by now, if you wouldn't mind.

Nice to see you still posting.
Quote by Carmel
You have some nerve.

PM no?
This will take a couple of reads, i'm sure.

I wrote this not long after I fucked off.

This has had a major overhaul now and the internal poem has been altered too.


[size="2"][I]I am entwined
with every visit of
languid calculated
I give berth to a
Juxta [color="Blue"]position[color="Blue"]Your[/COLOR] equivocal
afflictions inflections
leave [color="Blue"]lips[/COLOR]
listless, glistening,
leaning on vapid air
[color="Blue"]near[/COLOR] to
insolence. perfection.
[color="Blue"]Mine[/COLOR] falter, for from the
anecdotal twists of tied tongues us
minions mortals
bestow whet [color="Blue"]and[/COLOR] intrigue.
[color="Blue"]I[/COLOR] become temporal,
a singularity
with duelling [color="Blue"]will[/COLOR],
conceited, [color="Blue"]accept[/COLOR]ing the
presence of a
wh[I]o[/I]re. seraph.
slaughter surrender
would be whole,
without a fraying seam
or routing [color="Blue"]soul[/COLOR]
and we’d be
unbound tethered
You shouldn't have doubted that I recognise you.
Yeah fair play, I should have seen that in a way, but it's been a while

personally the first time I stopped and thought hmm this isn't working was here:

Now it's just a matter of trying to stay sane;
shiftlessly shuffling through an existence so plain,
so lifeless that even the tiles on the floor can no longer feign

This felt forced, like you'd started with the rhyme, which I have no issue with at all, and had to continue, "stay sane" sounds clumsy. Also the sibilance here is a little too much, it becomes hard to get out when reading it aloud.

This is also the first stanza to continue into the next, is that intentional? As the previous 2 were their own stanzas, they stood alone, that felt awkward for me, to have to stop skip a line and then have the piece continue. If you want to keep it this way, **** the space and join the stanzas together.

"because living beings are the last thing they think they are seeing.
It seems a lot more to them that we are just automatons barely breathing,"

Hmm this seems needlessly wordy...them that they's like a game of objective, adjective orrrrrrr adverb!

Then miraculously you seem to find your feet again in the last stanza, dropping the immiediate rhymes was well timed and effective. I like this, it shows good potential...

I hardly recognise anyone
Before I critique, can I just question We've written our own coffin that just seems illogical to me, maybe say eulogy instead? What do you think?
I must admit that caught me unawares, its a strong piece. You seemlessly carry themes throughout, word associations and such. It packs a punch for sure.

Perhaps for the sack of flow I'd try to intergrate this part a little more:

You--two sheets to the wind,
cursing your father's name.
Me--fallen far from the nest
and we kept many secrets from
each other

The pauses you've created with "me and you" don't seem to fit with the piece as a whole, it stops the imagery and for me at least gives us time to breath and reflect on what you're saying when in reality the piece is a full-on onslaught and you shouldn't give the reader a chance to stop, just keep hitting them into submission.

Fittingly the only other part that didn't work for me was:

Picked eggshell blue from the back
of your beaten cars, hand-me-downs
from southern gents.

You distracted the audience here by mentioning 'southern gents' straight away I paused and went on a slight tangent to further consider the southern gents, lost my reading pace and had to find where I was again. I'd omit just 'southern gents' and bring in a word or two that requires little thought, an inconsequential one like "other people" or "family friends" both of which require no additional thought once read.

I wasn't 100% sure about spinning either, but unless you see a problem with the diction it works.

Just a couple of things niggled me about this.

1 - "optics" it's a sharp word to end the opening line with, I get that its meaning betters any other variant but I'm unsure if it fits. The next line with the alliteration works perfectly though.

2 - "belligerence" the syllable count is one too many for me, in this instance another word could be found, it'd help the flow to have a 3 count there.

3 - "Myriad" some words could and should be repeated, this is not one of them, it's a beautiful word (If not slightly difficult to get out) but is also an impact one, and any repitition destroys its use, go for another 'm'.

Other than that this has some great little moments, you know what they are.

As said, please read the rules to this forum. Mainly titles.

This is another beautiful piece to add to this series. I see you in these perfectly and as a result enjoy them that bit more. As always it's such a strong picture with words.

nothing but long sleeved shirts to cover our
foreign delicate skins. They could tell
we were tourists and you
lost your wallet that day

I thought with regards to your troubled line a comma between 'foreign' and 'delicate' would sufficiently fix those lines. Also here perhaps consider moving 'and you' to the beginning of the next line, it felt slightly odd flow wise.

And to be honest that is all I can pick out, everything else was perfectly weighted, perhaps with the exception of 'carefully' in S3, I think there's a stronger word there.
I loved the final stanzas, at first I thought they detracted from the descriptions of the city but soon caught on to their detachment reflecting the differing memories of Amsterdam from the 2 protagonists.

As always a joy to read.