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Merry Christmas. I will be critiquing this piece at your request as your Secret Santa.

My very first thought is the title. I couldn't figure out the meaning, so I Googled it and learned quite a lot about Irish mythology. It also gives more sense to the title of the 'prequel' Oisin. I would perhaps suggest a brief explanation of the title and how it ties in with the poem in the author's comments, unless this is simply not important.

Stanza One:
Personally I wouldn't start with 'there was a wall there' because you repeat it later in the stanza and it just seems as if you almost 'ran out' of things to say at the beginning. I would personally start with 'I was sitting in the bathtub', as it leaves the reader wondering why the speaker is in the bathtub in the first place. You can include the 'tile, plaster, siding' in your 'there was a wall there' in L4-5, before you mention your ear is pressed against it.

I absolutely love your use of enjambment and punctuation, as it gives this piece a rhythm and flow to it that is evident even to the most novice reader.

The one thing that bugs me, because it's a personal preference, is the length of the lines. I know if you made them shorter the poem would seem longer than it is, and it would probably mess with your structure and flow, as enjambment has to be particularly placed for meaning, but I just don't like them. However they work.

In L4 where you have 'drip, spit' I would actually turn that into a compound word (drip-spit) as it would give more impact than it currently has with the comma.

The colour of the high-tops is superfluous information that need not be there as it's not really important in the whole scheme of the piece. I would leave the colour out, as it distracts one into thinking about candy and receptionists when the main point is the tree and the person being rotten (I think that's the point).

You need a period after 'it' at the end of L5, as that doesn't flow into 'the way the chainsaws. This is an example where enjambment doesn't work in this piece.

I would change 'slime' in L11 to 'slimy' or add some more words to that particular sentence just to help it make more sense.

I would put a comma after 'breath' in L12, before you say 'and the ground', as it would add a pause and a breath in itself before the crashing of the limb.

You need a period after 'tumbling' in L14.

You end this stanza very powerfully with a line that makes the reader wonder why, and want to read further to figure it out. It is a climatic line, with a lot of power to it.

Stanza Two:

I like your comparison between the cliché 'rotten to the core' and the fact that the rotten part starts with the core.

I don't get the use of the word 'pulchritude' in L4, unless you are talking perhaps of the use of makeup and surgery to hide one's flaws? Nice use of a word that makes the reader wonder 'what the hell' though, however as it is the only 'difficult' word in the piece I would consider changing it to something more well-known as you could lose many readers at this point, as not many would look it up in the dictionary.

Again you need a period after 'nails' in L6 as the enjambment doesn't flow from there into the next sentence.

I would place a comma after 'enough' in both L7 and 8.

I like how you link together the rotten tree with a rotten friendship and how both tumbled to the ground.

I'm not too sure of the usage of the word 'bruised' in L12. How the world bruised? Was bruised maybe? Or consider removing the word. I'm also not too sure about using the dash to end this section. I know that it can be done, but I personally prefer periods to end sections.

In the last section of stanza 2 you explain the blood on the jeans, and one can only assume that the speaker is sitting with their arms around their legs. You also bring in an interesting concept with 'I don't feel better' as most people would self-harm to feel better.

I can only assume that this is a friendship that turned into a love affair (based on the 'sheets' and the 'rancid friendship' as well as the 'loving you').

Your imagery is great, I can picture what is happening and what things look like. I love your metaphors and how you have the extended metaphor of the 'rotten core' that you carry throughout the entire piece.
You have a good grasp of enjambment, but at times it almost seems as if you forget that a line break is not synonymous with a pause or period. I would watch out for that.
Your use of punctuation is very good, and has endeared this piece to me as I love properly punctuated pieces. Another thing that endeared this piece to me is the writing style. By the end of it I don't mind the long lines at all, because they fit the piece perfectly.

I hope this was helpful in some way.
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Jo, thank you so much! I can't get over how wonderful and thorough this critique is--it's probably one of, if not the best, critiques I've ever gotten. :)

Indeed, very helpful! I'm definitely going to be poring over this one for a while.
Thank you, I must tell you it's one of the longest critiques time-wise that I have ever written. I did simply adore the poem by the end though. :)
Oh, bother, double comment. *smacks computer*
Jo, thank you so much! I can't get over how wonderful and thorough this critique is--it's probably one of, if not the best, critiques I've ever gotten. :)

Indeed, very helpful! I'm definitely going to be poring over this one for a while.
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