Recent Comments

  • Reply to: Why I love writing.   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 10:28pm
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    I LOVE THIS! It is so candid and also so tangible (palpable is the wrong word, but I sort of want to use it). I love the line "I have...figured out so much in life" because: Yes. Writing helps us process things! Messy things in our brains and hearts and beings that we don't even fully understand. It's like you were saying with pouring your worries into characters-- we subconsciously pour our thoughts and feelings (even the ones we didn't know where inside us) onto the page and into the characters. Through writing-- either for our own purposes like in a journal, or for others to see, like the things we choose to post-- we process what is happening in our lives.

    Thank you, Flowerdragon, for sharing this honest and extremely relatable piece.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    - Janet

  • Reply to: This Rose of Friendship   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 9:42pm
    Comment Author:

    Thank you so much Flowerdragon!

  • Reply to: This Rose of Friendship   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 8:06pm
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    I like this poem a lot, and mostly because it is so fluid. You really make your symbolism powerful in this piece, and that made it enjoyable for me to read.

  • Reply to: Pink and Blue   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 6:24pm
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    Thank you both very much! I will definitely add some audio when I have the time tomorrow! One quick question Hazel, I can't seem to see the annotations, do I have to do something, or do you know why that is?

  • Reply to: Pink and Blue   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 6:12pm
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    I agree, this should definitely go on VPR! I love how you tie the blue and pink into all the other gender-role expectations, in creative, effective ways. I left a few annotations, not so much suggestions as thoughts that made more sense to intersperse along the poem. Thank you for writing this!

  • Reply to: Oh My Beautiful Nuts   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 2:37pm
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    Sounds like me when I find something! Nice job, this made me laugh :)

  • Reply to: Stop Shark Finning.   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 2:02pm
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    This is a very powerful piece. Thank you for posting it!

  • Reply to: Wonder   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 1:59pm
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    Makes me sad to read this, but you've revealed some hard truths here, Carstena. Thanks for asking tough questions, and thanks for your keen observations. Your questions and your acknowledgment of these strange times actually gives me hope that maybe things can change/improve.

  • Reply to: Chickens At My Feet   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 1:28pm
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    Write answers here! ;)

  • Reply to: Pink and Blue   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 1:24pm
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    H20, this piece is so timely. Well said. Could you add audio -- I'd love to send it to VPR! Thanks for sharing your reasoned and thoughtful writing.

  • Reply to: Figurehead   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 10:00am
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    Drift, where to start? Every word is chosen for maximum impact in this incredible piece. I can taste the red iron and feel the blue veins burst. You must add audio to this, Drift! And I hope you read it at the next SoundCheck (Dec. 14 at Burlington City Arts). I am so grateful that you don't "sit quietly." Shout it out! We are listening.

  • Reply to: Fresh Snowfall   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 9:34am
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    Thank you!

  • Reply to: Fresh Snowfall   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 9:25am
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    This is one of the best descriptions of fresh snow I've ever read. Thank you, SilverGoose, for putting that magic into words. A starry snowfall -- beautiful!

  • Reply to: Wondering Loudly   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 9:21am
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    @REID: Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Reply to: Masterpiece   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 9:20am
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    Gabby, audio? This is a powerful piece of writing. Would you add audio to it? We were blown away by your voice at the Celebration of Writing --
    we'd love to hear you read this one!

  • Reply to: Wondering Loudly   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 9:11am
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    On this windy day down by Lake Champlain this poem really struck me -- you've perfectly captured the atmosphere as if you were standing right here, right now! And I love the idea of the clouds as puffy white ships and the wind a crazed skipper. The boats, like ghosts, sinking into each other, peacefully... That's writing! Keep wondering loudly, Will.

  • Reply to: Hollow Grave   Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 8:13am
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    Thanks Goose!

  • Reply to: Grandmother's Lesson   Monday, November 20, 2017 - 3:43pm
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    Nice poem! I especially love the description of the wrinkles.

  • Reply to: A Spoken History of 2000s Kids Relationship with Gun Violence   Monday, November 20, 2017 - 2:46pm
    Comment Author:


    A ‘90s kid, I have that by now indelible awareness that the “the next lockdown” could “be the real one.” Images, place-names, and references mount as, beginning with the second line of the stanza, each line’s quantity syllables decrease. Giving me space within the poem to become aware of this accumulation within me bypasses the callous I consistently rebuild over this mass of feeling.

    There are moments where the clarity of this aforementioned stanza is not present. Consider several choices of verb tense. Why “becomes” over “became” in the line “A gay nightclub becomes a shooting range”? Why “wasn’t”, from “Because if it wasn’t eleven”, as opposed to “isn’t” or “will not be”? How does “won’t be”, from “Then we know it won’t be hundreds”, relating to “wasn’t” from “Because if it wasn’t eleven”?

    As for the clarity of sound as it relates to sense, it seems that the comma from “. . .the word massacre was not uttered,/Without following yet another.” minimizes the full force of these lines. “Massacre” always following “yet another” would suggest immediate transition between the first and second words, massacre and yet. This comma, however, introduces a seam between them. Is there in fact a correspondence between a pause and the implied seamlessness of transition between “massacre” and “yet another”? I do not see or hear this.

    The French stood out to me for a particular reason: “Je veux vivre” recalls the 2015 shooting at Charlie Hebdo and the #jesuischarlie response in its proximity to the stanza of death-tolls and within a poem about gun violence. I thought it could be such a reference, but was unable to determine how you were using that reference.

    I am also curious about the choice of “Spoken” over “Oral”. “Oral” and “history” are more commonly paired than “spoken” and “history”, due to the existence of the practice/genre/tradition of oral histories. Regardless, I’m sure all of us who have commented, “loved”, and viewed this poem would find a recording of this poem a wonderful complement to the experience of reading it.

    I take issue with the application of the aphorism “But if you stand out in the cold long enough, you don't notice the goosebumps anymore.” to what the narrator sees as its corollary “America doesn't notice the goosebumps anymore.” What the narrator is saying, with many words, is that America has gone numb to this violence, just as one goes numb standing out in the cold for long enough. Why and how, then, do America’s people become re-affected--noticing the goosebumps, or to reactivate my own metaphor, uncovering what’s beneath the callous, yet again--with each successive massacre? Take Adam Gopnik, staff writer for the New Yorker, who wrote seven articles about terrorism, gun control, and gun violence between November 14, 2015, to November 6, 2017. Given the tone of his recent article “In the Wake of the Las Vegas Shooting, There Can Be No Truce with the Second Amendment” ( it is clear that he is much more than numb to gun violence though he has become preoccupied with it in recent years. The metaphor of cold might relate to the “progress” America has or has not made on such an issue--cold as an absence of molecular energy, movement, has potential--but it is unconvincing in the construction of a portrait of a nation that cannot feel its own response to alarmingly frequent violence.

    The casting of the media as vulture is another limited metaphor. If the media are vultures, aren’t we the vulture’s digestive system--consuming text, photos, and video about the massacre gathered for us by the media? It could be said that it was as easy for both the narrator and you, the poet, to type this poem “when all of your limbs,/Have yet to be blown off”, as easy to live with this tragedy “at our fingertips” rather than in your face, as it is for the media to “scour” the wake of a tragedy.

    “When I was eight, kids were afraid of the dark,
    They never once had to worry about being shot.”

    This stanza is shortsighted. I imagine, for example, Tamir Rice’s classmates suddenly became concerned about their mortality after he was killed by the Cleveland Police. Perhaps they were aware of the fragility of their lives in such an immediate way even before this incident. The “GUN VIOLENCE” of your title is not much of an aberration, in America or worldwide, and so shootings of a particular type--those carried out by mentally ill or otherwise disturbed white men with guns they should not have--bring reality (what used to happen only elsewhere) to certain schools and doorsteps more than they are a perturbation of these places.

    Finally, the narrator mentions articles and statistics, but omits photos and videos, forms of media in which ‘00s kids are fluent. I think some examination of these is necessary for such a poem as this. Your poem is certainly to be commended as a response to such violence--the discourse in any genre about gun violence in America lacks sheer quantity--but many of its elements need further working to bring the poem to its fruition.


  • Reply to: Hollow Grave   Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:44pm
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    The lines "An ugly smile / plastered like bandages / across ragged red cheeks" are really vivid. Good job!

  • Reply to: Trapped   Monday, November 20, 2017 - 11:57am
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    It defiantly works. Good job!

  • Reply to: Trapped   Monday, November 20, 2017 - 10:28am
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    Thank you! I was afraid it was too short. Glad to hear it still works!

  • Reply to: Trapped   Monday, November 20, 2017 - 9:41am
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    I love the imagery in this piece. It's a really strong piece all around.

  • Reply to: Once In a Lifetime   Monday, November 20, 2017 - 8:03am
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    Thank you so much for your comment, @semacdonald! As a writer, it really helps to receive constructive, positive comments on our pieces. I look forward to checking out your writings also!

  • Reply to: Rainy Soul Sputtering   Sunday, November 19, 2017 - 9:29am
    Comment Author:

    I agree with your edit idea, I’ll fix that!
    Thank you!