James C. Horak's E-Mail Address: jchorak7441@sbcglobal.net


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Displaying Critiques 1 to 50 out of 460 Total Critiques.
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Poem TitlePoet NameCritique Given by James C. HorakCritique Date
The Wordsmith.kevin DunnA little bit of ditty effect but otherwise a nice rhyming scheme and clever syntactical turns. I would suggest a little more inversion and imagery. I like the working where you parallel the craft with that of some more mundane craft and the comparisons hold both in simile and euphemism. JCH2015-08-09 18:27:44
DahliaWanda S. ThibodeauxMore imagery. Make the refrain, Dahlia is dead less subtle. Suggest for imagery, simile. As an eulogy of beauty lost introduce a little more emotion. Free verse is more demanding in these aspects than that of more form. JCH2015-06-25 07:29:49
At the Grave of Hart CraneMark Steven SchefferWhat are the three elements of good poetry? Imagery,imagery, imagery and here you prevail. Good to see your work again. JCH2015-02-21 09:37:17
The BucketMarcia L McCaslinAn interesting way with words, fine extention beyond the immediate (The Milky Way), in touch with the warmth of home. Glad you brought it back. JCH2015-02-18 11:10:15
I have foundTerry L KriegI felt compelled to comment on your excellent poem, Terry, partly because I identify with it so much. It might use more formal verse than free verse since that would enhance the effect of ditty, but I like it just as well. Rather my suggestions are just about limited to substituting scramble for "scrabble" and, in the same line, the verb form of "past", passed. Very enjoyable. JCH2014-04-29 14:25:13
For You...Kimberly D Rowe-Van AllenBorrow from Poe more, the ability to reach out more broadly than self your personal sense of loss by bringing in the elements (nature, epic event, imagery, what I call parallelism) in order to stir your reader to a higher sense of identifying with you. JCH2013-11-29 07:22:13
Suspirations in a Dark CavernMark Steven SchefferAn excellent poem, subtle but feeling, intense but not graphic. As though you had found your voice. Don't lose it. JCH2013-11-29 07:13:01
MatrixMark Steven SchefferTrue, when one is self-willed into the matrix. But then what is the point when choice has no point to existence? JCH2013-11-24 11:18:33
UntitledJoe GustinSelf-discovery begins with self respect and the ability to pry ourselves away from obsession too often we allow dictated to us through our emotions. This poem heavily remarks on one type of that. But then again it is entirely focused on self. A higher relevance can be obtained by drawing a parallel with society as it does much the same thing as a collective by buying into lies that serve agenda. So many tragic events going on right now that need our attention as poets, poets who should not shirk our duty to inform in ways that reach others with truths they do not have. By paralleling your own with that proclivity on a larger stage with others, you obtain a universality beyond such confinement. JCH2013-11-24 11:15:42
Marilyn Terwilleger -- CheyenneLora SilveySad news, I will miss her poems as well. Oddly as, "Cheyenne", Marilyn's poetry took on more youthfulness, more sensuality. Perhaps the acquired personna contained a life of its own. RIP Marilyn/Cheyenne. JCH2013-11-16 10:29:10
Its 7amJoe Gustin"arise" instead of arises, unless it's cockney. Otherwise a poem entertaining in its imagery with the warmth of day in an easily associated routine. Where "less is more". Liked it. JCH2013-10-04 21:18:24
FamilyMark Steven SchefferIndeed relatives are a double-edged sword. Almost always last to recognize your accomplishments, yet first to console your failures. In the end it always boils down to the perplexity, did I outgrow them or did they outgrow me? Perhaps though, that's just me. JCH2013-09-26 14:08:38
Mellow Soulcheyenne smythA telling with the same sensuality so many of your excellent poems have. "how mountains hug their breath" is spectacular while the simile, "like vanilla ribbons" continuing into the illusion, "clouds stretch tight" is grand. I now have two poems that drive me for the voting power to do justice. JCH2013-09-26 14:04:33
You Were Not Just A NameDeniMari Z.Eulogies are difficult to write, more because others can't know the dearness of the person as can the poet. So the emotion must be gauged with very light telling. You do this well and in that respect bring in your reader to a much closer empathy. A little more detail about some experience with them might make it even better. JCH2013-09-26 13:58:22
The Local PhariseesMark Steven SchefferDamn, I love this poem. May I share it with my friends on FaceBook?...giving you due credit of course. Obviously we stand together in more ways than one. JCH2013-09-26 13:52:38
Judgment TarriethMark Steven SchefferI would assume a comparison between the moral, placing value upon more than money and the immoral, able to predicate everything on some conveniently abstracted "bottom line". Told through the eye and its penetration into telling details. We do wear what marks our substance, even daily. Even if it be the proverbial, Mark of the Beast. Baphomet to any celebrity musician, the 33rd degree handshake to any Mason. The Judgement thus becomes being held to our choices. Excellent poem with plenty to say and said in no redundant way. JCH2013-09-26 13:49:30
The MorningJoe GustinOf course, being egotistical, I would suggest appreciative instead of "apologetic" lover. I like very much the images of "my feet not noticing the ground" and "liquid gives way to vapor". The reader is going to want to know more about this affair...that's your real success. JCH2013-09-03 11:58:26
The Lion's CompetitionDeniMari Z.Only one suggestion, into instead of "in to". Consolidating imagery into a powerful simile is very well done as you liken the process of courage into the growth from foal to stallion. It makes the poem a success no matter how you construct it. I would, just as a suggestion, place the last two explanatory lines in the additional notes...as a matter of personal taste. JCH2013-09-03 11:52:45
Old Defeatscheyenne smythI passed over this poem earlier because I felt it didn't live up to your standards. However, since Mr. Gustin took my suggestions so well on how to improve his poem, I'll apply that license here. If the quality of your last verse was in the rest, you'd have a resounding success. Clear and tacit, much of the rest of the poem is "blurry" with its images not easily reduceable to meaning. In the second verse you start two successive lines with "with", suggesting you have run out of option (I know you haven't.) "Variant" is a word that should be left to imagery sterile science, not a talented poet. I hope you salvage this poem and don't waste that last verse. JCH2013-09-03 11:44:35
Elephant Memorycheyenne smythYes, so much better, imagery that's coherent yet original, sensual yet not maudlin. The warmth appreciates the effects of loss, an enhancement again that is brilliant in its understatement. "unraveled threads", "withered rose/clinging to the vine"...your reader is captivated by a sincerity suggested through a simplicity obviously not in reach of pity but measured sorrow. JCH2013-08-10 15:49:33
After The RainJoe GustinJoe, you show an elegant simplicity in this poem. To further compliment that, I would suggest avoiding the sentence string. For instance, "After the rain"/heaven reflects/the puddles/where we step. I don't often suggest particular rewrite to anyone but your poem has that possibility and you strike me as having the potential to improve beyond vanity. So many don't. JCH2013-08-09 08:55:18
I am a Rivercheyenne smythYou may not like what I'm going to tell you but no justice exists in pandering. These two poems you've posted this month are not representative of what I've grown to like about your work. This one is word labored without the lyrical quality I've enjoyed in many of your poems. It seems like you're stepping across a stream on slippery stones. Bring back my lovely Cheyenne. Realize how much you add simply by substituting shudder instead of sunder. Power. Instead of a word that comes with stilts. Don't make we wonder if you know or not that rivers are fresh water (salty waves)and have rapids instead of waves. Beauty is in smooth and you usually are beautiful. Yes, bring back my Cheyenne. JCH2013-08-08 19:33:58
Same OldMark Steven SchefferThe economy of poetic device shows a new maturity in your work. Gives it the flow only a sincere messenger can deliver (all poets should be sincere messengers.) Form is not in your way either. You at your best showing to me the Muse has found a comfortable rest in you shoulder perch. The last verse reflects meaning so well and yet falls so easily on the tongue. An excellent poem coming from an excellent place. JCH2013-08-01 23:05:15
ConsecrationLora SilveyWe come to this point, sadly, only in later life. Found in the deeper weighing of real truth from real experience. The immortal soul may seem illusory, but it's there. More than just a hope, indeed a consecration. Very sweet poem to one on final approach. JCH2013-04-30 22:23:15
Her DayDreamscheyenne smythAlthough wonderful without, I'd certainly like a little drama in this poem of reflection filled with the reverie of a wondering, sensual mind. But I guess I will have to settle for the smoothing of a wrinkled dress, wondering what made you sigh. Naughty girl. JCH2012-12-30 10:28:54
SomewhereJoe GustinI've never cared for simile since the word "like" is too harsh a break in assonance. Your progression makes comparison subtle and suggests what I call parallelism. Put a "t" in Bristling and we have a winner. "To finish its life/On the tip of someone's/Tongue is an excellent way of drawing this progression together...and in such a delightful way. JCH2012-12-30 10:24:02
GhostMark Steven SchefferQuiet remorse is indeed the most sustaining kind. Would we shout out the darkness, the current histrionic theatrics of a movie set is all too mindful. Your sprig (instead of wreath,) passing of landscape with father figure/Santa Claus/Christ "ghost" has the subtlety of lasting effect. Bounding with a crowded use of imagery (can there be such a thing?) you honor sincerity with such illusion. And leave the mental picture of a tombstone instead transient tears lost in the wind. JCH2012-12-30 10:14:45
The MagiMark Steven SchefferMagi as poet? What can be worked with imagery attuned to the currents of the day is no less spectacular. However, if different, unrecognized until entered with retrospect (shimmering light) usually after (or towards the end of) one's life. But partially entered (vortex) at least with some form of acknowledgement. Perhaps no more configured than by the poet's own emphasis (beckoned by your pain.) And we, perhaps on the cusp of it all ending, not even given this (in retrospect.) Yet we continue, "riding on" perhaps hopeful posterity has some room left. Waiting to be told we achieved something. JCH2012-09-25 15:40:23
BitternutMary J CoffmanMary, you are gifted and I miss you when you are not around. This poem is not typical of your best work nor, I think, is it the rich frame of mind to which I've grown accustomed in our exchanges. The injury personal relationships can cause is sadly sometimes like blood on the water, quickly dissipating if we don't summon it back with more bleeding. I cannot be there to hold your hand, but I can encourage you to find more suitable ways to survive and to prosper. Both as the wonderful person and poet I know you to be. This poem answers poorly both objectives. If you must persist, universalize it more with either irony or simile. JCH2012-09-23 10:45:11
Quantum PictureJordan Brendez BandojoThe devices here, progression from the travel of an ant, to that of a photon; the swipe at the present-answer- to-all-things perspective found in the blanket use of "quantum" by technocrats...then the relief, to fall back on a reality always present, "But a real image of your physical figure" are delightful. We can hardly be romantic in any traditional sense if we are stuck in a world increasingly less spiritual and hardly ever "real" in any actual application. More than this, poetically, you have found a novel way to express a love poem without the maudlin attachments to which lesser poems fall. A poem most delightful and skillfully done. JCH2012-09-23 09:39:46
Her Name Was New HampshireAndrew W. SlickFolate is now obtainable by everyone, not just pregnant ladies. It will relieve your mood, and, since you do have talent, you might pursue better interests than wasting it on personal "tragedy". Don't take this personal; this isn't the first time I've come down on the promising for misusing the genre for a pity parlor. By the way, decide to write prose or poetry, and, unless experimenting with something like stream of consciousness, don't confuse the two. It's worse than sophomoric. JCH2012-06-21 10:43:00
PreyMary J Coffman"like stranded wolves" an image that recreates itself as your reader might envision a lion pride descending a slope awaiting to feed on what one of their lionesses has brought down. Whatever is labeled "prey" is game and unfortunately in today's predatory society that applies to a vast majority of us. Not even the food chain itself is spared. What lies at the top is more unforgiving and merciless than anything in nature, including that belonging to the most menacing of beasts. For they obey instinct while our very own monsters betray humanity. Good poems set me off, my dear...as you can see. So it's your fault. So good to have you back, not to mention your rare talent. JCH2012-06-20 13:45:15
Sunrise PinkLora SilveyDelightful, Lora. Well done twist, humorously rendered with excellent play on our presumption. Of course, one might still wonder at end, have you identified a lover with the ultimate simile? (Rather than the other way around?) JCH2012-04-16 22:47:20
Class WarsMark D. KilburnI couldn't agree with your sentiments more. Nor the peril we're in due to the treasonous monsters we've placed in power for so long (as if we had any choice other than that between a fox and a wolf.) A strong and very important message but made much stronger if done in free verse. However, you do get the point across, let's just hope you don't discover heroic couplet. Then you will become incurable. But please humor me and spend sometime with free verse just to see if you like it. When the message is powerful the contrivance to rhyme tends to make it less so to the modern ear. Like taking time to structure in cadence a warning scream. JCH2012-04-16 22:41:34
more transitional thoughtsMedard Louis Lefevre Jr.Always remember that verse and form do not define modern poetry. It is, if any one thing the multi-layering of meaning, to have the poetic language but to expand beyond the words with imagery and the indistinct. Pressing the reader to search with facet to every turn in the path you've provided. That the task would be as equal to the read as it is to the write. But you must have something to say...and you do...in abundance. The struggle of youth towards growth is well represented here. The problematic to come to terms with God...or not. I will offer one thing, aside this critique. No wise God would ever wish to interfere with your most precious gift, that of self-discovery. JCH2012-04-16 22:30:57
Transitional thoughtsMedard Louis Lefevre Jr.You can produce a far greater poetic effect by leaving out at least a third of the articles like, and, the, or, to, to do.... Try afraid instead of "but are afraid". You'll find when we are to distinct we lose that magical indistinctness that roams the readers imagination. Joyce went so far as to do this with his stream of consciousness and didn't even resort to poetry. So you have double the license. Paralleling ones thoughts and mood with the surroundings will work a lot better and give your elegant ideas more expansiveness. JCH2012-04-13 19:58:49
Fine Winecheyenne smythWe are indeed at our best in awe of nature. Beautiful illusions, euphemisms, one most remarkable, "the pulverized bones/of the mountains". Really like that. Grand understanding of the weathering/uplift cycle and its similarity to the vibrant life process. Delightful. JCH2012-04-13 19:49:53
My VoteMark Steven SchefferGood choices, serving, as always from you, careful thought and fairness. Mine were very close to the same. I did notice that truth and penetration in critiquing was penalized, while blind adulation was rewarded, causing me to want to take this opportunity to say, this is counter-productive to poets wanting the kind of input that demonstrates any desire to improve. And nobody here can claim rightfully to be the best they can be. And I did not read one constructive criticism among all the critiques this month that was not justified. JCH 2012-04-11 13:45:00
New YorkMark Steven SchefferAwed, been there too. We, in fact, need an "Awed by NYC" tee shirt along with appointment books, nodoz, and an escort to prod us on to the next engagement (from just falling into gapeing mode.) These cities that never sleep and New York is the best. About the only topic where a redundant style truly fits, where refrain can carry so well from line to line instead of at the end of each verse...says it all really. Got into this, Mark, like I did the "town". JCH2012-04-11 13:36:06
white flag upEllen K LewisBoy, the evangelicals are going to have a time with you, my dear. While you and I sit sipping, tea, coffee, wine, taking our joy on bounding over the fear brigades in stride. Joy is well-placed, joy the redeemer, it's the only true homage we can make to God. The supreme thankfulness. So I add the implied word summation to your other verse summaries. Are we in sync?...I think so, wanting so much to kiss your hand. 2012-04-11 13:27:13
dysfunctional poetryMark D. KilburnThe kind of poem we see so rarely around here. One of import whose illusions and images match the reality few can incorporate into verse. You illusions are real, prose real. Break up sentences more to give your reader room to fill in the imaginative play images derive and set poetry from prose. Grab more at the indefinite so that the poem incorporates better with the readers own experiences. You will find poetry is best when NO ONE walks away untouched. Then and only then does it not matter whether the theme is liked or not. The truth of the poem holds up its value when it can apply without sermon, condemnation, or judgement. You have this capability. Now make it poetic. This could be an elegant poem of power and relevance. One of this time, like that of Edwin Markham's, Man with a Hoe, was of his. JCH2012-04-06 23:06:00
midnight rumblingsEllen K LewisA well-conceived poem of levels. Those late night storms are like heavy footed visitors disturbing our quiet. In your case, it is the earth you bury in, your connection to growth and life a comfort. "the air is caffein-like tonight"...beautiful assonance and an excellent simile. Even the last line serves another assonant sounding texturing back into the unity of life and growth. We can almost smell the rain coming. A beautiful poem rewarding to read. JCH2012-04-06 22:54:37
all fowl must dieMedard Louis Lefevre Jr.Broken sentences are fine in poetry. Make them even more broken by not trying to string them into complete sentences merely separated by breaks. It is the indefinite that brings in the reader, and it is what the reader then searches from in meaning that builds even beyond a poet's intention. A living poem, an interactive poem, the elegant poem. Rewrite. I will be worth the effort. JCH2012-03-24 09:58:02
Wall decorDellena RovitoMy dear, a capture. Like mere being, an example of some harsh realities undeniable, to always ponder to the core simply with viewing. As well, an elegant parallel to how some attempt to collect wives, lovers, even emotions...actually savoring little of the essence they can offer it ever more thought of beyond simply something to add to "wall decor". Very good. JCH2012-03-24 09:54:38
My Spiritcheyenne smythIn aspect of the many perceptions of the spiritual fleeting. I don't care for the simile/metaphor, "heart of dawn". It is not in keeping with your more typically unified imagery. I would prefer something less cumbersome than, "...I could set fire to the rain", perhaps, would I inflame the rain. I'll make calm of tempest seas instead of "seek" since otherwise you would never find such calm unless you made it. You have the talent and if you used it in way that was underlined with a more emotional gathering purpose, all these images would find their own reality. It seems you write sometimes too much for frolic or exercise than inspired by your Muse. Go to a park where children play, see a brilliant play performed by striving actors, visit a museum filled with the excellence of those from a past so deep,yet still they reach out. Then see if the Muse doesn't come more often to nestle on your shoulder. JCH2012-03-24 09:48:29
JANA BUCK HANKSLora SilveyMy condolences. A sad thing when one you've known passes. JCH2012-03-24 09:31:52
Holden CastleMedard Louis Lefevre Jr.Medard, the same design in nature we see so perfectly exampled is in our senses to do right by each other. That Supreme Standard is with us although nurtured by some, and revolted against by others. If it weren't there would be no struggle, no fears of Heaven and/or Hell. Science on earth is now dead in the water, kept there in service of corporations, governments and their military to prevent any such progress and revelation that might threaten the status quo. Secret keeping would not have become a major industry if this were not so. Your poem reflects this sad state of affairs and opines the loss of that Supreme Standard, God. As we further traverse down this eroding path, so many gains that have been made based on such standards have crumbled. In our decline we are, "in and out of Holden Castle". Indeed. The merit of this poem is enhanced by its message, concern for mankind, and imagery that parallels well with the evil forces at work today. A poet can function in no more noble way than to be harbinger at times like this. For that reason I will vote this poem #1 primarily due to such poems as this having become so scarce on TPL. That may be my bias. But I own up to it. JCH2012-03-18 10:20:27
sproutsEllen K LewisA delightful sort-of-aboriginal wisdom poem. The last lines in touch with both the comic side and erstwhile pragmatism we associate with native Americans. Indeed were we versatile and not so self-centered in the rat race of the modern world Nature's abundance is adequate. And it's renewel (and your poetic homage to it) easily observable. JCH 2012-03-16 17:14:57
Twisted Sheetscheyenne smythNow this I like. You are not running on poetic empty here. For you are finding the shimmer and sparkle of wonderful sounds so natural to flow they escape any complaint of contrivance. My best choice is in, "They rise to touch arid lips/once quenched"...sounds to match the sensual imagery. The last stanza is a superb image in itself so rich it shades into illusion, euphemism and then simile. To liken written composition to love making in partner with intent is both novel and evoking. A beautiful, sensual poem. JCH 2012-03-10 21:06:33
My First February '12 VoteMark Steven SchefferMSS, you are undeterred, I see from the driving force of bile. Fair to a fault, the Bard might have said (mindful of Othello's wonderful line, to "have loved not wisely but too well". Othello might have been a poet too. Or maybe one just takes beauty where they find it...after all even black mambas move with an amazing grace. Delighted you saw something good in Mr. Palmer's offering too. I do think, however, you overlooked Medard's poem this month. You've started off the new month splendidly, I might add. JCH2012-03-10 16:21:49
Poem TitlePoet NameCritique Given by James C. HorakCritique Date

Displaying Critiques 1 to 50 out of 460 Total Critiques.
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