Mark Steven Scheffer's E-Mail Address: msscheffer@mac.com
Mark's Personal Web Page or Favorite Web Page: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/EtinArcadiaEgo


Mark Steven Scheffer's Profile:
Long time TPLer, going back to 2000. Have hid most of my old stuff . . . but you can find some of them in my newly published volume at lulu, Et In Arcadia Ego. See link above.

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Below you will see ALL of the Critiques that Mark Steven Scheffer has given on The Poetic Link.
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Displaying Critiques 1 to 50 out of 495 Total Critiques.
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Poem TitlePoet NameCritique Given by Mark Steven SchefferCritique Date
FeathersJoanne M UppendahlJU, Poignant. Good to have you back. Regina was here last month. Sort of like a family reunion in the days before machine locomotion - arrivals spread out over months as people ride up in the dust from all over the world. MSS2016-06-24 14:41:48
The Rooftop, The EndRegina M. HellerRegina, Wonderful to see you back here. In light of the esteem with which you were held by many, perhaps your presence will bring some old faces back. That would of course be terrific. I go back to May of 2001. My first month I came runner-up to you, and I've never forgotten that. lol Want a trip down memory lane? - http://web.archive.org/web/20001117130000/http://thepoeticlink.com/pl/winners.php3?display_year_month=2000-05 I read your comments in your new profile, and know how true they are to what this site meant back then and throughout 2000 and into 2001, perhaps 2002 - before the decline. This place was magic. I don't know if it's simple "who gives a shit" or what. I say, regarding our old friends, "well, they have other things to do," but they did then, too, and it didn't stop them. What went wrong? Anyway, now to your poem. First, too imitative of Auden for me. You've always been a fine poet, so of course the writing exhibits flashes of that ability shining threw. But my overall, dominating impression is: the poem is enslaved to its model, and the slavery doesn't enhance its existence. It has the feel of something confined, and trying to break free. MSS2016-05-06 16:54:50
I so miss the tone nationJoe GustinJoe, Love the poem until the ending, which didn't do much for me. You can turn a phrase with arresting simile/metaphor, like "sudden diamonds." Eyes/Diamonds is commonplace - but that "sudden" gives it a freshness - a representative Gustin turn for me. Similarly, "lovely legends of lore" also borders on the commonplace, but the alliteration gives enough "surprise" - the additional "lovely" which takes the, again, commonplace "legends of lore" and makes it fresh because of that additional alliteration. But then you here, as often, resort to the simple prosaic summation or "point" - "well, of course / you know the rest." That weakens the poem, Joe. Again, I think you too often merge your good qualities and expressions with the prosaic statement. Cut out the prosaic statements and craft something whole in line with your lyricism and you got something complete. MSS2016-04-06 10:13:13
PleaseJoe GustinJoe, Your lyricism took a smoke break and . . . not a favorite of yours for me. Mark2016-03-30 15:34:21
The Rigid BreedDeniMari Z.Deni, Well, it seems you have been pursuing this vein. :) The first stanza is what shines in this. Mark2016-03-30 15:33:04
Second ChanceDeniMari Z.Deni, The short lines suit you. I would explore this vein some more. Mark2016-03-30 15:31:45
For MeJoe GustinJoe, You always had a nice lyricism to everything you write. It's odd. When I read you its as if I'm reading lines from a genius that have to be translated into another language before being read, and some of the lines get garbled coming through - but some retain the original genius. Mark2016-03-30 15:30:18
When Love LeavesJoe GustinJoe, Powerful opening. Again, some nice Gustin flourishes. Enjoyed. MSS2015-07-12 11:04:10
PetalsJoe GustinJoe, Has some of those Gustin flashes of metaphor and phrasing that I love seeing from you. Nice. MSS2015-07-12 11:03:13
WhenJoe GustinJoe, Nice lyric. Did you really intend "conjurer" water, or "conjure" water? You could be referring to water as a "conjurer." Just pointing this out to you to see if it's your intent. MSS2015-07-12 11:02:10
While Having a BeerJoe GustinJoe, As often with you, you give us some great lines and then sort of revert into, well, things like the last stanza. The poignant, powerful stanza(s): Laying them out on the table in some terrible game of solitaire. **wonderful metaphor** I go for a walk and cast prayers from my thoughts hoping they catch the wind and find their way to you **great . . . objectification of "prayers"** 2015-05-16 19:42:31
hollowMedard Louis Lefevre Jr.Medard, I love the repetition regarding "hollow." I can understand this voice, recognize it. Kindred. MSS2015-05-16 19:38:24
The WindJames C. HorakJames, Love this short lyric, my friend, and especially the assonant rhyme of "touch" and "dust." Wonderful. Very Shelleyesque, and PB would love it, not only for style but content. MSS2015-02-20 07:08:17
I Smelled the RainMedard Louis Lefevre Jr.Medard, One can tell from this poem that is was written by someone with a poet's soul and imagination. You certainly show a feel for form with using the repetition as a structuring device. The trope of smelling the rain before the storm is not bad. The poet is what makes this poem: you are in it, and you are a poet. I want to know you better after reading this. So it has a subtle allure: shit, Whitman's persona and stance overwhelms even his language and rhetoric, but its language and rhetoric of genius. You have the persona, the stance, the soul, the heart . . . the language/rhetoric doesn't reach where you were born to go. I await the day they meet in a poem from you. MSS2014-11-14 17:34:33
The WhyJoe GustinJoe, I appreciate the direct dealing with raw truth and emotion. A good poem delves the heart; this is a good poem. MSS2014-09-02 10:28:23
Train StopJames C. HorakJCH, I love how you capture the innocence of children and merge their “aisles” running with the running train. I recently wrote a “train” poem which I will post and I think it was inspired in part by yours, which I had read before - while promptly also by real life events. Well done. MSS2014-09-02 10:25:26
Come to CamdenJames C. HorakJCH, You were in Camden? Not far from me. I just love the idea of our names on some "manifest." Wonderful. Or perhaps it is only your name on this "manifest." You certainly are a unique individual, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are some lists out there with only your name and perhaps some others who are bound on a more exclusive and restrictive trip. :) MSS 2014-04-24 10:12:43
Mark Sheffer's Excellent Collection of PoemsJames C. HorakJCH, Thank you so much for posting this - much appreciated. I also look forward to your review. Most of the poems in the volume were written while active here, and indeed posted shortly, almost invariably immediately, after I wrote them and/or put finishing touches on them. You, dear friend, and many here, most of whom are, sadly, no longer active, played an important role in shaping the poems in the book, and I benefited from your insight and comments. The Spirit of poetry is in you, and was with many of us as we engaged here. I also want to say something about this site: the monthly contest, unique to TPL, certainly had its flaws, but I personally believe it fueled creativity (it certainly did for me) and fostered a striving for excellence - I know it did in me. I look forward to Chris's efforts to revamp the site, and will certainly be here to help with the . . . resurrection. I'll take the opportunity for a crass plug (smile). The volume, titled Et in Arcadia Ego, is published through lulu, in both paperback and hardcover, and is available here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/EtinArcadiaEgo Thanks again for your kind words and promotion of the book, James. MSS2014-04-24 10:04:28
In Dubious WarJames C. HorakJCH, They will always play their f - - - ing games political. And I suspect you will always be there for all who will listen. MSS2013-11-30 11:21:47
The Four GuardiansJames C. HorakJCH, As you know, I have a deep other world sensibility. I believe the Book the Word of God. Sui generis, not a mere piece of human wisdom albeit endowed with spiritual insight. That Book informs my approach to the world. Christ decried the religious hypocrites, not their power but their hypocrisy. He did not confront Rome nor the social constructs. His kingdom was not of this world. When the social constructs erected spiritual barriers, He tore at them. But their material barriers, He simply walked around them - or I should say right through them. Satan and His minions could have the world; the children of the kindgom suffer in it. The suffering has value and is only temporary, like the social constructs the world fights over. I don't mean to diminish the labors of those who fight against or expose social injustice or threats to worldly peace posed by the efforts of the manipulators. It is certainly false, evil, and worthy of your stand(s). I am trying to give you, my friend, some insight into a difference in perspective of you and I, who otherwise connect in many ways. My heart is simply in other battles. Some of the zealots helped crucify Christ because He saw the battle differently. I follow Him. And as there were pure zealots then who did not crucify Christ but loved Him while rueing His declining of a worldly crown, you and I are brothers and allies but have somewhat different concerns. Man, I'm sappy this morning . . . sometimes it takes being "sappy" to make progress with one's self and others, to open understanding and enrich relationships. I trust we are brothers and "in this" together, though we have our differences. Your poem has the JCH combative edge. The edge of an honest zealot with a pure heart who seeks a real good and the advancement of peace and real progress, and exposes the enemies of all men. I simply say add: they have no "power" over you and I that was not given to them from above. That is the ultimate victory, and the ultimate perspective. You will probably say they only have power because of the failure to confront them, because we let them "win." But I don't think so. As to specifics: are you referencing something alluded to by Senator Lindsey Graham where he tied an attack on Syria to prevention of a "terrorist" nuclear attack on Charleston, SC ? Do we have some clues here: http://benswann.com/president-obama-fires-high-ranking-nuclear-chiefs/ http://charlotte.cbslocal.com/2013/09/03/graham-nukes-in-hands-of-terrorists-could-result-in-bomb-coming-to-charleston-harbor/ Anyway, if you are right, wow, yes, those generals did a brave, courageous, good thing for which they should be commended, as you ably have. No one could differ with you on that if your facts are true. Anyway, perhaps I am merely one of the "sorry asses," but I trust you see it's a bit deeper than that. I have used this opportunity to speak heart to heart with you in light of some of our honest exchanges over the years. Geez . . . sappy, sappy, sappy MSS this morning. Peace, my friend. MSS 2013-11-22 09:52:28
BuriedJames C. HorakJCH, I find this unique, in being a lament for . . . I don't know what exactly. If I read this right - well, is their a "right" reading in this somewhat subjective realm of poetic experience? Experience being what it is, and experience being subject driven, no matter the reality of social, political and religious needs prey to the corporate manipulators - it almost like the passing from the body into pure spirit, with the fond memory of the world, the tactile not letting go . . . But it is more. What is past is not merely past, but "waiting to be burned." Ominous, a metaphor (for me) of the final harvest, which I believe will be driven by another, more worthy power. The "burning" here is something other, with - again - more ominous and sinister overtones of burners who arrogate an authority that is not theirs. Perhaps I am overreading in my cocoon. :) MSS2013-11-22 09:01:40
Marilyn Terwilleger -- CheyenneLora SilveyLora, Sad news. I had not conversed with Marilyn for quite awhile, but she was a presence here. I am sorry for your loss of such a good friend. MSS2013-11-22 08:53:20
TravelJames C. HorakCH, Nice. That must be quite an experience, up there with no distracting engine noise, gliding with the wind. You captured what is must be like. MSS2013-11-22 08:50:25
A Friend Changed His AddressJames C. HorakJCH, The first stanza was wonderful, mysterious, allusive, the double use of "hear" with a difference. The second served its purpose, and was properly native to its function, more straightforward. Another nice one. MSS2013-09-13 02:12:15
A Clump of MetalJames C. HorakJCH, Aging and its hardware. This is rich in its resonance of life. Shit, I sound like a hallmark drunk on its schoolday memories of Shakespeare. I deeply liked this one. MSS2013-09-13 02:08:46
My earMark Andrew HislopMAH, You came to see me? And I was supposed to be sitting here, constantly keeping the glass cold and the head on the brewski, for . . . days (that’d been alright) . . . months (did that) . . . years? You last posted a poem on June 06, 2012. I “left” in January of 2013. Sorry I couldn’t hang in there. :) Love ya, my gifted Aussie friend. Good to see you’ve written something. But since not only a rat but his ass, neither, cares about this chap MSS, if you’re gonna write something, make it relevant to the rest of humanity. Yeah, I’m sure everyone knows a poor schmuck who disappeared . . . but you can be more universal and relevant than that. Again, love ya, and . . . I have written one poem since January, and that an anti-poem at that. I'll post it for ya, and you can come back in 2014 and read it. :) Love ya, MSS 2013-08-01 17:48:00
SomewhereJoe GustinJoe, Yet once again you take deep emotion and render it convincingly, without being maudlin, with a sure expression that does it suggest. You have built a "poetry machine" - it's a wonderful alembic - over your lifetime that takes life and turns into it into poetry. This is no small achievement. Admirable, and it is appreciated and noted. MSS 2013-01-05 09:16:06
For AnnieJoe GustinJoe, "Catching and framing" snowflakes is very good. You handled and expressed the emotion well here, delicately, conveying the depth of feeling, but not sentimental. MSS 2013-01-05 09:12:10
Her DayDreamscheyenne smythCheyenne, I love the voice here. It says a lot about the poet you are. Cultivate this place, I believe it has great poems in it. In this one, you did not find the form for the voice. But the voice gives this poem value nonetheless, and makes it a valuable poem, if not one equal to the promise it gives me. MSS2012-12-27 15:24:23
Playing with the GrindJames C. HorakJCH, I spent the last 45 minutes trying to express a few things of importance about this site and poetry, all inspired by your poem and your (and my) continued presence here. It was hard going: so much involved, some deep things I couldn't quite articulate. So I try again albeit in a somewhat lower key. I think of the idea of this site, and, frankly, I'm amazed and appalled at what it has become. You would think the idea of an open competition in pursuit of poetic excellence would draw at least a remnant of poets with balls and a true striving, not only for their own poetic excellence but to assert that poetry matters and has a relation to truth - because in an open competition, truth ends up prevailing, ultimately. In such an environment that which is not truth is exposed, can easily been seen when the lense is open and alternative visions which are true are placed beside it. The false may "win," but it is rather obvious that its victory is a joke: the truth will "out." Honest people now the real "score." That is a big part of the value of this site and its unique competition. So why did this place "die"? I'm afraid of the answer. But it's not dead yet. You could stand for Ishmael, and say, "I only have escaped alone to tell thee." Where are all of our comrades? They are needed here. The idea of this site can't be allowed to die. This poem reminds me of the ultimate question to ask when reading a poem: why did the poet write it? If you don't get the sense that he or she had to . . . you haven't read a poem worth the calling. Of course, there are many reasons why a poet may "have to" write, your poem powerfully giving voice to one of them. How about we try, you and I, to make this place alive again? I beg you. MSS2012-12-27 15:05:04
Down By the RiverEllen K LewisEllen, I like this. It's a tight, compact, well-constructed poem. Love the voice! MSS2012-08-28 01:29:41
the last sorrowMedard Louis Lefevre Jr.Medard, It seems to me you've fallen off from some of the prior, more recent postings of yours - which were first rate. And older one? MSS2012-08-28 01:27:30
Maple Treecheyenne smythCheyenne, I like the sentiment, honest, heartfelt, wise. I like the simple, fresh, natural tone. There is something about the execution though that holds me back. One of those poems where the substance and the voice excel, but the execution doesn't rise to the occasion in some way. It's almost as if you have to either heighten the artifice or make it even simpler, more natural. For me, there's either too much artifice or not enough in the finished product. MSS2012-08-28 01:26:01
Gracklescheyenne smythCheyenne, I'm glad to see you're writing more free verse. To write well in traditional forms and meter one must approach poetry more like a musician, getting into the flow and yielding the content (somewhat) to the direction, which has a life of its own. I'll bet most of the great poems (lyric poetry, not epic or tragic) were not preconceived or content driven. The place from which the rhythm comes is also the place of ultimate meaning, and will provide the "substance." Ironically, free verse will open you to the flow so that, when you return to meter and traditional form - and you will at times, maybe even as a preference - it will more natural and powerful for you. Again, great to see you letting yourself go in free verse. And look forward to the subsequent return to meter and fixed forms. We'll see if I'm right. :) MSS2012-08-18 02:14:08
What Terry Has Asked Be Posted HereJames C. HorakTerry, I learned one thing that has only been confirmed even more vigorously recently: men (the OVERWHELMING majority) don't care for the truth. Little things in life provide the laser beam for that "discovery": a big one here for me was that incident about the manipulation of the vote in January of 2010. If you look at my vote for that month, which is the first poem I believe of my poems open to anyone on this site (my public list of poems), and compare it with the final result as it now appears in the archived results - you'd have no clue what the dispute was about. And now the forum is closed, so that record is gone, too. All that remains, like a spent bullet in a tree trunk, is my vote. Sad. The truth is vitally important, in some spheres more than others. One can have the truth about who is in first place in the National League Central right now; one can have the truth about God. Poetry comes closer to the latter, but it only the latter that matters. I have tried to fight for truth here as elsewhere, and have not have been as vigorous as I could have been for a few reasons, my own deficiencies being one, but my not being sure as to the only truth that mattered (God and the Gospel) being the main reason. A lifetime of questioning, and searching, and pondering over the Scriptures - God for some reason determining that I needed a long gestation period - has come to an end. I am now sure, and consequently no longer feel the need to dabble in poetry. I have other work to do now. I agree with your assessment of James, who has been an enemy, a foe, an ally and a good friend. Brutally honest and a man of integrity. One of the things that my search for truth has revealed is the way people make assumptions, cultural, social, and molded by the father of lies, which too readily categorize and "judge" men and ideas by the assumed, false standard. We are depraved children of wrath by nature and even design, and to open to truth takes a radical unlearning, a shattering of the assumptions. Assumptions damn men like James Horak, and the "common wisdom" keeps them down. My "involvement" with the dispute between JCH and Deni ended when I learned that it was triggered by JCH's "harshness" toward a newbie. All I need is one whiff of crap to turn away. Someone lays that pile here at least once a year as the tag line to a departure. I no longer care for what happens here, but I care for you, James, MAH and others who have been honest and who have seriously viewed poetry and truth as intimately linked, and gave themselves up to the former to get to the latter. May the Lord bless all of you. To the extent that I may serve as means toward opening someone to the Gospel that is necessary for salvation, here's where you can find me henceforth: http://plowboy1534.yuku.com/directory#.T_YRnY6nDN5 Things are going to get really hot for me with some of my old friends . . . But that's a large part of what it's all about, isn't it? A fitting way to close. God grant you healing and lead you to His truth. Mark 2012-07-05 18:20:06
Ticking Bombcheyenne smythCheyenne, A good poem. Very nice. MSS2012-05-25 21:08:15
The KeepJames C. HorakJCH, My fav of yours this month. Love the placing of those commas in the first stanza. MSS2012-04-07 22:26:45
Twisted Sheetscheyenne smythCheyenne, You "step out" more here, but still not enough. I like "lines of misery" very much. MSS2012-04-07 00:10:53
My Spiritcheyenne smythCheyenne, You have ability, and you have a voice, but it is too, too often buried in what used to be called prosody. Every now and then you step out . . . but it has to be always, and I don't see how you're trying to get there, and not even sure you recognize the need to. MSS2012-04-07 00:08:09
Wall decorDellena RovitoDellena, Another honest voice, yours. Refreshing. Another way of defining poets is by what they are trying to do with their poetry. Before you get to the finished product, you have to have the right ambition. You have it. MSS2012-04-07 00:02:31
Holden CastleMedard Louis Lefevre Jr.Medard, Holden. Wasn't that the name of the protagonist in Catcher in the Rye? Doesn't matter. The way "Holden" fills the mouth and satisfies the taste buds it's a fitting name for the Castle. This comes from a neighborhood that is dangerous and honest, devoid of pretension. My side of the tracks. Nice. MSS 2012-04-07 00:00:44
A Precarious LifeMedard Louis Lefevre Jr.Medard, I have no patience for those who treat poetry as a game, a hobby, a diversion, an intellectual exercise. You are not one of those. The forked fire of the Holy Ghost touches thee. Keep burning. MSS 2012-04-06 23:54:07
Taken (in between)James C. HorakJCH, There are those who baptize with water, and those who baptize with fire. And they know the other, and each other. MSS2012-04-06 23:49:02
My Feb 2012 voteMark Andrew HislopMAH, I'll trespass where I have every right to: your rankings of my poems. Vortex? Watch it I don't stir one up and send it your way. :) I understand you had very good company: JCH. But I'm disappointed, or rather oddly bemused. Perhaps I know nothing, but if getting the sound in one's head and the pulse in one's veins down in the best possible form, and having something of universal meaning to say to boot, is the definition of successful poetry (and I think it is), then I'll be damned if i could have done much better than "i woke up and read keats" or "Time Travel." In the future I'll just get drunk, stand on my hand, and spit out "Parking Tickets." On the other hand (smile) . . . This place is a ton of fun when we take it seriously; lay it all out on the table (publish our selections); vote like it matters eternally (though of course it doesn't); and stand tall. Thou are my brother in that, and it's wonderful to be back to back with thee. MSS2012-03-10 06:46:55
SharingJames C. HorakJCH, Nice post. I totally agree with posting things like this as poems to draw attention and comment - the forum doesn't get much attention. I have become resigned to two things: a) our culture has devolved to the point where I believe true scholarship and love of learning are dead among the people (I mean in terms of a mass or number that makes the pursuit of scholarship/learning by the poet worthwhile); b) a poet writing today must abandon the same or at least radically adjust his orientation so that he is art is not informed to be of value in terms of the old scholarly criteria - otherwise he will not speak to the people, those to whom he gives, and from whom he gathers,meaning. I do not think this a good thing, but the reality. It is our job to fashion true poems in this milieu. I know this post is about critiquing, but I think my comments on creating are relevant - if the criteria for successful creation have to some extent changed, the criteria for effectively critiquing will also change. But of course, over arching all, is the need for integrity and honesty, as Dr. Johnson notes. SOME THINGS WILL NEVER CHANGE. I think a poet can be a bastard, but he must be an honest bastard. Glad to see you stirring up minds and hearts around here again. MSS 2012-03-09 12:12:19
Crappy days are here againHoward D. PalmerHoward, The ruling elite have gray (Democrat) and blue (Republican) suits. It's the same man underneath them. The fools are the ones who think the suits make a big difference, so they vote for one or the other so as not to "waste their vote" on a maverick or independent who is indeed a different man (or woman) under the suit. The only way to break the vicious cycle is to elect a true maverick or independent leader who was not bought by the elite, and hope that they hadn't been bought during the campaign or afterwards. But then, if that were the case, they probably would have been killed if the threat posed were substantial enough. But the engineered obsession over the suit worn that they have fed the idiots (us) and the illusion of not wasting one's vote ensures that that won't happen. As to the form of this, the refrain, it's allusion, the campaign anthem lilt of this works well. MSS2012-03-02 21:31:45
full revolutionEllen K LewisEllen, This has a wonderful rhythm if read aloud, which is exactly how I approached it. A really fine poem. MSS2012-03-02 21:14:45
Painter’s SocietyLora SilveyLora, I am very fond of this. The first two lines strike a wonderful opening: beautiful detail of the apples falling "not far," and the ambiguous syntax gives the "their" attribution to both the apples and the Walrus' - the idea of falling apples having "voices" is even more delicious than the incredibly delicious "not far." The second stanza is fine, ending with the loaded "we will take care of you." The third stanza is superb. Your wonderful handling of a triple pattern of parallel structuring in the first and third lines ends gloriously on "of equal and the same." The last stanza is the weakest - though I love the first line - and I was disappointed in the last line particularly, even though you made it critical to the poem and the title. One that will be very high on my list. MSS2012-02-25 11:51:47
Undiscoveredcheyenne smythMs. Smyth, That's a good motive for writing: other human beings need to be stunned and delighted - and the combination is essential. We have too much delight without stunning. And stunning without delight's no fun. That's about all I have to say. Oh . . . have you figured out to vote yet? http://www.thepoeticlink.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=754 If you have, share it with Ms. Silvey. And I don't mean, "how" to vote to rig the deal. That ability is innate. MSS2012-02-25 08:38:22
As the World Churns..or...Caveman CrossingEllen K LewisEllen, You obtained a notebook, and are now relieved of the burden of writing on ribbon? :) MSS2012-02-25 08:22:26
Poem TitlePoet NameCritique Given by Mark Steven SchefferCritique Date

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