Poetry competition CLOSED 8th December 2020 5:52pm
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PoetsRevenge
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RUNNERS-UP: wallyroo92 and Eerie

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Sonata Mulattica

Ahavati
Ahavati
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Poetry Contest

Classic Corner Tribute: Rita Frances Dove

Co-Hosts - Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze  

Welcome back to the Classic Corner Competitions, Part XXXVII, in an ongoing series introducing serious writers of DUP to the most famous classical and modern poets of our time.

Rita Frances Dove (born August 28, 1952) is an American poet and essayist. From 1993 to 1995, she was the youngest person and the first African American served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Dove also received an appointment as "special consultant in poetry" for the Library of Congress's bicentennial year from 1999 to 2000. Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1987, and she served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006.

In addition to her poetry, Dove has penned prose, as seen with the short-story collection Fifth Sunday (1985), the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992) and the essay collection The Poet’s World (1995). She has also written the play The Darker Face of the Earth (1994), and collaborated as a lyricist with a variety of composers.

Dove has served as an editor as well, helming The Best American Poetry 2000 and 2011’s Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry; the latter was released the same year as Dove’s critically acclaimed book-length poem Sonatta Mulattica, about biracial classical violinist George Polgreen Bridgetower.

For more info visit: https://www.biography.com/writer/rita-dove


Guidelines  

—Write a new ( non-previously posted ) poem honoring Dove inspired by any one of her poems.

—Do NOT copy paste your poem to the competition, it must be linked to your page with the below information.

—Do your best to make us feel as though we are reading poems by Dove. The more we feel you "capturing her essence" in "your own words" , the higher you will score. This will involve choice of wording, delivery, subject material, formatting, target audience, ambiguity - a wide range of factors.    

The Rules

1.Two entries per DUP persona allowed. Keep this thread clean of everything but entries until after the awards announcement is made. Comment on entries directly to the member's page if you feel moved to. Post any questions or concerns about the comp in the Classic Corner Discussion thread @
https://deepundergroundpoetry.com/forum/speakeasy/read/10855/

2. No extreme erotica*; this is open to all ages and can't be viewed with an ECW ( Extreme Content Warning ). * Extreme Erotica would be considered visual imagery which would depict any type of sexual activity as well as the direct naming of body parts, i.e. - nipples, pussy, cock, et al.

3. No exact word limit; however, attempt to keep it no more than 250 - 300 ( UNLESS the inspirational poem is longer ).

4. Any form is acceptable ( but studying the poet is advised ). This includes visual and spoken word pieces.    

5. You must select #RitaDove in your themes. The theme page will automatically generate as soon as eight entrants hashtag the theme. Make sure you hashtag her in your themes or you will be disqualified.

6. In your Author's note, provide the poem title ( even if the title of your poem is the same as Dove's ) as well as a link to the poem ( not website ) by Dove that inspired yours. Without this, we have no way of determining if you were truly inspired by Dove, or simply swapped fresh words into her existing poetry and form, which could be considered plagiarism.

7. You may edit your entry up until the moment the competition closes and is locked for judging. Then it's out of our hands; please don't message with corrections once the comp has closed.

Comp will be judged by Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze. As in the past and in the event there is a tie, we will call in third  judge.

Ahavati
Ahavati
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Theresienstadt Ghetto Symphony

( After Rita Dove )

Some played harmoniously
in the face of tragedy;    
others, absurdly out of sync    
regardless of advantages      
     
Despite how we observe    
or innately judge. . .    
both inevitably belonged—    
captive and guard    
     
Inside each cavernous soul    
exists a desire to complement    
the mastery of music—    
     
to be fondly remembered      
a dedicated creator, or just part    
of something greater—    
     
as space between notes    
holding sound together—      
     
to taste the rarity of beauty    
from a vast hunger;    
our biorhythm surviving    
the odds of injustice—    
     
defiantly humming  
in gratitude    
   
If music be the food of love  
play on.*
 
~
Written by Ahavati
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MaryWalker
MaryWalker
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Melody's Fingertips

  
Dry logs in the stone pit, consumed
quicker than Indian Summers
   
in crackling pops, sweep  
dustbunnied quiet under rugs;  
   
serenade complements my cello  
frame being played to its tune.  
   
Melody's fingertips strumming;    
my instruments gauging spikes  
   
Sparks fly before either of us  
realizes we are out of control  
   
---wild fires converging  
in unorchestrated infernos  
   
These flames of ours licking  
long into the late hours  
   
She, burning away my dark  
   
I, reveling inn'er light  
   
 
Written by MaryWalker
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slipalong
slipalong
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Another bite at the cherry

My old Nissan
its shine, with years , dulled, fading fast
its blotchy skin.
When was it polished last
and catch a glint.
 Hanging from the mirror
 a car vent that looks just like Tom Jones.
Dream; the apple Adam held,
the need to taste forbidden fruit.
With evil pride his ego swelled
I thought that I was in a hurry
the radio was playing Brian Ferry.
Addicted to love, vain hopes anthem
and one on one, be the sum.
In expectation longer dwell,
like children playing hide and seek
look round the corner take a peep.
Wistfulness for mistletoe its pheromones
the erogeny , a kiss on tippy toes.
 Eyes that winked each innuendo.
Finding some old sherbet sweet
 pushed under the passengers seat.
The old jalopy near collapse
looking forward never back.
The vanity mirror not lying flat.
Tempus fugit, a need to worry
my needs, another bite at the cherry
 
Written by slipalong
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PoetsRevenge
PoetsRevenge
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November For Beginners (No Rain)

The rain held off
for hours, long enough to smell  
its presence -- warm and burned;
summer sun afar now,
leaving crisp cobalt air
to chill our skin  
in early dusk of late day.
 
Our wood stack sits  
in anticipation of purpose --
to rise and leave its bed
with a crackle and pop.
Our hearts stiffen as
flower heads on rigid stalks.
We can't yet fathom Spring
in the sea of brown and gold --
its trimmings  
 
Trail our feet;
rustle a scratchy, unmetered
tune on a hollow, stringless instrument.
We tap harmoniously on its belly  
in fingers of windy demise.
 
   .....
Written by PoetsRevenge
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PoetsRevenge
PoetsRevenge
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Her Island (Father Tide)

'Water keeps its horrors
 while sky proclaims his,
 hangs them in stars.'

              - Rita Dove


An old man who owns this place,
thinks he does, looks out from here
as I approach in reunion.
He appears not to remember me,
remember us -- my hand dwarfed by his;
sweating into his great husk
shelled of all proliferation
among the shore debris.
 
                   *

Among the shore debris
a morbidity of tides is dumped
in a final throe --
a last soprano tremble
that reaches for something more
than a revisiting of its pulsing hot past.
He smiles in wrinkles
as blue eyes, swimming
gaze in superfluous words at me
from under a white, crepey hat.

                   *

Caught in his gaze,
I stroll and saunter along
the beach.  Sunken cities are
mute in the distance
and will never reveal their ruin;
they keep it inside as I keep him inside
under stony, closed ground.

                     *

Under stony, closed ground,
nothing moves or clatters
as here, in the still air where fog
settles and makes a home
in a place far from Heaven --
nothing will make a line of tangent
off its great circle and overtake the rocks
rising in prominent columns.

                    *

Rising in prominent columns
I will see him there --
he who won't remember me;
his ring of keys rusty, the lock
enshrined somewhere in this
heavy saline atmosphere.
His manner of inquisition
will walk at my side searching for
the remains he hid one summer
so long ago.

                      *

So long ago, a temple
stood around these parts
hiding a hidden stash of
some great civilization
now under deep pools
reflecting windswept trees.
We meander around,
the black water unchanged by
our perspective.

                    *

Unchanged by our perspective,
we gaze wistfully into the island's center;
the wild mother,
root of all uprisings.  The great father sighs,
drops his hands as birds ring out.
Her tiny ones are leaving --
abandoning this sweetness for
some new decay.  
The old man nods at me,
shrinking into a phantom wave.

                    .....

Written by PoetsRevenge
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wallyroo92
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Breakfast at Wally's

 
The sun gets up later in winter  
but in my bedroom, a light softly penetrates  
through the blinds and curtains,  
I think “should I go for a run?”
but I’m only half awake.  

The house is quiet  
it’s cold outside but the sounds  
of birds and cars  
are beginning to shape the day,  
And I begin to get hungry.  

While all my loves are still sleeping  
I get the coffee started  
I make the eggs and bacon  
with a side of hash browns and I say to myself:  
“Hey Dove, I’m the one who’s cooking!”
Written by wallyroo92
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JohnnyBlaze
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Attention, CCComp Peeps!

We are extending the deadline of this comp 1 week by request due to Holiday obligations cutting into writing time -and- because we need a minimum of 8 entries in order to generate a theme page.

Thank you and good luck in the judging!

< Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze

Eerie
Eerie
Dangerous Mind
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The Mother Commune

Under my fingertips the smooth
keys sing, then hesitate—
I move the mouse around, making
tiny, violent circles.  
There is a story that I want to tell  
about her, but where to start?
 
Words are click-clacking together
across the screen, eager to conjure
your imagination. A pause—
backspace several times.  
 
She made room for myself  
and my children.  
Taught me a thing or two  
about frying potatoes and tossing out  
men when we weren't suited.
I loved her blue eyes. They were
kind and wise.  
 
The first time we met, I passed
out on her love-seat for two hours.  
When I woke up
she gave me syrup of ipecac.  
That night was the start  
of something that, looking back,  
feels like sliding  
from one world to another.
Written by Eerie
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Eerie
Eerie
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Nighttide

Your heavy breathing speaks
to the deeper space you now inhabit.
I'm awake again—
Another two-hour adventure awaits me.

I roll the blankets down and make
my way downstairs, careful to mind
the cat stooped on the middle step, staring
up at the wall as if he communes
with the spirit that resides here.

Gusty winds whip the ghostly
fabric. I pull the window
down, but not closed. I want to hear
the chattering whispers of nightlife.

Pressing my head to glass, I am silently
willing a cloudy sky to burst forth, throwing
heavy wool sweaters around our
shoulders: a sort of quiet, muffled insulation.

I pull out a soft ball of yarn
and illuminate the room with harsh
tones of light. With its familiar dialogue,
Jane Eyre will do. Yarn over,
single crochet, then double: sinking
into the couch, waiting for eyes
to grow heavy again.
Written by Eerie
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Ahavati
Ahavati
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My bad; I am sorry to all who thought they would have another week; we weren't given the option to extend it again. Being as I thought we had another week. . .it will take me a bit to read and comment on the latest entries, as well as draft up my comments.

Thank you for your patience, and to all those who braved Dove. I am certain she would be honored by all your entries.

Ahavati
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Dear Entrants:

I have set aside today to finish critiquing your entries and will have a winner by tonight or first thing in the morning. I appreciate your patience this month.

xo

Ahavati
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Thank you each for your patience.

Slipalong: Another bite at the cherry

Hi, Slip! A wonderful entry here, and very befitting tribute to Dove. In her original poem, Golden Oldie, Dove demonstrates the power of music to interrupt schedules by freezing the listener in the capsule of time. In this instant, the song she is listening to is undoubtedly unrequited or the dying of once-exchanged love. The power in the tune and lyrics are so compelling, it captures not only Dove's full attention, but her imagination enough that she would dream of having a lover herself; although she has no idea who or where he is.

In your emulation, you've portrayed the love and attachment of an old car, in this instance a Nissan Cherry, and transformed it into a metaphoric double-entendre in regards to, shall we say, exchanged love upon the seats? You take the reader on a ride through the history of nostalgic imagery, particularly the sherbet found under the seat. Unlike Dove's, your conjures actual events ( or it would seem such ); however, like Dove's you recreate a need or desire without knowing the where's or when's that desire might be met.

In essence, you took Dove's around the block not once, but two times. That being said, there are some technicalities we need to address:

Another bite at the cherry
My old Nissan, its shine
dulled with years, blotchy skin
fading fast


L2 could use a bit of revision to play into L1. We suggest moving 'its shine' to L1, and L3 to L2 for two reasons: firstly, it creates a nice resonance and alliteration between 'shine' & 'skin' in L2; and, it sets the tone for the verse rather than "My old Nissan".  Secondly, we think L2 would read much better with a syntax revision, beginning with "dull" vs "with".  Also, watch your spaces between commas! L3 seemed incomplete so we switched it with the fragment in L2. You end on a perfectly alliterative line!

when it was polished last
and [ caught ] a glint.


This reads more like a fragment than a question or sentence. If you removed the end stop from L3, and lowercased 'when' in L4, it would carry the thought through.

Hanging from the mirror
a car vent [ resembling ] Tom Jones.


You could eliminate that entire four-syllable phrase by replacing it with one word: resembling. It would also tighten up the line.

Dream; the apple Adam held,
the need to taste forbidden fruit—
with evil pride his ego swelled.
I thought I was in a hurry
the radio was playing Brian Ferry.


L3 could be connected to the previous lines to dispel confusion between 'his' and 'I' beginning in L4 by replacing the end stop with either an em dash or semi, and moving the end stop to L3. You could remove 'that' from L4 to tighten it up.

Addicted to love, vain hope's anthem
and one on one, be the sum.
In expectation, longer dwell
like children playing hide and seek—
look round the corner, take a peep.


[H]ope's is possessive in L1. Love L2. We feel you need a comma after expectation and should remove the one after 'dwell' to carry on the thought more smoothly.  You definitely need an em dash after seek, and comma after corner.

Wistfulness for mistletoe, its pheromones
the orogeny , a kiss on tippy toes.
Eyes that winked each innuendo—
finding some old sherbet sweet
 pushed under the passengers seat.


Did you mean orogeny* ( sp )? You definitely need a comma after mistletoe. This is my favorite part of the poem. There's just something so nostalgic and yet dreamy about it. Though we do think that L3 & 4 need to be connected by an em dash or semi.

The old jalopy, near collapse
looking forward, never back—
its vanity mirror not lying flat.
Tempus fugit! a need to worry
my needs, another bite at the cherry


We love, love, LOVE L1 & 2! What a great metaphor for aging humans as well. We added commas after jalopy for a bit of pause and reflection. We think you connect L3 to them with a semi or em dash. Excellent use of lying vs laying!  We suggest replacing 'The' with 'its', being you used 'The' in L1. Since Tempus Fugit is an exclamation, we suggest an exclamation mark for emphasis. As for the rest, it's a bit confusing and reads somewhat awkwardly. We think what you are attempting to say is that you're worried in regards to time ( and how it's flying ) in reference to your ( metaphorical )* cough needs cough *. . .let's see how we can clarify that:

The old jalopy, near collapse
looking forward, never back—
its vanity mirror not lying flat.
Tempus fugit! a need to worry
'bout another bite at the cherry!

Slip, you did a fantastic job at emulating Dove's essence. Your improvement has been drastic since you first began these competitions. Aside from one spelling error, punctuation concerns, and a bit of syntax revision, as said before, you took Dove's around the block twice!  You need to slow down and fine-tune your technical aspects. Read is slow and aloud to see where the natural pauses would accentuate speech. While poetry certainly allows for concessions aside from oration, the latter is definitely a modality which can improve how you guide the reader through punctuation.

Thank you, as always, for braving the CCC's, slip.
=====

FIRST PLACE: PoetsRevenge: November For Beginners (No Rain) 

This was one of my ( Ahavati's ) absolute favorite poems of Dove's. The way she captures the seasonal changes and entwines human emotion with natural elements still gives me goosebumps. Also, her enjambments are absolutely divine, as are yours. You've definitely captured her essence here, and yours was just as mesmerizingly moving.

On a technical aspect, we don't have much to offer.
S1, L5 could use a comma between the adjectives:

leaving crisp, cobalt air

Being you've separated every other line with double adjectives with a comma, i.e. - scratchy, unmetered and hollow, stringless, this was more likely an oversight on your part vs an actual error.

We LOVE the contrast of early dusk of late day in L7.

[t]rail our feet; should be lowercase, as it's an enjambment continuation ( Dove does the same thing in her third stanza because it's a continuation of a thought.

Aside from those two minor suggestions, we have nothing but praise for this amazing emulation.
.
=======

[ continued ]

Ahavati
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PoetsRevenge, Her Island (Father Tide)

This is an absolutely moving tribute to Dove's poetry. And while you have listed 'Her Island' as the inspirational poem, we feel you dug much deeper into the essence of her body of poetry, this being just one cumulative expression of Dove's work. The essence definitely contains an undercurrent of that indescribable * thing * Dove was so gifted in capturing as an undercurrent throughout her work.  Those who read Dove most likely can relate to the surface of her poetry in some way; however, those who study Dove see beyond the surface to that flowing constant that is ever-present in her work. We particularly love that you made this so personal in relation to a father/daughter growing apart, because life.

That being said, despite the moving emotion, excellent imagery, and obvious time placed into this poem, we felt your former entry was the more powerful of the two, and encapsulated the inspirational poem in such a deep way it brought chills in the manner so prevalent in Dove's.
PR, thank you for taking the time to consistently enter and deliver absolutely stunning pieces of poetry befitting of tributes to the classics. It's always such a joy to read your emotionally moving pieces.
=====

THIRD PLACE: Wallyroo92 Breakfast at Wally's

'Dawn Revisited' is one of Dove's lighter and more humorous expressions; however, even it contains an undercurrent of palpable emotion which stirs nostalgia. The phrase,

if you don't look back,

the future never happens.


Is almost hidden in plain sight amid the morning routine, and a very powerful insertion of a personal philosophy vs observatory, e.g. - the blue jay, the oak, sunlight, breakfast, and so forth. Just what is Dove alluding to here with this break in morning expectation? It is something to think about, for sure.

We enjoyed reading your offering and have very little to offer in regards to technical:

The house is quiet  
it’s cold outside but the sounds
 
You could use a comma after outside, because 'but' is connecting two independent clauses.

are beginning to shape the day,  
And I begin to get hungry.

To be consistent, 'And' should be lowercase, as you've comma'd the previous line. Or, you could remove the comma, signaling the beginning of a new sentence with 'And'. That choice would be personal, as either way would work.

I get the coffee started  
I make the eggs and bacon

You could use an em dash ( Ahavati's personal choice ) after L1 to eliminate the repetition of 'I' & 'the' in L2. It would read as such:

I get the coffee started—
make eggs and bacon

with a side of hash browns and I say to myself:  
“Hey Dove, I’m the one who’s cooking!”


This is a great ending, Wally! The only nit we had was using a comma after 'browns', and eliminating that 'I' by altering 'say' to 'saying'.
Aside from those technicalities, this was a great offering with the classic Wally humour we've all come to know and appreciated. Thank you, Wally, for always braving the classics and accepting these critiques for what they are: gifts of love and time so that you may improve the delivery of your love of poetry. We truly appreciate you.

=====

[ continued ]

Ahavati
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Eerie, The Mother Commune

Dove's 'Dusting' is another of my favorites of hers. I wasn't too enthralled with her enjambments in this one; however, her magic for capturing the mundane in a beautiful light more than made up for them. How many times have we personally allowed our imaginations to wonder while trying to remember something? Moreover, how many times have we observed another person, be it family, friend, or even stranger, and it evokes a memory just out of our reach, until it becomes reachable.

Dove does a remarkable job of observation and association conjuring memory through a process of recollection. There is such a sad undertone, as though she has watched this woman ( her mother ) struggle, losing many things throughout both their lives. And, how her name evolved to peace and respite in the desert through what one assumes is a finality of situational acceptance. 'Maurice'—was his name. . .

Eerie, this is a beautiful poem and tribute to both Dove and your communal mother. You also did a wonderful job of observation in regards to your communal mother shifting a paradigm within yourself, and a remarkable job of recollection, particularly in the final stanza. Your grammar, enjambments ( sans very few places ), and punctuation were spot on. However, we do feel your alternate entry is more powerful and indicative of the essence of Dove.

=====

SECOND PLACE: Eerie, Nighttide

Your heavy breathing speaks
to the deeper space you now inhabit.
I'm awake again—
Another two-hour adventure awaits me.

I roll the blankets down and make
my way downstairs, careful to mind
the cat stooped on the middle step, staring
up at the wall as if he communes
with the spirit that resides here.

Gusty winds whip the ghostly
fabric. I pull the window
down, but not closed. I want to hear
the chattering whispers of nightlife.

Pressing my head to glass, I am silently
willing a cloudy sky to burst forth, throwing
heavy wool sweaters around our
shoulders: a sort of quiet, muffled insulation.

I pull out a soft ball of yarn
and illuminate the room with harsh
tones of light. With its familiar dialogue,
Jane Eyre will do. Yarn over,
single crochet, then double: sinking
into the couch, waiting for eyes
to grow heavy again.


In Dove's 'Insomnia Etiquette' she toasts the night with scotch and stilton. I ( Ahavati ) could not imagine scotch and stilton! Give me a good port with cheese and I'm ready to go. Regardless, that's exactly why she expresses her imminent regret in having it ( vs the scotch ), as well as a miniscule movie vs a good book.  Coupled with her 'What the hell' toast revealed a more comical and yet serious aspect of her personality.  She made herself human by partaking in that which she knew she'd regret, and, by doing so, allows the standard rules of daytime etiquette to be overridden by that of insomnia's. It's almost like she is saying, 'I might not be able to sleep, by God; but, I will enjoy myself while I can't!'

Her imagery referencing movement as that of a stealth bomber nosing through the clouds is by far some of the best I've ever read from any poet.

While yours expresses no apparent regret that we can garner, nor the breaking of conventional, daytime rules, it does capture the essence of insomnia and how one occupies themselves. On a personal note ( Ahavati ), Jane Eyre is a great choice.  

As far as technicalities ( it may seem like a lot ) there isn't much:

I'm awake again—
Another two-hour adventure awaits me.


For consistency's sake ( in regards to caps/lowercase ), 'Another' needs to be lowercase, as the em dash ( as a semicolon ) signals a continuation of thought.

I roll the blankets down and make
my way downstairs, careful to mind
the cat stooped on the middle step, staring
up at the wall as if he communes
with the spirit that resides here.


In S2 you've used 'the' five x's. You could eliminate two with just a few adjustments:

I roll down blankets and make
my way downstairs, careful to mind
the cat stooped on a middle step, staring
up at the wall as if he communes
with the spirit that resides here

Gusty winds whip the ghostly
fabric. I pull the window
down, but not closed. I want to hear
the chattering whispers of nightlife.


We definitely suggest removing 'the' in L1 and L4! They are not needed. To create stronger enjambments, you could arrange as thus:

Gusty winds whip ghostly fabric.
I pull the window down,
but not closed. I want to hear
Chattering—whispers of nightlife.

Pressing my head to glass, I am silently
willing a cloudy sky to burst forth, throwing
heavy wool sweaters around our
shoulders: a sort of quiet, muffled insulation.


In S3, we suggest removing 'am' in L1 and alter the tense of 'willing' to will. Also, backing up 'shoulders'[i] to L3 would create a much stronger enjambment.

[i]I pull out a soft ball of yarn
and illuminate the room with harsh
tones of light. With its familiar dialogue,
Jane Eyre will do. Yarn over,
single crochet, then double: sinking
into the couch, waiting for eyes
to grow heavy again.


We really enjoyed the metaphoric imagery of the rain becoming a woolen sweater in S4. It's unique imagery evoking a home enveloped in a Stoll of storm. We suggest removing 'and' from L2. You've used 'with 2 x's in L2/3. To create a stronger enjambment and eliminate repetition, you could rewrite as such:

I pull out a soft ball of yarn
illuminate the room
with harsh tones of light.
Jane Eyre's familiar dialogue will do.
Yarn over, single crochet, then double:
sinking into the couch, waiting
for eyes to grow heavy again.

The only thing we've done is alter the format, not content ( with the exception of removing 'and' from L2 and reworking a line to eliminate the repetition of 'with'.

Eerie this was a marvelous contribution to the CCC. You have truly improved your game since your first entry into these competitions. And while the above may seem a lot, it's really not. Namely, watch your repetitions and use of definite articles and conjunctions ( the, and, etc. ). Your enjambments are remarkably improved, and you honestly need no help in conveying emotion within a poem. Again, it's just the technical issues that need fine-tuned. I believe I have said this before, you can teach anyone the technical aspects of poetry; however, emotion cannot be taught—only felt.  

Thank you for participating in the CCC once again! We look forward to your entries for both their content as well as being excited about your poetic progress.
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