Please crush my self-esteem and critique this poem? (: Seriously, I'm posting it in a poetry workshop (in the 'general' section but still) to be ripped to shreds anyway, so please let me know honestly what you think~ Thanks! Premeditation I smeared my own makeup this morning, salted my eyes for water. Yes, grieving takes practice- I had time. Today I won't spare the theatrics. I'll be fighting sly smiles when they drop you in the ground. Asphyxiation- ten anniversaries later. Patient cunning, When a man's reputation is his oxygen, it's too easy to collect private bedroom utterances, publicize, and lodge them in the back of his throat. You can thank that salty musk, pungently lingering on your skin each night, blotted by our sheets. No efforts, slight even to mask it. I left my sympathies on your plot- incendiary red.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

First, I have published some poetry as well, and I always try to ignore the "rules" and traditions and write in the style I want to, in the format that feels right for the topic or piece I'm working on.  So keep in mind, whether it's feedback you receive here or in your poetry workshop, it's constructive criticism, and you can take it or leave it.  Stay true to your poem.

Secondly, when I do choose a format or style to write the poem in, I try to stay consistent to that style throughout.  If my stanzas are short, or a particular number of lines, I try to craft the rest of the poem to fit what I've started.  Notice how your poem does that pretty well for the three stanzas - 6 lines, 7 lines, 6 lines.  You might try playing around with how you separate and place the lines to achieve a better rhythm when read.

Personally, I like the "Asphyxiation" stanza the best, especially this line:

When a man's reputation
is his oxygen, it's too easy
to collect private bedroom utterances,
publicize, and lodge them in the back
of his throat.

I found myself wishing I had written it, so well done.  And the last line is a powerhouse one, a great final punch to the idea.  You might consider taking that line and leaving it by itself at the very bottom to add some extra emphasis to it.

Nice job and keep writing.

The poet Raymond Carver grew up and wrote in my hometown here in Washington State, and I don't know how familiar you are with his work, but some of your lines remind me of his.  I've added a link to a very good biography of him.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial