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  • Very relatable as I watch my father and uncle bicker over my grandfather’s estate, grateful that I don’t fear the same battles with my own siblings. This is a powerful piece about what we possess actually possessing us. I especially enjoyed this line: “Four siblings squandering the ties that bind.” Too often we allow physical items to damage…[Read more]

  • *out to sea… Typo. Sorry.

  • Beautifully done. I love that the narrative may be literal–a man being pulled out to see–but also metaphorical–a person caught in the current of life. The ocean imagery especially speaks to me and the poem’s detail evokes an almost visceral response, forcing the reader to be introspective.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • The message behind the poem is powerful and thought-provoking. I like that it seems to begin from a person’s perspective but switches to the bird asking the question, pondering its caged fate. Very well done. Grammatically, “the bird ask” confuses me. It may be clearer as “the bird asks” or “the bird asked.” Lovely read, though. Thank you for sharing.

  • Although the entire poem was highly enjoyable, I most enjoyed the end. To reveal in closing that this was from a psychologist’s perspective was brilliant, and it makes the use of advanced and often obscure diction all the more humorous and emphasizes that the poem is less about her actions and more about her mental state. Brilliant.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Curiosity by Elizabeth Strehl

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    The tide comes in and shrinks the beach.

    The ball floats downstream out of reach.

    The white bark peels off the birch.

    The car breaks down, leaves us in a lurch.

    Why? the child […]

    • Hi Elizabeth. I like your sense of self-exasperation with random seemingly trivial questions, laced into worries about the current uncertain situation in our world. You’ve used repetition very effectively to drum home your child’s insistent Why? Your poem is a very effective take on the prompt.

  • I love courtroom dramas, and having served as a juror, I can just imagine the jury’s deliberations after these two closing arguments, especially with the biases that are sure to come into play, as they do with the lawyers’ arguments. I love the concept, and as a reader I am definitely hooked. I do want a greater sense of resolution, even if I’m…[Read more]

  • Good take on the prompt and clever story concept. I enjoyed reading it. If you continue to work with it, try playing with the expression of emotion. This is an emotion-packed piece but–probably due to work count restrictions–the reader is often told how the characters feel and why they feel that way versus being shown these aspects through their…[Read more]

  • I enjoyed the concept behind the story and it shares a powerful and important message. For me, the dialogue felt a bit stilted or unnatural. I think the language between mother and daughter is more formal than it would actually be under the circumstances. Perhaps adding a bit of slang, some ellipses, etc. would relax it a bit.

    I hope you…[Read more]

  • I love this. It’s highly relatable. You describe the youth so many of us had, our present pains, and our future hopes, and you clearly illustrate our inability to fully live in and appreciate the present, even those this present will one day be an envied past. Powerful message. Well done.

  • The Cliche Life by Elizabeth Strehl

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    “Honey, he’s going to notice. I know they’re friendly but they aren’t really friends. They’re going to call the cops. You need to fix it and you need to beg for forgivene […]

    • Hilarious! Elizabeth, your story effectively demonstrates the lengths people will go to when jealous. I really laughed at the lawn comparisons and then the husband’s lengths to swap the two lawns. Also, I loved the ending when after all that the neighbour’s grass is still greener somehow, and he admits that he always thought Gerald’s front lawn was greener! Good surprise ending with a twist! Jen’s worrying was understandable but unfounded at the end, which I find very true in life.

    • Elizabeth, great story! I loved that you didn’t tell the reader immediately what had happened and let the details of the conversations form the answer instead. It made the realization hilarious, like “Seriously? Swapped lawns? :D”. Although I do appreciate that you had Jen say it, just so it was confirmed. This is a great story to go with the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Thanks for sharing!

  • Definitely sounds like an ocean bird. Reminds me of certain gulls.

  • So relatable right now! I like how your poem honors the fact that those of us in quarantine feel so stripped of freedom while, at the same time, we really are still free. “Mangles perceptions” speaks volumes. The list of junk food shows how luxurious our captivity really is.

    Nice job demonstrating the power of attitude during a challenging time.…[Read more]

  • I enjoyed the metaphors and similes with the baggage and the fish eagle. (I’d never heard of the fish eagle before. Looks like you’re from South Africa? The fish eagle looks much like the North American bald eagle.)

    The poem is very relatable. We all have baggage that we celebrate the loss of, even if the loss is only temporary. The ending is…[Read more]

  • Powerful piece. It highlights how the self may have a different view of her own situation than outsiders, and it is that self-perception that matters more. Individuals know what they need and should have those needs dictated by others. The language and imagery tying the poem to slavery are especially powerful and give it a haunting feel at times.…[Read more]

  • I found your poem very relatable. (Ours actually have similar themes: freedom is defined differently based upon circumstance.) I enjoyed the cadence of it, especially the occasional inside rhyme (room, gloom) and the more antiquated language (wilt) interspersed with the modern. This variance of language adds to the idea of contradictions.

    I did…[Read more]

  • Perspective by Elizabeth Strehl

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    “I’m tired of this shit,” the coworker said.

    “Clock in. Clock out.

    “Dress code: no slogans, no shorts, no personality.

    “Customers yell; we can’t yell back.

    “Crapp […]

    • I loved how you incorporated the different definitions of captivity and freedom that we all have based on our circumstances. Your last two lines were particularly powerful. Thank you for sharing!

    • This is a particularly good take on the prompt – showing the difference between one person’s view of ‘shitty’ conditions and freedom from them, and another more life- set of conditions which are truly threatening, requiring proper freedom and the removal of the constricts of the ring. Brilliant.

    • Oh wow Elizabeth! What a powerful piece of poetry. You highlight how different everybody’s problems are and what one person despises another is most grateful for.

      Your words flow in a story form and they build to a great ending.

      Well done.

  • Interesting read and application of the prompt. I hadn’t thought of political allegory, but it works. My favorite lines are “He was confident that his legacy would spur necessary change. He was selfless that way.” It’s an interesting irony. The supposed selflessness of confirming his legacy, of allowing the wealthy to continue to dominate.

    I…[Read more]

  • I like the positive spin on a word that usually has a negative connotation. Using the word as a literal tattoo and then tying it to a sort of coming-of-age story was creative and effective. As my brother has Type 1 Diabetes, I found the story relatable, too.

    As another commenter mentioned, “biltong” is something those in the US are usually…[Read more]

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Elizabeth Strehl

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@eliz375

active 7 hours, 55 minutes ago