Reviewer: Oregonian
Date: 04/18/14 18:15
Chapter: Chapter 1

Hi Jenny,

You say that this is not one of your best poems, but your work fits the old saying, “When it’s good it’s very, very good, and when it’s bad it’s still pretty good.” In short, I liked this poem.

The title of the poem was prescribed, “Today I Do Not WantTo Be A ””, so that pretty much set the structure of your lines, four iambs and then a “secundus paeon” (I confess I had to look that up, a foot of short-long-short-short), but you handled it very adroitly, alternating with good old iambic pentameter. Interestingly, no matter what House you insert into the title, the result would have been the same, since all the House names are long-short-short.

The speaker of this poem (I’ll say “she”, but it could be either sex) is feeling that she’s not living up to her house, with words like “rebellious,” “shockingly,” “better Claws,” and “blow it off” (not just “take a break”), as if it’s a moral failing not to be perfect or at least not to be the top in every class. She says she is “supposed to academically succeed” (the Pacific Northwest accent there again), but supposed by whom? Where did all this pressure come from? They plop a Hat on your head and suddenly you’re in the pressure cooker.

The fact is, in the seven books we don’t see a lot of Ravenclaw; it’s probably the House that leaves the least impression on us, outside of Luna. Where were the Claws? Holed up in their common room, missing out on everything that’s not found within the covers of a book? (They did have a Quidditch team, I grant them that.)

The sad part is the last verse, ruining the speaker’s love of learning, not to speak of damaging her health by sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, etc. (Ironically, getting enough sleep, enough exercise, and change-of-pace break time actually makes the brain work better!)

The thoughts of the poem are well organized, and you have many good lines. The one that flows the least well for me is “My once-strong zeal for learning’s on the wane,” though I don’t have any suggestions for improving it.

This poem has a lesson for us all, that there is more in life that is valuable, other than simply book learning and memorization. Hermione is a good example of a person who came to understand that. Could a Ravenclaw like the one in your poem have done what she did? Thank you for writing.


Reviewer: Equinox Chick
Date: 05/18/13 15:04
Chapter: Chapter 1

Hahahahahah - how very unClawlike. This is great. I love the rhythm and the rhyme, which never comes across as at all forced.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Ravenclaw because they are the one house I could never see myself in. This poem makes them far more sympathetic because, darn it all, we all have our off days.

Con crit - umm, I don't really have any. I think this works very well. I suspect that you don;t think it's one of your best because it's not a 'deep' subject, but as a poem, something to read aloud, it works well. ~Carole~

Author's Response: Thanks! :) I worked pretty hard on the rhythm scheme, and I'm glad you like it. This poem isn't really serious (although it is unpleasantly true that academic pressures can feel quite serious sometimes). But I suppose not all poems can be about deep subjects...I think Shel Silverstein is a great poet, and none of his poetry is remotely serious. You need some plain old fun, y'know? (Or in my case, plain old student-y complaining.)

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