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Reviews from
Escape from Crete


A sestina inspired by Breughel's Death of Icarus

  18 total reviews 
Comment by
Mrs. KT
Premier Author
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  10
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  Rank:  82 (+1)
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Review Stars
  Rank:  89
 

#10 Ranked Poet
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Good Morning, Jim!
I so appreciate an exceptionally well-crafted sestina such as you have penned. Sestinas are not for the "faint of heart," and the art is - in my mind - to craft one that tells a story but reads smoothly. I have penned a number of sestinas, and the form is one of my favorites.
Your rendering of the death of Icarus is so well-told.
If I may offer just one minor suggestion, it would be to select a different verb following ploughman in stanza five. Perhaps, "till" or "work."

Thank you for sharing!
Always,
diane


 Comment Written 13-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 13-Oct-2019
    Thank you so much for your review and award of six stars. I take your point on the repeated plough but this was deliberate on my part to go with the shepherd and his sheep.
Comment by
2018 Poet of the Year
Gloria ....
2014 - #365 Poet of the Year
2014 - #56 Author of the Year
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  15
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  Rank:  29
 
Excellent
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The myth of Icarus is always a fascinating and teaching moment. I'm certain we've learned to "borrow" the lessons of birds in a much more learned way than back then to escape the King of Crete.

I heard this is next in the roster of assignment for your students, so I look forward to their sestinas.

Excellent write friend, Jim. :)

Gloria


 Comment Written 12-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 12-Oct-2019
    Both my current students dislike the form hugely as I did originally but it is growing on me and I hope it will grow on them too eventually. I am convinced that the choice of flexible words in different parts of speech stands a greater chance of the poet using enjambment, which I am convinced is the way to achieve flow within this form. An all noon choice leads to choppiness and disjointed lines unless one is very careful.

    Many thanks for reviewing this.
Comment by
Iza Deleanu
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  Rank:  136 (+3)
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  Rank:  69
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  Rank:  8
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  Rank:  9
 

#8 Ranked Novelist
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I really enjoyed this poem. The image you choose suits well the content and purpose of this poem. I love the easiness of your writing, the text flows in a logical sequence. I really liked this part "
When daybreak on the sunny isle of Crete
dawned clear, bold Daedalus right there and then
instruction gave his son, 'We must not fly
at altitude too high in our escape,
lest Phoebus melt the wax that binds each wing
to feathered flights on which aloft we sail;

'nor should we to sea level dive, to sail
upon salt-laden breezes close to Crete.
Damp plumage lacking lift, we'd not take wing
when wet. That would prevent our climb, and then
put paid to all our plans of clear escape
to Sicily, where we intend to fly.'

Thank you for sharing and good luck with your writings.


 Comment Written 11-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 12-Oct-2019
    Many thanks for reading and reviewing. It is always amusing to have reviewers quote one's own writing by way of a review on what one has written.
Comment by
lyenochka
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  Rank:  4
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  Rank:  3
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  Rank:  4
 

#2 Ranked Author

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#4 Ranked Reviewer
Excellent
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Wow! This was really brilliantly done, Jim! And yes, it's too hard format for me to even wrack my brains over. I'm thinking what would one have to use the same six words over and over like that? But you did it and you told the story of Daedalus and Icarus and show us how that momentous event was completely unnoticed by farmers and sailors just as in that painting! Thanks for sharing and teaching us about the sestina.
My one comment is about this line:
"lest Phoebus melts the wax that binds each wing"
It may no longer be used in British English but "lest" takes the subjunctive form and should be "lest Phoebus melt" dropping the 's' but perhaps that's not used anymore.


 Comment Written 10-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 11-Oct-2019
    Thank you for this erudite review. I wondered about that subjunctive and still do. Apparently it is more strictly adhered to in American English than elsewhere, at least that's what Oxford has to say about it. I think I will change it.

reply by lyenochka on 11-Oct-2019
    We're not writing in Latin anymore, I think you should leave it in British English. We Americans will follow the lead of British English soon enough.
Comment by
fm wright
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Excellent
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Please accept a virtual six, as I am out of the other kind. It is a beautiful sestina that retells this tale so wonderfully. The way you have phrased this makes it like a miniature story in poetic form. Truly love the picture you've chosen. Appreciate the author's notes. Though not in my present plans, perhaps one day I shall make an attempt to write one.


 Comment Written 10-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 10-Oct-2019
    Haha! A virtual six you stay. Clearly a mistake but do you realise you have actually awarded me 2 stars? Lol. Would you like to reassess please.

reply by fm wright on 10-Oct-2019
    Sorry, will go back and correct.

reply by the author on 11-Oct-2019
    Thank you for revisiting. We have all done it at some time. At least I have.

reply by fm wright on 11-Oct-2019
    Truly it was my error, for which I was most happy to correct.

reply by the author on 11-Oct-2019
    I did realise that. The remarks just didn't tally with the grade so I realed the screen must have jumped under your click. As I said it has happened to me. No hard feelings I assure you.

reply by fm wright on 11-Oct-2019
    My computer screen does seem to jump at times without me realizing. I need to be more observant. Thanks for your understanding and your friendship.

reply by the author on 11-Oct-2019
    I think it is more likely something to do with this site. Mine does the same thing but only on this site, not elsewhere.

reply by fm wright on 11-Oct-2019
    You may be right. I don't remember having any problems on any other site, myself.
Comment by
tfawcus
Level 1 Pro
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  Rank:  24 (+1)
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  Rank:  54
 

#9 Ranked Novelist
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That's good advice at the end of your notes, and your Sestina is living proof that it works. You've managed a much smoother flow than is usual and made good use of the opportunities for variation. It's hard enough to conquer the constraints of this pernicious form without telling a logically coherent story at the same time. A remarkable achievement.

My only slight quibble is the reversed word order in "down flutter as he falls". I can see why "flutter down" fails to work rhythmically, but your reversal strains the syntax and sounds a bit awkward to my ear..


 Comment Written 10-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 10-Oct-2019
    Thank you for this really well-considered review. What made me laugh was how one of your countryman had your least favoured a line as their favourite, which rather proves the impossibility of objectivity where poetry is concerned
Comment by
brenda faye curtis
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You have certainly created a worthy tribute to this very difficult form of poetry, Jim, but after rereading this a few times, I get the impression that the form is simply too restrictive. It does not allow the poet to say all he would wish to say, and forces some passages to be somewhat repetitive.

The grade is for all the hard work that clearly went into this.


 Comment Written 10-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 10-Oct-2019
    Thank you for this well considered review. I had hoped to beat the bogey of this form but clearly you would not agree that I had. I think all formal poetry must be something of a compromise especially these European forms that seem to rely on some element of repetition.
Comment by
Sallyo
Level 3 Pro
I am Australian.
Therefore, I write like an Australian.
 
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  Rank:  155
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  Rank:  305
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
You get five for the polished sestina (and yes, I've tried one or two... maybe I'll hit the form again). It was so relaxing to be able to just wallow in the verse without fearing to stub my toe on infelicities. My favourite line is: down flutter as he falls, no more to fly.
with its surfeit of fs.
The sixth star is partly for the advice on perfecting the form... I'm borrowing that to use on my next attempt.


 Comment Written 10-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 10-Oct-2019
    Thank you for this knowledgeable review, and for the six star grading. You favourite line is another reviewers least favourite because of the reversed syntax which just goes to show that is probably impossible to review poetry objectively.

reply by Sallyo on 10-Oct-2019
    I like the odd coinage or reversal in verse. It doesn't follow the same rules as prose.

reply by the author on 11-Oct-2019
    I agree and thought the reversal actually emphasized the chaotic nature of the fall, like a falling leaf in a way.. Thanks for your support.
Comment by
Sugarray77
Melissa
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  Rank:  16
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  Rank:  94
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
I really enjoyed this Sestina that you have written Jim. The repetition is handled beautifully and the theme is classic and understood by most of us. Great job on this verse!! Really!!

Melissa


 Comment Written 10-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 10-Oct-2019
    One or two minor changes from the version rread in class but essentially the same piece. Thank you so much for the six star review.
Comment by
damommy
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Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
This is lovely, the poem and presentation. A story well told in poetic form with all stops pulled out. Good alliteration, assonance, and consonance as I see it. I especially like 'waxen wings.' You may have sparked interest in sestinas now.

Poor Icarus. It's said that no good deed goes unpunished, and his certainly wasn't.



 Comment Written 10-Oct-2019



reply by the author on 10-Oct-2019
    Thank you so much for this complimentary, six star review, with its particular comments on the parts that caught your dance.
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