Peer Review by Amalia (United Kingdom)

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exercises in clarity

By: spectral


close your eyes and

inhale; the ground under your feet and the sky over your head. the universe cups you in its fingers, and you can feel its heartbeat in its palms because its all around you, life sings within you and you

exhale; the flourish of a flag and the graze of a finger; bodies hearts minds move as one because in the end we're one- the music thrums to a stop, and time slows to a halt for a brief beautiful moment then you're up and you're chest is proud and before the audience begins to cheer you

inhale; shift your fingers near imperceptibly, the sound ripples in the hall- the music (you're making with your hands head heart oh it moves) breaks and falls and layers in waves of rhythm; the tide breaks in unison and you


alright so i asked some people i know what brings them clarity- they replied scenery and playing/listening to music. for me, dancing in an ensemble/colorguard gives me clarity (among other things but how do i say playing minecraft brings me clarity in poetry hmmm??) thats what this is about.
its in exercise in the vibe bro yknow... i know im not the best in flowery prose/imagery/or whatever you wanna call it- i've always been a very blunt writer, and i know this, but i'm trying something different. will likely unpublish later, but its fun to see what y'all have to say.

Message to Readers

still highly recommend the end poem by julian gough ive been chasing that poetic high ever since i read it. i recommend reading it on the wiki, not genius, as it is formatted better there. dont disregard it just cause its from a video game, y'all, art comes in all forms and this is one of them.

Peer Review

Your writing style is honest and evocative without being overly frilly or elaborate, as you've mentioned in your footnotes. I carried on a bit much about how much physicality there is in your writing but I really found myself feeling the words instead of simply reading them off the screen! You have an incredible sense of movement and the senses and that really comes through in a delightful, life-affirming way, great work!

I've never seen a colourguard ensemble routine before, and I feel like there could be room for some exploration of textiles imagery through costumes and flags to make the setting more concrete for any readers unfamiliar with ensembles, since they look so elaborate and exciting (I watched a few on youtube). I also recommend looking at some poems by Muriel Rukeyser or any of Joan Didion's essays, since your style reminds me of theirs! Both use unadorned, naturalistic language in a very poignant way in reaction to the world around them. Don't worry though, I'm not setting homework!

Reviewer Comments

Oh yeah, forgot to mention how effectively the title reflects the themes you explore here. Overall, a sensitive and vivid piece of prose-poetry, great work! I'm very excited to read more!