The Review Board

Where Honesty Never Ends.

TRB Speaks on Acrosstica


Acrosstica by Jim Ozee (available via Smashwords)

Blurb:  Inspired commentary on faith, religion, and self-discovery. 

Greetings, everyone!  It is our pleasure to present you with our second joint review.  This time, we take a closer look at Acrosstica.  Acrosstica is a small collection of poetry that reflects on one’s views on faith, religion, and self discovery.  Not only is it that, but each poem adopts the style of acrostic poetry.

Taken from Enchanting Learning, this is the simplest way to describe what acrostic poems are:

Acrostic poems are simple poems in which each the first letter of each line forms a word or phrase (vertically). An acrostic poem can describe the subject or even tell a brief story about it.

Did this style make it more interesting or did Acrosstica meet challenges?  For more, we will first delve into the mind of “Mr. Controversy”.


“Controversial” Thoughts:

For fans of acrostic poetry, this is a paradise for those who love reading the hidden messages within these pages.  For those who believe that “Variety is the Spice of Life”, however, this poetry series is repetitive and could very well turn you off.

Reading these poems, I have immediately noticed a couple of things:

-Lack of punctuation marks, which are sorely needed and necessary (to determine the beginning and ending of sentences, emphasis of writing, etc.).
-Lack of extra eyes to point out the aforementioned lack of punctuation marks. Also, needing said extra eyes for sentence structure for effectiveness in the delivery of messages in the poems.

Honestly speaking, the poems do have potential. They simply need Tender Loving Care so that those who read the poetry can become enamored in as well as embrace what they are reading.

Sadly, the noticed items have prevented me from actually understanding what I am reading; compromising my ability to enjoy what was written by this young man.


Unleashed Speaks:

Greetings, No Labels here!  The main things that drew me to read Acrosstica was the title and the theme.  I like to hear about one’s thoughts on faith, religion, and self discovery, particularly if there are lessons in those thoughts and if the overall ambiance is uplifting.  I didn’t even equate Acrosstica with acrostic poetry until I started reading.

Although I applaud the intent, I was seeking more concreteness in the structure and the content.  Yes, acrostic poems are easy in construct but the key is whether it can be executed effectively.  A strong acrostic poem has all the lines able to relate to each other, and all those lines revert back to the original theme.

Take for example, J.D. Ozee’s poem, Guardian, where the overall intent is to amplify Tough Love.  Once it gets to the “Love” portion, the poem loses its’ cohesiveness:

Laughing at my desire to blame
Once, I would see a gaze sincere
Vanity now stripped away
Earnest for your presence near

Like Mr. Controversy, I would like to see more punctuation to mark the beginning and end of thoughts.  More importantly, however, for me, everything has to tie in.  For me, the last two lines don’t have much to do with the first two lines.  Plus, whose presence does the writer want near?  Sincerity?  Love itself?  Guidance?  Because at first, it seems as if the writer wants vanity back from how it’s conveyed, yet I sense it’s not what he was really trying to say.  It is a bit confusing.

I’d like to compare this to an excerpt from one of my poems in Reflections of Soul entitled The End is The Beginning.  In one section of the poem, I am discussing elements that caused one’s arrested development using the acrostic style of conveyance:

Excerpt from The End is The Beginning

I can choose to procrastinate,
but that’s what I did before-
whored away my principles,
causing my arrested development.

Manic in the way I approached things
Obtuse in the way I was acting
Nonchalant in how I was treating conflict
Ignorant of the toxic effects of berating myself
Chronically too dependent on others’ approval
Abusing myself in any way

Just to ease the pain.

Subject:  Arrested development

Following stanza:  Detailing the events causing the arrested development

Letters in bold:  Detailing the source of the arrested development.  The letters serve to spell out the person’s name.

All of the elements tie in to each other.

Acrosstica reminds me of a very small snack, possessing tasty elements but not enough to consider one full.

Thank you for checking out TRB’s 2nd joint review.  We are always welcoming of likes, shares, and subscribes.


About nolabels

I have an appreciation for the unique, love for all types of art, and fierce attractions to brilliant intellectuals (from book smarts to street smarts). Lover of humanity but feel humans have lost their way, just trying to stay true to myself as conformity threatens to take me away. Simply one head, many crowns: Author. Reviewer. Columnist.

5 comments on “TRB Speaks on Acrosstica

  1. Pingback: 2nd Joint Review: TRB on Acrosstica | No Labels…Unleashed

  2. j d ozee
    August 14, 2013

    This is a book inspired by both my faith in God and search for God. It’s a reason I chose to make it free too. The acrostic format was used because I like it and as you may or may not know there were several Psalms that were written in acrostic format in the original Hebrew. I also used 40 poems in the book which is significant in biblical terms as well.

    The use of punctuation in poetry is certainly something on which everyone does not agree. I use several different rhyme schemes throughout
    my books and honestly don’t give punctuation a great deal of thought. As I read the poems aloud I know the rhythm and where the breaks should be. I can see, however, where a few commas and/or periods may help.

    I tried a slightly different take on the acrostic style by using the title, word(s) spelling out the acrostic, and lines within the poem to all work together for one cohesive thought/message for each piece.

    I am a bit confused by your critique of the poem “guardian” . You have isolated a couple of lines out of the entire context of the poem (a frequent mistake people make when quoting passages from the Bible by the way) to try and point to some lack of cohesion. Again, I did not try to stick to an elementary style of acrostic poetry. All of the lines in the poem were meant to be read as a whole. That particular poem was actually about my struggle with an immature view of God that many of us have – that at times we blame Him for our misfortunes and that He pretends to love us but actually doesn’t, and the more mature view that ultimately He knows what is best for us and we just want to know He is there. I’m sorry that didn’t come through to you.

    I am certainly now and will always be an amateur at this, and definitely not young either. I do this more for cathartic reasons than anything, but I appreciate the feedback.

    • nolabels
      August 14, 2013

      “I Greatly Appreciate that you have written poetry based on your faith in God and your search for God. Honestly, more poetry of that nature is needed in this day and age.”

      I am definitely in agreement with Mr. Controvery’s statement. He has addressed your comments, and now I will add my own.

      I can’t help but sense this has the feeling of back handedness.

      You have made a lot of references to the Bible. In addressing your critique, I did NOT once say anything in reference to “quoting passages from the Bible.”

      My critique of “Guardian” was based on whether the flow of the last two lines fit with the rest of the overall message. Those last two lines just happen to stick out and seemed staccato to the rest of the piece’s construction.

      I got the premise that “Guardian” was about a person blaming Him for our misfortunes and wondering if He truly loves us, but those last two lines in the piece didn’t drive the last part home—the more mature view of Him knowing what was best.

      That is NOT a failure of understanding but a failure of execution to where I could (as well as another reader) to reach the understanding.

      I cannot speak for what other people do or know. I speak on the basis of whether a title or theme draws me in. I speak on the basis whether I feel I can relate to it as well as if it’s conveyed in a way where I can connect to it.

      I don’t need an explanation as to why you offered it for free or any justification as to why you chose the acrostic form. NOT once did I state in my critique that you shouldn’t have used it.

      Although you may not give punctuation thought or know instinctively where the commas and periods should go, there are others who are more visual and actually need to see it. It is dangerous to assume the reader, since you have published this for others to see, would automatically know where punctuation is needed.

      I’m glad that writing has served (and continue to serve) as a catharsis. Yet when one shares with the public, sometimes the inner thoughts may not flow out as smoothly as they would in print. For myself, this happens to be one of those times.

      It all boils down to Mr. C’s final statement: “Know and Consider Your Audience.”

  3. aboyd228
    August 14, 2013

    I Greatly Appreciate that you have written poetry based on your faith in God and your search for God. Honestly, more poetry of that nature is needed in this day and age.

    “As I read the poems aloud I know the rhythm and where the breaks should be.”

    I (along with others, I am sure) have an issue with this statement. Although you know your rhythm and where the breaks should be in your poetry, those who read your art most likely will not know how to read your art due to the lack of knowing your style as well as punctuation marks. Unless your audience knows your work as well as you know your work, we as your audience will be lost in your words, sentences, poetry, and ultimately your message(s).

    Please consider the First Rule of Arts/Entertainment (for it translates and transitions all across the board): Know and Consider Your Audience.

    I call EVERYONE Young Man or Young Woman. I Believe that it is WAY LESS OFFENSIVE than Old Fucker.

  4. j d ozee
    August 14, 2013

    I genuinely did appreciate the feedback and I am grateful you took the time to read and review my book. While I did not agree entirely with your critique(s) I do realize that posting something for the public to read means you are also subject to public scrutiny. I mentioned why I did it in acrostic form because of the comment about it being “repetitive.” I explained the meaning of one of forty poems in the book, because you implied that you didn’t quite get it. I intentionally do not use much punctuation because I feel it bogs down the work and takes away from some of its artistic quality. There are many professional poets and critics who feel the same way. I have had several people read the work, including those with English educational backgrounds, who were not at all disctracted or confused by the minimal punctuation. To each his own.

    In regard to your final statement, there are those who feel that a true artist is creating first and foremost for himself/herself and not tailoring his or her work to a specific audience. Many would view that as “selling out.” The late comedian Andy Kaufman quickly comes to mind. He did what was funny to him and he didn’t care if anyone else got it. This book was inspired and inspirational to me first and foremost. If others are inspired as well, then all the better.

    The fact that art is largely subjective is one thing that makes it great! Thanks again for your comments. I will consider them when working on future pieces.

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This entry was posted on August 14, 2013 by in e-books and tagged , , .

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