Some spiritual leaders have compared the human mind to a drunken monkey stung by a scorpion. I was having a similar initial thoughts going into the review of this blog, a kind of double whammy. Though I write poetry, I find I do not relate to most people’s poetry. I personally find poetry on most blogs tedious, wordy and pretentious. So I am not overtly excited about poetry blogs. And add to it the blogger is a teenage girl. I know it is wrong to have stereotypes. But the mind unconsciously tends towards stereotypes. Going in with such a negative mindset, this blog turned out to be a pleasant surprise to me. It would not be exaggeration to say I was overwhelmed with the quality of the writings on the blog appropriately names ‘Verses from my Heart’
Let us now go over the various aspects of the blog one by one. The title is an excellent one. I am surprised no one had already taken this name before her. ‘Verses from my heart’ is an excellent description for a poetry blog, more so for this blog. The verses are indeed from her heart. The background is well chosen. The background is like the maroon velvet curtains of a stage show which goes very well with the poetry theme. The header is also nice in pink with a heart and the picture of a small girl writing. It is simple and honest like her poetry. As is the tag line ‘Straight from the heart, Simple Words, Giving an insight within me’. Though tag line gets the point across, I feel there is scope to make it more terse and catchy. Another suggestion is to make the sidebars a bit wider. One can hardly see those beautiful curtains currently.
I need to exercise restraint to avoid effusing over her lovely writings. Such is the effect her writings had on me. Let me instead try to focus on areas that stand out and what possibly can be improved. The poems exhibit a maturity beyond her years. Some of the themes are really deep. The words are simple, honest and come straight from her heart. I have often felt poets should give an explanatory note. But most of the poems on this blog need no explanation. The blogger articulates very well and literally weaves images in the reader’s heart. The poems also have good structure and rhyme scheme. She has written just four stories. But each story is a gem in itself. They plots are kept simple but narrated with finesse. The flow and language makes even her longest story an effortless read. Then there are rants and personal experiences which I did not focus on at the blogger’s requests. But from what little I saw, her personal experiences are narrated in a very interesting manner and definitely worth a read.
In terms of feedback on content, as of now, the content is good as it is. But I feel so far the focus has been narrow and I wonder about the long time sustainability. She is good at what she writes. But I fear in the long run, content may start feeling repetitive and reader may start losing interest. So my personal recommendation would be to start exploring a wider range of themes. The blogger should also be writing more stories and narrations of interesting personal experiences. In terms of poetry, she is good at rhymes, structure and refrains. I would like to see her experiment with classical forms such as sonnet, triolet, rondel etc.
There is of course scope for improvement in terms of widgets, navigation and interaction. Interaction is decent. In my opinion, a blogger should reply to every comment without judging the intent of the commentator or value of the comment. The popular posts and labels do provide some navigation. But I do not like labels much as it leads to too much scrolling. I personally prefer static pages with links to posts. Random post and previous/ next post widgets are something that can be added at the end of posts to improve navigation. As the amount of content goes up, classifying by theme can also enhance reader experience. In terms of widgets, page does not look cluttered as such. But I fail to see any utility in the live traffic widget. Who is interested in knowing if a reader from Bangalore is currently reading your content? You can see all that by yourself later on google analytics.
Generally I would recommend everyone to check out this blog, especially the ones interested in poetry and literature. One of the keys to success is to know your own strengths and weaknesses. Lot of people are not too comfortable selecting a limited number of posts as their best ones. But this blogger definitely knows which her best works are. She has selected an excellent set of 5 posts to showcase.
To the Love of my Life
The Voice of the Messenger
For Love in my Life is yet to come
My first short story