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Sex and Crimes and Good Old Times
Esmeralda

Artloaf 28pp

Proudly proclaims itself as a ‘collection of poetry and ‘compactales’ which to be honest, I had no idea what this word meant. Ever the resort to the stupid, Google didn’t solve my problem, but did turn up a lot of refs to Esmeralda’s work, which was handy! This collection is one of those rarest of rare creatures, gothic verse with a sense of humour; take for example this great little ditty Body Matters:

Blimey! That’s a body and a half! /Now – hang on …/That IS a body and a half …/Hand me back the shovel!

With a striking cover design by Marion Reeves, Esmeralda’s verse is remarkable in the range of verse found within. I usally shudder when presented by this sort of gothic/fetish verse, but then, there are only so many ‘I want to be a vampire’ excuses for poetry that one editor can take. Happily, inside its lovely little 28 pages, Sex and Crimes and Good Old Times has moments of reflection, deep sadness, wry humour and does basically what it sets itself out to do: expression versus repression as a form of art therapy. Well worth a look, have a peek at its online selection at www.esmeralda.redspot.org.uk.

Review by Jamie Spracklen