LA PETITE MORT by Eli Wilde, Matador, p/b, £7.99, www.troubador.co.uk
Reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Sometimes poetry is just poetry, but every so often a book appears right out of nowhere and impresses with being different. La Petite Mort is one such book featuring several works of poetry written by Rufus Hobster, who is a vampire and these are his short, sharp takes on his life, love and general frustrations. As the title suggests, La Petite Mort, (The Little Death) is what the Victorians liked to call the orgasm and there’s a lot of sexual hints in Wilde’s poetry. As if to persuade us anymore that it is being written by a vampire, there’s an image of Rufus on the cover reaching up to a cloudy moon, naked in a river, obviously a metaphor for his own emotions and a piece of poetry on the back cover that tells us he is dangerous, yet still has
deep feelings and longings he can’t fathom.
The fact the book is almost entirely clothed in black says enough to say it’s a book filled with dark emotions and themes. It is, but it also doesn’t turn off its readers, instead it is capable of inspiring them to want to write in a similar way, or just enjoy the written word in a Gothic way. For Rufus, his poetry is a way of him sharing who and what he is to his readership; I assume he has one that is probably non vampire as much as it is otherworldly. He knows how he feels, being undead, and what it is like to be a vampire in love with a human woman, even though he is cold-blooded, predatory and also knows what it is like to kill people in much colder blood.
La Petite Mort is also a story written as poetry. At the beginning we read his feelings of becoming a vampire in the early days and how he transformed from being a human to becoming a cruel and savage almost animal personality. Within his turmoil he meets Elise, The Girl Who Synchronised Death, who he loves and yet abandons him – his turmoil grows worse, but he learns from this abandonment and becomes more than a monster, which if you think about it would be the hope of Frankenstein’s monster. It isn’t until we lose our humanity that we
actually want to reclaim it desperately. Rufus’s poetry is descriptive, of the moment and shows us what he has done and what he intends to do over the days he has written.
Eli Wilde has had several collections published; Cruel, Fair Days, Neophyte, his poetry, La Petite Mort, and The Lines and writing as Frank Lambert, Xyx and Napoleon Xylophone. He is a writer based in the North East of the UK and has completed a Master’s in Creative Writing at Teesside University. And as La Petite Mort is an introduction to his character Rufus Hobster, I can only hope that he might continue his story in another novel of poetry in the near future.