CTRL / ALT / DELETE: Natasha Helen Crudden Poetry Review

Can’t we all identify as black sheep occasionally? Don’t we sometimes vent at, or declare our love for, those who don’t deserve it? Do we not engage in retail therapy? Haven’t we all stayed home instead of going to parties once or twice, due to social anxiety?

Well then, Natasha Helen Crudden wants to have a quick – and richly eloquent – word in your ear. Much of this poetry is directed at persons. These subjects are rarely the general reader. The power of much of the work, however, lies in taking many of her admonitions, tributes, compliments and criticisms personally – because the beauty of this talented poet’s observations is in the identifiable.

Trigger Warning, for instance, is directed at a (probable) female whose “killer Achilles heels” and “summer wardrobe of disorders” provide validation. It transpires that this subject doesn’t have “all that much to say”, falling back on trigger warnings as an excuse to retreat after causing the mayhem typical of somebody with (what might be diagnosed as – and this is just this reviewer’s guess) something akin to borderline personality disorder.

Her Christopher Robin character similarly retreats, a socially incapacitated individual refusing to engage in life’s challenges. Little Problem showcases the “flaccid ego” of a man who has probable transference issues. A Long Way to Fall adeptly tackles problems associated with civil service bureaucracy.

There are a number of far more positive pieces here too – some are what could be considered love poems.

And Crudden is self-critical elsewhere.

In Cailin Gan Ainm (Irish for Girl Without a Name), the poet declares herself a factory reject, claiming she scuffed her “party shoes jumping the fence”. A clear-cut case of gate-crashing, it’s not difficult to see how Crudden – whose work is in many respects cutting edge – could regard herself as avant-garde or the outsider artist, or at least pen a poem identifying herself as such. Can’t we all identify as black sheep occasionally?

Highly recommended work from a rising star.

Natasha Helen Crudden’s CTRL / ALT / DELETE is available here:


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