Monday, February 8, 2010

The First Time reviews

The first reviews are in, and The First Time & 59 Other Magical Minute is looking like a winner. Thank you!


The First Time & 59 Other Magical Minutes by Jenny Swallows

(CreateSpace, ISBN: 9781449568719)

TCM Reviews

There are so many cultural oxymorons going around these days ("reality TV" for one) that one can't help but curl up your toes a little when a book is served up as "erotic verse" - it's a contradiction in terms, after all. But even a cursory dip into The First Time &... should set your mind at ease on one score, while sending your pulse racing on several others.

This is NOT your father's poetry. In fact, the introduction (by author Chrissie Bentley) makes it clear that Swallows herself hates the "P" word, preferring to view herself as a wordsmith in the mould of Edward Lear, Hillaire Belloc or even Dr Seuss; that is, the purveyor of a stream-of-rhyming-consciousness that simply doesn't known when to let up. It's that brilliant.

The subject is sex, of course - but sex in its rawest, most physically detailed and almost surgically graphic form. There is love and devotion to be found in these pages, and it's shaped with such overwhelmingly animalistic passion that the occasional crudity of language and imagery almost passes by unnoticed.

The verses tend to be short; most barely overflow a page, a couple scarcely top a paragraph. But scene after scenario is documented with such naturalistic precision that the brevity itself becomes an exhilarating experience, while Swallows' breathtaking honesty rises above both form and format to create what practically amounts to a whole new literary style, graffiti'd bathroom limericks spray-painted ten feet tall.The First Time & 59 Other Magical Minutes certainly won't be to every poetry-lover's taste, but we've already established that this isn't poetry. It's lyrical lust.


The First Time and 59 Other Magical Minutes by Jenny Swallows

(CreateSpace, ISBN: 9781449568719)

Reviewed by Amy Hanson,

Before opening your copy of The First Time & 59 Other Magic Minutes, a word of warning. Erotic verse usually falls into one of two basic categories. Either it's a jumble of allegory and imagery that leaves you scratching your head long before it affects any other part of the body; or it's brutal, rude and explicit. Or it aligns itself with the kind of stuff you might find on a bathroom wall, which is a fantastic genre all its own, as any woman who has spent time in a public stall will tell you.

This time it's the work of Jenny Swallows, a long established internet author whose writings range from the simplest, crudest couplet to some breathtakingly well-developed stanzas shot through with a wallop of wicked observation without ever forgetting her primary purpose; to thrill, arouse and sometimes astound.

From alleyway trysts to virginal first time nerves, from saucy confessionals to pillow-talk whisperings, sixty verses fill this volume and while her distinctive name will probably tip you off to a lot of their contents, the introduction to the book (penned, incidentally, by Philadelphia eroticist Chrissie Bentley) insists she was born with it, and didn't simply adopt it as an appropriate nom-de-porn.

Weaving a delicate balance of humor, tension and out-and-out lust, Swallows remarkably avoids any of the traps that normally devour this particular genre. There's certainly little repetition in either setting or style; "the scene," as one of her own titles reminds us, "is as important as the scheme," and just a few well-chosen opening lines ensures every verse enjoys its own individuality.

Swallows insists that her poetic lineage is derived from the literary likes of Hilaire Belloc and Edward Lear, with a glimpse, too, towards Dr Seuss. They, and their admirers, might not thank you for including Jenny Swallows in any list of their most accomplished acolytes. But The First Time & 59 Other Magic Minutes will leave you reeling delightedly all the same.

This slim volume is either the most brilliant poetry ever written, or its antithesis. You decide.

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