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Crime Beat

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Fiona Zerbst : a poet’s perspective on crime fiction

OleanderFiona Zerbst ‘I’m a big fan of crime fiction, especially the really ‘dark’ stuff,’ says Fiona Zerbst who crystallises her take on the genre in a poem from her fourth volume of poetry ,Oleander, which was published recently by Modjaji Books. ‘It occurs to me that there are formulae to follow but, within those formulae, there are entire, expansive, human stories that find expression. So it’s possible to get to the heart of human nature, not just because of the genre, but because of the challenges presented by the strictures of the genre.’

Crime fiction

There’s always a lake,
a body on ice,
a man alone.

Slab-cheeked policemen,
frigid women,
the silent phone.

Controlled addiction,
dictionary clues,
a cross-hatched bone,

A broken marriage.
foibles of life
lived out at home

where money’s scarce,
children intrude,
peace is hard-won.

There’s always the night,
a sequel to write,
a crime to condone.

I’m drawn to the scene,
a place I’ve been to:
innocence gone.

Fiona Zerbst works as a freelance writer and has a Masters degree from UCT. Previous volumes of poetry include Parting Shots (1991), The Small Zone (1995) and Time and Again (2002).

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://www.jassymackenzie.com" rel="nofollow">Jassy</a>
    Jassy
    September 2nd, 2009 @09:48 #
     
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    What a fantastic poetic summary of crime fiction, Fiona. Or should that be c-rhyme-fiction?

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 2nd, 2009 @09:52 #
     
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    Hear, hear. What a cool post!

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    September 2nd, 2009 @10:00 #
     
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    Very c00l

    you should read the rest of Fiona's poems if you haven't already...

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  • <a href="http://fionazerbst.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Fiona Zerbst</a>
    Fiona Zerbst
    September 2nd, 2009 @10:04 #
     
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    Thanks, Jassy! I think it was Ian Rankin's influence...it would be, wouldn't it? ;)
    Though I read *loads* of crime fiction...and can't wait to read your new book!

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  • <a href="http://crimebeat.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Mike Nicol</a>
    Mike Nicol
    September 2nd, 2009 @10:30 #
     
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    Absolutely wonderful poem, Fiona, and thanks for letting us post it. It's the second krimi poem we've run and I'm sure it won't be the last.

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  • <a href="http://crimebeat.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Mike Nicol</a>
    Mike Nicol
    September 2nd, 2009 @11:11 #
     
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    This to Ben-editor. We only do cool posts!

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    September 2nd, 2009 @11:19 #
     
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    True, Mike, true. Should've said "exceptionally cool". I mean, how often does poetry feature on Crime Beat?

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  • <a href="http://crimebeat.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Mike Nicol</a>
    Mike Nicol
    September 2nd, 2009 @11:37 #
     
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    On twice thus far. It's a crime!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 2nd, 2009 @12:16 #
     
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    It's a crime that crime
    So seldom does rhyme.

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  • <a href="http://fionazerbst.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Fiona Zerbst</a>
    Fiona Zerbst
    September 2nd, 2009 @12:30 #
     
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    Thanks, Mike! Would love to read the other poem...when was it posted?

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  • <a href="http://crimebeat.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Mike Nicol</a>
    Mike Nicol
    September 2nd, 2009 @14:53 #
     
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    Here you go, Fiona: http://crimebeat.book.co.za/blog/2008/10/21/manageable-mysteries/ The poet as you'll see was Karin Schimke.

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