Friday, March 04, 2005

Poet Noir-iate

If you follow unique literature at all, you'll appreciate poet Kevin Young's latest, Black Maria (pronounced "Mariah")(2005 Knopf). Young captures the essence of noir, the dark crime genre featuring seedy private detectives, disreputable damsels, and rainy city streets. Following the path of writers like Dashielle Hammet, Young reimagines both the crime drama and poetry with gritty dramas set in verse. The lyric rhythm of his poetry lends itself nicely to the visual aspects of dark roads, fast women, footchases, guns, and gangsters, creating both the visual story and sound effects.

From Publisher's Weekly:
Tough and unlucky in a rainy city or on a Hollywood back lot, poetic detective A.K.A. Jones seeks answers, dodges bullets, and drowns his sorrows as he pursues the alluring and mysterious Delilah Redbones in Young's fourth volume, a book-length sequence of linked short poems grounded in film noir scenarios and in the short, bluesy lines Young has made his signature. ... The saga of Jones, Redbones and their quirky, mostly anonymous supporting cast ("The Gunsel," "The Boss," "The Snitch") confirms Young's mastery of his syncopated verse line, his way with witty rhyme, and his facility with his chosen genre. Yet the many lyrical asides and point-of-view changes make any plot hard to grasp, a problem alleviated, but not quite solved, by prose summaries which introduce each of Young's five sections (called "reels"). And Young's devotion to film noir atmosphere here makes it hard for the tone to vary from poem to poem: in visits to Las Vegas, the sagebrush West, even the set of a science-fiction film, their beat-up, hard-done-by gumshoe sounds more or less the same.

NPR story with Young reading selections from the book.


At Fri Mar 04, 11:04:00 PM, Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

Ooooh. Sounds cool. I will suggest it to Dr. ER, who is both a fan of Holmesian and other detectival fiction and a poet. ... By the way, "Poet Noir-iate" is damn near as clever as "Poet Lariat," which I did not coin but aim to be at my best. :-)

P.S. Tuesday afternoon, I will be at StillH20, hopefully drinkin' beer with, or at leat around, Jack L., at his tavern before watchin' the Pokes and the Razorbacks get after it on the dimaond behind The Home Away From Home of Bird, aka Bennett Hall! :-)

At Sat Mar 05, 07:44:00 AM, Anonymous braingirl said...

Say "Hello" to Jack! I saw him in August in OKC at Roy Lee's wedding party.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home