“What does poetry have to do with crime?” asks Patrick Shawn Bagley in his thoughtful introduction to ‘The Lineup 2’, the second anthology of poems on crime edited by Gerald So. Poetry brings stillness and clarity to thought and vision, a precise bearing on the random chaos of everyday life, of which crime is an ever-present. The poems of this collection belong for the most part in that all-too-brief pause between the lurid headlines of journalism and the dramatic reconstructions of fiction, lines that wriggle their way into the crawl-space in our minds that lies between judgment, prejudice and consequence. If poetry is about anything, is about poignant, haunting truth. In ‘Visiting Hours, State Pen’, Amy MacLennan writes:
fresh, she unpins a nametag
(an all-night market),
from her blouse.”
...and your heart breaks, or should. “Crime,” wrote W.R. Burnett, “is but a left-handed form of human endeavour.” Crime fiction poetry might well be a left-handed endeavour, but boy, that Southie can punch a hole in your heart.
Friday, April 24, 2009
From Declan Burke
The author of Eight-Ball Boogie and The Big O: