The Lineup Issue Number 3 is a robust slice of life distilled by some of the best crime poets in the game today. This is poetry at its best, bringing the reader into terrain that is at turns sobering, horrifying, enlightening and always tinged with a crime element.
And crime poetry isn’t afraid to take that slice deeper than skin level. It eviscerates muscle and bone and bores down to the spaces inside our souls wherein everything lurks.
The Lineup 3 is about revealing secrets, as does Amy MacLennan’s prowler in “Prowling.” Yet, it’s also about our fears and about our perhaps longing for a slightly darker way of life. Poetry — crime poetry — frees us to explore the deranged and dangerous in ways only writers can. The human desires and frailties displayed in this issue cross cultures and countries, from Henry Chang’s Chinese deliveryman in “Takeout” to James McGowan’s Irish thugs in “Running for Home.”
The Lineup 3 has the usual suspects too: murderers, victims, and cops. In this issue, you’ll meet police who put up a façade of gallows humor in the blood-glare of perp killers, such as aptly depicted in Sarah Cortez’s “Ride-along.”
And when we’re the guilty party, crime poetry tells us in aching fashion what the recovery from the fall is like — if recovery happens at all. Sometimes crime poetry just plain hits with flash emotions like a jazz riff floating on barroom currents, such as Wallace Stroby’s “Independence Day, 1976.” You can either fill in the narrative of lives rented from the fabric of conventional society, or you can let the colors of poetry wash over you. Sometimes those colors are the rainbow, and sometimes they are only black and blue.
There are so many reasons to read crime poetry. It will tell you about life in astonishing ways. We all either know what it’s like to put our hand to the flame, or have the desire to do so, or to understand the attraction better. The Lineup 3 burns the way with you.
Thanks for everything, Anthony.