Gerald So was kind enough to fix me up with with a .pdf copy of THE LINEUP #3 and I have to say I'm impressed. In my opinion, most of the poetry written in the world is utter garbage. When you pick up a Norton Anthology of literature and read some of the classic poems within, you have to understand that each of those gems represents thousands of discarded turds that poets have penned over the centuries. So when I open the pages of The Lineup #3 and see that 75% of the poems within are actually good, I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. You beat the odds, guys. Congratulations.
Not all the poems hit the mark, and without bothering to name names, I'll simply say that some selections suffer from that age old poetry problem -- prose with line breaks. Taking run-of-the mill sentences and giving them neat little line breaks so you have a narrow column of words skipping down the page does not a poem make. Hey, I'm guilty of this myself. One time, I took a crime "poem" I'd written and took out the line breaks and sold it to Crimestalker Casebook as a short-short piece of fiction. It happens.
But many more of the poems are quite enjoyable. I suppose I could go poem by poem and point out some nice use of language and some vivid imagery I think works pretty well ... but I'm a lazy lazy man. Trust me. It's in there, and you should take a look for yourself. I will say that the James Sallis and James W. Hall poems were among the most memorable. Many of the selections are expertly rendered, yet simultaneously accessible to the reader that might not normally make a habit of reading poetry. Try it.
Friday, March 19, 2010
From Victor Gischler
I've been a fan of Victor Gischler's work since UglyTown published Gun Monkeys. His second book, Pistol Poets, convinced me if I ever started a crime poetry journal, I should get his opinion. And so I have. On his blog today, Gischler gives his honest take on The Lineup 3: