Saturday, July 08, 2006

Black Maria by Kevin Young

The full title of this poetry collection is Black Maria: being the adventures of Delilah Redbone & A.K.A. Jones and the full author credit is Poems Produced and Directed by Kevin Young. I enjoy when two seemingly disparate things come together nicely and Kevin Young has brought together film noir and poetry in a clever collection. Sometimes I think poets get too caught up in linked collections (that's not really a proper term, I'm stealing the short story equivalent) where all the poems have to overtly fit under one heading (thematic or otherwise), but this one felt original and appropriate. The tightly-wound language of noir (and though Young works with cinematic ideas, it's often really the language of noir fiction that he's using) is very well-suited to the compression and precision of poetry. And Young has a way of turning familiar phrases around with a single word replacement that is quite funny and fresh. This weekend my five-year-old nephew said to me, "See a shadow, pick it up" and it reminded me of Young (which is not to say Young writes like a five-year-old but rather that my nephew talks like a poet--naturally I believe he's a genius).

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