Friday, May 19, 2017


Am I the only one here who likes crime poems? Here's (below) the best one I know of.  When I was a kid it came with my board game, "Clue." I don't know the author's name.

Nice, huh? It's robust simplicity begs comparison with Service's "Dangerous Dan McGrew." It's so playful and delightfully unmodern.  For comparison here's (below) a ponderous contemporary crime poem:

My beef with this poem (above) is that it saves the true meaning for the end. That's such a silly, modern thing to do. Apparently, the poet isn't inspired by the thrill of the chase. At the end we discover that he's only interested in detection as a metaphor for a sad comment on life.

My advice to all poets is to avoid melancholy zingers at the end of what you write. Avoid the temptation to bait and switch. Let the poem be about what attracted the reader to it in the first place. If there's a subtext or a secondary meaning let it be made by the stylistic zeal embedded in the writing.

1 comment:

Pseudonym said...

Do murder ballads count?