Tuesday, April 30, 2013

End of Days

Watch this space for Donora Hillard's entry to end 30 Days of The 5-2, but remember The 5-2 is open to original poetry year-round. My thanks to all the participants.

SIXKILL by Robert B. Parker

For several years before his passing, Robert B. Parker wrote three books per year. While his consistency is to be applauded, for me, it caused many of those books to seem alike, mass-produced. Parker fell into repetitive dialogue and aimless chapters. If Spenser needed months to solve a case or a year to recover from injury, he got it. I was glad to see Ace Atkins emulate Parker at his best in last year's LULLABY, and hearing this year's WONDERLAND featured Spenser's apprentice, Zebulon Sixkill, I had reason to read Parker's final Spenser novel.

Spenser's training Sixkill seems a nod to his mortality, but Mel Farman of the Parker estate tells me Parker created Sixkill to replace Hawk in a proposed new TV series because the TV rights to Hawk were still owned by the developers of the SPENSER: FOR HIRE spinoff A MAN CALLED HAWK. Spenser does come up against a sadistic killer whose competence he compares to Hawk's, and he does say confronting the killer is his appointment in Samarra, yet he survives. It's Parker's death that gives every word inescapable resonance.

Monday, April 29, 2013

At The 5-2: "Swine" by Ruth Sabath Rosenthal

This week, New York poet Rosenthal turns workplace tension into a tasty dinner.

30 Days of The 5-2 concludes tomorrow with Voice of The 5-2 Donora Hillard.

Submissions are open for 5-2 guest editor Charles Rammelkamp through June 15, 2013.

UPDATE: Crime novelist and Voice of The 5-2 J.T. Ellison blogged about her love of poetry and its influence on her books.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Back to Oaxaca

Kieran Shea discusses his contribution to The Lineup #4 on Day 28 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Bonus Entry: 5-2 alum Rauan Klassnik joins Day 28 of 30 Days of The 5-2 with a look at "Crow Tyrannosaurus" by one of his influences, Ted Hughes.

Be sure to check out Rauan's 5-2 poem and this interview about his books, Holy Land and The Moon's Jaw.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Another look at Angel Zapata's "Housekeeper"

Voice of The 5-2 John Ricotta reflects on Angel Zapata's "Housekeeper", as performed by our friend, Deshant Paul, on Day 27 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Bonus Entry: Mistress of Mystery Janet Rudolph invited me to guest-post about the tour at Mystery Fanfare.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jay Stringer digs Seamus Heaney

Jay Stringer, 5-2 alum ("Cold Call") and crime novelist (Old Gold, Runaway Town) blogs about his favorite poem, "Digging" by Seamus Heaney, on Day 25 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In Reference to Murder, a Flashback

Longtime friend and fellow mystery-loving poet B.V. Lawson flashes back to The 5-2's inaugural poem on Day 23 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Monday, April 22, 2013

At The 5-2: "Christine" by Aig'ner Wilson

I'm pleased to present Aig'ner Wilson's debut poem, "Christine", inspired by the 1954 New Zealand Parker-Hulme murder case.

Submissions are open for 5-2 guest editor Charles Rammelkamp.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Patricia Abbott on Lizzie Borden

Michigan writer and Lineup #3 alum Patricia Abbott offers another look at "Eating Pears" by Kim Welliver on Day 21 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Clare Toohey reflects on Ed Gein

Voice of The 5-2 Clare Toohey features Alec Cizak's poem, "Ed Gein", at Women of Mystery on Day 18 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Clare read R.A. Allen's 5-2 poem, "On Car Theft", last year. She returns next week, reading Aig'ner Wilson's debut poem, "Christine", inspired by the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder case.

Psych: "Right Turn or Left for Dead"

Over the past two seasons, Shawn and Juliet have developed a romantic relationship to the point, in last week's episode, Juliet realized Shawn was not psychic. Most of the characters believing Shawn's act is Psych's most playful concept and the one viewers have to swallow to watch the show at all. For Shawn and Juliet's relationship to reach its potential, though, Juliet had to find out and accept the truth.

Much of this week's episode played out in Shawn's head as he weighed reality, where Juliet found him out, against how things might have gone if she hadn't. The script and the actors played out both storylines seamlessly. In the end, Shawn was teased with a dream of Juliet coming to terms with his deceit and accepting him. He then woke up to Juliet asking him to move out.

I think this will play out like the tellings of Superman where Lois discovers Clark is Superman. At first, she's thrown for a loop. Having believed in who Clark seemed to be, she feels betrayed by the revelation of who he is. Shawn has it better than Clark. He hasn't built disparate identities. His thin lie about being psychic is the only phony thing about him.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

From Cop to Mom

Kathleen A. Ryan returns to the tour, this time from her personal blog, featuring "Sylvia Plath: Gaslight Left On" by Christine Aletti on Day 17 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Tragedy

I'm left feeling helpless hearing about the two explosions near the finish line of the Boston marathon hours ago. Grateful the toll is not worse, I've always known that each life and livelihood impacts countless others.

UPDATE (4/16/13, 10:00 A.M. Eastern): I've only visited Boston twice, both too brief, but as a fan of many Boston writers I have a vivid mental picture. I can imagine Robert B. Parker's Spenser and Jeremiah Healy's John Francis Cuddy running the marathon, and imagine their horror in the aftermath of yesterday. Yes, they are fictional characters but, longstanding and well loved, their reaction can help readers come to terms.

UPDATE (4/20/13, 6:30 A.M. Eastern): Remarkably, within days of the bombing, Massachusetts police, and federal agencies have achieved a measure of closure. As planned as the bombing was, the brothers behind it had no great escape plan after being identified by one of the victims. Best of all, one brother was apprehended alive and will be made to answer for the bombing, though no answers will satisfy the victims, including a murdered MIT police officer and a seriously-injured transit police officer.

Sports Takes

  • The Knicks claim their first Atlantic Division title since 1994 and clinch the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. I was glad to see the Knicks vault from the turning point of the season. I don't think they'll beat Miami, but they are once again a respectable contender. Kudos, Mike Woodson.
  • Kobe Bryant tears his ACL. I'm not a Kobe fan, but I wouldn't wish this injury on anyone. Most recently I followed Mariano Rivera's recovery from the ACL he tore while shagging flyballs, but explosive basketball players like Kobe and Dominique Wilkins don't regain their form. I think Kobe will have to adopt a new style of play, but as many aging athletes do, I'm sure he can.
  • Rutgers' men's basketball scandalized. I signed up as practice and equipment manager for the volleyball team in high school largely because I'd befriended the coach, who many classmates saw as verbally gruff and demanding. I saw that it was an act to motivate his students. Mike Rice clearly crossed the line by physically abusing his students, and everyone who allowed it in any way should answer for that. As a fan of all the old Big East schools to some degree, I wish Rutgers luck rebuilding the program.

At The 5-2: "A Close Call" by Matthew Wilson

U.K.-based writer Wilson brings us a quest for a magic potion, with audio by Deshant Paul.

Meanwhile, longtime friend of The Lineup and The 5-2 Bill Crider features "Criminal Foolishness" by Jerry House on Day 15 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

And submissions open today for 5-2 guest editor Charles Rammelkamp.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Emerson Appreciates Arnzen

Horror author Scott Emerson offers an appreciation of Michael A. Arnzen's "This Is How I Murdered The Librarian" on Day 13 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Friday, April 12, 2013

"Eating Pears"

Philadephia poet, performer, and publisher Aja Beech looks at "Eating Pears" by Kim Welliver on Day 12 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Monday, April 08, 2013

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Santa Ana swirls through Mystery Playground

Californian Deborah Lacy discusses Ray Daniel's "Santa Ana Winds", a haiku inspired by Raymond Chandler, at Mystery Playground on Day 6 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Arnzen Provides Instigation

Seton Hill University creative writing professor Michael A. Arnzen spotlights Angel Zapata's "Housekeeper" on Day 4 of 30 Days of The 5-2. Also read Mike's 5-2 poem, "This Is How I Murdered The Librarian".

Arnzen's work inspired The Fridge of the Damned horror poetry magnets from Raw Dog Screaming Press, with which I've made this video and these poems.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The End of Fun and Games at Women of Mystery

For retired Suffolk County (L.I.) police officer and Women of Mystery blogger Kathleen A. Ryan, it's "The End of Fun and Games" on Day 3 of 30 Days of The 5-2.

(Kathy will actually be back on Day 17, posting from her personal blog.)

Bonus Entry: Longtime friend of The Lineup and The 5-2 Bill Cameron is officially posting next week, but today he offers "a sorta sestina" on his blog, Thinking With My Skin.

Monday, April 01, 2013

April is National Poetry Month

And once again, I join the Academy of American Poets' celebration:

My weekly crime poetry site, The 5-2, begins a month-long blog tour with Poem of the Week "Criminal Foolishness" by Jerry House.

The proceeds from all April sales of my poetry books and 5-2 merchandise will be donated to the nonprofit Academy to support poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry.