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This is a noir movie in verse, in a spare, mattress-ticking-and-iron-rail style. The language is both gritty and playful. You never forget that these characters are leading lives of being a little too cold, a little too poor, a little too drunk. Even the sex scenes occur in seedy motels and the rhapsodies are about forgetting.Collapse( some excerpts. I had a hell of a time choosing )Rendezvous[many awesome lines omitted, from now on represented by ....]Her noble camisoleflees her body, whollyAnd...
holy sh*t, wow, i dont usually like novels in prose im like choose one or the other, but man oh man kevin young i want to steal this entire book and say that i wrote it... i won't, but still! Everyone go out and read some Kevin Young he will make your mind explode with the grace and subtlety of his words!!! when i was trying to describe this work all i could do was make exploding noises and indicate with frantically flailing hands that my mind was blowing up!
Kevin Young is a master of analogous styles, Black Maria showcases his short, staccato lines infused with noir-imaginary and voice. It's a poetry version of Dashiell Hammet tbut deeply steeped in African American history and poetry. This is an highly enjoyable and accessible, and yet borderline experimental collection. When read with the reset of Kevin Young's work, it shows his poetic versatility.
** 3.5 stars **Very cool concept - a film noir in verse. The poems themselves contain some clever wordplay and feel reminiscent of Langston Hughes's jazz poetry. For me, none of the individual poems rise to the level of something extraordinary, but as a whole, Black Maria was certainly an enjoyable read. If you are a fan of either Langston Hughes or film noir, you will probably like this collection. Also recommended for readers with an interest in contemporary African American poetry.
I wish I had this book on hand to say more, but I lent it to a student several years ago and never got it back. What I remember though is the clever wordplay and the interesting connections implied between film and poetry--how imagery can be edited in a poem in a way similar to that which happens in film, and how through that process, characters can be sorted into certain stock types.
Harkening back to the film noir days with Bogie and Bacall, Wilson adds a modern day rift with his excellent rhythms and witticisms ("He say, she say, foreplay, amscray"). Accentuates all of your favorite stereotypes about these personas. Buy will he get the girl?
Second time read through ( first time when new.) Minimal poems in a five reel noir tale. Ending? You ask. Read on to the end of this marvelous poetic spiel from the pen of Young.
A novel in verse or, if you accept the book’s conceit, a film treatment in verse, Black Maria is a film noir told in bluesy verse. Young is extremely gifted and skillful in mimicking classic forms like the blues and noirish detective fiction chat. For a young man, he is a star in the world of poetry, getting prizes, major publishing houses, large hardcover printings, and plum jobs (he edited the Library of America’s volume on John Berryman). Reading him is fun but I’m not sure that he’s not more...
My interest in poetic sequences involving other genre art forms drew me to this book. Usually in these cases, the campy genre is enriched by the poetry to bring out unexpected characterizations (see my five star rating of Sharp Teeth). That was not the case for this book. There are two speakers, I think, a male and a female. Maybe more. I'm not sure because there is nothing to distinguish one voice from another. All of the poems were written with short enjambed lines, which while creating a some...
The dust jacket calls this, "Film noir in verse." These are stunning poems. Together, they tell a noir story--a film. Separately, each is packed with arresting images and beautifully rendered language. Young is a master of the pithy line: "She split so quick / I got motion-sick." "My car, that dinosaur, / runs on memories," "I was wrong as a sweater / on a sheepdog." I borrowed this from a family-member, but it's a good book to own. Read sequentially, hurriedly, it's harder to appreciate the cra...
Beautiful. The rhythms of these clever, original poems can't be beat. A must for fans of the hard boiled detective genre, which makes a miraculous transition to the poetry world in this book (lovers of Hollywood's Golden Age will love this, too.) I read Black Maria as a portrait of the lives of black Americans, personified as a film noir experience. Though its action appears set in the '30s, maybe '40s, its shrewd observations and insights feel entirely relevant for contemporary times.
Ambitious, noir-ish, hard to follow. I would say an atmospheric masterpiece, though I had a hard time following the narrative. This one would reward repeated readings. I read it straight through and once again a slow reading over a longer time would have been good.
Interesting project--Young creates a similuation to film noir by writing poems divided into "reels" rather than chapters, which all carry on chronologically, as if watching a film. Great characters and very true to noir archetypes.
AMAZING book of poetry. One of the most exciting things I've read in the recent past. Young blends jazz and blues with noir tropes to tell this tell of love, betrayal, etc. Gotta figure out when/how I can teach this.
I love his use of language in this one, his plays on words, double entendres. I reread poems just for the sound of his words. This book was like reading a film noir movie and listening to the blues at the same time. I must read more by this author!
coolest poet in the game.
Very, very cool. It's like reading a film noir, you could read it over and over and continue to find new things about it.
Cliche-busting poetry in the form of a smooth pulp noir. Ingenious. If you've a love for poetry and for noir, you'll enjoy every line of this one.