Saturday, April 02, 2011


When Gerald So asked if I'd like to do a blog post about my favorite poem in The Lineup #4, I said I'd be happy to. I should have thought twice about that because that was before I'd read any of the poems. So here's the problem: How do you pick a favorite when all the poems are so good? I'll bet you hear that line from just about everybody on this blog tour. Some people might even cheat and pick more than one poem, but not me. I'm going to stick with the program because that's just the way I roll, dudes. So let me say a few words about "Houston Oil Man Missing" by Germaine Welch.

First of all, there there's the obvious Texas connection, but what makes the poem is the narration, and the narrator. Who is the narrator, anyway? It's someone who knows the missing oil man intimately, but that's all we learn. After the oil man's remains turn up and his killers are tried, the narrator meets the man's ex-wife while buying produce. "Carrots, I believe." ("I remember the hole in her red sweater.") The death means nothing to the public. "No reporter covers the trial." Who cares after you're gone? Only someone who can "remember the mysteries you read." "Houston Oil Man Missing" is a miniature crime story that you'll remember for a long time. Just like all the other poems in The Lineup #4. Get a copy and read 'em all.

And if you're wondering why so many mystery writers also write poetry, you might be interested in this blog post by Janet Hutchings of EQMM. Just a little bonus for you.

No comments: