Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Culture 


Black Maria: Poems Produced and Directed By
By Kevin Young

(Knopf, 256 pages)

A private dick irrigated with booze and soused by desire falls for a dangerous dame in Kevin Young's Black Maria, a noir in verse that will give Raymond Chandler's best a run for their money. The action starts, as it always does, with a woman asking for a light. A.K.A. Jones, the book's hard-luck narrator, cheekily quips he can give Delilah Redbone only dark instead of light, she accepts and off we go to the dog track, the moody night, the shadowy interrogations, the velvet betrayals and the hungover mornings. Many a night ends with Jones alone, bent over a diner table asking for "Two eggs/ over queasy." Then it's back to his apartment and his "Murphy bed like a booby/trap." Like Young's last book, Jelly's Blues, a series of sweet and lowdown licks in the vein of the great Jelly Roll Morton, Black Maria is essentially an homage – only this time it's to film noir. Turning phrases left and right, spangling his story with the occasional rhyming couplet, Young manages to evoke noir's familiar conventions without simply duplicating contours.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by John Freeman

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

Sept. 15, 2021

View more issues

Calendar

© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation