They Write By Night: Pandemic Noir 2020, Love and Loneliness
Pandemic Noir 2020: Love and Loneliness
The poem about the woman who gets seated at a restaurant table across from a manikin; the poem about a man surrounded by a worldwide pandemic, trying to live nine lives all at the same time; the movie that has Lt. Commander Clint Reed, M.D,. and Captain Tom Warren (Richard Widmark and Paul Douglas) racing to save a city from a version of the Bubonic plague–all this packed into this month’s episode of They Write by Night. The poems are by Mehnaz Sahibzada and Kurt Lipschutz (pen name Klipschutz), and Elia Kazan directed Panic in the Streets.
Yes, poetry.la followers get all this for free, together with certain diversions that appeal to my sense of humor, though–no doubt–not everyone “gets” my humor. And who could blame them? Not me. I’m too busy blaming that killer known as “Blackie” for getting too close to a small-time hustler when he put a bullet into him, thereby catching the dying man’s bug and almost infecting a whole city. And I’m too busy blaming a certain someone in the White House, and his enablers, for the spread of a virus that really didn’t have to travel this far, this fast, and the deaths of thousands more Americans than needed to die.
– Suzanne Lummis
Top image credit to www.Poetry.LA
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Suzanne Lummis, noted practitioner and exponent of NOIR POETRY, unpacks a genre infused with the ethos of mid-20th Century hard-boiled fiction and crime movies, presenting examples from poets both living and “quite dead.” An influential teacher through the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and co-founder of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, Lummis produced a 2011 city-wide, 25-event series, “Night in the City: L.A. Noir Poetry, Fiction and Film.” Her 2012 essay “The Poem Noir — Too Dark to Be Depressed” (Malpais Review, Vol. 3, No. 3) is essential reading on the subject. Lummis was awarded a 2018/19 C.O.L.A. (City of Los Angeles) fellowship to create a series of new poems. Her most recent collection is Open 24 Hours (Lynx House Press). Her poems have appeared in three Knopf "Everyman's Poetry" anthologies, including Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem, and in The Antioch Review, New Ohio Review, Plume, The American Journal of Poetry and The New Yorker. She edited the anthology "Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond" (Pacific Coast Poetry Series/Beyond Baroque Books) named one of the Ten Best Books of 2015 in the Los Angeles Times. (Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher)