Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem - Harold Schechter, Kurt Brown
Overall, I can't say that this collection aroused great enthusiasm in me. There were lots of poems based on recent cases -- odd how many of those sounded similar, in spite of the varied forms used; perhaps it was that the way that the poets chose to tell/analyze the cases was similar. And the collection was unbalanced between very new (at least three quarters), late 20th century (most of the rest) and just a sprinkling of older ones. Might have seemed less incongruous if it stuck to just contemporary verse. In that case, though, we would have missed a few good items like "The Murderer" by Stevie Smith, "Crime Club" by Weldon Kees, or "The Inquest" by W. H. Davies; "A Case of Murder" by Vernon Scannell is widely reprinted, but for very good reason, and I'm not sorry to encounter it again.

What were some that left a favorable impression with me? "The Ballad of Charlotte Dymond" by Charles Causey stands out for its startling imagery and driven mood. I must say I have a weakness for the ballad format; "Victor" by W. H. Auden is pretty good too. "American Murderer" by Megan Levad alludes to songs such as blues or "Stackalee". "Actually, However" by Thom Ward is an unusually interesting meta-fictional take on crime stories. "Fart" by Roger McGough manages to be very colloquial and conversational and still sound like a poem, but more important is how the language works to make the story unforgettable. Then there's "The Lover" by Tony Barnstone, "The Murder Writer" by Lynn Emanuel, the excerpt from "Blue Front" by Martha Collins, "Charlie Howard's Descent" by Mark Doty, "The Sound That Wakes Me at Night, Thinking of It" by Charles Harper Webb, and maybe a few others. Rather a scanty harvest.