RE: RARA-AVIS: Hard-boiled Poetry (was:One hell of a weekend)

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 08 Sep 2000

On Fri, 8 Sep 2000, Etienne Borgers wrote:

> Back to HB, I could suggest another poet who really
> qualifies as HB, by his life and by his work:
> Francois Villon. He lived in Paris during the middle
> of the 15th century, was a university student and a
> "truand", lived the life of the outlaws and his own
> life was at risk many times.
> In his poems he depicts the misery of life and fate,
> the tragic destinies of the culprits when caught, life
> in taverns and bordellos...
> And he was using some slang in his writings.
> Some of his poems like: La Ballade des Pendus (Ballad
> for the hanging men) or his Testament (The Will),
> still resonates meaningfully into our times.

Maybe noir, and only by him being a thematic ancestor of the twentieth century generation of doomed hacks.

> Another French (well, he was a Belgian actually) that
> could qualify is Henri Michaux (born in 1899) by his
> forceful descriptions of his own surreal world, and
> his total destruction of reality. In texts that defies
> any classification but that can be accepted as poems.
> Tough, quick, and destructive of social conventions.

A great writer, one of my long time favourites, but hardboiled? Even noir?

> But I hear already Bill Denton knocking on the door as
> I probably stretched the HB search too far...

I hear that knocking sound too, but before I leave, what about the Harlem Renaissance? And also Tom Waits, who hasn't published a book (as far as I know), but in whose rhymes there is a certain iconography of hardboiled and noir literature.


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