RARA-AVIS: black cherry blues/rural HB?/poets v. songwriters

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 05 Feb 2002

MikeR wrote:

>and THREE (snuck another one in on you, didn't i? haha.),
>there is no way that i would ever describe those passages
>[in black cherry blues] as "gratuitous scenery". they established a >mood.
> thru metaphor they foreshadowed.

I should say I wasn't making the "gratuitous scenery" comment in reference to BCB. Honestly don't remember what I didn't like about that book, the scenery didn't make a big impression on me either way. I was just replying to someone else's comment about overdescription. I do agree in principle that "nature" descriptions can be as relevant to character development as
"civilization" descriptions, just that an author has to work harder to make them relevant in anything but a superficial way.

Which raises a question about good HB/noir books that aren't set in cities. We tend to associate HB with urban life, but there are certainly stories in the same vein set further from civilization - I don't mean "Red Harvest" which is more of a city story in microcosm; but Burke and Crumley and more recently Steve Hamilton, who set most of their stories either in the country or in really small towns.

responding to someone else's post that songwriters aren't really poets
-finding this thread inspired me to put on my CD of Tom Waits'
"swordfishtrombones" and if there's a distinction between his lyrics and poetry, I don't really see it. Almost all of this stuff would stand on its own. I mean, he has things like "Tom Traubert's Blues" that definitely have to be songs, but a lot of his songs are hybrids of music, poetry and sometimes even what we'd call "flash fiction". I tend to agree that Dylan remains more of a "songwriter"; though these are of course subjective judgments with no implication of relative merit -


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