30 Days of The 5-2: The Crime Poetry Blog Tour

National Poetry Month bloody bannerToday I’m here to hawk the 30 Days of The 5-2 crime poetry blog tour, which runs April 1 through 30, National Poetry Month in the United States.

Unlike traditional blog tours, where a single guest posts to several blogs, I invite each host to pick their favorite poem from The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly and craft their own blog entries about it. This opens things up to the host’s interpretation of the poem.

Here’s an excerpt from Thomas Pluck’s April 3 entry about Keith Rawson’s 5-2 poem, “$25”:

In a poem about giving blood, he doesn’t even use the word phlebotomist, which is admirable. I’d have given in to temptation, tried to rhyme with it, and messed the whole thing up.

Instead, we’re treated to a face “blotchy with whiteheads,” and a voice like “a cat’s tail slammed in a rusty screen door.” If you haven’t pictured this nurse with the needle in her hand, you’re not paying attention. In the end, it’s not the imagery that gives it power. That’s just the foundation. It’s the honest apathy of it.

In The 5-2’s guidelines, I seek poets’ honest, powerful reactions to what they see as crime. The same way I admire crime fiction’s realism to the atmosphere of any other genre, I admire the intimacy and bravery of a single voice speaking in poetry.

I organized a similar tour last year around the release of the fourth and final print issue of The Lineup: Poems on Crime, which I co-edited with Reed Farrel Coleman, Sarah Cortez, and Richie Narvaez. That tour raised The Lineup’s profile, but much of the public still associated The Lineup with April, an annual event. The fact we were only able to print annually did nothing to shake this association. My goals go beyond one month. I want to share the power of poetry with as many people as possible. I’m sure the Academy of American Poets, which established National Poetry Month, would say the same. A weekly website of original crime poetry is better equipped to do that.

I write fiction as well as poetry, and have found that each feeds the other. Some ideas that seem too daunting in fiction are better tackled in poetry. With that, I invite you to follow the tour, and take its inspiration with you.

Sunday, April 1 – Kevin Burton Smith, The Thrilling Detective Blog
Monday, April 2 – 5-2 Poem of the Week: “Suspect Has a History” by Jack Bates
Tuesday, April 3 – Thomas Pluck, Pluck You, Too
Wednesday, April 4 – BV Lawson, In Reference to Murder
Thursday, April 5 – John Kenyon, Things I’d Rather Be Doing
Friday, April 6 – Jeff Shelby, Waves and Words
Saturday, April 7 – Peter Rozovsky, Detectives Beyond Borders
Sunday, April 8 – Anne Frasier, Monkey with a Pen
Monday, April 9 – 5-2 Poem of the Week: “Too Easy By Far” by Stephen D. Rogers
Tuesday, April 10 – Jim Winter, Edged in Blue
Wednesday, April 11 – Kathleen A. Ryan, Women of Mystery
Thursday, April 12 –
Friday, April 13 – JT Ellison, Tao of JT
Saturday, April 14 –
Sunday, April 15 – Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine
Monday, April 16 – 5-2 Poem of the Week: “The Hardest Thing” by Nancy Scott
Tuesday, April 17 –
Wednesday, April 18 – Patricia Abbott, Pattinase
Thursday, April 19 – Bill Cameron, Thinking With My Skin
Friday, April 20 –
Saturday, April 21 –
Sunday, April 22 –
Monday, April 23 – 5-2 Poem of the Week: “Confessional Poem” by Paul Hostovsky
Tuesday, April 24 – Elizabeth A. White, Musings of an All Purpose Monkey
Wednesday, April 25 – Kathleen A. Ryan, From Cop to Mom & the Words in Between
Thursday, April 26 –
Friday, April 27 –
Saturday, April 28 – Joan Leotta
Sunday, April 29 –
Monday, April 30 – 5-2 Poem of the Week: “The Escape” by Margaret Anderson

If you’d like to fill one of the open dates above, just leave a comment on this post!

Gerald So runs The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly website.


  1. Gerald So

    Hi, everyone. As of today, all but three dates on the tour have been filled. The remaining open dates are April 20, 21, and 22. Comment on this post if you’d like to join, and I’ll continue to update the tour schedule [url=http://poemsoncrime.blogspot.com/2012/02/30-days-of-5-2-blog-tour.html]here[/url].

  2. Terrie Farley Moran

    Gerald, this sounds most excellent. I know I’ll enjoy following along.

  3. Gerald So

    Thanks, Terrie. I’m looking forward to it.

  4. Gerald So

    Just a note that the tour has begun with Kevin Burton Smith [url=http://thrillingdetectiveblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/happy-april-fools-day-once-more.html]discussing “Last Straw” by Susan Kelley[/url].

  5. Gerald So

    John Kenyon blogged his post for Day 5 of the tour – an interview with Keith Rawson – not at Things I’d Rather Be Doing, but at [url=http://tirbd.com/grift/?p=588]Grift Magazine[/url].

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