Why a mystery?

This is the question my poetry and lit-fic friends generally ask me when I tell them what I've been doing with my brain the past couple of years. They seem a bit nonplussed, as though they'd heard I'd taken up bungee-jumping or crack smoking or become a Buddhist monk. The best explanation I can offer has two parts: first, I've been a fan of mysteries and noir fiction forever—almost as long as I've been able to read. Give me a good bad book and I'm a happy guy. Second, I think the poetry world had started to feel a bit cramped to me—so many of us scrambling after the same pitiful crumbs. There was something ultimately mean-spirited and unseemly about the degree of competition, and the bitterness with which a great many of us approached it. I needed a break, I guess. I think I'll write another book or two of poems, once I've finished MATING SEASON (the sequel to HIGH SEASON) and had a chance to really sit down with the memoir (KING OF HEARTS) and see if there's any there there. At the moment, though, I'm having too much fun with my characters and my setting and working the kinks out of the plot over cocktails with the lovely A_____ to worry much about whether I'm making art.

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