Bonnie and Clyde; the Barrow Gang: “It is no lie there was drinkin,” poet Carolyn Smart writes. “There is only so much room for endless grief.” Careen is a story, a song, a history in poems – something curious and different. Occasionally, it has the feel of theatre; each character stepping onto the stage to deliver their soliloquies, while the audience is let in on the tenderest of truths. Smart writes as each character in turn, taking a tale stretched to mythological heights and instead makes it small, real and breathless. “I was not raised up to be genteel nor feeble yet the cruel heat that blows across my face is like to wear me out, I drive into the pinewoods, settle in the shade, shadows flow across my back like waves upon the Galveston sand.” The senselessness of crime and violence, policing, this cat-and-mouse-ness, the public’s sympathy for the Barrows: what is that? Is it gawking, to revisit the past this way? Here is a creation more personal: a book of memories, an artpiece to fill the reader with questions about human nature, right and wrong, sentimentality, hunger, poverty and fame. Bonnie Parker was herself a poet – and there is something fitting in this, in poetry written for a poet. Smart tells a tale that – at its heart – is both lonesome and romantic.
To see this review, here is the link to Scene magazine, go to page 20.