Careen by Carolyn Smart
Clyde Barrow loved Bonnie Parker and he drove like a bat out of hell. Bonnie Parker loved Clyde Barrow and Bonnie wrote poetry. These outlaw lovers and public enemy number ones, along with the other members of the legendary Barrow Gang, are the stars of Carolyn Smart’s seventh collection, Careen. It’s a rollicking ride across the backroads of Texas and the American Midwest during their infamous 1930s crime spree. Smart doesn’t glamourize their lives the way that the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde did. In actuality, the gang lived a hardscrabble, uneasy life, punctuated by narrow escapes, and the harsh reality of life on the road took its toll on both of them. In poems like “when we drive this way” (“We drive so long and fast I forget I wear my bones some days.”), “I Love the car” (“world flyin by and we could let it go.”) and the opening poem, “Texas, 1930” (“into the long white ribbon of road the future careens away”), she invites you to surrender to the myth of two of the most famous and romanticized criminals in American history. Take a seat and enjoy the ride.