Friday, July 26, 2013

The Ruby Files Volume One

If you're are in need of a hard boiled, pulp, private eye fix, look no further than The Ruby Files Volume One, published by Airship 27, the top drawer printer and purveyor of all things New Pulp.

The Ruby Files Volume One showcases stories about the rugged shoofly Rick Ruby. Now, if you are like me, you'll automatically use Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer as a reference point-- or, maybe Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade or Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe. Although, you wouldn't be far off the mark, those two examples are among quite a few influences. As one of the authors of a Ruby story pointed out, the series  also draws heavily on Blake Edwards's  Peter Gunn.

I would back that assertion up by saying there's a celluloid cool about the gumshoe and he makes a seedy den of smoky, sultry jazz his home. Along with that, Ruby is also one sardonic shamus who is always cracking wise; as opposed to  a PI  like Mike Hammer, who broods and has an ultra violent temper.

Being the true slewfoot he is, Ruby never resorts to vengeance or vigilantism, which would also separate him from Hammer and pull him closer to Marlowe or Spade. But like Hammer, he is very much on the side of right and has a keen affection for his lady friends; that includes a fierce loyalty to Edie, his voluptious, but, very religious receptionist -- not unlike the famous Velda who is the one that keeps Mike Hammer grounded.

What I  also like about this collection of stories is that while the setting is the pitiless streets of 1930's New York, and there is some blood and gore, the mood is breezy and the dialogue droll. Again, very much like Blake Edwards. 

The style of prose ranges from purple and dramatic, to very spare. Hard boiled slang abounds and that is fine by this afficionado of the "roughie". With that said, the creators employed the leathery pidgin with a deft hand and light touch.

"Every story a gem..."  is what the tagline reads--and you will find much truth in that shibboleth. The Ruby Files Volume One can be purchased at

Monday, July 22, 2013

What makes a poet edgy

It's been a long time since I have written a poem-- at least a year. These days I am so caught up in pulp fiction that poetry has taken a back seat. Yesterday, a long time friend posed the question, "What makes a poet edgy?" I'm not sure I have a definate answer to that question and I am not sure he was looking for one.

All I can talk about is what I have learned about poetry through writing it. In order to be a good poet you have to be obsessed with something in life.  All your poems should be about that very thing, whether it is a question, feeling or thought.  For instance, if you are writing about a barn, the images could be metaphors about love or the loss of love and as a result, you will have created a very unique and lasting picture of that barn.

Also, as put to me by another great writer, your poems should be about watercolor moments. Or, if you are edgy, they might want to be tacky velvet art moments.

When I was younger I used to think a poem did not have to have simile, symbolism or metaphor. But I have learned that poems without those elements, while well written, are like cotton candy. They are good for the moment and satisfy your immediate sweet tooth, but disolve very quickly and leave you in the same place you started.

Poems with all the poetic conventions are like biting into a medium rare filet mignon; so much richer and so much more flavor.