In ‘Baby, I Don’t Care,’ Droll and Fierce Poems Influenced by Film Noir

In ‘Baby, I Don’t Care,’ Droll and Fierce Poems Influenced by Film Noir

By Dwight Garner

Courtesy New York Times

Chelsey Minnis    Photo Rasheeda Winfield

Chelsey Minnis Photo Rasheeda Winfield

Some poets are cutters, others are curers, showing up to every occasion like a condolence-wisher with a casserole. Chelsey Minnis is firmly in the first category. Her verse arrives well chilled. It is served with misanthropic aplomb.

“Let’s go get some smoke in our eyes,” she writes in her latest collection, “Baby, I Don’t Care,” a set of nearly 150 single-page poems, most of them untitled double quintets, that play with notions taken from Hollywood’s golden era and film noir.

Minnis is endlessly quotable, so one has to work hard not to quote her endlessly. “Let’s be objectionable and immoral and utterly no good,” her narrator suggests. “Let’s get thrown into third class.” She says: “You see, I’m the type of person who would hurt a fly.” And: “Did anyone ever try to kill you in a rowboat before?”

Read on….

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Beth Ford