Posts Tagged Smith-Corona Super-Speed

Poem: “Falling Open” by Mark Hinton

24 June 2013


Stormy days have been the rule of late here in the North Country. Yet days of rain and steamy heat mean that woods are green again.

Here is a newer poem.



Falling Open









Poem: “Writing a Poem” by Mark Hinton

17 June 2013
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A long winter and a wet spring are giving way to summer at last. Less than a week from the longest day of the year and it feels like season and weather are finally in sync.

Poets write about what they know and what they think about most. For a poet, for any writer, the thing we think most about is writing. That is why there are so many poems about writing and so many novels and short stories where the main character is a writer.

Here is a poem about writing… and spring.



Writing a Poem





Poem: “The Art of Typing” by Mark Hinton

28 May 2013



Since all poems are love poems, you knew I would write another poem about typewriters. Here it is, with the inevitable “artistic” typos.



The art of typing






Poem: “The Reading Life” by Mark Hinton

21 May 2013

“The Reading Life”


Poets write about what is nearest their hearts and bones. Those who have followed this blog for any length of time knew that a poem about reading and enjoyment was inevitable.  Here it is.



The Reading Life



Poem: “Heaven’s Last Holy Light” by Mark Hinton

14 May 2013
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An Autumn Sunset Along the River


“I always say that a poet loves the world, and the prose writer needs to create an alternative world.” —Mary Karr

I came across this quote last week on Twitter. It is excerpted from an interview with Mary Karr in The Paris Review.

I liked it so much I retweeted it. And the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. As I have said here before, all poems are, in the end, love poems.

Here is a new poem, recently written and recently typed-up.



Heaven's Last Holy Light



Poem: “Making Sense of the World” by Mark Hinton

7 May 2013



Let’s face it, you knew a poem about John Wayne was inevitable. So here it is.



Making Sense





Poem: “Mouth of Gravity” by Mark Hinton

2 May 2013



When you type, typos are inevitable. At least they are for me. In the digital world I can quickly fix them. They are also much easier to see if you have spell-check on.

In the typing world, that is not at all the case. And once a mistake is made, it remains forever like a bad tattoo.

Here is a “finished” draft of a newer poem with yet another typo, or two.




Mouth of Gravity










On time and typing

25 April 2013

Still Life: My Cup and My Smith-Corona Super-Speed


I have been doing a little research on my Smith-Corona Super-Speed. Research in the digital age is much easier than it was in the pre-digital age. At least it is much more convenient. From the comfort of your own home, you can research rainfall averages in Botswana, what movies are currently playing in San Juan, P.R., and when your typewriter was manufactured.

According to the serial number, my Smith-Corona Super-Speed was manufactured in Syracuse, New York, in 1946, a year after the end of WWII.

In late 1942, the Smith-Corona Company put typewriter manufacturing on hold so it could could produce  M1903A3 rifles for the war effort. Rifles which are apparently still quite prized by collectors. Solid American steel and solid American workers were needed for more important things.

My Super-Speed then was manufactured in the first year after the factory had been re-tooled again to start making typewriters… swords turned back into plowshares.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone who built my Super-Speed is still alive. I picture men back from the war, spending their days making typewriters and their nights drinking beer and bowling and dating pretty girls.

Were any of those who worked on my typewriter D-Day veterans or had any of them seen action at the Battle of the Bulge?  Were any of them Marines who hit the beaches at places like Iwo Jima, or flown bombing runs over Europe?

Time has a way of distilling what is important, of revealing what should be forgotten and what should always be remembered.

Time has been kind to my Smith-Corona Super-Speed. The years are visible in small nicks and in faded and worn paint. But it still works as well as it originally did on the day it was made 67 years ago!

The Greatest Generation is now all but gone, but much of what they made still endures. I wonder if it will be the same with what our generation makes… and those that follow us.


Smith-Corona Super-Speed

Still Life: My Writing Desk and My Smith-Corona Super-Speed


Book Review: I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane

24 April 2013
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Mickey Spillane Bookmark

some cover art

For the past six weeks I have been re-reading the original six Mike Hammer novels beginning with his second novel, My Gun is Quick. Today I take a look at his very first novel, I, the Jury.

From the beginning of MontanaWriter – over three years ago now– I have tried to think and write about books and poetry here always in the light of Auden’s six characteristics of a critic. (See the introduction to Book Reviews at MonatanaWriter.)

Auden, his prologue to Dyers Hand,  wrote that a critic should:

  1. Introduce me to authors or works of art of which I was hitherto unaware.
  2. Convince me that I have undervalued an author or a work because I had not read them carefully enough.
  3. Show me relations between works of different ages and cultures which I could never have seen for myself because I do not know enough and never shall.
  4. Give a “reading” of a work which increases my understanding of it.
  5. Throw light upon the process of artistic “Making.”
  6. Throw light upon the relation of art to life, to science, economics, ethics, religion, etc.

I undertook re-reading and “reviewing” Mickey Spillane for the same reason that I have chosen to write about most of the poems or books that have been reviewed here: because they are works of art worth thinking and writing about.

There is an irony, of course, to quoting Auden in a review of Mickey Spillane. While Auden enjoyed reading mysteries and even wrote one of the best essays ever written about the genre, he clearly doubted the “literary merit” of the books he viewed merely as enjoyable reading for winding down at the end of a day.

Auden was a lover of “cozy” mysteries, the British kind… not the hardboiled American kind. He was most certainly not one of the many millions who made Mickey Spillane the best selling writer in the world.

Yet it needs to be said, while Auden was as great a poet and critic as any in the 20th Century, he was dead wrong in one thing: mysteries can be true literature.

Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald, and Mickey Spillane are not merely great genre-writers, they are true artists… certainly some of the most significant literary stylists of the 20th Century.

While Chandler’s literary reputation has grown now over the years, and Ross MacDonald’s to a lesser extent, Spillane remains an artistic pariah… a greatly under-appreciated hardboiled genius.

In  a five year period between 1947 and 1952, Mickey Spillane wrote six Mike Hammer novels:

  • I, the Jury (1947)
  • My Gun is Quick (1950)
  • Vengeance is Mine! (1950)
  • One Lonely Night (1951)
  • The Big Kill (1951)
  • Kiss Me, Deadly (1952)


Based on a character that Spillane had in mind for a comic book, Mike Hammer and Mike Hammer’s voice must have been inhabiting the dark streets of Spillane’s imagination for some time before he finally sat down in front of his Smith-Corona Super-Speed and cranked out this pulp classic.

While I, The Jury was written in just 19 days, it is clear in the opening sentences of the book that the fully-formed character of Mike Hammer that comes into the room shaking rain off of his hat is already a force of nature, one of the great literary archetypes to ever step out of the pages of a book and into the world. In language and tone, writer and detective hit us hard immediately like a punch in the gut.

Returning now to I, The Jury after having spent the last month and a half reading the other five initial Hammer books made me appreciate this literary classic all the more.

Here are the opening lines of I, the Jury.



The opening paragraphs of I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane


I shook the rain from my hat and walked into the room. Nobody said a word. They stepped back politely and I could feel their eyes on me. Pat Chambers was standing by the door to the bedroom trying to steady Myrna. The girl’s body was racking with dry sobs. I walked over and put my arms around her.

“Take it easy, kid,” I told her. “Come on over here and lie down.” I led her to a studio couch that was against the far wall and sat her down. She was in pretty bad shape. One of the uniformed cops put a pillow down for her and she stretched out.

Pat motioned me over to him and pointed to the bedroom. “In there, Mike,” he said. In there. The words hit me hard. In there was my best friend lying on the floor dead. The body. Now I could call it that. Yesterday it was Jack Williams, the guy that shared the same mud bed with me through two years of warfare in the stinking slime of the jungle. Jack, the guy who said he’d give his right arm for a friend and did when he stopped a bastard of a Jap from slitting me in two. He caught the bayonet in the biceps and they amputated his arm.

Pat didn’t say a word. He let me uncover the body and feel the cold face. For the first time in my life I felt like crying. “Where did he get it, Pat?”

[Spillane, Mickey (2001-06-01). The Mike Hammer Collection: Volume I: 1 (p. 5). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.]



Poem: “Holiness” by Mark Hinton

17 April 2013


IMG_2537 copy

Sunset Along the River

Days of gray and rain have now followed days of heavy April snows. What snow remains is in the shadow of things: the north-side of houses, beneath trees. Spring is trying to arrive in the North Country, but this year it is taking its not-so-sweet time.

Here is a poem about warmer days.







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