Tag Archives: poetry


Edited by Stephanie M. Wytovich, the Horror Writers Associations presents their eighth annual Poetry Showcase, featuring the best in never-before-published dark verse. Edited by Stephanie M. Wytovich with judges Sara Tantlinger and myself, this year features the first Crystal Lake Poetry Contest winner, poems from Cynthia Pelayo, Lindy Ryan, Sarah Read, Alicia Hilton, Corrine De Winter, Sumiko Saulson, Querus Abuttu, Carina Bissett, Lee Murray and many more poems from the talented members of the Horror Writers Association. Cover artwork by Robert Cabeen. I’m excited to have the honor of editing the next two volumes in this series.

Thank you to Stephanie for putting together this incredible collection and Sara for judging with me. Now Available in Print and on Kindle here.


Time is running short to send in your Pushcart nominations! Each year all small magazine and book press editors all over the world are invited to send up to six nominations for any combination of poetry, short stories, essays, memoirs or stand-alone excerpts from novels to include translations, reprints and both traditional and experimental writing. Print and online publications are welcome to submit.

Unfortunately, Pushcart Press doesn’t do email or use a submissions manager so physical copies of the work (not the whole publication) must be snail mailed. Nominations must have been published (or scheduled to be published) in the current calendar year. No entry forms or fees. Any of your nominations can add “Pushcart Prize nominated” to their bios which is a nice way to recognize work you thought was exceptional.

Of course, I can’t bring up Pushcart noms without bringing up the Pushcart nom debate. There are some people (*cough* John Matthew Fox) that say since so many people get nominated and so few win, it’s “embarrassing yourself.” This is in his oft-quoted “Open Letter to Pushcart Nominated Folks.” If you want to make yourself feel bad, you can read that here.

I get it Fox, many get nominated, few win. But in my opinion (and last I checked I was still entitled to one) this doesn’t make it less important. Many get nominated, but not all. Editors only get six pieces to nominate out of everything they publish in a year. In 2019, Space and Time published well over 100 pieces. That’s worth something.

Even for those that think it’s no big deal (and no one is claiming it’s the same as being shortlisted for a Bram Stoker Award®, mind you) isn’t it tough enough to be a writer without replacing the few golden moments we have with shame?

I say include it. Throw a damn Pushcart party if you like—some people celebrate Cheesecake Day FFS—a Pushcart nom is a bigger deal than that. Why tarnish the joy? From me, a hearty congratulations to all Pushcart nominations everywhere. An editor thought your work was exemplary, worthy of note. Good job.

And to all my small press editor friends (magazine and book, online and print) get those nominations postmarked by Dec. 1. For the cost of a stamp, you can give someone a good day. We need more of those. Full details on nomination here.


Being people is weird. One day I’m weeping into an ebook layout positive that I and everything around me is doomed. The neighbor’s death was the last straw of the week. The next day I start out the Third Sunday Live event with Amy by telling her I hoped I wouldn’t be too much of a downer for the event. About a half hour later I’m crying on Instagram Live because I’m laughing so hard.

Among the topics: a not-sexual vibrator game I used to play with my neighbors and what happened when my church came to help me move and found it under my mattress. I also shared how I was once a Women of the Chapel president and also somehow had a porn site in my name. Neither was mine, the vibrator or porn site.

I don’t know how long this show lasted. It was the craziest, most off topic one we’ve ever done. And it was just what I needed. Uncontrollable, insane laughter with a friend while telling my embarrassing stories live puts everything into perspective again.

I stand by my opening statement. Being people is weird.


I don’t know if I have ever had so many reviews on a one week old book as we have on Tortured Willows right now… and such reviews. My head is spinning from all the responses but not just “great poetry” or “spooky reading.” The responses have been conversations.

The theme of all these reviews seems to be connection. Readers say they understand it more about Asian culture, or empathy because they’ve felt the same things. Some have discovered new things, concepts, perspectives. All have been flattering. That is why we wrote this collection. Thank you for all reviews, every word of feedback. To quote Elizabeth Miki Brina in Speak, Okinawa, we “feel seen, rather than exposed.” That is worth everything.

Tortured Willows for ebook should be available within 24 hours. Here are just a few of the reviews that have been filling the inbox.

Thank you Nat Whiston Reviews!


Tortured Willows, Skydiving, and the Magic of Poetry.
Geneve Flynn in a Guest Post on Stephanie Wytovich’s blog Join Me in the Madhouse.

The Horror Tree Blog Tour
Lee Murray — Cheongsam
Geneve Flynn –When The Girls Began to Fall

Epeolatry Book Reviews: Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken


Something wicked comes for a realtor trying to unload a dilapidated manor on a naïve, young couple. Turns out not everyone—actually no one—is being transparent… Enjoy listening to a reading of “Unquiet House” by LindaAnn LoSchiavo from A Route Obscure and Lonely (Wapshott Press). This beautiful reading is performed by Dylan Dagenais.

I’ve been curating the 2021 Halloween Poetry Page for the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) and “Unquiet House” was one of the many sent in. You can listen to “Samhain,” another poem written and performed by LindaAnn LoSchiavo there. Members of the SFPA are invited to submit their own spooky readings to be shared. See what’s been posted so far here.

And if you write speculative poetry and you aren’t a member, you might consider joining here.


One of the books I’ve recently picked up is The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan by Carmen Blacker. While I’m not crazy about the word shaman, and Blacker seems to lump Okinawa in as being the same as Japan, there’s a lot of meat to chew through here. I just thought I’d share an exciting morsel I read today on poetry, magic practices and haiku…

When interviewing Nakayama Tarō about the language of the gods, Blacker says, “Nakayama points out, we can detect in the god’s speech the metre which from the earliest times has been fundamental to Japanese poetry, a metre of alternating seven and five syllables… Japanese poetry began as the utterances of a shaman in a trance. Its metre and poetic devices are not the work of man, but revealed from a divine source.”

“A metre of alternating seven and five syllables” is pretty much haiku. Without getting into a discussion of what is and isn’t haiku (excellent post on this btw: HAIKU: A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN 5-7-5) the point: In Japan, poetry began as utterances of magic in a 5-7-5 meter—haiku.

Why does it matter to me? Because I write in linked haiku—even the canzonet I’ll be reading this coming Saturday for Cake & Hyperbull I wrote in a 5-7-5 meter. I like the challenge of staying within the syllabic structure and choose to work within those boundaries. That’s what sounds/feels right to me. It was very cool to read that haiku began as shamanic utterances… but it’s no surprise revelation.

Poetry has been in the realm of magical utterance in many (if not all) cultures. Far before “Boil, boil, toil and trouble…” became a thing, humans have exhibited a natural appreciation and awe of the poet as conjurer. Witches and warriors alike have sensed the power of the poem to create change. Poetry is magic. Magic is power. Poetry is power.

It’s just nice to see a scholarly work say so.


The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan (3rd ed.) by Carmen Blacker (Sept. 15, 1999) affiliate link

how to write powerful poetry spells” by Lisa Marie Basile, Luna Luna (Feb. 28, 2021)

Poetry and Magic” by S. Musgrove, The Australian Quarterly Vol. 18, No. 1 (Mar., 1946)

Poetry, Like Witchcraft and Magick, is an Act of Transformation” by Janaka Stucky, Literary Hub, (May 3, 2019)

Page 112, The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan
by Carmen Blacker


The literary spotlight is shining on Maxwell I. Gold with his book Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose (Crystal Lake Publishing). Maxwell will be reading and discussing his poetry. You can find Maxwell I. Gold’s website here: thewellsoftheweird.com.

From Amazon: Enter a world of desolate imagination, rhizomatic beauty, and ruined cities. Oblivion in Flux, the debut prose poetry collection of Maxwell I. Gold, takes the reader on a trip along demented railways and past rhizomatic tubular dreamscapes, to find themselves transported to plastic cities where the Cyber Gods sit on thrones of ivory and bone.

With over 50 poems in this volume, you’ll discover artifacts and forgotten places, ruins and dark secrets. Oblivion in Flux intertwines prosaic story-telling and poetic visions, to tell the narrative of the Cyber Gods and those who have met them.

The book features original poems and reprints as well as a brand-new collaborative prose poem written by the author and Bram Stoker Award® winner and SFPA Grandmaster, Linda D. Addison.

You can find this book on Amazon here. affiliate link

See past LIT UPs here.


On yesterday’s Cake & Hyperbull, Amy Zoellers randomly picked a poetry challenge from her copy of A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch. This last month it was Flarf, and we shared our Flarf creations live.

What do I think of Flarf? I love it. The idea of using Google to mine poetry appeals to me. It reminds me of a sculptor carving a woman out of a block of marble. Flarf is poets carving poetry from a block of search engine. I’m posting my Flarf at Poetrynook.com tomorrow, or you can watch the show and hear it here.

Now, on to a new month and a new challenge! This time Amy randomly paged through A Poet’s Glossary and picked “canzonet.” Holy Hell, what the heck is that? So far I have found little on the internet except that Oscar Wilde wrote one. This is fine… but how do I write one?

The only thing I have to go from is this description (below) from A Poet’s Glossary. Oh, and we decided writing the mysterious canzonet isn’t enough. Our creations must include the phrase “My beret is full of questions” as well.

If you want to participate, send me your canzonet here and I will read all I on the next Cake & Hyperbull—every first Saturday.

Are you a canzonet expert? Feel free to post any helpful links or insight in the comments.

From A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch

On the Fifth Day of Halloween: Three Deaths

Ryan Aussie Smith

On the fifth day of Halloween my true love gave to me… a reading of “Three Deaths.” This is another written for Nina D’Arcangela‘s Ladies of Horror monthly photo prompt—I think her prompts inspire some of my best work. This one was written back in November 2018 and is included in my newest chapbook, Altars and Oubliettes, available on Amazon here.

Why did I write it? I had just read that in Mexican tradition, people die three deaths. The first is when the heart stops beating and the body grows cold. The second is when the body has returned to earth and ash. The third and final death is when no one is left that remembers your name.

Perhaps we’d all be a little friendlier if they sounded like this. This is “Three Deaths,” written by me and performed by Ryan Aussie Smith. Published in my newly released poetry chapbook Altars and Oubliettesavailable on Amazon here.

Three Deaths, written by Angela Yuriko Smith and performed by Ryan Aussie Smith
Music: Twelve Days Of Christmas by Alexander Nakarada
Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/5503-twelve-days-of-christmas
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

You can find all the 13 Day recordings as they publish here.

On the Fourth Day of Halloween: Exquisite Corpse

Ryan Aussie Smith

On the fourth day of Halloween my true love gave to me… a reading of Exquisite Corpse. This was originally written for Nina D’Arcangela‘s Ladies of Horror monthly photo prompt back in August of 2018. It’s also included in my just released poetry chapbook Altars and Oubliettesavailable on Amazon here.

Why did I write it? The image is just a skeleton’s face close up. At the time I was putting together some exquisite corpse poems (find many of them here). Confusing, I know. This is not an exquisite corpse… just titled that. To make matters worse, I think I have a short story somewhere of the same title. I do like making the most of things.

This is “Exquisite Corpse,” written by me and performed by Ryan Aussie Smith. Published in my newly released poetry chapbook Altars and Oubliettesavailable on Amazon here.

Exquisite Corpse, written by Angela Yuriko Smith and performed by Ryan Aussie Smith

You can find all the 13 Day recordings as they publish here.