If You Died Tomorrow I Would Eat Your Corpse by Wrath James White
CLASH Books (February 2018)
100 pages, $13.95 paperback; $5.95 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre
I know poetry fans are a fairly small subset. Fans of extreme horror poetry even more so. Once we cut (CUT—Ha! See what I did there?) that down to fans of extreme horror erotic poetry, we’ve got Steve. Maybe Jessica. Clearly, Leza is. But I’m pretty sure those three bought this the second it came out. The question is how to convince the rest of you.
Because If You Died Tomorrow is just solid poetry, regardless of your personal proclivities.
Sure, there is plenty of violence here. The first, untitled poem makes that clear enough to even those who have never read a word of Wrath’s previous work. There is also plenty of hot, sweaty and sensual sexy time. “It’s a Rainy Day” makes no bones about that. “Cupid In Bondage” combines the two deftly and with purposeful force. If you are a fan of Wrath’s this doesn’t surprise you at all.
Never having read the man’s poetry, though, I wasn’t quite prepared for how well the man wields rhythm. After all, his prose is rather straightforward and I have, frankly, been burned by a few too many authors who thought poetry would be easier than fiction. His use of line breaks and white space is also incredibly impressive. The words he chooses to use have been honed to a fine point, as are those he has chosen to leave behind. That’s what makes the more emotionally charged works like “The Milk of Human Depravity” cut so deep.
Yeah, I have a thing about people who use punctuation inconsistently in poetry. I can deal with absence or full grammatical use. I’m not all that fond of the sometimes-on, sometimes-off approach used here. However, it isn’t enough to take away from the simple, restrained joy of something like “At the Dinner Table On Christmas Day” that implies so much while directly saying so little. Those three lines, alone, are worth the the cost of the collection.