Review: Messengers of the Macabre by LindaAnn LoSchiavo and David Davies

cover of Messengers of the MacabreMessengers of the Macabre by LindaAnn LoSchiavo and David Davies
Audience Askew (October 2022)
54 pages; $9.99 paperback; $2.99 ebook
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

LindaAnn LoSchiavo is a dramatist, writer, and poet. A native New Yorker, LoSchiavo has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Rhysling Award, Best of the Net, and Dwarf Stars. She is a member of Science Fiction Poetry Assoc., The British Fantasy Society, and The Dramatists Guild. David Davies left Wales under baleful circumstances for The Lone Star State. “Have sonnets, will travel,” announces his business card. His Pushcart- and Bram Stoker-nominated poems and stories have been known to appear in: Granfalloon, Green Lantern Press, MacroMicroCosm, Moon Shadow Sanctuary, Ripples in Space. Together, LoSchiavo and Davies have written the Halloween-themed collection Messengers of the Macabre

Messengers of the Macabre explores holidays like Samhain, Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos and similar folk traditions and festivals around the world through a lens of horror poetry and hybrid forms, like haibun.  There are poems about ghosts and witches, from the lightly haunting “Footprints in the Snow” to the darkly fun “How to Curse,” which begins:

It starts below the lungs, where the bile runs thick,
where things suppressed rot and rage
and rise bitter at the back of the mouth. 

These poems are dark, to be sure, and haunting, but they’re also fun and spirited. They read as lighter fare amongst the darker and more foreboding pieces and serve to relieve the readers slightly before they’re plunged into the terror again. 

And terror and horror there is to be had, here. Poems like “Night of the Succubus” or “Ritual” are much darker and ominous, and while they still embody the energy of the other poems, there’s something more threatening about them that lingers with the reader long past the reading. For readers looking for truly scary poems, there are a few gems in this collection to entertain. 

Overall, Messengers of the Macabre is a horror collection that’s sure to appeal to many readers. There is a variety of poetic styles throughout this collection, and poems that range from delicately haunting to outright ferocious and terrifying and everything in between. Horror readers will certainly enjoy this collection.

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