Review: The Sibyl by Hamant Singh

cover of The SibylThe Sibyl by Hamant Singh
Partridge Publishing (December 2022)
102 pages; $27.99 hardcover; $8.03 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Hamant Singh is a Singaporean writer who is influenced by horror, different cultures and the occult. He currently resides in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico where he enjoys gardening, reading and making music. He is currently working on a second book featuring more international writers. In 2022, he completed his first collection of poems entitled The Sibyl

The Sibyl is a collection of intergalactic, mythic horror poetry. The opening poem, “Black Flame,” contains lines like: 

I am awakened –
Swallowed whole by Tehom,
I am willingly
Consumed by Chaos.
Hail Tohu!
I hear you,
Wordless whispers,
Sinistral songs of infinity
That dance on midnight winds.
Hymns of adoration
Eternally roll off my lips.

Clearly, Singh is tapping into ancient religious invocations with this poem, calling up ancient otherworldly creatures. These images and subjects are carried through poems like “Grahanam,” which contains the lines:

When time itself loses meaning,
The chaos that ensues is
Simply stellar.

This is an interesting take on Weird poetry, tapping into the otherworldly and the cosmic via religious language and intonation. It’s not a new concept, but Singh certainly does what he can to make it his own.

Elsewhere, Singh attempts formal poetry with similar success as his free verse. Once again, Singh taps into horror imagery and tropes, as well as the mythic. For example, “Seventy Demons” begins with the incantatory:

And the first of ten rose up to say
“We are punished forever and a day
And our tears that fall, they find no shoulder.
Our yearning for love, a hopeless smoulder.”

The meter is a bit wobbly, but the poem falls into a fun counting rhyme that ends in a triumphantly devilish fashion. Many of Singh’s poems are like this — darkly nursery-rhymed and eerie, but differently horrific than the Weird free verse.

Overall, this is a decent collection of horror poetry. It’s a longer book, gorgeously illustrated, with over nine years of poetry included. Hamant Singh is already starting to be nominated for awards, and if the poems in this collection are anything to go by, we’ll see his name on those statues sooner rather than later. Get in on the ground level, readers, lest this poetic train pass you by!

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