Review: The Black Widow by Louise Worthington

cover of The Black WidowThe Black Widow by Louise Worthington
Self-published (October 2022)
116 pages; $10.44 paperback; $4.23 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Louise Worthington started writing psychological thrillers and horror in 2019 after studying for a postgraduate diploma in psychology and reading true crime non-fiction. Her degree is in literature, and she taught English in secondary schools for many years. The emotional pull of a story is very important to her, both as a reader and a writer. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Horror Writers Association (HWA). Her latest work-in-progress, a psychological horror novel, recently won the top spot on Litopia with agent Peter Cox. Her family lives in Shropshire, a rural, historic county in the UK. Her day job is tutoring and running a farm with her husband. Their newest collection of dark poetry is the independently published The Black WidowContinue Reading

Review: Dear Ted by Kim Vodicka

cover of Dear TedDear Ted by Kim Vodicka
Really Serious Literature (June 2022)
202 pages; $19.95 paperback
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

In 2020 Kim Vodicka gifted us with The Elvis Machine, one of the most compelling, and honest collections of the year. This time, she is focusing on Ted Bundy. It would be easy to go with straight depictions of the murders. Instead, Kim pictures herself as both the fangirl obsessed with Bundy and as his victim. She delves deep into the squishy desire to be both a dehumanized thing of flesh to be used and an object of adoration.Continue Reading

Review: The Crows of After by Exsanguine Hart

cover of The Crows of AfterThe Crows of After by Exsanguine Hart
Specimen SandWitch Press (October 2022)
86 pages; $17 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Exsanguine Hart is a scribbler with an obnoxiously pretentious pseudonym living somewhere in Canada with two cats, an assemblage of dolls and a number of dragons. Hart can be found online either doodling on instagram @exsanguine_hart

or lurking on Their newest collection of poems  is The Crows of After.Continue Reading

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 MacabreContinue Reading

Review: Spirit by Helle Gade

cover of SpiritSpirit by Helle Gade
Butterdragons Publishing (May 10, 2022)
94 pages; $14.99 hardcover; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Helle Gade lives in Denmark. She is a book blogger, poet, photographer, nocturnal creature, avid reader and chocolate addict. She has been writing poetry since 2011 and published four poetry collections since then. She has been fortunate to work with a bunch of brilliant authors and photographers on The Mind’s Eye series. Her book Nocturnal Embers won the Best Poetry Collection with eFestival of Words. Her newest collection is Spirit, a series of dark and painful poems about feeling lost.Continue Reading

Review: Fortunate by Kim Rashidi

cover of FortunateFortunate by Kim Rashidi
Andrews McMeel Publishing (May 3, 2022)
161 pages; $14.99 paperback; $7.16 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Kim Rashidi is a 24-year-old poet based in Toronto. She explores the cosmos through her words and has a soft spot for capturing love and life in the mundane. Writing about the lives, cities, and timelines that mirror back the romantic, she weaves reality with imagined possibilities. She holds an MA in English literature and has taken to poetry since she was 16. Her newest collection is Fortunate, a series of poems based upon the Waite-Rider-Smith tarot deck.Continue Reading

Review: A History of Touch by Erin Emily Ann Vance

cover of A History of TouchA History of Touch by Erin Emily Ann Vance
Guernica Editions (May 1, 2022)
101 pages; $17.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Erin Emily Ann Vance is the author of the novel Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers (Stonehouse Publishing 2019) as well as six chapbooks of poetry. She was a recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize in 2017 (nominated by Aritha van Herk) and a finalist for the 2018 Alberta Magazine Awards for her short story “All the Pretty Bones.” Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in magazines and journals all over the world. Her newest poetry collection is A History of Touch, which is a profound collection of poetry about women who were ill, disabled, mad, or simply too rebellious, and the fates they faced.Continue Reading

Review: Escaping the Body by Chloe N. Clark

cover of Escaping the Body by Chloe ClarkEscaping the Body by Chloe N. Clark
Interstellar Flight Press (March 7, 2022)
118 pages; $12.99 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Chloe N. Clark is the author of Collective Gravities, Under My Tongue, Your Strange Fortune, and The Science of Unvanishing Objects. Her forthcoming books include Every Song a Vengeance and My Prayer is a Dagger, Yours is the Moon. She is a founding co-EIC of literary journal Cotton Xenomorph. Her favorite basketball player will always be Rasheed Wallace and her favorite escape artist can only be Houdini. Her newest collection, Escaping the Body, is a tour de force exploring the physical body and the liminal spaces between one’s soul and one’s skin and bones. Continue Reading

Review: Dancing With Maria’s Ghost by Alessandro Manzetti

cover of Dancing with Maria's GhostDancing With Maria’s Ghost by Alessandro Manzetti
Independent Legions (December 2021)
65 pages; $11.90 paperback, $2.99 ebook
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Alessandro Manzetti always does a great job of evoking a narrative with his poems. He has figured out a great balance of information given and withheld within the swirling images his poems paint that hints at the larger narrative beyond what we are given. I love it. So, when he has a narrative stretched over fifteen poems, you know I’m in. Continue Reading

Review: Pangaea: Prose and Poetry by Hinna Mian

cover of Pangaea: Prose and PoetryPangaea: Prose and Poetry by Hinnah Mian
Central Avenue Publishing (February 8, 2022)
128 pages; $16.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Hinnah Mian is a Pakistani American poet and author whose work has appeared in Harness Magazine, JUMP, Blue Minaret, and The Rising Phoenix Review. Her first book, To Build a Home, won silver in the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards. She spends her time journaling, exploring, and living out her days with the love of her life — her dog, Felix. Her newest collection, Pangaea: Prose and Poetry explores the horrors and traumas inflicted on one’s body in a striking and poignant collection.Continue Reading

Review: Coffin Honey by Todd Davis

cover of Coffin Honey by Todd DavisCoffin Honey by Todd Davis
Michigan State University Press (February 1, 2022)
147 pages; $19.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

In Coffin Honey, Todd Davis explores themes of violence and how people hurt each other. The book is broken into sections, each one reading like a short story told in narrative poems, which makes for some haunting connections between the poems. For example, the first section contains the poem “Taxidermy: Cathartes Aura” with lines like:

The bird’s spiraling descent
was unexpected, like when
his uncle touched him
in the cellar as he shoveled
coal for winter, telling him
he couldn’t have the fried
doughnuts sprinkled
with confectioner’s sugar
if he screamed
or told his mother.

Continue Reading

Review: The Smallest of Bones by Holly Lyn Walrath

cover of The Smallest of Bones by Holly Lynn WalrathThe Smallest of Bones by Holly Lyn Walrath
Clash Books (September 28, 2021)
90 pages; $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry and short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Liminality, and Analog. She is the author of Glimmerglass Girl (Finishing Line Press, 2018), winner of the Elgin Award for best speculative chapbook, and Numinose Lapidi, a chapbook in Italian from Kipple Press. Her newest collection is The Smallest of Bones, a collection of minimalist poems that deal with the body and the horrors found within.Continue Reading

Review: Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre

cover for Anton Cancre's poetry collectionMeaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre
Dragon’s Roost Press (October 2020)
114 pages, $9.99 Paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

In Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love, Anton Cancre creates scenes of death and works to capture them in short, poignant poems. Cancre works within various horror tropes but does his best to keep the ideas fresh and visceral for the reader. This is an interesting collection, and while the poetry is inconsistent at times, fans of horror poetry will enjoy perusing it.Continue Reading

Review: A Route Obscure and Lonely by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

A Route Obscure and Lonely by LindaAnn LoSchiavo
The Wapshott Press (December 2019)

60 pages, $7.50 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

A Route Obscure and Lonely is a unique artifact in horror poetry. It’s primarily in blank verse, and while formal horror poetry isn’t rare, what makes LindaAnn LoSchiavo’s poetry unique is that she doesn’t let the form control her poems. While many formalist horror poets fall back on outdated tropes and clichés in their writing, LoSchiavo is able to use those tools and make a very rhythmic poem, while also using modern ideas and imagery to update her poems to 21st century pieces.Continue Reading