Exposed Nerves is a collection of feminist horror poems, mostly in the narrative or lyric vein. Lucy A. Snyder excels at taking a known trope — the big bad wolf in “Wolf Waltz” or rapists in “My Neighbor Defends Her Champion” — and flipping the perspective. A lot of these poems use their subjects to make social commentary, which is one of the main purposes of horror. Snyder often takes the women in her poems and allows them to triumph over evil. In “turnt,” for example, a teenage girl is lured into a older boy’s automobile until she can’t help but turning into a ferocious beast:
pulse hammering inside the secluded car skin splitting over hairy muscle, scarlet claws and he’s screaming, wailing like he’s burning
Here the hunted becomes the hunter, and while the idea of a teenage werewolf is certainly nothing new, Snyder’s imagery and metaphorical language makes the redemptive story fresh and interesting for readers.
There are times when Snyder’s poems, however, seem to teeter into weak craft decisions. “The Unforgiving King,” for example, has stanzas that seem based on a haiku “syllable count” (which is, of course, a linguistic misunderstanding that has been disputed and disproven by poetry scholars) but show no understanding of how the haiku form works. “The Invisible Woman,” a poem written with Gary A. Braunbeck, suffers from weak lines and poorly executed line breaks, but its strong imagery and overriding metaphor overwhelm its flawed structure. How much of this is Snyder’s fault or just poor curation or editing one can’t tell, but these flaws are few and far between, and the collection doesn’t suffer greatly because of them.
Overall, Exposed Nerves by Lucy A. Snyder is a relatively strong collection of feminist horror poems. While there are a few misses, most of the poems stand up to scrutiny and the overarching themes within the collection — angry defiance against a threatening patriarchy and a thirst for revenge and justice — are current and necessary. This is a solid collection of horror poetry which readers will very much enjoy.
Nostalgia can be horrific and, in this case, also incredibly fun. With over twenty tales thrown back into an era where horror bled out of every corner of the literary universe, Attack from the ’80s culls some of the best writers today, many of whom suffered through the decade to carve deep into the psyche.Continue Reading
Jezzy Wolfe is an author of dark fiction, with a predilection for absurdity. A lifelong native of Virginia Beach, Jezzy lives with her family and quite a few ferrets. Her poems and stories have appeared in various ezines and magazines. Her newest collection of poetry is Monstrum Poetica.Continue Reading
I know what you are thinking: we can all get this story for free. At the very least, we can get it in a collection with plenty of other stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe. Why would anyone want to pay $27?Continue Reading
The Apocalyptic Mannequin is a collection of poetry about the apocalypse, and those who survived. Wytovich attempts to tap into the emotions of survivors with her poetry, creating a cast of characters who explore their fears and pain; however, while there are some really inventive ideas and clever survivor stories in this collection, the majority of the poems ultimately fall short due to craft issues.Continue Reading
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and her newest collection, also nominated for the Stoker Award, Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare.Continue Reading
You know what I was just thinking we don’t have nearly enough of? Hyper-violent, dystopian, post-apocalyptic sword and sandals-style fantasy with a hefty seasoning of Shakespearean drama. Luckily, we have Jess McHugh’s Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven swooping in to pluck out our eyes.Continue Reading
I never read Daughters of Lilith, the previous literary/artistic collaboration between Donna Lynch and Steven Archer. Why have I never read it? Seriously, because Witches is a wonderful, odd bit of joy in the world.
Let’s start with the obvious: $25 is a bit intimidating when looking at a book of poetry, especially one this short. But, as much as it feels weird saying these words in this specific order, this is more than just a book of poetry. It is also more than just a book of art. It’s the combination of the two and how they mesh and interact to create something that, to beg forgiveness for the cliché, is much more than the sum of its parts.Continue Reading
Let’s go ahead and skip the expected Princess Bride reference and pretend I made it so we can move on, alright? After all, marriage isn’t just about love, no matter how true that love may be. Just as it isn’t about sex (just ask every hack comic). Or the creation of small clones of yourselves. Or the merging of empires. Sure, those are part of it, but they utterly fail to encompass the actual experience. Marriage is about a life shared, along with all of the terror, heartache, unbridled rage and desperation that entails. The rest is just window dressing.Continue Reading
Matt Betts has been making a name for himself as a novelist lately, but that isn’t how I got to know him. I was first introduced to Matt as a poet, via his superb collection See No Evil, Say No Evil. A guy who wrote poems about cool stuff, like Godzilla and Monsters and Why You Should Totally Leave The Beach. A guy who reveled in the silly and absurd, but could find glimpses of the sublime and occasionally heartbreaking between the lines. Underwater Fistfight is a return to form that I have been waiting for, lo these many intervening years.Continue Reading
I’ve been a huge fan of Lucy Snyder’s work for years. Her yarns are fun, gutsy and weird as all get out. While the Black Stars Burn, though, has caused me to realize how important it is in the pantheon of full out capital-L Literature.
“Mostly Monsters” makes this indisputably clear from the first page. On the surface, we have the destructive relationship between a father and his daughter and the damage it causes. A sharp, heartbreakingly personal tale of familial horror that kicked me right in the teeth. At the same time, it screams its manifesto to refuse to look away from the small terrors that shape us daily. The sense of causation here, the implications of what went wrong, where and what could be done to keep it from happening in the future are woven through every word without ever stopping the story itself or robbing it of emotional impact.Continue Reading
So that we are clear, An Exorcism of Angels is a book of poems about love, but they are a far cry from the images of roses and violets and fleas as sex metaphors. Stephanie Wytovich presents us with love born of need instead of desire. Love that is desperate, angry, bitter and spewing bile and that red, red kroovy all over the place. Love with no happily ever after, ending in padded rooms and jail cells with screams echoing outside and in. Continue Reading