Tags: spec poetry


The Unquiet Stars have turned right!

My latest collection of dark verse, Unquiet Stars, is in stock now & shipping from Weird House Press.

This one features a new sonnet sequence -- "Faces From the House of Pain" -- along with plenty of cosmic horror, dark archaeology, and grim SF themes.

Signed copies are available -- & better yet, it's on sale!

81 pp., perfect-bound, with color cover art by Skinny Gaviar.

For more information, or to order:


Dreams & Nightmares #118 is out

I'm very happy to report that Dreams & Nightmares #118 (edited by David Kopaska-Merkel) is out & available to order.

This issue features a poem by Jane Yolen (!) . . . & also one by Yours Truly, in addition to a fairly lengthy list of Usual Suspects & newer talent.

Dreams & Nightmares lists itself as "the oldest extant speculative poetry magazine, other than Star*Line." For a look at the latest TOC, or to order via PayPal, check here:


Abyss & Apex #78 is up

Just in time for the last bit of National Poetry Month, the 78th issue of Hugo-nominated Abyss & Apex is up! There are nine poems in this quarterly issue, & I'm very happy to report that one of them -- "Red Waking" -- is mine.

Find the current issue here: https://www.abyssapexzine.com/

"Red Waking" (a sonnet of Mars, volcanoes, & Pompeii paranoia) is here: https://www.abyssapexzine.com/2021/04/red-waking/

Abyss & Apex # 76 is up!

Actually, it's been up for a couple of weeks, at least -- but this online journal of speculative fiction, reviews, & poetry is always worth a look. Or two.

And this time, Yours Truly has a poem in it! (As part of particularly strong TOC, if I do say so myself. Which, alas, I just did.)

Find the whole issue here : https://www.abyssapexzine.com/

Or get directly to the poetry, here: https://www.abyssapexzine.com/category/poetry/

My villanelle, "Dark Matter Haunts Us," may be found here:


Recent poetry publications

Just in time for the Sequestered Spooky Season, I'm very happy to announce that I have poems in the latest issues of both Spectral Realm (dark & weird verse, mainly formal, plus reviews) & Weirdbook
(dark / weird poetry & prose)! These are both nice thick trade paperback journals, suitable for accompanying all that Halloween candy you bought anyway this year . . .

Spectral Realms #13 (Ed. S.T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press)

I've got two poems in this one, "Among the Petroglyphs" & "Red Land, Black Pharaoh"

For ToC, or to order:


Weirdbook #43 (Ed. Doug Draa, Wildside Press LLC)

I have one poem in this one, "Dark Rift"

For partial ToC, or to order:


My Goodreads review: The 2020 Rhysling Anthology

The 2020 Rhysling AnthologyThe 2020 Rhysling Anthology by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This voting anthology for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association continues to be a well-produced & reliable snapshot of the year's best speculative poetry. As usual, the majority of the poems this year were strongly narrative free verse. Formal verse maintains its presence, however -- there were some notable long-form formal entries this time around, and sonnets are perennial.

After several years of a strong horror showing in this anthology, I noticed mostly science fiction & fantasy this time around (again, with some notable exceptions). The horror poetry present was in the Gothic/weird vein, rather than the more explicit variety. Mythology was a frequent inspiration this year, & fairy tale themes seemed less common than in previous years.

The overall quality was, as usual, very high. Almost any reader of spec poetry, or indeed of spec fiction, should find many items of interest in this one.

View all my reviews

My (not yet Goodreads) Review: Carpe Noctem by Robert Borski

Robert Borski's second collection of dark poems, Carpe Noctem (Weird House), is a generous and mind-bending helping of pop culture (mostly) horror infused with wit and intelligence.

Borksi has a deep familiarity with both standard literary monsters (vampires, Frankenstein's creation, Dorian Gray, Cthulhu), and newer media additions to the canon of fear (Mothra, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Blob). He doesn't leave it at that, though. Instead, he frequently uses these tropes to tell larger stories about relationships, illness, sacrifice, and the nature of fear itself.

Of course, there is also a mile-wide streak of black humor here. Zombies are a favorite topic, and these poems are almost invariably amusing on some level -- even if that level comes right before (or after) the shudder level. Borski is also a master of the twisted punch line, particularly in his shorter poems.

These well-crafted pieces of free verse are strongly narrative and accessible, though I found myself craving a little more music in some of the lines. Borski's imagination can't be faulted, however. When it comes to morbid implications, he's always three steps ahead . . . and that last one is a doozy.

With nothing but freshly excavated dirt at the bottom.

For more information, or to order:


Note: This one isn't up on Goodreads yet, because the collection is very newly out. For me, it was a solid 4 star read -- but I'm a formalist. Those who prefer dark free verse will probably find it a 5 star experience.