Book Review – Like a Box of Chocolates by Justin Bienvenue

★★★★ 3.5 Stars

Genre: Poetry / Dark Fantasy
Publication Date: April 26th, 2014
Publisher: Independent

Life is like a box of chocolates. Sometimes you’re lucky and you get a deluxe truffle, and sometimes it’s one of these tooth-dissolving raspberry cremes. Other times still you pull out a human finger and have to sue.
…Or… (whispers) eat the finger anyway. If you’re struck with whimsy. It’s not like anyone will notice, it’s not attached anymore.

Anyway! Horror poetry is a rare but rich and untapped genre that I love to create and to read, but this isn’t only horror. Like a Box of Chocolates is a Whitman’s sampler of genre poetry ranging from splatterpunk to fantasy to humor. There are strong poems and there are sherbet cremes. In true dessert form, even the weaker poems aren’t really bad, just okay.

It’s a gutsy and fun short read. I think the concept of choosing a title for a poem by vote then writing what imagery it evoked was pretty creative. I like to employ a similar “label first, meat later” technique in my own work to push out unpredictable ideas during a block, and the method works well (if unreliable amounts of “well”). I enjoyed this, and I recommend if you’re looking for poetry with imagination.

Quotes

  • “Scars are constant enemies embedded within the skin / madness tattooed memories like shards of glass in a bin / corruption is to dishonesty as bacteria is to griminess / clearly there can hardly be a definition of why this is.”
  • “Faintly heard are yells, gentle screams and pleas / like a ringing in the ears that just won’t appease / there is sadness in their tone but yet also demonic / while reality is still the other side is catastrophic.”
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Book Review – Glimmerglass Girl by Holly Walwrath

★★★★ 4 Stars

Genre: Poetry / Dark Fantasy
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2018
Publisher: Finishing Line Press

A paradox of piercing and delicate, like a tendril of blood dripping down a shard of crystalline ice, an homage to Alice and her looking glass illusions.

Glimmerglass Girl is a realm in a globe of femininity and both the knives and hearts it bears, or the knives puncturing hearts when worse comes to worse, as it does.
Never faint, but it’s like a symphony cut short at the intermission – it ends all too abruptly, but doesn’t it glisten while it lives?

Quotes

  • “I am night and a thousand stars hurtle through my skin, punching through the ether. I crouch, prehistoric, in the space behind clouds, my volcanic heart attracting lightning, sympathetic interstellar.”
  • “I tell my sisters: cultivate loneliness like you might care for an orchid, turning it gently towards the light, serving it water like wine; aerated, purified, filtered.”
  • “When others see me, they will see a woman unhinged. I will crawl out of my skin, leaving it all heaped behind me and the naked me will walk home alone in the darkness; a disciple of shadows, an acolyte of the moon”

Poem – “Burnt Corona”

Burnt Corona

Mechanical cosmos, coronal blast
Like the rupture of an ironworks
The crematorium of a dying star
Exorcises the ashes like a phantom,
Like a demon who exhales black holes
A solar flare burns our galaxy of regrets
With its trail imprinted in our eyes,
We can forget what is always destroyed

© S. M. Shuford 2018
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💖MHz💖 – Free Haiku eBook on Smashwords!

MHz(Complete)(c)SMShuford

MHz (Megahertz) is the concept of ambient abandonment and industrial decay gone fully chaotic. Like the other compilations I’ve done, a large portion of these haiku were cut from permanently unborn poems never to see the light as a full piece, but it would’ve been such a waste to never allow them to say their most important statements. You can download a free copy or read it early online here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/834970

It’s also listed on Goodreads if you want to offer a bit of feedback, and will be appearing on this blog piece-by-piece. MHz is going to be part of my upcoming poetry book, Absolute Heaven, which is massive (for poetry, anyway) and will actually be available in physical form as paperback!

Ironically, while it began as my least favourite, MHz has grown somewhere along the way to be one I really like, and I hope you like it as much. 🙂

💖MHz💖 – Release Date and Sample Haiku

MHz and Absolute Pressure – two sets of haiku breathing from the same lungs. Chaotic, obsessive and industrial, these poems pump out the hallucinogenic fumes of dreams.

MHz is the next-to-last free haiku eBook I will be publishing for awhile. Inspired by Japanese horror, cyberpunk art and ambient music, it’s definitely one of the stranger compilations. In tone, it’s a mix of lonely fluorescence and metallic nightmares.

It will be out either May 31st or June 1st on Smashwords and Kobo in all formats. A friendly reminder that you can get new versions of all of my haiku compilations as free downloads here.

They can all be read on my blog as well, and are tagged by their titles. MHz, along with the other haiku and a multitude of other poems are being compiled in a large omnibus called Absolute Heaven later this year, if you want to add it to your list. I am giving away a certain number of digital review copies through Goodreads if you want to request one. Anyway, here are the sample haiku as well as the sketch for the cover:

Underneath the ground
You will always feed me from
The plateau of blood
——
He comes bearing fruit
Iron, rust in the juices
Loose poisons, strange thoughts
——
Concerto of teeth
Interlude of barbed briar
Visions of starving
——
A severed ghost head
Grinding the strings of plasma
In gears of the clock

 

MHz(Line)(c)SMShuford

 

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku VI

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

51—
A rabbit’s lost tail
There waits a blood-toothed bear here
Hungers patiently

52—
Infidelity
Serpentine gourds hold for me
Dawning amnesia

53—
Somewhere a lung floats
Disembodied but laughing
Violet stains I hear

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku VI”

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku V

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

41—
Month of solitude
Warm blood, brittle meat of leaves
Drains down scrawny legs

42—
Hum of glass roaches
Uneternal drone of death
My organs slumber

43—
Teeth clatter like pearls
Radiant tendrils of oil
Dissolve my promise

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku V”

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku IV

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

31—
Braids of snow white hair
Serpent chains ride tundra wind
That lifts her higher

32—
Funnel of ivy
I fall into cursed garden
Eternal evening

33—
Phantom skull I hold
Listens to occult wavelength
Ponders black magic

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku IV”

“Infinite Summer” – Haiku III

21—
Wintergreen landscapes
Agoraphobe sees them pass
From between shutters

22—
Sapphire tentacles
Vine, thorn and leaf throttle me
In my prison swamp

23—
Ingrown deity
Sopping pustules reflect none
Of the love you preach

Continue reading ““Infinite Summer” – Haiku III”

“Infinite Summer” – Haiku II

11—
Rust-cracked dahlias
Circle sacrificial pit
God opens her eyes

12—
The lurid solstice
Dreams’ orgy alights the woods
Unfiltered heaven

13—
These industry towns
Harbor of black, steel sorrow
Mollified in glass

Continue reading ““Infinite Summer” – Haiku II”

“Infinite Summer” – Haiku I

1—
Smothered by sunbeams
A century spent scalded
Infinite summer

2—
Noteless songs released
Deflowered branches I break
To weave my death pyre

3—
Marsh bilge coats my heart
Ferns spiral, sea grass mildews
Mold moons orbit me

Continue reading ““Infinite Summer” – Haiku I”