Thursday 8 December 2022

WRITING POETRY IN THE DARK by Stephanie M. Wytovich

Writing Poetry in the Dark brings together some of the most successful contemporary genre poets to discuss topics related to creating dark and fantastical poetry.

While there are countless books available for the aspiring poet, there is a lack of resources specifically for and on speculative poetry, and with the market thriving, publishers who previously did not put out poetry are now adding it to their catalogs, requesting it for their anthologies, and seeking it for their magazines. Given these factors, it seemed like the perfect time to put together a guide for dark poets that addresses some of the unique challenges they face, such as creating monsters out of white space, writing the hybrid poem, or subverting folklore in the retelling of a classic tale.

Included in Writing Poetry in the Dark are recommendations on how to bring fear to the page, write from the wound, let violence loose, channel the weird, and tackle the dark side of daily life. There are also practical suggestions for exploring different poetic forms and topics ranging from building worlds, writing from different points of view, and exploring gender and sexuality on the page. This book will bring something different to every speculative writer who is interested in exploring poetry with a genre twist, and it is our hope that this book will help poetry itself continue to evolve, grow, and redefine itself in the market for many years to come.

Firstly, I want to thank Erin Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy of this very cool book.

Back in 2020, I read Writing in the Dark by Tim Waggoner and really enjoyed the workbook/textbook approach to writing horror. In this edition, a similar approach is taken by Stephanie M. Wytovich. But for poetry, and in the form of very helpful essays.

Although I love reading poetry and have appreciated this lyrical way of capturing emotion and experience for years, my personal interaction with poetry was mainly in my teens. Back then, I wrote a lot of angst-ridden, haunting poems, but stopped writing them after I finished high school. Not sure why, but I think it might be because somewhere along the way, I found the prospect of writing poetry intimidating. Too hard.

Well, this is just the guide book I needed!

After a very interesting introduction by both Tim Waggoner and Stephanie M. Wytovich, the book takes the eager reader on an adventure of the written word via the beautiful art that is poetry. 

The topics covered include horror, haiku, sci-fi, fairy tales, expression of sexuality and gender, historical, and so much more. All explained very well by both familiar and new-to-me poets. Every one of these writers delivers an interesting and helpful essay—as well as examples—about the many facets, genres and styles of poetry. What every one of these contributions shares is the ability to open the reader's mind and gain a new understanding about how to attempt your own piece/s.

I enjoyed this crafty book because it's packed full of great information. Like the edition before it, I'll be adding this to my Keeper Shelf. And will probably grab it many times for future reference.

If you're like me and love poetry but feel like you're not good enough to write any, you should grab yourself a copy and soak up all the great information.

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