Horror Poetry Mini Reviews: Monstrum Poetica, Exposed Nerves, Fanged Dandelion

December 28, 2021

58951196. sy475 TITLE: Monstrum Poetica
AUTHOR: Jezzy Wolfe
GENRE: Horror/Poetry
PAGES: 130pg

When was the last time you walked through the woods? Checked under your bed? Walked down into your basement alone? Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe is an invocation of boogeymen, a graveyard seance, a summons to horrors both large and small. This is a collection of poems that bite, scratch, snarl, and bleed. Filled with magnificent beasts and the sounds of cracked bones and broken teeth, Wolfe takes her readers through the folklore and mythology behind some of the world’s most terrifying creatures.

Here you’ll meet jinn, vampires, werewolves, and wendigos, tangle with mermaids, wraiths, aswang and hellhounds. It’s a dance of specters and spiders, a logbook of limbs and lost persons. If you’re lucky, you’ll learn what to do when the lights flicker, when the lightbulb goes out, when darkness becomes your only friend, and the next time you hear a whisper, or feel the hot breath of fear on your neck, you’ll remember what do, where to go…

Because this is a book that teaches you how to hunt monsters, how to track fiends, how to bathe in the blood and digestive juices all of things that go bump in the night. Carry this manual with you. Hold it close, memorize its contents for these poems are warnings, a resounding alarm. I suggest you head them. They might just save your life.

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We are not meant to know
how it is to look upon ourselves—
The moment of meeting our own eyes
and seeing what is, or isn’t, in their depths;
That moment when we know
the evil within,
the us outside,
is the evil that chases us through
the nightmares we wave away come dawn…

I love poetry, I love horror, and I love stories of urban legends, long-remembered beasties and folklore that carries down through generations. Monstrum Poetica contains all three of those elements and executes each one with terrifying, wicked brilliance.

This collection highlights seventeen separate creatures, from the brutal aswang to the ambiguous Mothman to the shambling zombie, with a few short poems dedicated to each. Each section begins with a very short introduction to the lore behind those beasties, where it’s made evident that Jezzy Wolfe has a true passion for the subject and absolutely did her research. I loved those snippets tremendously as they were not only informative and enjoyable, but the bits of prose also broke up the poems in a way that made each piece stand clearly apart from the next one.

I literally couldn’t put this collection down and ended up tearing through the entire thing in one go. There aren’t many poetry books I re-read, but I know this will be one of them, because it’s only been two days and I’m already itching to re-visit these little horrors!

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!

content warnings →

violence, death

representation →

59046855TITLE: Exposed Nerves
AUTHOR: Lucy A. Snyder
GENRE: Horror/Poetry
PAGES: 114pg

Exposed Nerves continues the explorations into dark poetry by Stoker Award winner and Shirley Jackson Award nominee Lucy A. Snyder, pairing the author’s sly wordplay and imagery with grim introspection. By turns challenging, wryly amusing and gut-wrenching, Snyder’s work plumbs bittersweet catharsis and maps a survivor’s path through dangerous worlds, both the real and the horrifically imagined.

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Exposed Nerves is an incredible collection of horror poetry and served as a wonderful reminder to me of why I so thoroughly enjoyed Lucy A. Snyder’s work in the past. Lucy has a way with word-weaving that’s really captivating, and I found myself nodding along time and time again to the thematic points many of these poems made. Exposed Nerves is an excellent example of how well horror poetry can be used to deliver a striking social commentary, all while still holding true to its ominous, creepy horror offerings.

While many of the pieces in this collection resonated with me, there’s one poem in particular that I have to bring your attention to: Making Light. This brief piece delves into how deep generational trauma goes, and the ways in which one person’s terrible and cruel decision can affect so many other links down the chain.

Even though
I wasn’t born
I can hear it
I can feel it
I can meet
my own
stony gaze
and see it.

If you enjoy horror poetry, Lucy A. Snyder is a can’t-miss author, and I highly recommend this feminist, delightfully inclusive, altogether unnerving collection.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!

content warnings →

violence, death/murder, racism, sexism, homophobia

representation →

discussions of queerness and racism

56437543. sy475 TITLE: Fanged Dandelion
AUTHOR: Eric LaRocca
GENRE: Horror/Poetry
PAGES: 42pg

A dark and deeply wounding portrait of a young queer man on the verge of splintering apart, ‘Fanged Dandelion’ is a nightmarish odyssey that delves into the bowels of the human mind – a frightening exploration of the caskets we build inside our heads…

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I need help, someone
please do something
I would have never
cut a hole so deep
in my abdomen if
I had known how
much it would hurt

Eric has become one of my favorite authors of all time, and this collection was just as perfectly upsetting, dark, and troubling as I hoped it would be. Simply the way they string words together feels like a dangerous magic on its own, but coupling that incredible writing with the vulnerability and brutal honesty in Eric’s dissection of intrusive thoughts and fear of one’s own mind makes this a collection I won’t forget.

content warnings →

violence/mutilation, death, child death, infanticide, insects, intrusive thoughts about harming loved ones

representation →

Eric LaRocca is a queer author in a queer relationship and that is alluded to multiple times in these poems.



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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.


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