NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER!

Posted in Announcements, General, New Book, news with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2021 by jezzywolfe

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After much anticipation, Monstrum Poetica is officially scheduled for release September 2, 2021!

Available from Raw Dog Screaming Press, this poetry collection features monsters from around the world, and includes an introduction from New York Times Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry. You don’t have to wait until Sept 2 to order it, of course. All preordered copies will include a signed bookplate, so if you want a signed copy, now is the time!

Full details about the collection can be found over at Kendall Reviews, as well as the full cover reveal. The cover artist is Steven Archer, and I am really excited about this, so be sure to go check it out! A link for the preorders can also be found there.

I spent a LOT of time talking about this project, and the time has finally come to share it with you. I am so proud of this wicked little creation, and I do hope you will enjoy it!

Further announcements about Monstrum Poetica, as well as other projects, are soon coming.

Stay safe, and stay tuned!

~ Jezzy

There! On the Horizon

Posted in General, news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2021 by jezzywolfe

Hello, my favorite freakies!

I apologize for my absence, as of late. I am lagging in my spotlight interviews, but they will return. It’s been an eventful year so far, and I have a few bits of news to share with you.

Sometime this summer, I expect to announce that my poetry collection, MONSTRUM POETICA, will be available for purchase. The incredible team over at Raw Dog Screaming Press has done a phenomenal job with it so far, and I cannot wait to share it with you! So be on the lookout for further announcements. They will be made soon!

Last June, my poem, Mother, Mad appeared in Space & Time magazine, issue #137. I mentioned that here, at the time, but wanted to remind you that you can pick up a copy of this fantastic publication HERE. There’s a lot of great stuff on those pages, so I recommend you check it out!

In November 2020, another one of my pieces made an appearance in the incredibly creepy novel INK, by prolific New York Times Bestselling Author, Jonathan Maberry. If you are interested in picking up a copy… and you should be, because Mr. Maberry is an amazing author… check it out HERE for further information.

2021 has had its share of successes, so far. In addition to my debut collection, I placed 10th in the finalists for the Crystal Lake Poetry competition for my poem, Dead Above. I will disclose further details about that as they are made available.

I was also asked to write an essay for the poetry feature in the HWA newsletter, another huge honor that I was excited  to receive.

I have a piece appearing in another upcoming novel from Jonathan Maberry, this one being the next saga in his popular Joe Ledger series. Keep your eyes peeled for more information regarding the release date for RELENTLESS. (And if you are unfamiliar with this highly regarded series, I recommend checking it out!)

In addition to these gratifying achievements, I cannot leave out the icing on the cake. My poem, Hell Does Not Bring Fire, is scheduled to appear in Weird Tales Magazine issue #365, anticipated sometime in the summer of 2021! Weird Tales was the very first publisher I submitted to, years back, so this is an enormous honor for me. To finally be able to appear in an issue of this horror literature cornerstone, the very same publication that featured such greats as H.P Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ray Bradbury, is an accomplishment I only dared to dream.

I am currently working on short fiction, in addition to more poetry. I hope to have more announcements soon, and I will be back to update once I know more regarding Monstrum’s release date.

Back to the keyboard for me!

See you soon!

~ J.

 

The 6 at 6 …featuring Leza Cantoral

Posted in Interviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2021 by jezzywolfe

Leza 1I’ve known Leza through Facebook for, what has it been, a decade now? Let’s just say a mighty long time by social media standards. She started off as this quirky oddball who jumped into a random post and proceeded to have the most bizarre and hilarious conversation with me, and my teenage daughter, who then came to my room after and asked, “Who was that?”

I ain’t gonna lie, it might just be one of my favorite Facebook memories.

I wanted my January interview to be with someone I knew was on the brink of a powerful year. Leza, fellow Capricorn (Cappies unite!) is a real powerhouse of intrigue and integrity. She is an author, a poet, a witch, a mystic, a dancer, an artist, and an incredibly motivated editor. A delightful amalgamation of charisma, intelligence, vision, and drive. A few years back she launched CLASH Books as Editor-in-chief, with her husband, Christoph. She is also the editor of the new literary magazine, Black Telephone (I just received my copy and I promise you, it is a real thing of beauty, and you should go get a copy!)

Leza published her own collection of dark and surreal short fiction, CARTOONS IN THE SUICIDE FOREST, as well as a playful collection of poetry, TRASH PANDA. Her current project is a novel called Tragedy Town… not to be confused with TRAGEDY QUEENS, an acclaimed anthology she edited of short stories inspired by Sylvia Plath and Lana Del Rey. She is also the host of the literary podcast, Get Lit With Leza.

CITSF coverIn her down time (although I am not sure where she even finds down time with all that’s on her plate and I am pretty convinced she somehow lives 27 hour long days as a result) Leza is investigating a 100 year old unsolved mystery… the tragic murder of Hazel Drew, the muse for Laura Palmer, who you will remember is featured in David Lynch and Mark Frost’s TWIN PEAKS. Leza’s experiences thus far, and her communications with the ghost of Hazel Drew, are both fascinating, and creepy as hell. You can read more about that in her blog, My Adventures With Dead Girls.

I have had a few conversations with her about the Drew case, while we were doing this interview, and since then, I have been completely fascinated by it all. Without a doubt, Leza is one you wanna watch, and if you are at all intrigued by any of this (and if you have a pulse, I assume you are…)

 

Keep reading!

 

I read that you studied poetry in college. Did your love of poetry start there, or did it start at an earlier age? Which poet would you say really lit that fire for you? Are they an influence on the poetry you create?

I loved poetry before. Probably first poet I read that captured my heart was Poe. I read him when I was like 13.  In college I was very inspired by the romantic poets, in particular Byron, Shelley & Coleridge, also French & LatinoAmerican Symbolist/Surrealists like Baudelaire, Rimbaud & Delmira Agustini. A teacher recommended Sylvia Plath to me & she & Anne Sexton became major influences upon my work. Plath in particular really got me fired up, helped me find & sharpen my own voice in poetry & in fiction & years later, the first story anthology I edited for CLASH Books was Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey & Sylvia Plath.

 

Do you prefer writing fiction, or poetry? Which do you believe comes most naturally for you? What style would trash+panda+coveryou label your poetry?

I don’t know if it is so much about preferring as they just being different kinds of processes. Poetry is my booty call. Fiction my ball & chain. I can always come to poetry when I need it & it comes hard & fast & I never know when it is gonna come. So I guess it’s more like I am poetry’s booty call haha. I can’t control it. When the muse wants me she finds me. With fiction it is more of a job. It’s work. Emotional labor, doing the hard things to make it work, but in the end it is so rewarding. I’d say poetry comes way more naturally to me. It is the voice of my soul. I don’t overthink it or over edit. Fiction is all about the drafts & the outlining. My poetry is definitely influenced by the Surrealists & Confessional schools of poetry. But I like to experiment & my style changes from year to year.

 

CLASH Books has been a prolific supporter of exciting new voices in poetry. Has that been an unexpected reward as your press gains momentum, or were your intentions really to spotlight burgeoning new poetic voices in a time when many publishers have declared poetry as unmarketable?

One of our missions is to break the genre boundaries. So whatever comes into our inbox we will take a look. If there’s an amazing poetry collection we are gonna publish it. Ngl, it is definitely a harder sell. If you don’t have a big social media brand, or unless you really hit that middle market demographic or get big academic support you are gonna have a hard time making any money at it.

 

You have been embracing Zoom panels as a way to reach out to your audience, and they have been well received in the community. You certainly have a gift for the visual aesthetic. Do you find yourself more comfortable in front of the camera, or do you prefer in-person readings as a way to share your art?

I definitely prefer in person omg. I miss it so bad you have no idea. What I like about Zoom is it bridges geographic limitations, so I hope that even after the pandemic they continue & are not forgotten as a great way to bring ppl together. I definitely get less nervous if I am on camera than in person though. But the energy is just not there. So I will take all the social anxiety & the inevitable drinks I will down over the sterility of Zoom.

 

These are bizarre and scary times we find ourselves in. How important has your spiritualism been to your creativity and productivity, as well as coping strategies? What advice might you have for those of us struggling to find our paths of enlightenment?

My spiritual path is what has kept me grounded & centered, inspired & productive. I find ways to hack my brain to make it do the things I need it to. Sometimes I ask spirits for help. Other times I use crystals, candles, Tarot cards, spirit conjuring & rituals to get the effects I need.

I would say listen to yourself because you already know the answers to your questions. I would also recommend you read Carl Jung. He did a lot of important research connecting the well being of the psyche with nurturing one’s spiritual inner life. The individuation process & the fulfillment of one’s soul mission go hand in hand. Find what rings true. Read books, meditate, get some crystals & hold them in your hand. You never know what will work. For some, studying Astrology & the Tarot are huge in facilitating them in reaching clarity, others get a lot out of heavily ritualized magick. Others learn from studying the ancient gods & goddesses, world spiritual traditions & mythologies. Many do all of the above. Keep looking till something speaks to you & when it does, listen & follow & do what it tells you to do. I have worked with various entities throughout my magical explorations. Certain ones I felt a much stronger kinship with, in particular Baron Samedi & Santa Muerte. There was a weird familiarity like they already knew me, so it made our interactions easier. I didn’t have to explain myself. They already knew my story & where I was coming from. I still work with Santa Muerte here & there. I will always be loyal because of the things she has done & continues to do for me. She is a beautiful & generous spirit.

I was born in winter. I am a Capricorn. I am more myself at night & alone. I am drawn to dark energies. I spent hours as a teen meditating on famous murders & cult leaders & writing poetry during stormy summer nights. Eventually I stopped resisting & followed the breadcrumbs of my soul journey which has led me to all kinds of experiences, including encounters with the dead.

My main advice is don’t look to other people to decide what your spiritual life should look & feel like. It is your journey so it is going to be unique to you. You can look to others for examples & inspiration but know that there’s no way anyone can actually guide you on your own path bc you are the only one walking it. You just have to be honest with yourself & you will find you know what to do next.

 

Your communication with the spirit of Hazel Drew has been compelling, and incredibly intriguing! Do you have plans perhaps for a collection of fiction or poetry that is directly inspired by her? Also, who do you think she would vibe to, musically, if she were living among us now?

I do not know what I would write inspired by her. I feel her just kinda seeping into everything I do. I don’t know if I could write a whole collection just about her but I have been writing one that is kinda dark & about love, tragedy & death. I have started writing a couple stories inspired by her but not finished them. It’s tough bc the story isn’t over & there is still so much I don’t know.

The main thing right now is she wants the real story told. Her murderer was never caught & she is extremely not happy about that. She wants justice. There has been media about her/inspired by her & she is getting frustrated with people just using her as a muse. David Lynch’s Twin Peaks being the most famous example. She is not a fantasy. She is a real person with a real story. It is not up for interpretation. There are actual facts. The facts of her life & the facts of her murder. So my friend & writer Jerry Drake is working on that. He has been obsessed with weird cases & unexplained phenomena for a long time. He wants to find justice for her & do it right. The first article he wrote for me, back when I did the CLASH Zine was a piece about researching the faery lights in Iceland. He even had pictures! He is doing a lot of extensive research right now. She wanted him to tell her story so he is going to do just that & I am going to publish it probably in 2022. We have a lot of fun promo planned, like doing a true crime podcast where we really delve into the case, which is a fascinating one. I have written a couple columns/blog posts about this case that you can read HERE & HERE.

I have found Hazel has quite eclectic tastes. She loves Roy Orbison, Nancy Sinatra, Lana Del Rey, & some of Taylor Swift’s songs like ‘the last great american dynasty’. She likes melodic, story based songs & songs about unrequited love.

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Leza Cantoral is the Editor in Chief of CLASH Books & Black Telephone Magazine. She is the author of Cartoons in the Suicide Forest, Trash Panda & forthcoming novella, Tragedy Town. She is the host of WITCH TV & Hour of the Vamp on CLASH Books TV on YouTube. You can follow her on IG & Twitter @lezacantoral @BlackTelephoneM @clashbooks

A Kinkajou Ate My New Year’s Blog Post Title

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , on December 31, 2020 by jezzywolfe

I am wearing red tonight. I am drinking red drinks. My food is set out on dishes that are either red or green. I PSX_20201231_172650am taking no chances this time around. Just taking those deep breaths, calm head, only slightly, slightly inebriated…

I don’t usually get too tied up in traditions or superstitions. I am rather superstitious about New Year’s Eve, but not necessarily how one might imagine. Half the time I buy the wrong beans. I never remember the collards. I don’t really toast at midnight, and most times don’t buy champagne anyway. And I don’t even KNOW the words to Auld Lang Syne. 

I don’t usually make resolutions, either. I think I did once. They were pretty great, too. I think at least two of them had to do with eating more pastries. And I believe I proceeded to have a pretty decent year, mostly. Well, looking back, it seemed mostly great. Never does at the time though, does it?

This year will not be remembered fondly. It was twelve months of absolute what-the-fuckery and holy-shittery and good-gods-NO. But if you find yourself here, reading this, then I sincerely congratulate you for muddling through that miasma of terror. We made it to this side. No telling what’s ahead, but we can only hope it is a better future than the future we just trudged through.

I did manage a pretty important milestone for myself in 2020, so even though I will not make any resolutions, I will strive to keep moving forward. I can do this. I can totally do this. I made that first step on my journey. Now it’s time to open ‘er up and let fly. The upcoming year will have it’s challenges, but I will remember that I have survived some pretty serious stuff and I am still kicking. I am made of the galaxy.

Now I will reach for it.

PSX_20201231_173732It would be too easy to fall back into memories and languish there. I still miss my mom deeply, and the way she made the holidays illustrious. This time of year, the innocent magic of my childhood is painfully absent. I hate that life doesn’t feel magical anymore, as it once did. The season at the close of the year, with it’s warmth and traditions. The excitement of possibilities. I could get lost in that. I did, every time. It was in the music, on the television. It emanated from the blue lights wound through a neighbor’s skyscraper evergreens. I guess Christmas is my favorite time of year. But now it comes with a stab of sorrow. It’s bittersweet, I guess one might say.

One collection down. This year, there will be another. Possibly two. Of this, I am certain. I have already started working on a few different themes. Of all the things I would like to achieve this year, this will be the easiest. Furthering my fiction will be harder, but I will work on that, as well.

The harder work will be the work I have to do on me. I’ve lost my way. The woman I am is buried somewhere under the hopelessness and insecurity. I let my old ways of thinking drag me back down. I do not think this will herald the return on the KetoB!tch, but I must do something. Not in a resolutiony way, though. Fuck that. I want to succeed, after all.

I have one drink in my hand but I think I need another. The drunken New Year’s posts were easier. And, admittedly, a lot more fun, even if I did embarrass myself with that nonsense. But New Years was always a time to let go and cut loose. For me, that translated into ridiculous commentary and more than a few typos. I even tried to start this off the same way, with some obsessive ruminating over Kinkajou tongues. (If we are Facebook friends, you will notice an oddball picture in my New Years photos. Now you know why…) But I started over. Terrible post, that was. Borderline icky.

Starting over.

We think that is what ever year brings. It’s just another page on a calendar, really, but we can always hope it is something new. The symbolic gesture of putting a bad chapter behind us and bounding into a brighter world. While I can’t be quite that Pollyanna about it, I understand the need for optimism all too well. We have to find something worth holding on to. Otherwise, we drown in the mire.PSX_20201231_172243

 

I am not drowning this year. I have friends to love and words to write and a galaxy to reach for.

So do you.

Tonight we are together alone. We will see this infernal year shuffle out from our individual corners, and watch the world make another turn. 

Tonight we party. We earned this. We let it all go. We toast, and cheer, and remember, and maybe even cry…

Tomorrow, we reach.

A Long-Awaited Announcement

Posted in General, news, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 20, 2020 by jezzywolfe

I have a bit of great news that I have been eagerly waiting to share with PSX_20181231_225320you. That time has come…

My debut poetry collection, MONSTRUM POETICA, will be released in 2021 through Raw Dog Screaming Press!

There will be more details as I have them, but for now, head over to the official RDSP website and check out the book announcement, right HERE.


2021 can not get here fast enough! I cannot wait to share this collection with you.

Stay tuned!

 

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The 6 at 6 …featuring Anton Cancre

Posted in Interviews, The 6 at 6, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 6, 2020 by jezzywolfe

Anton in ReposeIf you remember anything from this interview, please remember this: Anton Cancre is a hero.

(Anton Cancre is also a charismatic badass who owns FERRETS, but mostly, yes… HERO.)

I friended Anton sometime back on Facebook because I knew they were a poet who left engaging comments on the posts of our mutual friends. It was pure coincidence to discover that Anton, like myself, is a lover of ferrets. And that’s a big deal to me, because ferrets are my spirit animal. Another poet that also has ferrets? Pretty sure that’s my soul doppelganger, right there.

To say I’ve become a fan is an understatement. But I can’t very well declare someone a hero just for ferret love. (Okay, that sounds weird, sorry…) See, Anton is a high school English teacher. In this mad world we find ourselves in, constricted by pandemic and quarantine, Anton navigates the restrictive and difficult guidelines to teach our teenagers the importance of Language Arts, while attempting to instill a passion for the written word in a generation that typically prefers touch screens to paper books. It is a thankless job, but an invaluable service, one which they approach with enthusiasm and creative integrity.

Major props for doing what most parents truly cannot do, Anton!

Recently, Anton released their collection of poems, MEANINGLESS CYCLES IN A VICIOUS GLASS PRISM — an inspiring ode to life, death, and the frequent inconvenience of zombism. The verses within are lush, tragic, often ironic, and occasionally amusing… just the right cocktail for the trying times we all face right now.

Currently, proceeds from the sales of MEANINGLESS CYCLES are being donated to The Trevor Project, an organization providing resources and support for our LGBTQ youth. It is a very important platform, and what better way to show your support, than by ordering a copy of Anton’s collection for yourself! (If you click on the book cover, it will take you to a Facebook post that will give you further ordering instructions. Doooo eet!)

I was pretty excited for this interview, as you can imagine. I like to pretend we were sitting under a tree somewhere having this conversation, as our ferrets danced madly around us. In fact…yes. That’s exactly how this went down. I just edited out the constant interruptions and furry shenanigans happening off-screen.

Enjoy!

 
1. Who was the first poet that cemented your love of poetry? 

I dug Hughes and Dickenson quite a lot from the start, before Chuck Bukowski and Mary Oliver settled into my 20’s, but I don’t think I discovered a love for the force and desperate need poetry was capable of until I read Charlee Jacob and Linda Addison.

Are there any particular poets and or collections that you recommend to others when trying to turn them on to poetry? 

For people who think they don’t like poetry, I usually point them toward Matt Betts because his stuff is so accessible and fun. UNDERWATER FISTFIGHT is a damn good book. Wrath James White is another one, but he is more suited to fans of brutal and sexy stuff. IF YOU DIED TOMORROW, I WOULD EAT YOUR CORPSE is striking, brutal, gory, romantic at times and sexy as fuck always. But if you want the real real, then you should hunt down a copy of VECTORS, by Charlee Jacob and Marge Simon. It’s a story of the last days on earth as humanity is destroyed by a virus that is so incredibly raw and human and completely humane that it destroys me every time. Unfortunately, I think that one is out of print. Charlee and Marge, as well as Rain Graves and Linda Addison, have a bunch of outright corkers in THE FOUR ELEMENTS.


2. Did you decide you wanted to become a teacher before you decided to teach English? Were there other subjects you considered teaching before English won you over? 

Oddly enough, I’ve never even considered teaching anything else. I knew I wanted to teach from the time I was around 16 but I never really felt any connection to any other subject. Even when I was working with Multiple Handicapped students,  I was still teaching reading and writing. I just adore what words can do. They are like magic that puts your thoughts in the brains of others and form reality from vibrating air. 

Was English your favorite subject back in the day when you were just a young Anton?

Most of my favorite classes were English, though I really got into physics and Spanish was pretty neat. The Art of Language (it just sounds neater that way) taught me more about what it means to be human than anything else.

3. Do you find that today’s high school students are more easily engaged with literature, or poetry?

To be honest, it is a fight sometimes. I don’t really think it is any more or less of one than when I was a teen, but it is a fight. It doesn’t have the direct use of science or math or programming. Parents often think them frivolous pursuits and don’t really support it much at home. Plus, there are so many competing forms of storytelling now. So many ways of experiencing our humanity. It means that we, as artists, need to re-examine what we do and why we do it so that we can either provide an experience those other forms cannot or embrace those forms and work alongside and interlocked with them.

Do their age differences seem to play a role in what they appear to enjoy most – for instance, is there a difference in how freshmen respond to poetry, versus your senior students?

I think the trick there is what they have access to. Teenage me would have lost his mind reading Bukowski’s “The Night I Fucked My Alarm Clock” but I didn’t even know there were poets like that. I try to do my part to expose them to as much as possible, but poetry isn’t in the state standards so there often isn’t time and… well, you’ve made me sad now. But for those who enjoy poetry, what they like is very affected by where they are in life. It can even change what they like about artists they continue to love their whole life. Someone who is drawn to the drama of Plath as a young teen might find themselves drifting more towards the rage in her work as they get into their 20’s and might find relief in the commonality of desperation and hopelessness in their 30’s.

ALSO… have your students ever read your poetry?Anton cover

I run a student writing group and those students occasionally ask to see my stuff. I have even had the pleasure of collaborating with some of them over the years, which is incredibly humbling. But my regular students: Oh hell no. That would not go well.

4. Does the music you listen to ever influence your fiction or poetry?

Very much so. I’ve ripped off so much of the feeling of Dax Riggs (from Acid Bath, Agents of Oblivion, Deadboy and the Elephantmen, and solo work) that I finally asked his permission and forgiveness. Lately, I’ve tended to lean on Stoneburner and Neurosis. They both fit my mental landscape at the moment. 

I’ve noticed we often enjoy similar bands and genres of music. Do you ever listen to them as you are writing?

It depends on what I am working on and what the goal is. With MEANINGLESS CYCLES IN A VICIOUS GLASS PRISON, I wanted to keep my influences tied to Delamorte Delamore, so I didn’t listen to any music while writing that. If I am just aiming for a feeling, though, then I will listen to something that carries the same feeling that I am trying to convey.

5. As both an artist, and as someone who is very essential to the intellectual growth of our future generations (and let me just add, thank you very much for the work you do!) how are you keeping it together these days? 

I don’t usually feel like I am keeping it together, to be honest. I consider my work to be a sacred charge. Please don’t think I am being self-righteous. There is nothing so important about me, but I am part of a process and an experience that is vital to the students that I work with. Now I am seeing their youth and position in society being used as pawns, putting their long term physical and emotional health at risk to push a political and economic agenda. Especially since I work with so many students, almost exclusively from African American and recent  immigrant families, who have lived in the shadow of a society that makes it very clear on a broad cultural level that they are not valued as human beings. Fighting against that both on a larger cultural field and within the very personal lives of my students is hard as hell in normal circumstances and what we are dealing with right now sure as hell ain’t normal. When I have freshmen telling me that they feel like their school is using them as guinea pigs because they are immigrants or handicapped I just want to fucking choke the people who make them feel this way.

What routines or pastimes are helping you stay grounded and connected in this current climate in which we find ourselves?

 The writing has always helped me process trauma and it is doing doubletime now. As is the time I get to spend with my wife and our house full of fuzzy friends (we have about 1 pet per 100 square feet in our tiny ass townhouse). Those and talking to the kids. Trying my best to provide as much physical, emotional and intellectual security as I can in 45 minute chunks. I hear so much bitching about “kids these days” but most of them sincerely give me hope. If we can keep them alive long enough, take what they have to say seriously,  and keep ourselves from repeating our own past, maybe we can help them turn this shitstorm around.

6. You and I have one particularly important thing in common. We love us some ferrets. I have written horror fiction inspired by my fiendish cat snakes, even. Have ferrets ever appeared in your writing, in either poems or stories?

I haven’t really used any ferrets in my stories. No idea has come up that has fit them well enough yet. But I have written a few poems about them. Unfortunately, most of those have been dealing with losing them. I’d really like to find a way to focus on the more fun aspects of these terrifying, cuddly, goofy ass, way too damn smart for anyone’s good little creatures.

Would you ever consider collabing on a collection of glorious sonnets dedicated to our slithery furbeasts? Er, asking for a friend…

Don’t dangle a carrot unless you are willing to feed the donkey at some point, because I have found that I really like working with a collaborator, I’m trying to push myself more with poetic forms and I think that there is a very specific, fanatic market of similarly inclined carpet shark, toe-chomping, stinky thief fanatics. But I call Angoras first. They’re sooooo fluffy!

Anton fertAnton Cancre’s mother wasn’t really pregnant with them when she went to see The Exorcist, but they tell people that anyway, because it sounds cool. Their debut collection of poetry, Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love is available through Dragon’s Roost Press. They’re also a luddite who still has a blogspot website (antoncancre.blogspot.com) and runs the Spec Griot Garage podcast (specgriotgarage.podbean.com)  where they get to gush over other people’s poems with cool folks.

The 6 at 6 …featuring Lindsey Beth Goddard

Posted in General, Interviews, The 6 at 6, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 6, 2020 by jezzywolfe

IMG_20200710_183331_384For as long as I have been kicking around the horror community, Lindsey Goddard has been making waves with her particular brand of horror. Back then, she was the editor of a popular small press, and she embodied everything one expects of horror. And rock and roll. Like a Gothic Lita Ford, if you will… but with a pen, rather than a guitar.


(Don’t quote me on that, though …she might just yield a pretty fierce guitar. She is a lady of many interests.)

What I also know of her is that she is a mother, as am I, and that makes her achievements even more impressive to me on a personal level. As a fellow parental unit, I understand too well the time that is taxed by familial responsibilities. We love our kiddos, but man, it is truly a rewarding challenge. My hat is off to her. Mom-meets-horror-maven is not an easy juggling act, yet she pulls it off with the ferocity of a bad-ass lady.

Over the past eleven years or so, her stories have been published in many zines, magazines, and anthologies, in addition to her novels. Now she adds poetry to her already impressive resume.

For so long she has rocked the horror scene, but now she will croon it with a collection of rhymes meant to tickle the twisted mind. Head Trip is her debut poetry collection, and a fun spread of dark verse. I recently took a little time to ask her about this intriguing debut…

 

1. In the introduction for HEAD TRIP, you mention a life-long love of poetry from authors such as Dr. Seuss, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Service. What about these particular voices resonates most with you? Which poems/books are your favorites?

There’s something magical about a writer who manages to impact your mindset and emotions, all while keeping a rhyme. Much like music, a well-written poem has a rhythm which causes me to remember it, to recite it in my mind as I go through life, whether it be whimsical and childlike (Dr. Seuss) or dead serious and dark (Poe and Service). Both styles blend together seamlessly — children’s poems often having an insidious dark message (The Lorax) and adult poetry made wondrous by its childlike rhythm. It’s something that has always touched me. In fact, the first book I ever published back in 2009 — a short story anthology — had a poem by Shel Silverstein as the introduction. It’s a poem I had printed off and taped to my bedroom door as a teenager:

“If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer… If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!” 

Another poem that has a fueled me over the years is Dickinson’s: “A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.”

2. You have an impressive catalogue of horror fiction under your belt. Do you find composing poetry to be more complicated, or more instinctual than writing horror? How do the processes differ for you?

Poetry is less stressful, in my opinion. There’s less pressure to edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite and edit, until I’m sick of the process. There are golden rules, which seasoned authors break from time to time, but you’ve got to be an excellent wordsmith to pull it off.  Otherwise, you need to follow the rules. Suffice it to say, fiction is more of a chore for me than poetry, because I’m not agonizing over every detail of a poem… But on the whole, fiction is more rewarding.

IMG_20200704_075729_9063. Are you planning to pen future poetry collections? HEAD TRIP is a delightful concoction of lyrical rhymes… are you considering other forms of verse for additional collections, for instance, free verse, or shorter styles such as haiku?

Oh, yes. Head Trip was a huge stride for me. I learned to open up and let raw emotion out. Many of my poems deal with personal issues such as addiction and depression. It felt good to finally release all that pain. I can definitely see myself doing another poetry book, perhaps free verse. Who knows what the future holds.

4. We are both huge music lovers. Do you enjoy listening to music as you write, and if so, what do you prefer? Do you favor the same artists or genres when you compose poetry as you do when you write horror?

I can listen to music as long as I’m familiar with it. If I play something new, I get distracted, like my brain is too busy focusing on new information to focus on creating. I listen to a lot of melodic rock while I write both poetry and fiction. Either that or I need white noise, like the hum of a box fan. I cannot write in pure silence. Some artists I’ve listened to include The Black Keys, All That Remains, Hands Like Houses, Slaves, Evanescence and Ed Sheeran.

5. Horror in both books and film is full of creepy vices, such as dolls and clowns. You, on the other hand, possess an admirable clown collection! So, with clowns off the table, what do you read (or watch) that terrifies you the most? Does this ever manifest in your poems?

I’ll start by saying that I don’t believe in ghosts like most people do, so I don’t get spooked by the “paranormal”. I suppose I have a fear of being in a large body of water with unseen predators swimming beneath me (alligators, sharks, etc) but this fear is easily avoided. In reality, what scares me the most on a daily basis are psychopathic humans, war, illness, debt, addiction, crashes, and all those basic human problems that are truly terrifying!

6. Do you currently have any tattoos of clowns? Also, what kind of tattoo do you think a badass, tatted clown would rock?

I don’t have a clown tattoo. I may get one in the future, or I may not. The clown obsession happened in late 2019, for unknown reasons. I began searching for them at resale shops and on eBay. I ended up with around 200 clowns pretty quickly. But none of them are permanent. It’s funny; I always knew a fear of clowns was common, but I didn’t realize just how many people dislike them until I started collecting!

And to answer the final question: I think a clown would be inked with a sexy clown pin-up girl, of course!

Lindsey Goddard is an escaped mental asylum patient who tells spooky stories to quiet her inner demons. Her debut novella, Ashes of Another Life, was released through Omnium Gatherum Media in August, 2016. Goddard is 36, off her rocker, and battier than a Texas cave. She very well might be sneaking up behind you to scream “Boo!” in your ear as you read this. Although writing is Lindsey’s number one passion, she’s exceedingly bad at writing third person author biographies. For more information, please visit: http://www.lindseybethgoddard.com/

Check out these other titles by Lindsey B. Goddard!

The 6 at 6 …featuring Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Posted in General, Interviews, The 6 at 6, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 6, 2020 by jezzywolfe

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy lives in Bangalore, India, a place that has provided a lush, distinctive backdrop for his many weird, Lovecraftian stories and poetry. With his wife, he owns and operates a shelter and rescue for the local cat population. His social media is an intriguing concoction of cats, stunning artwork, pristine vinyls, societal observation, a few more cats…

And doom metal. 

I am personally looking forward to getting my paws on his latest release, a poetry collection published by those awesome lit freaks over at Clash Books. BROKEN CUP is a mix of folklore, legends, and memories woven into verses and packaged with a decadent cover. As someone with a lifelong fascination in India and its intriguing culture and history, I really wish I’d conducted this interview in person and over coffee, rather than over the internet. Discussing poets. Music. All them cats. Possibly while listening to REM.

In fact, pretend that’s exactly what we were doing, as we had this discussion…

 

1. At what age did you start reading poetry, and which poets (or authors) were your earliest favorites?

I definitely started reading poetry at least as soon as I started reading longer books – The Lord of the Rings was the first ‘grown up’ book, or rather series of books, that I read. I remember liking some poems by Edgar Alan Poe, Walter De La Mare and Tennyson, but the first two poets I really took to and bought books by were DH Lawrence (whose poetry deserves to be more widely read) and Charles Baudelaire. I was also very into John Donne as a teenager, but for whatever reason, it’s been a long time since I’ve reread him. 

 

2. When reading your older poetry, I was struck by some of its poignant nostalgia. Do these poems mirror your own childhood memories, or are they purely artistic creations? Do your loved ones and memories influence the poetry in your new collection?

I’m uncomfortable with the idea of nostalgia. It suggests a rosy-eyed view of the past, a longing to return to verities that all too often never existed. I believe we must deal with the present and prepare for the future. But the world has changed so very much. I’m only in my forties, but I think I’ve seen a rate of change that earlier generations, especially in India, have not. My high school years already felt like a different world from my primary school years, which still had traces of the colonial past, of centuries-old ways of doing things, or at least of how they were done a generation ago. My parents could more or less recognize the kinds of school bags, pencil boxes and so on I took to school, for example. I didn’t have access to gadgets unknown to their youth, until my first Walkman (when I was around 12 or 13), and even then, small, personal cassette players were not completely unknown even before Sony’s innovation. The world I live in now is, in turn, so different from the one I knew in my twenties. This constant change is what probably drives me to the past. I want to try and chronicle, to acknowledge who I and the world were. I don’t long for the 80s – I hate 80s nostalgia and I think in many ways the decade was an aesthetic void. Looking back is mainly a way to underscore where and who I am, I suppose, by acknowledging the past and all that has changed since. On a very personal level I sometimes feel a pang for times gone by, yet I’m happier and more secure now than at any time in my life previously – which is part of why I distrust nostalgia. But I don’t distrust the past – it happened, and we must keep an eye on it, or others will rearrange it for us. 

So yes, a lot of the reminiscences in my poetry are from my own life. Most of what I refer to in my poems is autobiographical, except when it’s not, but I don’t write confessional poetry. 

Yes, BROKEN CUP touches on some of my own memories and some of the poems refer to specific people and incidents from my past, I hope in a way that finds some universal resonance in these specific memories. Drawing on my own life keeps me grounded as a poet, prevents from coming over magisterial and trying to speak from on high, for the ages. 

 

3. As a musician and songwriter, do you find that music inspires your poetry, or does poetry inspire your music? Have any of your poems ever been transformed into songs?

I wish I could write songs with the relative ease and artistry with which I write poetry. In music, I always feel like a foreigner, someone using a language that they have acquired skill in, but were not born to. I see my lyrics as very functional, as strings of suitable words for a heavy metal or doom metal song. I find more of a relationship between how I perceive and create musical structures and how I write. I definitely try to be alive to the music of words, to find resonances and sympathies even if I don’t rhyme, and in my slightly longer poems I approach structure a lot like when I compose music. 

 

4. I love to play music in the background as I write, but often find listening to vinyl so immersive, it pulls me out of my headspace. Do you enjoy listening to music as you write? Which bands/artists are the most effective for you, and do you prefer to hear them digitally or on vinyl as you are writing?

When I get an idea for a poem I tend to tune out whatever else is happening, and I don’t have a particular time to write poetry, so background music doesn’t really factor in as part of the process. I also tend to ignore music when I’m writing fiction. If it’s playing, I usually let it play, but my ears are effectively put on standby while I write. My vinyl player is in our living room at home and I play records either when I am just listening for a few hours, or during mealtimes downstairs or just while having a drink. I listen to music digitally in the bedroom, usually new music or new to me, picking out what I’d like to acquire on vinyl or at least CD later on. I think music is so omnipresent in my routine that I can’t consciously say if it is part of my writing process or not. 

 

5. In these times of great stress, we often seek out vices to help us cope. What do you find are your most reliable ways to combat anxiety and emotional fatigue?

It helps to mellow out with a couple of drinks in the evening, but apart from a short period when there had been a ban on liquor sales and after it was lifted, I don’t specifically want to drink to cope with stress. Listening to music and reading are important ways I cope. I read a lot of cosy mysteries when I’m stressed – that’s my literary vice. And I can almost always lose myself in music. Often, with anxiety or bad emotional states, I talk myself through my problems in my mind – something I started doing in my twenties. I have a slight analytic bent, and this kind of internal dialogue and stock taking helps. I do get bouts of anxiety, and depression, but I try to contextualize them, remind myself that they are not necessarily giving me an accurate picture of my situation, and this helps me function around them. 

I’m also very good at falling asleep when my mind needs a break. 

 

6. Do you ever serenade your cats? What genre of music do they prefer?

I often make up and sing funny little songs to them. It would be too embarrassing to share any of them with the rest of the world! My cats often respond to heavy, bass-laden music by calming down and going to sleep. I have no idea what this means. 


Jayaprakash Satyamurthy is a writer and musician. He lives in Bangalore with his wife and an army of rescued dogs and cats. He also plays the bass guitar in the doom metal band Djinn and Miskatonic. His other publications include two chapbooks of short stories, Weird Tales of a Bangalorean and A Volume of Sleep, and a short novella, Strength of Water. He is on twitter as @flightofsand where he likes to post cute cat pictures and increasingly demented opinions on the state of the world.

Look for Jayaprakash on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jayaprakash.satyamurthy. His blog can be found at https://aaahfooey.blogspot.com

Wanna check out his doom metal band, Djinn and Miskatonic? Head on over to https://djinnandmiskatonic.bandcamp.com.

 

A Dose of Nightmare ~ The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow

Posted in horror films, short films with tags , , , , , on August 16, 2020 by jezzywolfe

 

Lights off.     Sound up.     Thank me after…

 

 

I recently viewed the 2012 horror film, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, which I plan to review shortly. It is a thoroughly glorious and completely frustrating film, to say the least. But as I was doing a bit of research on it, I discovered that the director, Rodrigo Gudiño, wrote and directed a particularly unique short film several years prior.

The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow is an exploration into a story embedded in a single photograph. This is a remarkable debut, winning 6 individual awards at various film festivals, and for good reason. Let me know what you think of it in the comments.

THE 6 AT 6 …featuring M. Ennenbach

Posted in General, Interviews, The 6 at 6, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 6, 2020 by jezzywolfe

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At least twice a day, on any given day, I receive an email notification that a site I’m subscribed to has released a new post. The vast majority of these posts are simply poems. Though I wouldn’t call any of the poems simple, by any definition.

Mike’s Manic Word Depot is the online home of one Mike Ennenbach — an author and poet who seems to exist in an alternate dimension where (apparently) he breathes poetry. I mean, how else do you account for a blog that currently boasts over 3700 posts over the past 3 years? Some months had as many as 235 posts! I just… holy cow.

I am rather awestruck, I cannot lie.

It goes without saying, there is much on his site I haven’t had an opportunity to check out, thus far. It is an impressive catalogue of creativity. You are looking at the lady who struggles to make more than a couple posts in a month’s time, so to stumble across such an impressive trove of poetry is basically the wordsy equivalent of the end of the rainbow.

Recently, his second collection of poetry, (un)fettered, was released for purchase. So I spent some time talking to Mike, and it went a little something like this…

 

1. I’ve noticed you post an impressive amount of poetry on your blog. Are these the poems you gather into published collections, or are those poems written specifically for your blog?

I gather from my daily poetry for the bulk of collections, but I also have quite a back lot of stuff that hasn’t been on my blog. I never imagined anyone would read any of it. I certainly never considered them making it to print. Once I found my voice after a while of just screaming until my throat was bloody, people in the community began to notice. I owe a great deal to Tara and River, two established bloggers with immense talent that took it on themselves to champion my writing. Patrick C Harrison as well. It feels like a dream, honestly.

2. Your poetry resonates with me because it reminds me of a personal favorite, e.e. cummings…even though you have mentioned never having read him. So, who would you consider your biggest influence?

It’s embarrassing, but I honestly was never a fan of poetry. I’ve since discovered a few poets that speak to me. Bukowski, my favorite and personal totem. Richard Brautigan, who is more well known for his novels. Loading Mercury With A Pitchfork is ridiculously brilliant. Celan and Nerudo wrote beautiful lines. But none of them were influences on my style. I would say Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, Joey Ramone, Hank Williams and a thousand other rappers and singers made me who I became. Then about three thousand poems of trial and error.

3. Do you find it helpful to listen to music as you write? If so, what are your musical go-tos?

I always have music playing when writing. Ryo Fukui, a Japanese jazz pianist is a common play. Bill Evans Trio. For the last year I’ve been addicted to IDLES – Joy as an act of Resistance. A lot of punk rock, outlaw country, and Minneapolis hip hop. If the words mean something or the music takes me somewhere, I will listen to it.

4. Current events seem to present themselves often in your work. Are the poems a way for you to cope with these precariously changing times, or do you find them to simply be fruitful fodder for creativity?

It’s funny, because I see it after the fact. Nine times out of ten, a poem begins with an image. I see it and the blank page and begin to describe it. There is no intent. I don’t think about anything and let the words do all of the work. It’s like when you stand in the shower and let the water run down your hands to the tub. I may be a conduit but I don’t try and control it. I’d say the world around me heavily influences that subconscious flow for sure.

5. What creates the most ideal environment when you sit down to write? What would one find in your favorite space?

I write most everything on my phone so there is no necessary designated space. Most of it is written in parking lots between service calls for my non-writing gig. I get inspired while driving around, looking at the things that fill this crazy world. The rest is laying in bed in the darkness staring up at the ceiling.

6. Do you think owning your own personal wombat would impact the style of your poetry? Is it true wombats love a good limerick?

I don’t know if I would feel the need to ever write again if I could cuddle my own wombat. But to any wombats out there reading this:

There once lived a wombat on the stoop,
He loved to eat berries and leaves but not soup,
The poor little guy was really quite blind,
But he had a most wonderfully special behind,
So he found his way home by square poop

 

M Ennenbach is a poet from Illinois that has found himself in love with Texas. He has two perfect children. He is one third of Cerberus, a writing collective that has plans for World Domination. His debut novel, Hunger on the Chisholm Trail is out now from Death’s Head Press. He has two poetry collections, (un)poetic, out now and (un)fettered out August 11th from Potter’s Grove Press.

You can find him on the internet at mennenbach.com. Purchase his poetry collections by clicking the covers.

 

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