Friday, 14 October 2016

The synergy between poetry and horror.

Don't forget to check in with the Devilry launch post (linked) for your chance to win a Kindle e-Reader.

Today I am sharing with you a piece of my poetry called, 'Phantasmagoria', and then a little musing on why poetry and horror have such a synergy. I'm also going to share with you my favourite horror poem, and if that wasn't all fun enough; I am running a fun, short twitter poetry contest and the winner will receive a paperback edition of Night Shade, an anthology of horror.


Heart sorrow full, followed by pale phantoms
He winds his way through darkened avenues.
Far in the distance, the echo-yap of
A hell hound’s bark splinters the silence.
This citadel of restless, walking dead,
Holds not the warmth of a beating human heart;
Save one.
The fading heart of Lillibet.

Suddenly, the fear of being alone,
Is outweighed by fears of duplicate shadows
There is blood on the moon, cries from the ground,

For in this place only the dead are found.


Poetry was the first form of writing that I consciously crafted. I began writing poetry around the same time that I started writing my journal, at fourteen years old. I found poetry a way of expressing ideas and emotions that weren't so readily expressed verbally. I still have that poetry, stashed away between the pages of my adolescent journals that now live at the back of the wardrobe in their own little dust cocoons. I will at some point have to make the decision as to whether I leave them there or destroy them before the next generation get a hold of them. But I digress...

Poetry has always held a certain magic to me - it's a pure expression; stripping away the superfluous to arrive at a point of clarity. There's something cathartic in that - almost zen. 
Poetry also allows us as creatives to create without having to explain ourselves, or wrap ourselves up within the complex rules of grammar, syntax and structure - unless of course we choose to do that in the choice of poem. 

Unlike prose, which is for the relatively constrained in its shape, form and construction, poetry is the epitome of rule breaking, even when it looks like it's behaving. 

Poetry especially lends itself to the horror genre because horror is a very abstract concept. It's full of abstract verbs, and oxymoronic emotions, of contradictions and absence as much as presence - and in this way, poetry allows for a powerful expression of the senses attached to horror - in much the same way that poetry works for love. 

Atmosphere can be instantly evoked in poetry - the reader suddenly plunged from their present space of 'ordinary' into a space of wonder, awe and fear in the space of a few lines. The effect of that interaction lingers, haunting the edges of the memory, in much the same way that an exprience in the real continues to ripple through our senses going after it has finished - there's no adjustment time to horror in poetry; not like in a horror novel, where the mind has already begun to process the situation before the novel has ended.

One of my favourite horror poems is  Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.  I particularly like this reading of it by Christopher Lee. The use of rhyme in this poem creates a totally immersive quality in the reader - like the drumming of fearsome war drums, or the ritualistic undulation of chanting, or the rhythm of my own adrenalin fuelled heart. 
Win a paperback
edition of Night Shade
Volume I 


For a chance to win a paperback copy of 'Night Shade Volume I' head over to Twitter and use your character allowance to write a Twitter poem. 

The only rule is that it must contain the phrase ( @KnightTrilogy #OctoberFrights )  in your tweet, but that still leaves you a whole 110 characters to play with. I will choose a winner tomorrow night at around 9pm GMT time. I will tweet you if you have won. 

It would be nice if you cut and paste your poem tweet and stuck it in the comment box here, too, just so we can see a gallery of them.



  1. Great poem. And I LOVE Christopher Lee

  2. Great job with your poem! I can't say I've read a lot of poetry, horror or otherwise, but I do love The Raven and that's a great reading by Christopher Lee - love him. He was a great Dracula :)