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#HookedOnPoetry: Sonora Taylor Reviews The Place of Broken Things by Linda Addison & Alessandro Manzetti + Update @sonorawrites @nytebird45 #poetry

First Some Updates on the Project –

I’m going to give a little update here on the status of the project, and then Sonora Taylor has a poetry collection review for us! The last week of April I started the #HookedOnPoetry project to highlight poetry for National Poetry Month in April and carry it through May and June. I ran it through four or five weeks in May with three to four posts a week both here and on Kendall Reviews, then I took a break before starting up again this week. I’ll be continuing the project throughout the rest of the year with a #HookedOnPoetry posts twice a month (more if I decide).

If you’re a poet interested in being featured, contact me anytime.

HookedOnPoetry

I apologize for all this website house cleaning in front of this week’s post, but I feel it needed to be said. I’m super excited for you to read this review and essay submitted by author Sonora Taylor today. I chose this one to feature first coming off the break as the collection she is reviewing here is co-written by one of the greatest black voices across several genres, five-time Bram Stoker Award winner Linda Addison. Sonora wrote this back in mid-April, and since then, the collection itself won a Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in a poetry collection, we’ve been quarantined (or at least most of us have) for two to three months more, and life and the world seems to have HIT THE FAN. Amazing how much can change in so little time.

Without me rambling more, I’ll let Sonora take it away… enjoy!

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Broken Things in a Broken Time
by Sonora Taylor, author of Little Paranoias

When my brain is troubled, I find it comforting to dive into prose and verse that connects with its scattered fragments. After our current president was elected, I went through my days in a blur, one finally broken by a book called Among Strange Victims by Daniel Saldana Paris. I laughed at a passage where the protagonist observes, “It’s unnecessary to start by describing the actions that make up my routine. That tedious list will come later. First, I’d like to state that my head floats about two inches above the top of my neck, detached from me. From that position, it’s easier for me to observe the irritating texture of the days.” I felt both amused and comforted to see my state of mind described so well.

It’s April 18, 2020; a little more than a month since we were asked to social distance and flatten the curve — meaning keep the number of infected and subsequent dead from COVID-19 as low as possible. My husband and I are safe. We have many blessings: both our jobs, a comfortable home, ample supplies, and the means to safely get supplies when we run low. Still, a day-to-day defined by doing our best to not die is one that takes a subtle toll on the brain. It can crack our psyches and make us lose sense of what day it is, what time it is, what’s safe and what’s not, who’s well and who’s not. We can only hope for the best when we text our parents or talk to our coworkers on Zoom.

 

place-of-broken-things

 

When I began reading The Place of Broken Things, the Stoker-nominated (upon reading) book of poetry from Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti, I thought of it as a piece to add to the books of poetry I’ve focused on throughout April, aka National Poetry Month. The first few poems were very good, but I found myself reading them with broken focus. I floated two inches above the book’s verses much like the protagonist’s head above his own thoughts in Among Strange Victims. My mind was also on today’s news, today’s Zoom hangouts, things I could bake, if the weather would be good for a walk, if I’d have more dreams like the one I had the night before, which included images of 9/11 as well as a fight with my husband.

Soon, the poems in the book — all about broken people — began to ground me, both in their stories as well as in my own mind. My thoughts stilled and my fragments stopped trembling. I found comfort in the quiet agony of the characters. In “Facing Olympia,” a man sees all kinds of women when he sees one woman, before realizing he sees no one, only his memories. In “A Clockwork Lemon Resucked,” the poets analyze what we sacrifice in order to not have to feel. “What We Have Become” asks the titular question in the context of minds and souls battered by fear. It closes with, “who remembers Before …” — a question many of us ask when we wake up each morning as of late.

As sad and broken as the individuals in every poem were, I still found The Place of Broken Things a comfort to read. Addison and Manzetti put into beautiful words and imagery what I’ve been feeling to varying degrees since this started — hell, since even before this started. I’d feel it in pebbles rolling throughout my life from rocks of anxiety, and situations like this pandemic have been a rock slide leaving me numb and stuck. The Place of Broken Things proves to be a beam of light shining between the cracks of those rocks, saying with its warmth, “I understand. I feel it too.” It’s a warmth that is very much needed, and I’m grateful for this book and the work of both Addison and Manzetti.

You can find The Place of Broken Things online at many retailers including BookShop.org.

The Place of Broken Things Summary –

place-of-broken-thingsBram Stoker Award winners Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti use their unique voices to create a dark, surrealistic poetry collection exploring the many ways shattered bodies, minds, and souls endure.

They created poems of visionary imagery encompassing death, gods, goddesses and shadowy, Kafkaesque futures by inspiring each other, along with inspiration from others (Allen Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Phillis Wheatley, etc.).

Construction of The Place started with the first bitten apple dropped in the Garden. The foundation defined by the crushed, forgotten, and rejected. Filled with timeless space, its walls weep with the blood of brutality, the tears of the innocent, and predatory desire. Enter and let it whisper dark secrets to you.

“Addison and Manzetti appear, here, as a songwriting team, certain tunes attributed to one, then the other, but regularly meeting, so that not only do we get to know where each great poet is coming from, but their electric union to boot. At turns gritty and aqueous, this book is totally alive. Addison and Manzetti have written a volume in which literally every line is worthy of being that book’s title.”–Josh Malerman, author of BIRD BOX

“There is no book of poetry quite like THE PLACE OF BROKEN THINGS! Linda Addison and Alessandro Manzetti spin dark magic! Highly recommended!”–Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-WARS and GLIMPSE

Linda Addison, Biography – 

Linda AddisonLinda D. Addison born in Philadelphia, PA is an American poet and writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Addison is the first African-American winner of the HWA Bram Stoker Award®, which she won five times for her collections Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes (2001) and Being Full of Light, Insubstantial (2007) and How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend (2011), Four Elements (2014), and The Place of Broken Things, written with Alessandro Manzetti (2019). In 2016 Addison received the HWA Mentor of the Year Award and in 2018 she received the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award.

She has published over 350 poems, stories and articles and is one of the editors of Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing), an anthology of horror fiction/poetry by African-American women (HWA Bram Stoker finalist). Catch her latest work in The Place of Broken Things, written with Alessandro Manzetti (Crystal Lake Publishing) and anthologies Cosmic Underground (Cedar Grove Publishing) and Scary Out There (Simon Schuster). Addison is a founding member of the writer’s group Circles in the Hair (CITH), and a member of HWA, SFWA and SFPA.

Find Linda’s Amazon Page HERE.

Alessandro Manzetti, Biography –

AlessandroAlessandro Manzetti lives in Rome, Italy and is a three-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, editor, and translator of horror fiction and dark poetry whose work has been published extensively in Italian, including novels, short and long fiction, poetry, essays, graphic novels and collections.

English publications include his novels Shanti – The Sadist Heaven (2019) and Naraka – The Ultimate Human Breeding (2018), the novella The Keeper of Chernobyl (2019), the collections The Radioactive Bride (2020), The Garden of Delight (2017), The Monster, the Bad and the Ugly (2016, with Paolo Di Orazio), and The Massacre of the Mermaids (2015), the poetry collections The Place of Broken Things (2019, with Linda D. Addison), War (2018, with Marge Simon), No Mercy (2017), Sacrificial Nights (2016, with Bruce Boston) Eden Underground (2015), Venus Intervention (2014, with Corrine de Winter), and the graphic novel Calcutta Horror (2019)

He edited the anthologies The Beauty of Death (2016), The Beauty of Death Vol. 2 – Death by Water (2017, with Jodi Renee Lester) and Monsters of Any Kind (2018, with Daniele Bonfanti). His stories and poems have appeared in multiple Italian, USA, and UK magazines as well.

He is the Founder & CEO of Independent Legions Publishing, an HWA Active member, and a former HWA Board of Trustees member.

Find him on his website HERE.

Thanks to Sonora for her wonderful review of the collection.

Sonora Taylor, Biography –

sonora-taylor-2019-headshot (1)Sonora Taylor is the author of Without Condition, The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales, Please Give, and Wither and Other Stories. Her short story, “Hearts are Just ‘Likes,’” was published in Camden Park Press’s Quoth the Raven, an anthology of stories and poems that put a contemporary twist on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Taylor’s short stories frequently appear in The Sirens Call.

Her work has also appeared in Frozen Wavelets, Mercurial Stories, Tales to Terrify, and the Ladies of Horror fiction podcast.

Her third short story collection, Little Paranoias, is available on Amazon. Her next book, Seeing Things, will be available June 23, 2020. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband.

Find out more about Sonora on her website.

Seeing-Things-Cover-Art-FrontSeeing Things  –

Featuring cover art by Doug Puller, the book will be available in e-book and paperback on June 23, 2020, on Amazon.

It will also be available in paperback through Bookshop.org and IndieBound.

Link to Pre-order (e-book only) on Amazon.

More on #HookedOnPoetry –

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and read about these wonderful artists and their work. If you are curious about the rest of the the poetry posts already featured this year, or in years past, you can find them all in one place on the POETRY page here on my site.

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#NationalPoetryMonth: Poems from Christina Sng, Bram Stoker Award Winner

April is National Poetry Month, and though I’ve been behind on getting many posts up about it, I’m hustling and featuring several poets I know and love from the dark fiction/horror/fantasy/sci-fi genres this week. I’d want to thank the authors that agreed to hustle with me in order to be able to offer this small April series to readers. In the future, I plan to hopefully feature poetry here, beyond my own, at least one or two times a month as a special project.

One of those amazing ladies I adore for her positive spirit, her friendship, her talent, is Christina Sng! She’s a ray of sunshine to me every day and her creativity in both art and writing inspires me. Christina won a 2017 Bram Stoker Award® this year for her collection, A Collection of Nightmares from Raw Dog Screaming Press. She’s garnered more than 70 awards and nominations, including the Elgin, Rhysling, and the 2018 Jane Reichhold International Prize.

I’m very honored and excited that Christina chose to feature three of her 2018 Rhysling Award poems here on my site! They span various genres of science fiction and horror and were first published in various magazines as noted below. I hope you’ll love Christina’s work as much as I do. My favorite here is the one about Little Red Riding Hood.

And it was World Book Day yesterday as well, and Sng, lives in Singapore!

Enjoy….

starlight

STARLIGHT

It was far too early
When I woke this morning.
Starlight glimmered
In the sky like fireflies.

Yet the clock read ten
Despite the blanket of night,
Flung over the moon’s smile,
Leaving no crack of light.

That was when the news arrived.
The sun had just died.
We had but eight minutes
Before the Earth turned to ice.

— Christina Sng

Previously in Space and Time #129

playground-drawing-night-moon-rocket-buildings-hd-720P-wallpaper-middle-size

MOONLIGHT IN THE PLAYGROUND

We wander the quiet playground
Hand-in-hand, chain-linked
And bound, blood thick within blood.

The moon is ivory rich tonight,
Shrouded by grey cotton wool clouds
Casting a soft filter on the foggy night.

My little girl softly hums
A bedtime melody about
Dragons and warrior children.

We pass by elephant swings
And an octopus roundabout,
And then she spies it,

Lets go of my hand,
Racing lightspeed toward it,
The dragon of her dreams:

Spiral loops wound in the air;
Musical notes crescendoing
Into a grand finale–

A dragon-headed slide, where
The little one now glides down,
Laughing with sheer joy,

My sweet soprano;
The high notes on
A child’s piano.

My boy is swinging
Upside down from
One of the spirals;

My bass clef, arms now
Outstretched, reminding me
Of those dexterous acrobats

We saw on television last week.
When did he let go
Of my hand to go play?

My focus has lost its razor
These days. Perhaps it is truly
Time to rest and hibernate.

The clouds yawn, puffing apart
To reveal a luminously silver moon.
She brightens up the entire night sky.

I call to them softly, kiss
Their disappointed cheeks,
Remind them that

Even the best orchestras
Need to end; and all living
Things need to sleep.

They nod in acquiescence,
Pondering now what wondrous
Adventures their dreams will bring.

And so I begin to sing,
An old melody my mother
Taught me as a child.

I hold their hands tight,
Feel our shared blood
Pulse between us.

Slowly we fade to star dust,
Drifting back into the skies,
Into the mysterious universe

Where we belong.

–Christina Sng
Previously in Spectral Realms #6
little-red-riding-hood-illustration_00436387.jpg
LITTLE REDLittle Red,
Motherless babe,
Taught to be self-sufficient
And brave at a young age.She gathered fruit,
Hunted squirrel, trained herself
To be a sharpshooter
With the wooden crossbow she made.

Werewolves in the forest,
The local rumors howled.
Little Red was unperturbed.
She had no fear at all.

She’d fought off snakes,
Outrun grizzlies,
Shot alligators
While spearing fishes.

“But this is new,” her ill Gran said,
“This is a cross between a wolf and a man.
He’s wily, wicked, and dangerous too.
I worry he might outsmart you.”

“Fear not, dear Gran,” Little Red said.
“I’ll fetch the doctor. Go back to bed.
My aim is true. If he causes trouble,
I’ll take care of it.”

Through the woods she walked,
Eyes ever watchful,
This fragile little girl,
Cloaked in a velvet red hood.

Predators stayed away,
Fearful of Little Red’s spear.
Only the new ones in the wood
Dared to venture near.

A soft woosh betrayed his presence.
Little Red sent two shots his way.
A yowl of pain from the south.
Little Red sent four more that way.

Out leapt the werewolf,
Dripping blood like bread crumbs.
That furry crazy-eyed wolf thing,
At Little Red he lunged.

She stepped artfully aside,
Shot him another two times:
Once in the head,
Once in his eye.

Another two for posterity,
And he was down
Splayed and drunk
Like a sheep skin rug.

Little Red rushed home,
Doc in tow.
Gran was sitting up,
Unnaturally flushed.

Her smile revealed
Stalactites in the snow.
She tore the good Doc in two
Without so much as a hello.

Little Red stared in dismay.
For the first time, she could not aim.
Scarecrow-still, she watched
Gran turn, face elongating,

Arms sprouting fur, like
Seedlings in slow-motion.
Gran’s nails and teeth
Grew like rabid weeds.

In her eyes,
A familiar crazed expression but
None of the love nor recognition
Little Red used to see inside.

She swung her new talons
At Little Red’s head, unfroze her
With the knowledge
That this was no longer Gran.

Gran would never
Raise her hand
At her beloved granddaughter.
This was truly some other monster.

Twin head shots
Dispatched that alien thing.
Little Red wept with sadness and rage
As she carried Gran’s body for burying.

Now marked
A new era for Little Red.
It was time to grow up;
Time to hunt predators instead.

– Christina Sng

Previously in Polu Texni, September 2017

And here is Christina’s latest collection from Raw Dog Screaming Press, the Bram Stoker Award® winning A Collection of Nightmares…..read all about it below…
CONStoker.png
A Collection of Nightmares
By Christina Sng
ISBN-10: 1935738984
ISBN-13: 978-1935738985
Raw Dog Screaming Press, July 2017
92 pages
Bram Stoker Award® Winner, Elgin Award nominee, and one of LitReactor’s Best Books of 2017, A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES takes us through a surreal dreamscape of seasonal creatures, bone carvers, listless gods, vengeful angels, and post-apocalyptic survivors, to the end of all things good and evil.
Christina

Christina Sng, Biography – 

Christina Sng is an award-winning poet, writer, and artist. Her work has been published in numerous print and online venues worldwide and garnered more than 70 awards and nominations, including the 2018 Jane Reichhold International Prize. She is the author of A CONSTELLATION OF SONGS, CATKU, Elgin Award nominees AN ASSORTMENT OF SKY THINGS and ASTROPOETRY, and 2017 Bram Stoker Award® Winner A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES. Visit her at www.christinasng.com.

Photo: Art pulled from various free wallpaper sites.

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