Archive for February, 2019

Impressions of Spectral Realms #10

Posted in Adam Bolivar, Ann K. Schwader, Ashley Dioses, Black Mass, Bram Stoker, Charles Lovecraft, Chelsea Arrington, Christina Sng, Clark Ashton Smith, David Barker, Donald Sidney-Fryer, Dracula, English Folk-Rock, Eye To the Telescope, Flying Dutchman, G. Sutton Breiding, Hippocampus Press, Jan Švankmajer, Joshua Gage, K.A. Opperman, Leigh Blackmore, Liam Garriock, Manuel Perez-Campos, Marcos Legaria, Michael Fantina, Robert Nelson, Scott J. Couturier, Spectral Realms, The Pentangle, Wade German, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Spectral Realms #10: Winter 2019 (2019, Hippocampus Press).

I have received my contributor copy of Spectral Realms #10, from Hippocampus Press, and am loving it! The cover art, Chiron’s Burden – Pleiades Children, by Kim Bo Yung looks gorgeous in person; its weirdly celestial imagery and sublime blue tint is really eye-catching. Many of the poets featured in the previous issue are here, although a couple of my friends are disappointingly absent. Most notably, for me, K.A. Opperman, and Chelsea Arrington. Some of my other colleagues are represented, however, all of whom offer significant contributions to this issue.

Ashley DiosesLife Decayed tells shows the futility of trying to outrun the Reaper; Scott J. Couturier‘s Lord of Pumpkins is a fitting tribute to the conspicuously absent K.A. Opperman. I particularly liked the refrain:

Into the patch I gleefully go, / to fix my roots, to coil & grow.

Frank Coffman‘s The Witches’ Rite at Beltane revels in diabolic imagery that brought to mind the Black Mass scene from the silent film Häxan (1922). Apparently it is written in an original format he calls quinta rima.  His poem The Dutchman seems a cross between the Flying Dutchman legend and Samuel Taylor Coleridge‘s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. There are also worthy contributions from some of the long-standing names in weird poetry like Leigh Blackmore, Ann K. Schwader, David Barker, and Charles Lovecraft, to name a few. Mr. Blackmore’s When the Nightwind Howls is a lovely tribute to the late Michael Fantina.

Concerning the rest of the contributions, everything is generally of good quality, but some pieces do rise above the rest; for me anyway. The first poem to really grab me was Eurynomos, by Wade German, about the mythological daemon, with its ghoulish imagery.  His other contribution to this issue, The Driver of the Dragon’s Coach, is a nice addition to the many works referencing Bram Stoker‘s Dracula. Next was The Haunting Bones by  Adam Bolivar, whom I have just recently become acquainted with through social media. His poem is an original take on the story from the traditional Cruel Sister ballad, which I am familiar with through the celebrated rendition by the English Folk-Rock band The Pentangle. His Mad Jack-a-Lee is yet another twist on a popular folk song. In this case, the bloody tale of Stagger Lee. Salem Liberation, by Manuel Perez-Campos. Both this, and The Mirror of Arkham Woe, his other contribution to the issue, really grabbed me in a way his previous work hadn’t. They’re basically prose poems formatted to look like verse, but their imagery and delineation are exquisite.

Joshua Gage‘s The Old Ones: A Ghazal takes a seemingly Lovecraftian spin on the ancient Arabic poetic form. The repetition of the second line refrain creates a cantatory effect which is mesmerizing. Liam Garriock‘s prose poem The Assignment tells a creepy tale inspired by the surrealist works of filmmaker Jan Švankmajer.

I feel that I must take a moment to mention renowned poet Christina Sng. She has a couple of poems in this issue as well. She tends to write prose which she breaks up to look like verse, rather like Mr. Perez-Campos did with his contributions to this issue. Her stories are well crafted, and her language is crisp and contemporary, with good use of economy. In fine, she is very good at what she does, but her work just doesn’t move me. Still, out of respect, I believe she bears mentioning, especially since she is a significant contributor to Spectral Realms.

The list goes on, and there are many more noteworthy pieces in issue #10 of Spectral Realms, even more by some of the aforementioned poets, but I do not have the time or room to cover each and every one.

Other features in this issue are the Classic Reprints, and an index to the first 10 issues of Spectral Realms. Donald Sidney-Fryer does an assessment of the poet G. Sutton Breiding which I found intriguing. Leigh Blackmore does a review of the Witch issue of Eye To the Telescope, and Marcos Legaria continues his enlightening essay on Clark Ashton Smith‘s influence on poet Robert Nelson.

Lastly, this is the first issue to feature two of my pieces, the prose poems Gargoyle and Morbidezza. Mr. Joshi corrected my Latin on Morbidezza, I mention that she used a bible for divination. The term I used was sorte sanctorum. It is in the journal as sors sanctorum. I looked it up and apparently, sorte is the plural of sors, and as I am referring to a singular item, it is the correct tense of the word. I’m glad he caught it!

Next issue I’ll be having two pieces, The Baleful Beldam and Vampire Vigil. After that I don’t have anything set, so I must get cracking on writing something new!

Get your copy here:





Update 02/26/2019: Spectral Realms contributor copy / A home for Rosaire?

Posted in Hector Laureano, Rosaire, S.T. Joshi, Spectral Realms, Updates with tags , , , , on February 26, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night I came home to find the Spectral Realms #10 in my mailbox, and it is beautiful! The cover really looks amazing in person, so to speak. The blue is gorgeous and the image thereon is intriguing to say the least. I have read a few of the poems, mostly by my friends and acquaintances, and I am really enjoying what I’ve seen thus far. I will give a more in depth critique once I read it all the way through.

Also waiting for me was an email from S.T. Joshi stating that he may have found a home for Rosaire! A friend of his, Hector Laureano is the name–I think, is starting a new magazine to be called Horror Harvest; anyway, Mr. Joshi sent him my prose poem and he wants to include it in his 1st issue! I wrote to Mr. Laureano and told him I’d be interested with some minor caveats. We’ll see what he says.

Update 02/25/2019: Change of plans / Phantasmagorical Promenade

Posted in Ashley Dioses, Duane Pesice, Eldritch Tales, Frank Coffman, K.A. Opperman, Marc A. Michaud, Moribond, Necronomicon Press, Night Hag, Robert M. Price, Rosaire with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Well, I have changed my plans since my last update and decided to ask Miss Ashley to help me with Moribond, instead of bothering Mr. Opperman. I figure, since I already have a rapport with her, it would be best to try her first. She has yet to respond, but it has only been a couple of days and she is a busy lady after all. I’ll let you all know if and when she does.

After posting about my plans with Rosaire, I felt as if I was name dropping by mentioning Mr. Coffman and realized that there really was no reason to involve a 3rd party anyway, so I just wrote to Necronomicon Press directly. Hopefully whomever gets my query (presumably Necronomicon Press founder Marc A. Michaud) will be able to tell me whether they’re interested and, if so, how to submit my little story to Eldritch Tales editor Robert M. Price.*

Speaking of editors, Duane Pesice posted the table of contents for The Phantasmagorical Promenade, and my little vignette, Night Hag, is listed somewhere in the middle. So now it is official! Once it becomes available I will list it in my bibliography on here.

*03/13/2019: I never did hear back from Necronomicon Press. To be fair, I may not have contacted them through the proper channels.

Update 02/20/2019: Response on Rosaire and Moribond

Posted in Ashley Dioses, Averoigne, Chapbooks, Chelsea Arrington, Clark Ashton Smith, Eldritch Tales, Felo-de-se, Frank Coffman, In My Time of Dying, Jenny Greenteeth, K.A. Opperman, Morbidezza, Moribond, Nativity in Black, Necronomicon Press, Night Hag, Phantasmagory, Prosody, Robert M. Price, Rosaire, S.T. Joshi, Satanic Sonata, Spectral Realms, Terror at Twilight, The Baleful Beldam, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night I sent a revised copy of The Baleful Beldam to S.T. Joshi, with the adjustments he suggested in his last email to me. I also asked him if he’d had a chance to read Rosaire yet. He responded a few hours later thanking me for sending …Beldam, and said that he did indeed read Rosaire and although it was too lengthy for inclusion in Spectral Realms, he did find it to be a “clever pastiche” of Clark Ashton Smith. He went on to say, however, that because of this it might be a tough sell, and he wasn’t sure who might publish it. I might have to publish my little Phantasmagory chapbook sooner than later, if I want it to be seen.

Phantasmagory is the new title I have decided upon for my planned chapbook of prose vignettes that will feature such titles as Morbidezza, Vampire Vigil, Rosaire, and Nativity in Black. I have considered adding other pieces, most notably Night Hag and In My Time of Dying, but I may save those for something else. I also have a couple older pieces I’d like to spruce up and perhaps include, like Satanic Sonata and the Jenny Greenteeth segment of my Felo-de-se.

I also got a response from Chelsea Arrington on Moribond. She didn’t say much other than she liked it and relished it gruesomeness, but noted that I needed to clean up the beats. This is the same issue Ashley Dioses found with The Baleful Beldam when she was helping me with that one. I seem to have trouble with that a lot it seems. Perhaps I am not cut out for verse. I may just ask K.A. Opperman to take a look at it for a second opinion because, out of my few poet acquaintances, he is a little more conversant in the ways of prosody.

Update 02/22/2019:

I’m thinking I might try sending Rosaire to Eldritch Tales from Necronomicon Press. My acquaintance Frank Coffman recently had his poem Terror at Twilight published in the 3rd issue of the rebooted series, so I’ll ask him how submissions work. They publish original poems and stories of the weird variety, especially stuff with a mythos bent. Perhaps editor Robert M. Price will like my little Averoigne tale.

Eldritch Tales #3 (Robert M. Price ed., Necronomicon Press) which contains the poem Terror at Twilight by Frank Coffman.

Update 02/12/2019: Revising Moribond

Posted in Chelsea Arrington, Moribond, Poetry Revisions, Updates, Vastarien with tags , , , , on February 12, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I just basically rewrote one of my older poems, Moribond, in between calls at work. It’s gotten rejected at least once previously (by Vastarien, I believe it was) and has gotten lukewarm response when I posted it Facebook in the past, so I figured I’d take a critical look to see what they saw that wasn’t up to par for publication. The biggest problem I saw with it was that, syllabically speaking, it was all over the map. There were lines ranging from 9-12 syllables which made it very awkward and clunky. How I missed that before, I don’t know.

Anyway, I spent this afternoon trying to make the lines of a uniform length and choosing words that would also help it flow better. I think I succeeded in doing so without changing the poem so much that it is unrecognizable from the original version. Now I may show it to someone to see what they think before I send it out again. I wish I had an editor so I could have a second set of eyes looking out for this stuff before I submit my work to these publications. If all goes well with this piece I may try to revise some of my other poems and prose. I really would love  to get my hands on my old prose piece Satanic Sonata, but at the moment it only exists in a handwritten entry in my old poetry journal, which is packed away in storage at the moment.

Update 02/14/2019:

My Facebook friend, poetess Chelsea Arrington, has agreed to take a second look at Moribond. I’ll let you all know what comments or criticisms she may have, if any.


Update 02/05/2019: Night Hag accepted for ghost story collection!

Posted in Duane Pesice, Night Hag, Planet X Publications, The Phantasmagorical Promenade with tags , , , on February 6, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I was tagged by editor Duane Pesice in a message on Facebook*, and it seems my vignette Night Hag, about a real life visit from a succubus, has been accepted for The Phantasmagorical Promenade from Planet X Publications! I believe this will be my first paid publication. I realize the irony that a story about a succubus is in a collection of ghost stories, but the visitation has a  very phantasmal vibe to it, so I think it will fit.

Cover art by Lucy Alvarado.

*I have since gotten the official acceptance email.

Brief mention in blurb for Spectral Realms #10!

Posted in Hippocampus Press, Rosaire, Spectral Realms with tags , , on February 4, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Hippocampus Press has finally gotten caught up with their blurbs for the latest issues of Spectral Realms, and I am mentioned, albeit in passing, in the blurb for #10!

‘The tenth issue of Spectral Realms demonstrates that this journal of weird poetry is going strong as it completes its fifth year of publication. Once again, this issue features the work of many of the leading voices in contemporary weird verse: Wade German, Adam Bolivar, Christina Sng, Frank Coffman, Ann K. Schwader, Chad Hensley, Thomas Tyrrell, and Ian Futter. Manuel Arenas, Liam Garriock, David Barker, and others provide vivid prose-poems. Jeff Hall’s “In the Garden of Thasaidon” is a tribute to Clark Ashton Smith, while Manuel Pérez-Campos’s “The Mirror of Arkham Woe” draws inspiration from H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Colour out of Space.”’

I have two pieces in the next issue and if Rosaire is accepted, I may have one in #12, but if I want to keep seeing my name mentioned in the blurbs, I have to keep up the pace and consistently send them good pieces to publish. So, I need to get writing!

Logo for Spectral Realms from Hippocampus Press.