Archive for Bram Stoker

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: https://www.hippocampuspress.com/journals/spectral-realms/spectral-realms-no.-10?zenid=pcf7nml2s7pboek7deaqe6d1t4

 

 

 

 

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Walpurgis Night

Posted in Bram Stoker, Dracula, Dracula's Guest, Gothic Poetry, Gothic Prose, Poetry, Prose Poetry, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2016 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Tonight is Walpurgis Night, named after the English Medieval missionary, St. Walpurga, who first brought Christianity to the Germanic people. Her feast day is May 1st, and the eve of the day, April 30th, is often celebrated with dancing and reveling. Somewhere along the line this reveling became identified with the Witch’s Sabbath and Walpurgisnacht, as it is known in Germany, became a night of ill omens and devilry.

Sometime in the early 90’s I wrote a prose piece entitled “Walpurgis Night”, which was inspired by 2 things: one was a stencil someone had sprayed on the wall of my favorite pizza joint on Newbury Street in Boston, which read “Walpurgis Night” in black letters. I always assumed it was a local Goth or Metal band, but brief online research has revealed nothing that I can find. I was later to find, after the fact however, that one of my favorite bands, Black Sabbath, had originally intended their song “War Pigs” to be called “Walpurgis”. Both video and audio documentation of an early version of the song featuring a more lyrical emphasis on the black mass imagery has been available for some time now for public consumption. They had even decided to call the album “Walpurgis”, but the record executives thought it sounded too Satanic, so they toned down the devil imagery and made the newly titled song “War Pigs” into more of an anti-war tune. Of course, when they came up with “Paranoid”, they scrambled to promote that instead as the single and the new title of  the album, the artwork for which still played off of the “War Pigs” theme and confused a lot of stoners back in the day.

The other inspiration, which will be apparent to anyone who is familiar with it, is Bram Stoker’s short story, “Dracula’s Guest”, which was an excised early draft chapter from the original novel.

“Walpurgis Night” is far from my best work, and a little hokey in retrospect, some 25 or so years down the line, but it is an indication of where my creative writing would eventually go.

And so, without further ado, I present to you my prose poem “Walpurgis Night”…

"Walpurgisnacht" by Johannes Praetorius (1668).

“Walpurgisnacht” by Johannes Praetorius (1668).

Your friend is a fool, and shall die as such. You Englishmen, so arrogant! Where is the precious Crown for him now? His impressively  untainted lineage will mean nothing to the wolves. All blood tastes the same to them, blue or otherwise; but that is the least of his worries.

He would indeed be fortunate if it were only the wolves whom he met with.  For there are myriad other creatures which shall be roaming the lonely roads tonight, far more horrible than they. The dead shall rise and the witches shall be reveling in their sabbats and rutting rituals, and the Light Bearer shall hold sway.

Not a one of  my men would go out on this of all nights to search for any man, no matter what the price. For you see, tonight is a night for prayers, garlic rubbing, and door bolting. Tonight my friend, is Walpurgis Night!