Archive for Weird Poetry

Update 05/28/2019: “Speculations” now available!

Posted in David M. Hoenig, Frank Coffman, My Bantam Black Fay, Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society, Speculative Poetry, Updates, Weird Poetry, Weird Poets Society with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I found out this past weekend that the Weird Poets Society‘s first collection, Speculations, has finally become available for order at (see below for link). If memory serves, it opens with my poem My Bantam Black Fay, a little ditty about a witch’s familiar. Not sure if they offer contributor copies, if so I haven’t received mine yet. If not, I’ll order one for my collection. A few of my new literary acquaintances are here, such as editor Frank Coffman, and the very talented Scott J. Couturier, as well as some genre favorites whom I don’t know personally but have interacted with here and there, like Jessica Amanda Salmonson.

Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society (2018).

According to one reviewer, the collection also has illustrations by David M. Hoenig. I assume it would be too much to hope that my poem was illustrated, but it’s still cool that the book will bear some adornment. Once I have it in hand, I can say more about it.




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 01/30/2019: The Baleful Beldam considered for Spectral Realms #11

Posted in Dan Sauer, false rhyme, Rosaire, S.T. Joshi, Spectral Realms, The Baleful Beldam, Weird Poetry, Weird Verse, Werewolf Fiction, Witch Poems with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I got a response from editor S.T. Joshi on my submissions for Spectral Realms #11. He said he would accept The Baleful Beldam if he could make a minor change in the opening line, which he deemed as containing a *false rhyme. I of course gave him the green light to make the change.

As for Rosaire, he said he hadn’t had a chance to read it yet but thought it might be a tad long for inclusion into the journal, but he would let me know after he had a chance to read it and consult his designer, Dan Sauer I assume, to see how many pages it would take up.

I feared it might be too long, but I replied that if he were inclined to read it, despite it’s length, that I would be interested in hearing his impression of it’s merit. Fingers crossed on that one. Of course, I shall keep you all posted on any further updates.

*”A false rhyme is something that is completely random. A “true” rhyme has the same “consonence” (sic) sound at the end as well as the same “vowel” sound just behind it, like “day” & “way”. A false rhyme may have the same “vowel” sound at the same point but a different “consonence” (sic) sound at the end, like “lamb” & “dan” (sic) It’s done quite a bit in song & poetry. Put another way, it’s an imperfect rhyme.”

[ 01/31/2019]

Update 01/09/2019: Impressions of Spectral Realms #9

Posted in Ashley Dioses, Chelsea Arrington, Clark Ashton Smith, David Park Barnitz, Dora Sigerson Shorter, Farnsworth Wright, Michael Fantina, Robert Nelson, S.T. Joshi, Scott J. Couturier, Spectral Realms, The Fantasy Fan, Wade German, Weird Poetry, Weird Tales with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Just wanted to leave a few thoughts about Spectral Realms #9 while I still can recall them. On the whole, I enjoyed the book. I was thrilled to make my debut alongside some of the esteemed poets in the field, some of whom, like the Dark Poetry Couple, are now friends. Some pieces I liked better than others, with stand outs being Toads by Wade German,  The Song of the Siren by Chelsea Arrington (which felt like a cross between a British folk song and a Classical myth), Scholar and Sorcerer: For S. T. Joshi, on His 60th Birthday  (22 June 2018) by the late Michael Fantina, and We Are the Owls by Jessica Amanda Salmonson. My favorites, however, were Rek-Cocci Stirs and When Black Tom Came, both by  Scott J. Couturier. Mr. Couturier’s poems were little weird stories with vivid macabre imagery and imaginative use of language. I really look forward to reading more of his work, which had a definite Clark Ashton Smith vibe to it.

I also liked the Classic Reprints, particularly The Fairy Changeling by Dora Sigerson Shorter, which had a definite folksy vibe to it. Lastly, the literary criticism, in particular Frank Coffman‘s A New Formalist (a review of Miss Ashley Dioses’ collection Diary of a Sorceress) and Marcos Legaria‘s article Clark Ashton Smith and Robert Nelson: Master and Apprentice: Part I, about Smith’s correspondence with the young poet. I identified quite a bit with this one. Unfortunately, Nelson died in 1935, not long after his second appearance in Weird Tales. I liked what little of his poetry Mr. Legaria shared in the article so I looked him up and found his poem Sable Revery, which made its debut in the September 1934 issue of Weird Tales.

Robert Nelson’s Sable Revery from the September 1935 issue of Weird Tales.

I think he has a bit of a David Park Barnitz vibe, with all that thanatotic imagery. I would like to read his other work but it looks like it’s hard to come by. Apparently most of it was published in The Fantasy Fan back in 1934, which I believe saw a reprint in a compendium of the magazine in 2010 under an independent publisher, but even that seems to be out of print now. I could relate to his struggle to hone his craft as well as his desire for the acknowledgment of his heroes like Farnsworth Wright (editor of Weird Tales) and especially Smith, whose influence can also be seen in Sable Revelry. I believe the article shall continue in Spectral Realms #10; if so, I look forward to the next installment.

Get your copy here:

Update 12/18/2018: Spectral Realms #9 Contributor Copy

Posted in Scott J. Couturier, Spectral Realms, Thalía, Thérèse Lavery, Updates, Weird Poetry, Weird Verse with tags , , , , , , on December 19, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Got my contributor copy recently for Spectral Realms #9 and was so thrilled I had my friend Thérèse  take a couple of snapshots of me to commemorate the occasion.

Me, proudly holding my contributor copy of Spectral Realms #9.

My publication debut, featuring my poem Thalía.

You may order it now on

On a quick note, I have had one comment from a friend, fellow poet and contributor Scott J. Couturier, which I found very flattering. He says “Cheers Manuel Paul Arenas! Your ‘Thalia’ is exquisite…I’ve read her at least a dozen times already. I can’t stop re-reading the issue in general…”. Hopefully my little poem will inspire similar reactions in others.


Afterthought: I just realized that Mr. Joshi never punctuated the poem as he said he would. That’s fine though. At least it’s wholly mine and no one can claim otherwise. I don’t mean Mr. Joshi of course, I meant haters who might infer that if he had an editing hand in it he may have had a hand in it’s composition as well.


Posted in Bibliography, Gargoyle, Morbidezza, My Bantam Black Fay, Spectral Realms, Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society, terza rima, Thalía, The Baleful Beldam, Vampire Vigil with tags , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

A listing of my published works and appearances.


Thalía (poetry): Spectral Realms #9 [Hippocampus Press]


Morbidezza (prose poem): Spectral Realms #10 [Hippocampus Press]

Gargoyle (prose poem): Spectral Realms #10 [Hippocampus Press]

My Bantam Black Fay (poetry): Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society 2018

Vampire Vigil (prose poem): Spectral Realms #11 [Hippocampus Press]

The Baleful Beldam (poetry): Spectral Realms #11 [Hippocampus Press]

Night Hag (prose vignette): The Phantasmagorical Promenade [Planet X Publications]

“My Bantam Black Fay” accepted for Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society

Posted in My Bantam Black Fay, Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society, Weird Poetry, Weird Poets Society with tags , , , on November 3, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

It seems my poem, “My Bantam Black Fay” was accepted for inclusion in “SPECULATIONS: POETRY FROM THE WEIRD POETS SOCIETY”. Not sure what the circulation will be like on it, but it’s nice to be acknowledged. I will keep you all informed of any updates.