Archive for Weird Poetry

Update 05/29/2020: Horror Host aspirations

Posted in Creature Feature, Dr Paul Bearer, horror host, The Dark Young, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, vlogs, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 29, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Well this is what, the 3rd or 4th post in as many days? LOL! Anyway, I have been very thoughtful the last few days. I am not one to get on a soapbox to declaim my political opinions, but suffice it to say that I am deeply troubled by the state this country is in at the moment. I do worry about this brazen irrational non-compliance with safety measures and, as a minority (I am Hispanic, of Puerto Rican and Spanish descent), as well as an outsider personality, I am horrified by the surge of intolerance and hate crimes proliferating my newsfeed every time I go online. It feeds my anxieties and my darker thoughts, which anyone familiar with my work knows are pretty bleak already. That said, I try to distract myself with my writing and my reviews.

One thing that has been taking over my thoughts lately is my desire to start a YouTube channel for the sole purpose of putting on a sort of show or vlog where I recite poetry, either by my own hand or by poets I know and/or admire. I want to present it sort of like a Horror Host show, only instead of showing B-movies, I’ll be sharing my thoughts about authors and poets of the Weird variety. This has been a longtime dream for me, which I explored a bit in the 90s through my onstage persona with my old band The Dark Young.

But it’s roots go back much further than that. As I have mentioned here before, I think the show The Hilarious House of Frightenstein had a big influence on me as a boy, as did  Creature Feature, with Dr. Paul Bearer. I would like to do something like that, only a bit less campy, and with more mordant humor. So, no faux plugs for “Slays potato chips” or “Ghoul-Aid”… sorry Dr. Paul, it was funny to 10 year old Manny, but the grown up Manuel just can’t bring himself to do it. Besides, I want to create something with at least a modicum of class to give the pieces I hope to share some dignity and deference, which they so richly deserve.

Once people start meeting up again in earnest I will look into finding a small crew willing to help with setting up a regular space to host and record it. As I mentioned before, I have started recording little video recitations with my cell phone. The audio is pretty good, but I am having issues with the image being too dark. I need to film in the daytime for the better light, and I may switch from my narrow bedroom to my spacious living room. We’ll see. More on that as things develop.

Update 05/14/2020: Greetings from Krampus accepted for Spectral Realms #14!

Posted in Greetings from Krampus, Krampus, S.T. Joshi, Spectral Realms, Updates, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 14, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I just received an email from S.T. Joshi accepting my seasonal horror poem Greetings from Krampus for inclusion in Spectral Realms #14! He did request, however, that I write a little blurb explaining what exactly Krampus is, for the uninitiated.

Gruss vom Krampus! (Greetings from Krampus!)

Update 03/13/2020: Moribond accepted for Spectral Realms #13

Posted in Chelsea Arrington, Clark Ashton Smith, Frank Coffman, Hell-Flower, My Bantam Black Fay, Pickman's Press, S.T. Joshi, Spectral Realms, The Averoigne Legacy, The Fell Fête, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night I received confirmation from S.T. Joshi that my poem Moribond has been accepted for inclusion in Spectral Realms #13, where it will join My Bantam Black Fay, and Hell-Flower, respectively. After so many prose poems, it’s nice to be able to offer some verse again. Admittedly, I would not have been able to accomplish this without the help and guidance from my colleagues Ms. Chelsea Arrington, and Frank Coffman, who both commented on my work in progress. Mr. Coffman in particular gave me useful advice on how I might improve on Moribond. I am grateful to them both.

Note: the character of Moribond also made an appearance in my tribute to Clark Ashton Smith, The Fell Fête, which can be found in the anthology The Averoigne Legacy from Pickman’s Press.

Update 02/27/2020: Dark Fairies, Horrorticulture and Spectral Realms #13

Posted in Errant Jenny, Hector Laureano, Hell-Flower, Horror Harvest, Horrorticulture, Obadiah Baird, Rosaire, S.T. Joshi, Scott J. Couturier, Spectral Realms, The Audient Void, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This morning I received the good news from S.T. Joshi that my little bit of Horrorticulture verse, Hell-Flower, has finally been accepted for the esteemed pages of Spectral Realms. What is Horrorticulture you ask? Well, that is an arch phrase I coined long ago for my poem Flower of Evil that mixed horror and horticulture, and I have used it as a designation for like poems and prose ever since.

I wrote Hell-Flower a few years ago, maybe somewhere around 2014-15, and had shown it around to friends with mixed reviews. I sent Mr. Joshi the poem after some brief revisions but he was not impressed with it at the time. In fact, I was taken aback by his demurral, as I thought it a good poem which even bore the enthusiastic approval of my fellow weird poet Scott J. Couturier. Defeated, I shelved it for a while, but pulled it out again when I sent some poems to Frank Coffman for recommendations on how to improve them. I applied his suggestions and resubmitted it to Spectral Realms with the positive end result.

Mr. Joshi went on to say that since this is the 2nd of my poems slated for inclusion in issue #13, I will be allowed one more short poem for that issue, totaling three in all. However, I’ll have to look around for something else to send him.

This past week I also got news that my short story Errant Jenny, about a dark fairy, was rejected by The Audient Void. Although this is about the 4th time in a row they have declined to accept my work, I am not going to give up on submitting to them, as it is a quality publication and the apogee in desktop publishing for dark fantasy fiction. Even so, it is disheartening, as I thought my dark fairy tale was a good story as well as unique.  I am going to revisit that tale and perhaps submit it somewhere else. I also am considering getting in touch with Hector Laureano to see if he is still going to use Rosaire for his Horror Harvest. He has had it for a year and has not published it yet. If he releases it, I may submit that to Mr. Obadiah Baird for consideration.

A little help from my friends

Posted in Dick Kelly, Frank Coffman, Krampus, Updates, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , on November 30, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I recently asked fellow poet Frank Coffman whether he knew of any editors that specialized in weird poetry and who wouldn’t charge an arm and a leg to take a look at some of my poems. Mr. Coffman graciously agreed to do it himself for free, so I sent him four of my most promising pieces in the hopes that they were salvageable: Moribond, Hell-Flower, Krampus, and Dimas Akelarre. He responded the very next day and returned my poems with some very helpful insights and comments. His estimation of my work was surprisingly favorable, considering some of the flack I have gotten for these poems from editors in the past, and his kind words have renewed my faith in my talents.

His overall assessment was that my instincts were good and my vocabulary, particularly in the genre, was good. The one poem that needed the most work was Moribond, but the rest, in his estimation anyway, required only minor adjustments. Surprisingly, the poem which required the least reworking and from which he seemed to derive the most amusement was my Krampus poem; which is good, because I have some printed chapbooks of an illustrated edition ready for sale. I may still tweak the poem down the line for publication in one of the weird poetry journals, but as it stands it seems to work fine.

For anyone interested, my Krampus chapbook is available for $5 plus shipping & handling. The cost of which I shall work out in the next couple of days.

Here are some samples pages featuring the amazing artwork of my friend Dick Kelly:

Krampus excerpt 1 (art by Dick Kelly.)

Krampus excerpt 2

Krampus excerpt 3

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.