Once upon a time I wouldn’t have bothered reviewing a book of poetry.
If it’s well-done poetry with elegant and compressed language, the reviewer will either leach the power of the language out by wordy restatements of actual verse or devolve into a technical discussion of interest to poets, maybe, but not necessarily poetry readers.
But I’ve violated that principle already.
Review: Dreams of Fear: Poetry of Terror and the Supernatural, eds. S. T. Joshi and Steven J. Mariconda, 2013.
First off, some of these poems are about the subject of horror and not horrifying or terrifying
Second, some are little more than memento mori. Well done memento mori but not necessarily terrifying or involving the supernatural.
Third, all the languages represented are, understandably but unfortunately, European. Specifically, Greek, Latin, French, German, and English.
Arranged chronologically by date of the poet’s birth, the collection goes back all the way back in the Western literary tradition to Homer, and we get expected excerpts from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Hamlet, Dante’s Inferno, and one of the classic bits of supernatural verse – Satan in Hell from Milton’s Paradise Lost.
As you would expect, supernatural verse really took off with the Gothic and Romantic Movements with their love of the frission of terror and the sublime and weird ballads. Continue reading →