“Poems of the Erotic, the Romantic, the Violent, and the Grotesque.”
This is the first book I’ve read from Wrath James White. As I mentioned before in my reviews of Lucas Mangum’s Gods of the Dark Web and Christoph Paul’s Horror Film Poems, I’m not really a horror guy. And White is this guy who is all about extreme horror. But this book is a curious thing, meeting at the crossroads where horror and poetry collide.
This isn’t an ode to horror fiction like Christoph’s poetry. This collection reads more like a horror writer’s ode to poetry. In the introduction White discusses his passion for poetry, and it’s really curious how it comes across so touching and tender, yet his poetry is running parallel with other passions of his… specifically, sex and violence.
I love a good dose of violence in my poetry. I love it when a poet drops the facade of beauty and tenderness and goes right for the kill. Now I’m wishing I’d have read some of White’s work already, because I don’t have anything to compare it to. There are a couple of short stories in this collection, most of the work is poetry, but I think still what White has presented in this collection is a different monster than the ones I would find in his other books. As dark and violent and passionately chaotic as this book is, I think it is genuinely beautiful and tender in its curious little way.
It’s love poetry for twisted people, but it invites and explores the nature of a ravenous sexual relationship. It navigates a dark and taboo underworld of domination and submission through familiar concepts of love and commitment and consent. The terrors here are lights shining on deviant acts, blood and bruises used to paint vivid pictures of unconventional love, which is love more wholesome than some people ever know. I loved how White used the ‘other’, the unknown, the things we’re afraid of, and instead of turning them into monsters, made them into poems, into lovers, into our deepest darkest desires that we’re too afraid to ask for.
White opens the door and invites us into a world filled with pleasure and pain. You just need to step through the door and acknowledge a love so fierce you might be eaten by the end of it.
Next review: Zombie Sharks With Metal Teeth by Stephen Graham Jones
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