Thursday, March 16, 2023

Thorne, Hell Spring (2021)

Isaac Thorne, Hell Spring. Lost Hollow Books, 2021. Pp. 374. ISBN 978-1-938271-55-7. £19.99.

Reviewed by Rachel Verkade

So… this one is weird. And I do not say that lightly. Let me try to describe how this book opens. It opens within the depths of hell, in a wood ringing a field surrounding a giant penis. Buckle up, folks. We’re just getting started.

Within the woods are hellhounds. All of the hellhounds are female, and describe themselves as sisters. They must leave the wood into the Penis field in order to consume sin that has seeped in from the mortal realm. These forays must be precisely timed, however, as at particular intervals the giant penis ejaculates, and should any of the hellhounds be touched by the ejaculate, she dies by bursting into multiple, smaller hellhounds. If the ejaculate touches the ground, it transforms into “eyeless white snakes” that pursue any nearby hellhounds, causing them, again, to swell and explode into multiple juveniles. This is apparently how hellhounds reproduce. Oh, and they all refer to the giant penis (which is very lovingly and explicitly described) as their father.

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Margariti, The Saint of Witches (2022)

Avra Margariti, The Saint of Witches: A Horror Poetry Collection. Weasel Press, 2022. Pp. 92. ISBN 978-1-9487-1234-7. $12.00.

Reviewed by Jason Kahler

The witches depicted in Avra Margariti’s collection The Saint of Witches are cursed with the burden of knowing, the pressures of womanhood, and the threat that comes with being the other. Dangerous love waits on a blanket under a moonlit tree, and the penalty for being extraordinary is death. Taken as a whole collection, The Saint of Witches doesn’t have one specific narrative line to follow, at least I don’t think, but instead paints a general impression of the lives (and deaths) of witches and those around them. The poems’ speakers are consistent, but I don’t think we’re supposed to understand that voice as belonging to one specific person. If I’m wrong, I don’t think that changes my reading of the pieces, and if I’m right, it doesn’t do anything to diminish the impact with which each individual piece lands.