National Dark Poetry Day

Did you know October 7 is National Dark Poetry Day? Not -so-coincidentally it is also the date Edgar Allen Poe died. I’m pleased to finally announce that Raw Dog Screaming Press can finally offer Steve Archer’s collaboration with Poe, a fine art edition of “The Masque of the Red Death,” after two years of hard work by both Steven and Jennifer Barnes, the driving force behind RDSP. The cover of this post is just a sample of Steven’s artwork from the book’s interior. Here’s more about the book:

ebook coming December 9 • paperback January 13 Preorder price includes a $2 discount, all copies shipped in the US will come signed by the artist.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote “The Masque of the Red Death” nearly 180 years ago, yet its narrative and characters continue to mystify and captivate. The short story is driven by Prince Prospero’s attempt to evade the “Red Death” a fatal plague infecting his kingdom, by hiding in his abbey, where he indulges in pleasures and delights with other nobles. He soon finds out that no one can escape their end.

Steven Archer has recast the characters of The Masque and illuminated the narrative in a novel and perhaps more visceral light, that remains true to the raw darkness and decadence of the tale. His modern take on the classic story brings it into our new infected world. Perhaps it was prescience that drove him to create the illustrations in 2018 only to have them see the plague-filled light of day in 2020. Even now in our enlightened and modern world, “Darkness and Decay and the Red Death holds illimitable dominion over all.”

Preorder The Masque of the Red Death here!

With a foreword by John Langan (The Wide Carnivorous Sky), this is an immersive visual feast that breathes new life into this classic memento mori tale of disease, decadence, and inevitable mortality.

Beyond that announcement, let’s ruminate on dark poetry and this day dedicated to it. I’ve curated a starter’s guide to dark poetry in this online poetry store, including work from some of the best horror poets working today.

Interested parties were contacting me about my own poetry today, so I’m including some links below where you can read my articles and interviews on the subject or read my poetry directly. To read more about National Dark Poetry Day you can explore the full announcement from the Horror Writers Association.

Quick Links to My Dark Poetry Online

A short film based on my poem “Where the Heart Isn’t, directed by Jayson Densman, can be found here.

Here’s some of my poetry at Hook of a Book.

My performance of “Burning Sylvia Plath’s Bra” can be found here.

My article “I Don’t Like Poetry” is available in Marge Simon’s column Blood & Spades.

I read “Why the Big Cat’s Eyes are So Pretty” in this video.

Back in 2012 Gabino Iglesias interviewed me about poetry for Black Heart Magazine.

In this video I discuss three great things about poetry.

My article for Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction, “Self-Mutilation: Strategies for Terrifying Yourself to Create Successful Horror Poetry” provides thoughts on how to jump-start your horror poetry writing.

The Well Read Beard reviews my third poetry collection, The Plague Factory, in this video.

The late Stephen M. Wilson conducted this interview with me about poetry for Doorways Magazine.

Here I read a mix of material from SuiPsalms and Wholesome Terror.

In Decibel Magazine’s Tales From the Metalnomicon I discuss the connection between poetry and music for me.

Author Fred Shrum performs a piece from The Troublesome Amputee, “From London to Wall Street.”

Not my poetry, but the Women in Horror Poetry online reading I hosted featured Donna Lynch, Erin Al-Mehairi, and Stephanie M. Wytovich.

David E. Cowan interviewed me, along with the rest of the editorial team at Raw Dog Screaming Press, on the subject of horror poetry for the Horror Writers Association.

My most recent poetry publication is in Chosen Realities, which includes two excerpts from my forthcoming Bibliophobia collection.


When I perform a solo reading, and we get to audience Q&A afterward, instead of telling the audience what to read I prefer to ask the audience what they have been reading instead.

So: what have you been reading? Who are your favorite poets? What’s your favorite poem or poetry collection? Please let me, or my readers, know in the comments! Thank you.