Cover Reveal: The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes

Coming very soon from Strangehouse Books…The Devil's Dreamland full rez.jpg

 

“Tantlinger’s chilling poetry, inspired by life/lies of a serial murderer, unfolds in the imagined voices of his victims, and the man himself, in a city reduced to ashes and rebuilt for him to bleed. The poems entice to try understanding this devil: what does he gain from such horror? In the end, after he is hanged and buried, the haunting last poem plants the idea: evil is more than one man and isn’t easily destroyed.”

—Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of “How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend” and HWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner

“In this morbidly creative and profound crime documentary, Sara Tantlinger delivers one of the best works of horror poetry I’ve read in years. What America’s Ripper, HH Holmes, built with his creatively sick “murder castle” in 1890’s Chicago, Tantlinger creates today with this book, rich with seductive language and unflinchingly exploratory in its multifaceted structure. It’s brilliantly constructed to get inside your skull and pry apart your morbid fascination with life, death, perversion, avarice and murder, awakening you to the evil that hides in plain sight around us all. Readers will thrill to find themselves spilling down its terrifying trapdoors and careening down its greasy dark slides, until they find themselves imprisoned inside the black gloom of a deviant dungeon of nightmarish evil that they’ll never be able to forget…or escape. An amazing autopsy of the unholy!”

—Michael Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Grave Markings and Play Dead

“A fascinating and absolutely riveting journey into the life and times of one H.H. Holmes. Sara Tantlinger’s powerful and vivid prose takes you into the depths of Holmes’ dark universe and what you see will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.”

—Christina Sng, Bram Stoker Award winning author of A Collection of Nightmares

Friday the 13th — Academic Style

Having a Friday the 13th in October was too fun for this horror writer to pass up, even in the classroom. I had my Composition & Culture students discuss the pros and cons of what would happen if social media suddenly vanished from campus, and then we took a look at some horror films (and the excellent show Black Mirror) that portray social media/technology as an ultimate and relatable in-your-face evil as compared to the more metaphorical/societal evils vampires, demons, witches, and other baddies in horror tend to represent. (Check back later for another post on this comparison because I think it’s a fascinating one to delve into).

For some creative fun, I brought in my pal and poetry colleague Mike Arnzen’s Fridge of the Damned Poetry magnets and challenged my students to use the poetry bits to create something inspired by our social media conversation (because poetry is fun!) I was both impressed by each group’s abilities to provide a great analysis to convince me how their poems tied into our earlier conversation, and quite happy to see the overall engagement in creating poetry because, as anyone who has met me knows, I believe in the power of poetry and doing any kind of creativity, always. With about 10ish minutes on the clock, I set the challenge, played some spooky soundtracks in the background, and they got to work.

Check out each group’s poem below! And while they are dark and I love horror, I obviously like some social media (I mean, I am blogging about this after all), but I very much believe in the importance of discussing our social media-obsessiveness, and maybe poking fun of our habits can lead to some introspective moments of reflection and encourage us to put the phones down and enjoy the fall foliage or read a book beneath the autumn sunlight. Or write wacky poems with friends.

Tommy's group

“Fear is human…” Tommy, Devin, and Cory show us how sometimes people are childish on social media, but hurtful comments can seal into one’s mind. And sometimes, social media claims our very souls…duhn, duhn, duhn…

Sam's group

Sam, Megan, Josh, and Kylie give us some abstract lines to show how time disappears when on social media. It can hook us in, render us numb, and end with the shrieks of the innocent.

Mike's group

Demons within chocolate? Oh yes. Mike, Kate, and Camila delve into how sweet someone can seem on the internet versus the inner demons that may be lingering beneath the surface.

Lauren's group

Lauren, Katie, Allison, Teegan, and McGarity present a dark analysis of the fragility of our nerves when on social media, and how despair can grab us when we dangle our hearts on the internet.

Azaria's group

“broken humans / in agony” — the glare may hide some words, but Azaria, Alma, Nelson, and Brooklynn don’t glare away from showing how broken people can break even more inside the noisy world of social media.

Kelsey's group

Kelsey, Lexi, Mackensi, and Kamyron chop us up with this abstract and detailed piece on the potential darkness lurking when we give too much of ourselves to social media.

Andrew's group

The glass machine, is it social media or is it humanity? Andrew, Taylor, Gabby, and Trent provide some interesting thoughts on different elements on various social media in this one.

Josey's group

“swallow you dead” — it certainly can. Owen, Liz, Anna H., Anna M., and Josey provide us with these final thoughts on the costumes we sometimes wear on social media compared to our true selves.

 

 

 

Double the Madness: Mike Arnzen Interviews me about “Love Me Like a Murder Scene”

Last summer I was very pleased to have my poem “Love Me Like a Murder Scene” published with The Five-Two.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 9.45.25 AM.pngThe poem is making an appearance again for this year’s National Poetry Month! Gerald So, editor of The Five-Two, has been celebrating the month with a fantastic blog tour called 30 Days of The Five-Two.

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Happy horror writers.

I am thrilled to be a part of this tour. Mike Arnzen, who is currently my mentor in Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction program, interviewed me about the poem and made a fun page over on Gorelets
where you can hear the interview (we cackle about love and murder a lot).

During my undergrad at Seton Hill I had an independent study with Mike where I concentrated solely on horror poetry. It’s very exciting for me to still be able to share my twisted poetry with the professor who encouraged me to keep at it…even if I’m still obsessed with the Gothic romanticism that I suspect began to drive him a bit mad 🙂

But I promise I’ve branched out a bit and have some interesting poetry projects complete…hopefully I’ll be able to post more on that in the future.

Cheers, love, and murder,
Sara