Step into the Cradleland of Parasites

Cradleland

Did this month even happen? I’m not entirely convinced it did. I am, however, very tired and feeling that whole quarantine brain fog thing often. In better news, my forthcoming third collection of poetry, Cradleland of Parasites, is just about done! I’m on the revision/editing stage right now, which is my favorite of the writing stages! When I sent my publisher a proposal last year (I think in the fall) to see if he’d be interested in a poetry collection inspired by the Black Death, obviously I never thought I’d be researching bacteria, Medieval burial rituals, different ways plague spreads, and the earliest cases of biological warfare during a time of real pandemic, but here we are. The contract was signed, I was determined, and now I just hope it gathers some interest instead of great dismay and sadness. Then again, maybe now is the perfect time to step into the Cradleland of Parasites…

 

Cradleland of Parasites

You will walk in blood after the birth
and the very violence of such a thing,
how an origin shreds through membrane
how copper stains your lips and tongue,
will terrorize each atom in your body.

Sickness has always been here,
waiting in light and dark, hovering
in your air, and swimming through
each breath and drop of water,

did you ever think something as microscopic
as a germ could hurt this much?

You will take my hand when the air aches
when clouds have only acid lakes to absorb,
before your organs break down into dust
before life exits your body in an angry burst,
shut your eyes, tell me what bacterium curses you.

In the cradleland of parasites, beginnings
are always brutal, the way plague rips
venomous disease from contagion’s womb
spilling her gore across a vermillion wasteland,

does love still exist in this place where flesh
spills open and the maggots come to feast?

You will walk in blood after the birth,
taste spores sprouting through atmosphere,
remember the origin must always be violent
remember humankind will not survive this,
we will rebuild our cradleland from their bones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Call: Infection Poetry

Calling all speculative poets! I am so excited to be guest editing an issue of Eye to the Telescope. My theme is INFECTION. Check out the guidelines here and submit your deadly contagions and viruses. Please read the guidelines carefully — The INFECTION issue’s open call ends June 15 before a different editor and a different theme take over for the next round!

Eye to the Telescope 33, Infection, will be edited by Sara Tantlinger.

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 6.23.47 PMInfection is defined as an invasion of an organism’s body tissue, or the presence of a virus within a system. These disease-causing agents and their spreading toxins can lurk anywhere, whether at the bottom of a deadly swamp, floating in space, or perhaps already waiting in the body for the right time to conquer their host. Send me your diseases and pathogens, whether it’s an Earthly virus or from the realms and stars beyond. Tell me about the bacteria lurking beneath your skin, the sticky sickness deep in your gut, or how the infection of love drove you to madness.

Any format of speculative poetry is welcome—free verse, formal verse, etc. are all wonderful as long as the ideas are original, evocative, and send an infectious idea into my brain that I can’t stop thinking about. Get creative with those contagious agents using bodies as homes or breeding grounds, and really make me think about what kind of suffering and darkness they can inflict.

See full guidelines here

Character Poems by EL 231

For National Poetry Month I had my Popular Fiction undergraduate students write a poem from the POV of any of the characters from the books we’ve read so far:

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Carrie by Stephen King

I adored their poems and asked if I could share them — about half the class gave me permission to share their work, so I am thrilled! I hope you enjoy reading the creative works from these young writers as much as I did. Click the link below to view the PDF!

EL 231 Student Poems: Click Me!

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

Human Casket and Flower Stitches

How’s National Poetry Month treating everyone? Here’s a couple poems I’ve done so far to kick the month off:

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human casket- made with The Fridge of the Damned magnets! This piece is also over on Michael Arnzen’s Flickr page where he posts the poems made with these deliciously dark magnets (there’s also a link to get your own set!). Check it out.

And here’s one more piece for the day.

Flower Stitches

My heart is dark and dry,
but you water it with love,
pure in its coldness

the drops trickle down
my ribs and grow flowers
inside my lungs

their stems wrap around
my bones and clutch
me together

small green stitches
with black thorns
piercing from my pores

scars that bleed
make me pretty
with the blood of our love