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Not only will I be attending Stokercon this year, I will be speaking on the following panels and have managed to score a reading! Thank you, Lee Murray!

Coming-Of-Age Horror In The Era Of Netflix

6.00 pm, Thursday, May 9,  Berkley Room


"The popularity of Stranger Things, IT, and The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina suggests a resurgence in coming-of-age horror. Our panel explores the fascination with—and the allure of—this sub-genre, from its metaphors about puberty and loss of innocence, to the visceral fears evoked by child endangerment and abuse, to potential opportunities writing fiction in this market."


Moderator Nancy Lambert will guide myself and Tom Deady through this conceptual minefield.
 


Reading Block 5

9.00 am, Friday, May 10, Winchester Room


I will be joined by the excellent Kathleen Kaufman and Ken MacGregor--did they organise this alphabetically?

 

Exit, Stage Death

3.00 pm, Friday, May 10, Grand View Room A

"Theater brings a proximity to the audience that movies simply cannot replicate. The recent success of Hamilton shows that people still crave live interaction. Even Guest of Honor Josh Malerman chose to contribute a stage play for the souvenir book. Horror theater is alive and well! Panelists will discuss the history, theory, and practice of putting elements designed to cause fear on the stage, as well as the challenges of adaptation, practical tips on how to write scary for the stage, and how to confront the challenges of writing plays for audiences raised on cinema and television."


Moderator Ken Wetmore will hopefully prevent April Grey, Brad Hodson and myself from taking this too far.


Twisted Tropes – Making the Common Uncommon

4.00 pm, Saturday, May 11, Grand View Room B - C

 

"Tropes in horror writing are recognizable: vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts. Most get in the way of good stories. This panel will discuss past successes at twisting these tropes into something fresh and explore how you can create your own unique approach to tropes."

With Megan Arcuri, Michael Arnzen, John Kachuba and Stephen Jones, as well as me, Rob E. Boley will have his hands full moderating this!
 

I can also probably be found stalking GoH Kaaron Warren, wandering dazedly in the Dealer's Room and killing it at the Open Mike Poetry session. Now, if you'll forgive me, I have to get back to watching the second season of Sabrina.

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Another publication! This time it's a poem, "Revenants of the Antipodes", that was selected for the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume V.

I've been an active (professional) member of the HWA for five years now, and even though not living in the USA limits my involvement some, I participate in online discussions, avidly follow the Stoker Awards, and got to hang out with members during a meet up at San Diego Comic Con in 2016. Now I've made one of their members only anthologies, meaning my poem is in excellent company.

"Revenants" is one of two poems that have come to me in a dream, more or less complete (the other is the much-reprinted "Mary"). I dreamed I was at a writing workshop at the NSW Writers Centre, woke up and it was all still there, in fairly good unrhymed iambic pentameter. I wrote it down and polished it up. Where the topical inspiration came from, I can't point to anything in particular. Perhaps it is a long-delayed reaction all that stuff by Lawson and Patterson I studied at school.  But there it is. I hope that you enjoy this snippet!

"Each sunset, now inverted Autumn lies

as red and cold as murder on the fields,

the hoary squatter rides the bleeding trails.

His shapeless hat hides eyes like empty pits,

or so they say: his ancient duster sags

like blowfly strike across his horse's rump.

No dog for years, yet into night he rides,

beneath the old wind pump's abscissional blades..."



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And here we are! My triptych of sonnets, "Libitina's Garden" is included in this 200th and penultimate issue of Mythic Delirium.
 


It consists of the sequence, "The Grove", "Vespillonis" and "The Dream of Augustus". It is a kind of cousin to my poem of last year, "Vanth - a myth derived", in that it sprang from the same body of research and the same provocative lack of evidence. Was this goddess of corpses, whom Horace prayed his works would escape, such an integral part of the Roman cultural fabric that she was simply never described? Or was there an interdiction on her name and image, in keeping with the general taboo against pollution by death? Undertakers were called "Libitinarii" and were only permitted to enter the city gates after sunset. That one of the first decrees of the first Emperor was for the improvement of the cemetery which lay outside the walls, converting a wilderness of bones into parkland, is another teasing snippet.

In any case, this superb production also contains poetry and short fiction by such tenebraries as Kate MacLeod, Benjanun Sriduangkaew and John Phillip Johnson. I especially like the poem "After Pandora" by Maya Chhabra.  Mythic Delirium achieved near-legendary status during its 20 year run and I mark its passing with a branch of cypress.

This issue -and all preceding- may be purchased here. The first two sonnets are free to read here.

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