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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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