Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book Review: 'Halloween: New Poems' by Al Sarrantonio

✰✰✰½ Celebrate Halloween with this collection of 41 poems from horror writers including Tom Piccirilli, Steve Rasnic Tem, Brian Freeman, T.M. Wright, and more. In addition, the first poems ever published by Joe R. Lansdale are included. Many different styles of poetry are represented in this slim book allowing the reader the opportunity to experience the many emotions of Halloween from terror to silliness. The poems are organized around seasonal themes including: "Trick or Treat," "Pumpkins," "Samhain," "Dead Leaves," "Ghoulies," and more, making it easy to find a poem that suits your mood.

As with many collections, some of these poems were outstanding while others were not; thus, it all evens out. The standouts include: "Beggars' Night" by Gary A. Braunbeck and Lucy A. Snyder, "On Hallows Eve" by Peter Crowther, "Cap'n Hook" (A Tale of the Prairie) by Bradley Denton, and my personal favorite "The Lady DeWitt" by Joe R. Lansdale.

The Bottom Line: The festivities of the Halloween season are well suited to be expressed through poetry. However, as mentioned above, some of these poems were hits, while others were misses. Nonetheless, there's a little bit of something for everyone. Most of the authors included in this collection are not known for their poetry, so it was interesting to read their work. Also, the collection includes different styles of poetry including many poems written in blank verse. Additionally, I enjoyed the fantastic interior illustrations by Keith Minnion. Halloween: New Poems is fun, seasonal reading for adults. However, due to the inclusion of violence and some profanity, these poems are not recommended for the little ones. 

Details: Halloween: New Poems edited by Al Sarrantonio. Hardcover published by Cemetery Dance Publications in 2010. 112 p. ISBN: 978-1-58767-205-7

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