This modern-day Countess Bathory sounds more like Sally Bowles than a queen of pain. The culmination of all this blather is scenes of mind-numbing gore, lip-sewing and ball-busting, but nothing an experienced reader hasn't encountered before (I'm considering the book both now and as if I'd read at the time it was first published), and I haven't even mentioned the mind-possession angle. It's all just padded paper depicting juvenile sadism in the most immature, inane manner; there's nothing real or true or honest in Raw Pain. I never felt anyone's pain as I read except for my own.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
My appreciation of horror poetry begins and ends with Baudelaire, so I'm not sure what to make of t. Winter-Damon's "Martyr without Canon" other than it's a jumble of nonsense, like those liner notes a Beat-besotted Bob Dylan used to write for his albums back in the Sixties. It appeared first in Grue magazine, which I don't think I'd heard of before this, a semi-pro zine that ran from 1985 to 1999. Winter-Damon, whose poetry appeared in many small-press horror publications, died in 2008. Another small-press poet, Wayne Allen Sallee, provides "The Touch," a non-supernatural bit of gritty, everyday violence, always Sallee's stock-in-trade.
I haven't mentioned all the stories, however they're fine if lacking a bit of real bite. Wagner's brief introductions provide biographical background on each contributor, which is great because I knew virtually nothing about a handful of them (many included were more SF&F writers, which may be why). He also states "these stories are chosen without regard to theme or method, style or approach," and that well-known writers appear along with the not-known. That's certainly how I myself learned my way in and around the genre back in the Eighties, buying and devouring anthologies filled with names I only dimly was aware of, and then sought out more work by the authors who had the most effect on me—I'm sure you've done the same.