“Upstart Poets” Reading Last Night; Guest Vampire Blog Upcoming with Naomi Clark; Dark Moon Digest Received Friday P.M.

The “Upstart Poets” venue, previously held in the coordinator’s home, had changed to a somewhat obscure location called “The People’s Bar” which I, no fool, had made a point of scoping out beforehand.  This is where I had been invited to read two weeks back and, as it happens, it turned out to be a person’s garage converted into a rather nice outdoor pavilion — although perhaps just a little bit chilly after the sun went down.  Nevertheless, the evening went well, with fellow reader Karen Groth leading off with a half hour of poems primarily about Indiana and the Midwest, travel, family, the seasons, and one’s relation to these and to the intersection of rural and urban spaces.  I followed then with poems about — guess what — vampires and related dark topics, leading off with a poem first published here, “From the Vampiress Mignonette to Prof. Abraham van Helsing, Currently Deceased” (Apr. 13), followed by the dedicatory poem of VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) to NOSFERATU actor Max Schreck, a trilogy of poems about King Kong (with a special nod to actress Fay Wray),  grave worms and Medusas,  the death of Virginia Poe (“The White Worm,” being reprinted in THE SPIRIT OF POE, cf. Apr. 2, Jan. 9, et al.), and ending with a ten-minute reading of  “Chinese Music,” a long jazz-based poem originally published in STAR*LINE in March-April 1998, reprinted in 1999’s RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY, and currently in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).

In all we had about a dozen people attending, a record turnout for the Upstart Poets series, although this is only its third presentation, with donated drinks available to help things along (thus the “people’s bar,” not a cash enterprise, albeit mostly with root beer and cider where I was sitting).  Special thanks go to coordinator Joel Barker, bar “proprietor” Dan, and local poets Frida Westford and Tonia Matthew who accompanied me there with Tonia driving us.

Then in the wee hours of Friday morning I sent copy in to Naomi Clark who, anticipating the release of her new werewolf novella, is planning a series of guest blogs on her site “from writers of vampire and shapeshifter tales, discussing which you prefer and why.”  Or, as she continues, “Are you a bloodsucker-lover or a full-moon fiend?”  In view of VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) it’s easy to guess which side I come down on, but in my entry I also point out that, in folklore, sometimes it’s not so easy to tell one from the other.  Today I received an e-confirmation that her posting of guest blogs will start next week, with mine to come in some time during the series, at which point I’ll have a .url so readers of this blog can see it too.

Finally issue #7 of DARK MOON DIGEST arrived today with a reprint story of mine, “Skin” (cf. Jan 9).  It’s a story I’m fond of, originally published in GOTHIC.NET in April 1998 – thus exactly fourteen years ago this month.  “Skin” is an example of psychological horror,  where obsessions influence behavior based on what is perceived as reality by the protagonist.  And, need one add, that can’t lead to a good end.

In addition some other work of mine has been coming out this year from DARK MOON BOOKS, notably “The Third Prisoner” in DARK MOON DIGEST #6 in January and “Bones, Bones, The Musical Fruit” in SLICES OF FLESH, expected in the next few weeks.

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