Posts Tagged ‘Cemeteries’

There is a sense of sadness to Rollin’s vampires and even at their most violent, they exhibit weaknesses (to time, to the sun, to unrequited love) that make them far more sympathetic than a typical horror movie heavy.  Clocks are often closely associated with vampires, deepening the symbolic importance of time and fate in Rollin’s world.  It’s no coincidence that one of the most iconic images from his filmography occurs in LE FRISSON DES VAMPIRES (SHIVER OF THE VAMPIRES, 1971) when a scantily clad female vampire emerges from within a grandfather clock to menace a young bride.  (Tenebrous Kate on DIRGEMAG.COM)

Think of this as a serendipitous journey.  Long-time readers of this blog may know that vampires are high among my interests.  Cf. the “Casket Girls,” several stories of whom have been published in various places jean-rollin-part-1-feature(see, e.g., August 4 2016, April 28 2015, et al.).  But also an interest in surrealism (February 20 2015, June 22 2014, others), and a chance link back to my own post on “Sweet Lesbian Vampire Love” (August 14 2016) reminded me of a place where these are combined, in the French-language films of Jean Rollin with 1968’s LE VIOL DU VAMPIRE (RAPE OF THE VAMPIRE) an early example.  Then enter DIRGEMAG.COM, linked to in the August 14 post, and another completely different article, “Sex, Death, and the Psychedelic Madness of Jean Rollin,” by Tenebrous Kate.

As it happens, I have a number of Rollin’s films in my own collection (I may re-watch RAPE OF THE VAMPIRE tonight!), but rather than describe things myself, I’ll simply suggest reading Tenebrous Kate’s piece by pressing here.  And to close, I’ll quote two more paragraphs from it, these ones on settings (and not without noting another connection in the second, echoing perhaps an interest parallel to my own TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF Rollin-ViolLATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, albeit in maybe a different direction.  But who can resist a good graveyard, eh?).

Rollin’s films are set far from the noise and action of the city, in isolated and frequently old-fashioned settings.  Beaches, with their endlessly cycling tides and cleansing ocean waters, are places of death and rebirth.  Scenes of vampires risking exposure to the sun at dawn on the rocky shores of Normandy figure prominently in Rollin’s films.  Centuries-old country châteaux hold terrible secrets and can be interpreted to symbolize the nobility of France’s past.  These buildings are populated by strange and often supernatural characters who reflect the opulent decay of their surroundings.

Perhaps most noteworthy of all are Rollin’s cemeteries: overgrown with weeds, gates rusted and creaking, these cities of the dead are transitional places between the everyday world and that of the supernatural.  Cemeteries are places where the living and the dead occupy the same space, a fact that Rollin uses for maximum symbolic impact.  Characters arrange secret graveyard rendezvous, only to uncover secrets that appear in the form of treasures, gateways, or menacing monsters.

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Another month and, on a crisp but sunny afternoon, it was time for February’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” (cf., e.g., January 29, et al.).  Co-sponsored by the Writers Guild at Bloomington and the Monroe County Convention Center, some 18 to 20 people attended, with the featured poets Indiana University MA/PhD student Nathan Schmidt reading a long poem, “Because I Would Not Stop for Him,” its title based on an Emily Dickenson line “Because I Would Not Stop for Death,” followed by Nancy Chen Long, author of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry winner LIGHT INTO BODIES and other poems and chapbooks, with seven shorter works, several on subjects related to “home.”  Following the break were nine walk-on readers (including Tonia Matthews with a delightful series of variations on the theme of “chocolate”) of which I came in at number six with four previously published poems loosely about death:  “Dust to Dust,” “Firelight,” “A Little Night Music,” and “The Instrument Maker.”

And so, to Mardi Gras and March!

Well it is nearly December, the spirits having been let loose on Halloween, and now spiraling down to the longest night of the year.  So I mentioned in introducing three short poems during the open mike section.  But we had already had featured poet Michelle Gottschlich read, among others, a poem involving a date at local Rose Hill Cemetery (not to mention, from first open mike reader Joan Hawkins, a translation of a “found” invoice concerning shipping a corpse from Tahiti to the US).  The latter also was somewhat in answer to second Featured Poet Eric Rensberger who offered a reading of found and partially “stolen” poems.

The occasion was November’s Last Sunday Poetry Reading, sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and the Monroe County Convention Bureau (cf. October 26, et al.), on an afternoon that, yes, was gloomy and gray, but did have the virtue that it wasn’t raining.  And the poetry wasn’t all necessarily gloomy, though when my turn came I had pre-selected three older poems that played well off the aforementioned  topics, including the introductory remarks I glossed at the top.  Thus I presented “A Little Night Music,” a two-line verse pointing out that love and death happen in daytime too; “Dust to Dust” about a fire in a cemetery, which also had once been part of an arts display project on Bloomington Transit city buses in 2001 (I noted that I didn’t know which the exact bus was, but had hoped it had been the one going past Rose Hill, as well as the fact the experiment was not repeated); and a “Little Willie” (a what?  See February 16; also February 6 2012) which I noted had the distinction of being published not in a genre magazine but a “more respectable” mainstream journal, “Fire in the Hole,” about a naughty boy who dynamites a grave.

The first word of this came from the HWA’s Facebook page, via Editor-in-Chief Nathon Allen Balka:  “Submissions are still being taken for NOTHING’S SACRED Vol. 3 (due out October 2015).  However, with the number of short stories received, our primary focus is shifting to the other categories listed.”  I checked out the details and they looked inviting, poetry in particular (an “other category listed”) paying $10.00 each, so, going to the poem vault, I exhumed five thus far unpublished ones.  And so, off they went.

Lateish Tuesday, exactly one week after, the word came back.  “After reviewing the five samples, it was decided that there are three that we would enjoy using in the upcoming NOTHING’S SACRED Vol. 3.  Those are:  The Vampire’s Excuse, The Vampiress Reflects, and Necropolis.”

Contract, etc., will come in a few weeks and, if all goes well, the issue itself should be out just in time for Halloween!




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