Posts Tagged ‘Vampires’

The DWARF STARS anthology is a selection of the best speculative poems of ten lines or fewer (100 words or fewer for prose poems) from the previous year, nominated by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association membership and chosen for publication by the editors.  From this anthology, SFPA members vote for the best poem.  The winner receives the Dwarf Stars Award, which is analogous to the SFPA ds19Rhysling Awards given annually for poems of any length.

Thus the announcement today with a link to obtain a PDF copy that voting officially has begun for 2018’s best ultra short speculative poem.  And I do have, myself, a dog in the hunt or at least a sort of canine companion, the 6-line “Never Trust a Vampiress” (cf. May 29), initially printed in the Summer 2018 STAR*LINE, the SFPA’s own poetry magazine.  Voting continues until August 31 2019 for SFPA members.  The moral therefore, should you be a SFPA member yourself, the untrustworthy bloodsucker could use a little love!

Or, for more information about the Dwarf Stars Award as well a list of this year’s contenders, plus ordering DWARF STARS if one so desires, one may press here.

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On 4th of July Eve, the Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” (cf. June 5, et al.) was heavy on poets at local tavern Bears Place.  The musical guests were Hoosier Darling (a.k.a. WFHB GoZpul GurlZ), while the featured readers were Shana Ritter with an excerpt from her novel IN TIME OF LEAVING plus poems from her chapbook STAIRS OF SEPARATION, John James with poetry from his book THE MILK HOURS and elsewhere, and local poet Ross Gay with, as a change of pace, a selection of essays from his collection THE BOOK OF DELIGHTS.  Then when it was “Open Mic” time, my series of “casket girls” tales came in fifth place out of eight with the only one long enough to need to be divided into two parts, “A Moment in Time” (Part 1), in which we met New Orleanian vampiress Charlotte, a.k.a. Lo, and a half-remembered conversation with a “nice sailor man” in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1840.  But to find out more, we must wait until next “first Wednesday” on August 7.

Vampire movies might feel a little overplayed in our post-Twilight era — but in all honesty who doesn’t love a good vampire flick?  There’s just something so cool and thrilling about an immortal blood-sucking creature prowling through the night.  The folklore surrounding these supernatural terrors has been around for centuries, so you know the ghoulish bloodsuckers aren’t going away anytime soon.

And that’s what we’re here to talk about — the scary kind of vampires.  So if you’re looking for some Twilight-y melodrama, I’m sorry to say you’ve come to the wrong place.  But if you’re willing to stay, we invite you to check out these 19 spooky vampire movies that will make your blood run cold.  Grab the garlic and start watching.

So I have an especially soft spot for these, a couple maybe not really on my must re-watch list, but most I think should not be missed.  A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, reviewed here below (see January 11, also January 15 2015), or ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (see June 26 2014), for instance.  Or how about the original versions of NOSFERATU (1922) or DRACULA (1931), or to be a bit funky the meta-“the-making-of” film SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE?  Or possibly CRONOS (1993), Guillermo del Toro’s first full-length movie?

The list goes on, the Swedish LET THE RIGHT ONE IN as well as its (not as good, in my opinion, but still worth a look) American remake.  BYZANTIUM.  THIRST. . .  But see the rest for yourself by checking out “19 Vampire Movies that will Make Your Blood Run Cold,” by Aliza Polkes & Xavier Piedra on THE-LINE-UP.COM, by pressing here.

The marvelously named Snallygaster is first:  Dating back before the Declaration of Independence, snallygasters were rumored to have terrorized the surrounding hills of Washington, D.C. and Frederick County, Maryland.  German settlers in the 1730s first described the Schneller Geist (“quick spirit”) as a metal-beaked, half-bird, half-reptile that soared through the air and swooped down without a sound to capture its prey.  When it did utter a noise, the snallygaster let out a blood-curdling screech.  Seven-pointed stars were painted on barns to ward off the creature, though sightings continued into the 1900s.  The Smithsonian Institution once offered a reward for the Snallygaster and President Roosevelt is rumored to have delayed an African safari to hunt the beast on American soil.

The heck of it is, it’s native born so walls or better border enforcement won’t keep it away (current Presidents take note).  But there are six more listed in today’s email offering from THE-LINE-UP.COM, “7 Creepy Folklore Creatures from Around the World” by Stephanie Almazan.  For instance the original “Night Mare,” from Northern Europe, doing its best to disturb one’s sleep or, if that doesn’t work, going out to the stable and riding the horses until they’re exhausted.  Or China’s famous (at least if you watch certain Hong Kong movies) Jiang Shi, or hopping vampires.

And south of the border there’s Argentina’s own will-o’-the-wisp, a.k.a. La Luz Mala, or if one should visit the Dominican Republic . . . well, beware of wild women who wear their feet backward, more on whom along with the ones described above, plus one or two others, can be discovered by pressing here.

A girl walks home alone at night.  But this time Aimée was stopped by Death on the bad side of Rampart Street in the shadow of St. Louis Cemetery Number 1.

So starts the story, the first sentence a blatant steal from Ana Lily Amanpour’s debut full length film of the same name (cf. January 11, also January 15 2015).  The story’s title, “Death and the Vampire,” another in the series of tales of les filles à les caissettes or, as they say in New Orleans, the “Casket Girls” (see June 12 2019, et al.).  Then hark us back to October 31 2018 and the call from WEIRDBOOK:  No HARDCORE sex!  No Sexual violence!  No UNDERAGED SEX!!  I’m looking for original (no reprints) well-written (duuh, I guess that that’s fairly obvious) weird stories.  My tastes are broad and I’m looking for any of the following:  fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, ghost, horror, heroic fantasy, science fantasy or just plain odd.

Well, Aimée might raise an eyebrow at the “No violence” part, it being a part of the trade of a vampire, but maybe a little bit might be okay, so she took a chance and off she went last Halloween night, just meeting an October 31 deadline.  And that was that.  Her undeath continued.  But then today an answer arrived from WEIRDBOOK Editor Douglas Draa:  Dear James, my apologies for the awful delay.  I like this quite bit.  May I have it for WB# 44.  This will be a mid 2020 issue.

And that is that.  An email went back this afternoon to say Aimée is honored by the acceptance, for which look for more here as it becomes known.

Ah, June!  And with Wednesday evening it was time again for the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at Bears Place (cf. May 2, et al.).  The musical guests were the VLF (drummer John Valdez, bass Park Law, and guitarist and sometime voice Jason Fickel) Trio, sharing the stage with poetry by Tim Heerdink, author of RED FLAG AND OTHER POEMS plus another collection, THE HUMAN REMAINS, and first novel LAST LIGHTS OF A DYING SUN due in the near future; creative nonfiction (and sometimes mixed with a little fiction too) from Juliana Crespo with work in or forthcoming in a number of literary journals; and more poetry from local Bears Place server Brian Boucher, with a novella, “Wahoo,” serialized in THE RYDER Magazine plus poetry book ARROGANT ENLIGHTENMENT AND A CRY FOR PURPOSE on Instagram.  Then we, the walk-ons came with, in fifth place out of seven, new fille à la caissette Yvonne making her debut in a brief, 1830s-set New Orleanian tale of blood and absinthe, “The Darkness, Forgotten.”

The email from John Mannone started off modestly enough.  Congratulations!  The following has been nominated for the 2019 Dwarf Stars Anthology:  Never Trust a Vampiress.  The poem, “Never Trust a Vampiress,” had been published in Spring 2018 in STAR*LINE (cf. May 16 2018, et al.), the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, and John Mannone is the Editor/Curator of the Dwarf stars Award and associated anthology recognizing the best ultra short (1 to 10 lines) speculative poem published the previous year.  Unlike similar awards, however, the poets themselves send suggested work to the contest/anthology in the same way that one might offer work to a normal publication, and those the editor himself selects become thus the official nominees.

Confused?  Well, maybe, but here it runs parallel to the better known Rhysling Competition in that the resulting DWARF STARS ANTHOLOGY is then sent to all SFPA members, whereupon they vote and one of the poems is selected the winner.  Though probably not mine, the untrustworthy vampiress of the title preferring to keep a low profile unlife, beneath the attention of vampire hunters.  Indeed her poem is just six lines long.  Nevertheless, her fur coat around her in case it’s cold, she’ll skulk with the others and we’ll see who wins.

More on DWARF STARS and the competition (and SFPA) can be found here, while the sneaky vampiress can still be discovered in STAR*LINE for last spring, modestly situated on the right and toward the bottom of page 10.

Or, as one might say, the last “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” of the current season, the series going on summer hiatus for June through August.  Presented by the Writers Guild at Bloomington in collusion with The Monroe County Convention Center, there were two featured poets this wonderfully warm end-of-May afternoon:  the first, Nancy Chen Long, author of LIGHT INTO BODIES along with a chapbook CLOUDS AS INKBLOTS FOR THE WAR PRONE, both of which were available at the reading, read six poems from her latest project, WIDER THAN THE SKY, about memory and the actions of the brain; this then followed by Writers Guild regular Eric Rensberger reading from the most recent “sequence” — a chronological grouping of fifty to sixty poems — from his ongoing internet collection ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS.  Then after the snack break a larger than usual group of seven poets offered their work, of which I was sixth with three summer (or at least with summer mentioned in them) poems, “Dust to Dust” about a fire in a cemetery, “Summer Cancellations” concerning seasonal ways to die, and the vampirically-tinged “The Esthete,” the last of which also appears in my own VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).

So after a busy, busy May 1, last night also featured the third “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at its new time and venue, at local tavern Bears Place (cf. April 4, March 6).  And it was a stormy night as well, but dinner and poetry helped keep as many as 17 participants dry, including musical interludes by the Kyle Quass Quartet (their final performance accompanied by one of the poets as well).

The featured readers — all poets this time — were multi-published Hiromi Yoshida, a semi-finalist for the 2018 Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize and a winner of Indiana University Writers Conference Awards as well as an active member of the Beat Generation and Daily Haiku Facebook Groups; Indianapolis poet Jason Ammerman with three collections, ALL GROWN UP, MICROPHONE OR BUST, and BATTLE SCARRED, a spoken word album REVIVAL, and more of each in the works; and David L. O’Nan with two poetry and short story books, THE FAMOUS POETRY OUTLAWS ARE PAINTING WALLS AND WHISPERS and ALL OUR FEARS AND TUNNELS, as well as a new poetry and art book project, THE FAVORS OF THE MIND POETRY & ART DIGEST, in the works for later this spring.  These were followed by four walk-on “Open Mic” readers of which I led off with the third in my New Orleans “Casket Girl” series* in which we meet Marie, who has qualms about becoming a vampire, until she is calmed by hearing the tale of an adventure original vampiress Aimée had once had when visiting Rome.

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*For those interested, the original “Casket Girls” first appeared in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION on April 10 2014. A reprinted version (with better renditioning of accented vowels) from ARIEL CHART, February 2 2018, may be read by pressing here.

Two pieces of news to start a new month, the first from STAR*LINE editor Vince Gotera:  Sorry for the long delay.  I’m behind but catching up.  I’d like to accept “Enemy Action” and “Roadkill Doll.”  Could you please let me know if those are still available?  STAR*LINE is the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) and has been noted on these pages before, while “Enemy Action,” I might also note, adds to a series of three-line haiku-ish poems about a mermaid vampiress and her various acts of gluttony, several of which have also appeared in previous issues of STAR*LINE.  (“Roadkill Doll,” on the other hand, is a stand-alone celebration of two iconic American not-quite people and, more to the point, yes, both poems were still available.)

Also, it being the first day of May, the spring mammoth royalty season has begun, bringing. . . .  Well, surprise, surprise, right off the bat a fully two-figure payment to PayPal, not the first ever (see, e.g., January 25 2018, et al.) but easily enough to buy a nourishing if modest dinner,* and that’s something worthy of celebrating.  In this case the payment is for book sales over several months, but a book that’s been on the market for some years so it’s not exactly in the midst of an advertising blitz.  And it all adds up, yes?

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*That is to say, no cocktails beforehand, but maybe enough for a small dessert after.




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