Amanda Crum is my next poetry guest for Women in Horror Month. I’m not the only one who thinks she’s talented. See for yourself and enjoy her poem as well.
When did you discover poetry and who/what influenced you?
I started writing poetry as a kid, but I always disliked the rhyming kind that was so prevalent in children’s writing. I loved Shel Silverstein because his use of language was so different to me. He was writing for the daydreamer kids like me.
Why do you write poetry?
Poetry is a way to pull all the best words from the atmosphere and play with them. I love that. I love that it can tell a story or just a fragment of one.
What do you think is the most difficult aspect in writing poetry?
For me the most difficult part is getting organized, because I have so many ideas that it’s hard to distill them all into something cohesive.
From my book of horror poetry, Tall Grass, which made the preliminary ballot for a Bram Stoker Award nomination this year. “Sheets On A Line” is inspired by Dolores Claiborne.
Sheets On A Line
It comes to you as you hang the last piece,
knuckles cracked and bleeding
in the glacial air:
there are no borders too hard to fracture,
only cages with keys.
You’ve been hemmed in,
wary and circuital,
but even the cons at Shawshank
can’t be held forever.
There’s no weapon forged
that could do the job cleanly,
but these hills whisper
with every wave that breaks cliffside.
They say that opportunity is
veiled inside their curves,
that the sun holds shadows to her breast
that are yours for the taking.
Your eyes rove east to west,
regarding the line of billowing white sheets
laid out like a ligature across the landscape.
They twist in the wind, content to stay secure
even if it means dodging brutal currents,
but now you can see how easy it is
to break the pins and set them free.
Do you explore particular themes? What are they and why?
I like to get into the motivation behind things, and I tend to write a lot about grief and facing mortality because those are things that are on my mind a lot. With my latest book of poetry, Tall Grass, I took a look at a lot of famous horror characters and tried to get into their minds a bit. What was Dolores Claiborne feeling when she first thought of a way out of her abusive marriage? I want to look at the stories and characters that shaped us through a different lens.
What is it about dark (speculative) poetry that you think attracts people to read it?
So many of us are living with anxiety, we’re waking up to awful news everyday, and the thought of getting lost in beautiful language and stories that carry us away is too good to pass up.
What projects (publications) are you working on or have coming up?
I’m working on a full-length horror novel, and it’s my first attempt at something like that so it’s exciting and terrifying. I want to do it right!
Amanda Crum is a writer and artist whose work has appeared in publications such as Eastern Iowa Review, Barren Magazine, and Corvid Queen, as well as in several anthologies such as Beyond The Hill and Two Eyes Open. Her books of horror poetry, The Madness In Our Marrow and Tall Grass, have both made the preliminary ballot for a Bram Stoker Award nomination. She is also a nominee for the Best of the Net Award and the Pushcart Prize. Amanda currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two children.