When did you discover poetry and who/what influenced you?
I discovered poetry when I was very young. My dad used to write children’s poetry and read it to me and my brother when we were young. He would come to my elementary school and read to our classrooms and include poems in the school newsletter. My dad also happened to be a huge horror and fantasy fan, and eventually, when I grew older, he introduced me to Poe’s fiction and poetry.
Why do you write poetry?
I write poetry because poetry has always been in my life. I wrote stories when I was too young to read horror and when I discovered Poe, I didn’t realize horror poetry existed. I put two and two together and I went from there.
A Queen in Hell
To Edgar Allan Poe
Upon a moonlit eve, we strolled along the shores
Of a still lake, all atrament save for the bright,
Rich, hoary moon-glow, which threw wide dark, eldritch doors
Into a hell of reeking hells that stole her light.
My love, my gorgeous love, how could you abandon me?
What haunting daemons lured you to your early grave?
How could you not perceive that you were always free?
Why, why was it not you, my love, that I could save?
The years have passed and sadly I stand so alone
Beside you, by your grave, yet in my heart you dwell.
Your kinsmen knew of your great beauty, and it’s known
That we lament so deeply for a queen in Hell.
## from Appears in Diary of a Sorceress
What do you think is the most difficult aspect in writing poetry?
Writing in a structured form. Not only do you have to master any form you are trying to write in, but you must also do it in a way as to not distract from the story or message you are trying to convey. There’s a delicate balance that can be hard to achieve.
Do you explore particular themes? What are they and why?
I tend to stick to speculative genre, mostly in the veins of Gothic, Weird, horror, supernatural, and fantasy. I grew up listening to these genres being read to me until I could read myself and I’ve never stopped. My first collection, Diary of a Sorceress, is broken up into four themes which range from fantasy to nature-based fantasy to dark romance, and then to horror. My next collection of poetry, The Withering, will cover mostly supernatural and psychotic/psychological themes. Future collections will be more refined and will stick to one theme.
What is it about dark (speculative) poetry that you think attracts people to read it?
It’s an escape from the real world and yet I think people can resonate with the various underlining meanings darkness can convey.
Quest for the Flesh
Arise at night when sun takes flight;
Awaken with the moon.
A chilling breeze is just a tease
For what is coming soon.
A breath you feel, which makes you squeal,
Still lurks inside your mind.
The nighttime stars have healed your scars
While you are in a bind.
The loss of hope and things you cope
With leave you with a lie.
The path you take will make you shake—
Yet will it let you die?
You grasp your past but that won’t last,
For lust infects your core.
Her body chills as her blood spills,
Yet you are craving more.
The quest for flesh, the human mesh,
Ignites your blood-mad slave,
Your eyes alight when she turns white—
You leave her in a grave.
## from The Withering
What projects (publications) are you working on or have coming up?
My second poetry collection, The Withering, contains 55 of the best poems I wrote in my pre-teen and teenage years. It is due out on Walpurgisnact (April 30th,) from Gehenna and Hinnom Books. My current project is Diary of a Vampyress, which will be my Gothic-centric poetry collection.
Is there anything else you’d like to add, about poetry or horror, or anything else?
I have a degree in health science, I’m a martial artist and former instructor, and I have a deep interest in the occult; all things that help aid in my writing one way or another.
Ashley Dioses is a poet of dark fantasy and horror from southern California. Her poetry has appeared in Weird Fiction Review, Spectral Realms, Weirdbook Magazine, PS Publishing, and elsewhere. Her debut collection of dark traditional poetry, Diary of a Sorceress, was released from Hippocampus Press in 2017. Her second collection, The Withering, is forthcoming from Gehenna and Hinnom Books in 2020. She has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She blogs at fiendlover.blogspot.com.