Daily Archives: February 20, 2020

Women in Horror: Angela Yuriko Smith

When did you discover poetry and who/what influenced you?WiHM11-Scalples-wv

The first poem I remember reading was “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes. I think I must have been around 2nd or 3rd grade. I was going through a bandits and pirates obsession and the way Noyes put together the story as a poem intrigued me. I was breathless after absorbing such an intense tale distilled into verse. Not long after I stumbled across “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. I fell in love with him and the way poetry could cut the fat from prose and leave the reader with only the essentials. In my mind, poetry heightened the reader’s discover and could play outside the normal rules of fiction.

Why do you write poetry?

I write poetry because some stories need to be told that way. I love the way you can show an alternative perspective with poetry and turn a few thoughts into something to mull.  Poetry sparks revolution, soothes pain and reawakens the spirit.

Dark Matters

It’s all dark matters
in the space between the stars.
Inverted brilliance.

## 2019 winner of SFPA poetry contest in dwarf form

smith clawsWhat do you think is the most difficult aspect in writing poetry?

Finding an authentic voice and staying true to it. Allowing the poem to be what it wants to be makes me nervous sometimes. Often I tell a poem “You can’t say that!” but until I let the poem say what it wants in the way it wants, it won’t let me rest.

Do you explore particular themes? What are they and why?

A lot of my poetry (and prose) hopes to give readers a different way to look at fears. Are monsters, death and destruction really so terrible? In my poetry, it’s often just the way you look at it. I’ve been told this is how “the Antichrist” communicates and I find that immensely flattering.

Parade of the Raven Prince

He stands at the head
of a carnivalistic parade…
hungry and bizarre with
hollowed, craven eyes.

His sharp beak pierces
the dark side of my heart.
His ebon feathers tickle
my fancy and I blush.

His misshapen troupe
watches from behind
licking cracked lips
waiting for reactions…
will I run or stay?

I stay, hypnotized
by his compelling dark
gaze laden with promises—
annihilation for adoration
seems a good exchange
in the woods at night
when face to face with
the Raven Prince and
his possessive posse.

His stance says enough.
I am already owned. He
is the scavenger of souls…
the claimer of carcasses.

Boneless, helpless
I drop to the leaves
adding my humanity
to the detritus there….
cast it off like a girl’s
outgrown, faded frock
and open my chest
inviting him to dip his
razor beak into my soul
and drain me to a husk.

Somewhere, a witch’s tears
mar her silver scry as she
witnesses wilted and sad
girlhood fall forgotten to
the forest floor and her
child prisoner rise to join
a different twisted family.

I see her eyes in the mist
watching me from shadows
cast from my new master.
With no love lost I wave
soft and secret for her
that watches, blinded
as her monkey joins
another circus.

##

What is it about dark (speculative) poetry that you think attracts people to read it?

Speculative poetry is the mirror we hold up so we can safely see Medusa. The world is Medusa. The speculative genre allows readers to dip into unsafe worlds where there are no rules, protections, or assurances and view our own through them. A fictional viral zombie apocalypse allows us to think about the very real coronavirus, but in a safer way. We can dip our toes into our fear, have a peek into its eyes and see how we might slay it.

What projects (publications) are you working on or have coming up?

My next poetry collection is Altars and Oubliettes which is an exploration of the things smith bookwe want to remember on our mind’s altars and the things we’d rather forget. I’m currently working on a collection I’ve called Sugar Skull Songs about the darker side of femininity. I am nearly done with the follow up to my Bitter Suites, my 2018 Bram Stoker Awards finalist and of course Space and Time magazine keeps me busier than I ever thought possible. I have a few short stories popping up in different anthologies and magazines over the next year as well.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about horror or poetry or other dark inspirations?

One of the areas I look forward to exploring in the next decade is my Okinawan background. Family lore has stories about my relatives there, the Ryukyuan religion they followed and how they were yuta, a kind of female medium or shaman. These influences were important factors as I grew up. I’m planning a trip to Okinawa in the next few years to visit some of these places and perhaps get some personal answers that I’m sure will show up in my writing.

smithAngela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for a 2017 Elgin Award. Her novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards Finalist. In 2019 she won the SFPA’s poetry contest in the dwarf form category. She co-publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit SpaceandTimeMagazine.com or AngelaYSmith.com.

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