Under Her Skin: A Women in Horror Poetry Collection, Vol. 1

Black Spot. Apr. 2022. 162p. ed. by Lindy Ryan & Toni Miller. ISBN 9781645480440. pap. $14.95. HORROR
In her introduction to this poetry collection, Linda Addison (How To Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend) perfectly sets the stage for the texts to follow: “We were never the Final Girl. We are the Witch, the Myth, the giver of Life, feared.” Addison beckons readers to enter this thought-provoking poetry anthology, featuring 70 different women—cis, trans, and nonbinary femmes—whose poems focus their terrifying gaze on body horror in particular and being a woman in general. These are powerful poems, their range in subject matter, style, level of fear and gore as wide and varied as how women experience the horrific truth of their lives. While the table of contents is filled with recognizable names such as Cynthia Pelayo, Stephanie Wytovich, and Lee Murry, two entries that stand out are “Harm” by Emily Ruth Verone and “Beautiful” by L. Marie Wood, visceral poems that pack an emotional punch, and yet, also hold a beauty, truth and lyricism that cannot be denied; a message carried with strength by the entire volume.
VERDICT Poetry is an excellent format for probing the dark emotions that define horror, and this anthology, and its evocative cover, will entice readers to engage with dozens of fierce and chilling voices. Just be prepared to add more horror poetry and new authors to your collections as a result.
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