Archive for writing

Review: HYSTERIA by Stephanie M. Wytovich

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , on August 22, 2013 by Scott Emerson


Stephanie M. Wytovich delivers a powerhouse knockout with this debut collection of dark verse. Deftly weaving Gothic sensibilities and pop culture savvy, HYSTERIA offers an unflinching glimpse into the disorienting, frightening, and often hellish worlds of the mentally unstable. Wytovich’s poems–or “patients,” as she frequently presents them here–are blunt and visceral, consistently breathtaking in their convincing portrayal of madness and macabre beauty, rendered vivid in Wytovich’s rich imagery and voice.

HYSTERIA is a collection of immense talent and promise. Highly recommended.

Order your copy from Raw Dog Screaming Press here.


Now Available: Too Obscene

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2013 by Scott Emerson


Now available from Nostrovia! Poetry, TOO OBSCENE is a one-shot zine featuring inappropriate but powerful flash fiction and poetry. Among the offerings you’ll find three of my poems–“Crucified for Cthulhu,” “Blowjob Queen” (ever wonder what oral sex with ALIEN’s Xenomorph is like?), and “Gang-Raped by Clowns–The Aftermath.” (You can even read “Crucified” for free on Nostrovia!’s preview page.)

Get yours here.

An Appreciation: “This is How I Murdered the Librarian” by Michael A. Arnzen

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , on April 13, 2013 by Scott Emerson

As part of The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly’s blog tour for April I thought I’d offer a few words in appreciation of Michael Arnzen’s poem “This is How I Murdered the Librarian.” Like most of Arnzen’s verse, it’s a doozy–read it here.

What I love about this piece, aside from the obvious ghoulish glee that permeates each line, is how Arnzen turns the cliched librarian details–like the shushing finger–on themselves in grim parody during the act of murder, while corrupting classic childrens’ characters by making them complicit in the act before eliminating them in fiery death.

In his note after the poem, Arnzen says the piece “may be more about crimes against books than anything else,” and it’s where “This is How” strikes its most brutal chord. Is there a bibliophile capable of reading this poem without experiencing a sickening lurch in the gut while the narrator destroys an entire library along with his victim? (I also suspect we’re supposed to be more aghast at that than the murder.)

Many readers, like I did at first glance, will see this poem as a comment on the print-vs.-ebook debate. Arnzen gives us precious few details about this killer–implying a surly youth so beholden to technology that dusty old books are beneath contempt–without really giving a clear motivation for the murder. But then I re-read the first stanza, which ends with a line about “a private show and tell,” and saw that perhaps this is a much-deserved revenge. And the librarian, who used books to her own sinister means, meets a fitting end.

That, right there, is what makes this poem great.

“10 Things Writing Has Taught Me” at Pen, Paper, Pad

Posted in Writing with tags , , , on February 7, 2013 by Scott Emerson


Guest blogging today at T.A. Woods’ Pen, Paper, Pad blog. And since I’m probably the last person who should dispense writing advice, I made a list of ten things I’ve learned about the craft.

Check it out here:

Arnzstigation Days: “Longing”

Posted in Books, Writing with tags , , , , , on January 24, 2013 by Scott Emerson


In honor of Arnzstigation Days, I’d like to share a flash fiction story, as well as a little bit about the book and its author, Michael Arnzen, who inspired it.

(Speaking of Arnzen, have you contributed to the Fridge of the Damned Kickstarter? It’s a wicked sweet magnetic poetry set coming from Raw Dog Screaming Press. For more info and to donate go here: And may I mention that pledges at the “Audiovillain” level gets you, among other cool items, a CD recording of Arnzen reading at the Morgantown Poets/Raw Dog Screaming party from May 2012. It’s an awesome event; I know, I was there.)

What I wanted to share was a poem inspired by a piece of Arnzen’s digital art, but it appears the piece has been taken down from Arnzen’s site (and Twitter has since eaten the poem as well). So instead I’ll be offering my short-short “Longing.”

“Longing” wasn’t inspired by any one specific Instigation or Twisted Prompt; it’s part of the flash fiction flood unleashed in my brain after reading Arnzen’s excellent flash collection 100 JOLTS. I scribbled a TON of microfiction, much of it bad, after devouring the book. Yet the way Arnzen utilized clever wordplay, vivid and bizarre imagery, and pop culture deconstruction prodded my muse like few books have, and I continued to hone the shorts. Finally I got something I was happy with.

“Longing” was origially published in August 2004 in FLASHSHOT.

by Scott Emerson

I long to sever your vocal chords.
That way, I couldn’t hear you say, Stop. Don’t. I don’t like when we play this game. I hate seeing you bleed.
But I wouldn’t. Like you’ve said, it’s not my style.
The awl slid effortlessly into my eardrums.

In closing, let me add that Michael Arnzen has been more than an inspiration or favorite author. He’s been a valuable mentor and friend, one whose advice and wisdom has greatly benefitted my work in the near-decade I’ve been fortunate to know him. I would not be the writer I am today without his influence.

Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen.

Fuzzy Bunnies: A Horror Poem from The Gorelets Omnibus by Michael A. Arnzen

Posted in Books, Writing with tags , , , , , on July 12, 2012 by Scott Emerson

Book Trailer for THE GORELETS OMNIBUS by horror author Michael A. Arnzen (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2012). Available now in hardcover, paperback and ebook editions. Visit Arnzen’s website to learn more, or order now from Amazon, B&N, or directly from the publisher.

Another Dead Hero

Posted in Books, Writing with tags , on March 30, 2012 by Scott Emerson

Southern literary legend Harry Crews, who survived a bitter, impoverished childhood to become the highly respected author of such books as A FEAST OF SNAKES, THE KNOCKOUT ARTIST, CHILDHOOD: A BIOGRAPHY OF A PLACE, and BODY, passed away Wednesday at 76. Better venues than this are offering proper obituares and remembrances, so I’ll not go into that here, but I will say that Crews was a writer of tremendous ability, whose hard-living, hard-drinking exterior could not conceal his heart of true artisitic beauty. He will be missed.

UPDATE: The AV Club has a nice overview of his career here.