Dark Poetry: Tantalizing Taboos

Dark Poetry: Tantalizing Taboos

WHAT IS THE APPEAL OF DARK POEMS? What draws us to their sticky web? Why do we enjoy reading them? These are questions that writers and publishers of dark poetry are asked all the time, and not surprisingly, the answers vary widely between any two people. Yes, everybody has a dark side and skirting the naughtiness of literary convention is an ancient, time-honored tradition for all young, literate voyeurs, but one wonders if there isn’t more to that fleshy magnetism that emanates from the macabre covers of various tomes of eldritch verse.

Though Edgar Allen Poe died nearly a pauper, his short stories and poems have become the stuff of legend, with works that transcended the bourgeois sensibilities of nineteen century America. Poe’s bewildering forays into the dark woods of the human soul opened a portal in all of us, and for well over one hundred years many have vacationed in this distant, eerie land…


One answer for this appeal can certainly be the concept of escapism. We all live in the so-called “real world,” an often boring, tedious, and unimaginative realm that drains our spirits and leaves us contemplating our existence, often in ways that tradition, ritual, and religion don’t seem to satisfy. Many classic dark poems and tales offer up a confectionery distraction from this mundane dimension, giving us a much needed vacation from all that is ordinary, and normal.

Stressed Woman Working In Office

Stressed Woman Working In Office

Another answer might be the appeal of taboo… the draw of the forbidden, what is considered improper or unacceptable in standard civilized discourse. Even today there are high school and college libraries in certain corners of the United States that won’t allow what many of us consider “mainstream horror” to pollute their book shelves, though certainly the vast majority of bookstores and public libraries have spent decades slowly and surely overcoming this deficit.


And finally, perhaps the best answer of all, Dark Poetry is downright fun! That doesn’t mean that prose and verse exploring the everyday pithy dramas of love, nature, and existentialism are any less appreciated. However, there is a devilish sense of whimsy that accompanies the reading of a particularly well-penned and nasty ode to humanity’s dark side, something that goes beyond mere words… a state of mind that hearkens to the primitive in all of us, to our distant ancestors who huddled, terrified, around campfires, imagining all manners of horrors lurking in the darkness…


MoonDream Press, an imprint of Copper Dog Publishing LLC, is a fan of this concept, and in 2015 we released two volumes of dark poetry, both available in Trade Paperback and on Amazon Kindle. The first of these two collections is “THE BOOK OF NIGHT: Poetry of The Macabre” edited by Richard Groller and containing dozens of poems by 30 authors, a mix of famous long-dead voices including Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Byron, Ambrose Bierce, and others, as well as many contemporary living poets.


The other collection is “DARK PARCHMENTS: Midnight Curses and Verses” by poet Michael H. Hanson, an anthology of frightening visions of abandonment, suicide, murder, and depression …nightmares populated by archetypes of spiritual evil, loneliness, death, mystery, and supernatural terror.


There is an appeal to the unknown, the terror that sifts through the periphery of light, and poetry perhaps more so than any song, short story, or movie, offers up the best entryway into these wicked lands…