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Tuesday, April 11, 2023 | News


If you like your poetry dark and edgy with a decidedly feminine touch, you’re no doubt one of the many readers who made 2022’s Under Her Skin (A Women in Horror Poetry Collection, 1) a hit. Edited by RUE MORGUE’S own literary Fan(g) Girl, Lindy Ryan, and Toni Miller, Under Her Skin went on to win first place at the BookFest Book Awards and widespread praise from critics and readers alike.

Since the first collection’s publication, Ryan and co-editor Lee Murray have been hard at work gathering new material from even more of the genre’s most talented women writers of dark verse and lyrical prose. Coming November 7, 2023, from Black Spot Books, UNDER HER EYE: A WOMEN IN HORROR POETRY COLLECTION, VOLUME II, features poems from 112 women (cis, trans, and non-binary femmes) with a focus on domestic horror. To be published in recognition of the United Nations General Assembly’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, UNDER HER EYE is a charity showcase developed in partnership with The Pixel Project, a global non-profit organization focused on eliminating violence against women worldwide.

With a foreword from Bram Stoker Award-winning poet Sara Tantlinger, UNDER HER EYE includes poems from such renowned writers as Stephanie M. Wytovich, Jessica McHugh, and Marge Simon

RUE MORGUE is honored to exclusively present an advanced look at the cover art for this upcoming women-in-horror poetry collection by returning artist Lynne Hansen.

“When Lindy told me that the theme for the second volume was domestic violence, I immediately saw the character I wanted to create for the cover: a big purple bruise under one eye, and she’s staring right at you, demanding that you see her and witness her pain,” says Hansen. “It’s what the amazing poets in this anthology do – insist their voices be heard. And thanks to Black Spot Books, they can be.”

As a bonus, Black Spot Books has also provided us with a sample of the contents, poems by H.V. Patterson and Larina Warnock.

by H.V. Patterson

My husband’s house wants my bones.

Greedy old house: already full,
grasping after more.
Rafters: stacked tibia and femurs,
chandeliers: cascading arches of ribs and skulls,
unseeing eye sockets flicker with candles

Not just bones.
Scattered through his ancestral home,
I find women in pieces:

Hair threaded into pillowcases
skin in the paint, blood in plaster
fat cushioning antique furniture
muscle layered into bricks
livers, kidneys, viscera
churning beneath the kitchen.
A chorus of frantic hearts beneath floorboards,
trapped souls fluttering, no escape or rest

One thing is missing: lungs.
No moving air in this house,
no voice or breath from those dead women

Six times, I try to leave,
but the path wends into the forest.
Each time, I return, try to keep the peace:
blood, skin, soul—a small sacrifice

A year later, he breaks my arm.
A revelation in pain: I see bone,
my ulna, no longer hidden,
bloody as an ogre’s lickerish tooth

I imagine myself dead,
added piecemeal to his house.
To him, I’m a body not yet dismembered,
an Eve waiting to Fall

I scream and find the lungs inside me.
This scream: a thousand women’s rage
a banshee’s cry for death and resurrection.
Hurricane winds flood the house,
rattle down bones, splinter walls,
uncover thrumming hearts.
A thousand souls flee

In the aftermath, I am alone.
Breath, blood, and bones: I belong only to me

Larina Warnock

It’s best these doors remain hidden
else cracks that spiderweb through
stairwells, that house wells of spider’s
webs, draw the attention of inhabitants
on floors below and floors above.

The man on 3 calls it love when he
raises a bottle to his lips. His wife knows
his kiss will be too hard tonight, spittle
dripping between them like the secret
that she wishes he might cough, just

a little, just enough to justify asking
her daughter’s best friend’s mother
if the girl can wait this out with her
on the first floor, but that other mother
knocks on the door on 2 daily to check

whether the elderly grocery checker
with COPD is okay. These days, everyone
is in everyone’s business, and while the
guy on 2 probably knew all these years
what was happening, he just couldn’t climb

another floor. The woman on 4 is sure
to notice now that everyone’s home, but
calls to police for domestic disturbance
may or may not be appropriate.
Eventually they will run out of liquor.

Meanwhile, this wife wonders whether
sounds of violence can carry through the cracks
to the daughter and her friends at ground
level, whether the beveled edges of the stairs
are pointing up or down.

UNDER HER EYE: A WOMEN IN HORROR POETRY COLLECTION, VOLUME II is available for preorder now wherever books are sold. All proceeds will be donated to The Pixel Project.

William J. Wright
William J. Wright is RUE MORGUE's online managing editor. A two-time Rondo Classic Horror Award nominee and an active member of the Horror Writers Association, William is lifelong lover of the weird and macabre. His work has appeared in many popular (and a few unpopular) publications dedicated to horror and cult film. William earned a bachelor of arts degree from East Tennessee State University in 1998, majoring in English with a minor in Film Studies. He helped establish ETSU's Film Studies minor with professor and film scholar Mary Hurd and was the program's first graduate. He currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife, three sons and a recalcitrant cat.