After experimenting with form, humor, gore, and genre in his previous award-nominated collections, John Edward Lawson turns his eye to that which we have unreasoning fear of. The phobias we secretly harbor compel us to do horrible, inexplicable things.

Bibliophobia explores each phobia in turn, translating what we know and love into a monstrous snare designed to haunt readers. Lawson brings the African American insights to horror in this volume, turning away from Afrofuturism to shine a light on the dystopic black experience.

HWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Linda Addison says of Lawson’s previous work: “Whimsical, strange, and unflinchingly true, Lawson’s work is always entertaining. Like coming home to unanswered screams, Lawson’s poems weave words into unforgettable songs of sweet darkness.”

Praise for previous poetry collections:

The Troublesome Amputee

  • Bram Stoker Award finalist
  • 2 nominations for the Rhysling Award
  • 2 nominations for the Dwarf Stars Award

“I believe I am now a Lawson convert. The Troublesome Amputee has opened my eyes to new possibilities in poetry, and I am eager to seek out more of his work. Lawson has a way of getting under my skin with his words, making them memorable long after the pages have closed. That said, I wouldn’t recommend reading many of the poems in one sitting; there are so many ideas and images that come so quickly that I needed time in between readings to process things properly. Too much is bound lead to some sort of mental or emotional overload.”
Somebody Dies

“Lawson is genuinely one of the best horror poets writing today.”
The Swallow’s Tail

“There are few books like this one. Even within the new and growing Bizarro movement Lawson has released a book full literary razorblades in the form of poetry. Lawson’s work shines through the whole spectrum, including funny, sad, morbid, disgusting and meaningful poems. Libraries looking offer a unique book of poetry that spits in the face of conventional, sugary sweet, or pretentious ‘literary’ poetry, that expresses a dissident voice of gloom should put this book in the shelf. Recommended.”
Monster Librarian


“Packed with a variety of texts that stretch the definition of poetry to the breaking point, SuiPsalms is honest from the beginning…In a standardized world, Lawson’s work is the equivalent of a juggling octopus jumping out of your morning coffee… While there is enough death and darkness to argue this is horror poetry, the book’s diversity makes classification impossible.”
Black Heart Magazine

The Horrible

“At his best, Lawson is ironic and sarcastic; at his worst, he’s perplexing and thought-provoking. Pace is pretty much a given in poetry so let’s just ignore that criteria, and style – oh the style. Like reading flash fiction with flair, Lawson has no problem sucking you into his gastric wanderings and ‘gummy residue left by transient thought’…Twisted, humorous, gruesome, fun – yeah I liked it!  Rating – definitely a 4. If you enjoy twisted surreal poetry, you’ll enjoy this.  If you know what ‘hairy road sauce’ is, well… then you should probably own this now!!”

The Scars Are Complimentary

“Lawson is a relatively new writer, but I wish more horror poets had such literary kutzpah. I recommend this collection as an introduction to this writer’s voice. And I recommend you keep an eye on him as his dark vision develops and goes even deeper into the darkness.”
—Michael A. Arnzen, author Play Dead & 100 Jolts, for STAR*LINE Winter 2003