Writing Poetry in the Dark



Writing Poetry in the Dark brings together some of the most successful contemporary genre poets to discuss topics related to creating dark and fantastical poetry.

While there are countless books available for the aspiring poet, there is a lack of resources specifically for and on speculative poetry, and with the market thriving, publishers who previously did not put out poetry are now adding it to their catalogs, requesting it for their anthologies, and seeking it for their magazines. Given these factors, it seemed like the perfect time to put together a guide for dark poets that addresses some of the unique challenges they face, such as creating monsters out of white space, writing the hybrid poem, or subverting folklore in the retelling of a classic tale.

Included in Writing Poetry in the Dark are recommendations on how to bring fear to the page, write from the wound, let violence loose, channel the weird, and tackle the dark side of daily life. There are also practical suggestions for exploring different poetic forms and topics ranging from building worlds, writing from different points of view, and exploring gender and sexuality on the page. This book will bring something different to every speculative writer who is interested in exploring poetry with a genre twist, and it is our hope that this book will help poetry itself continue to evolve, grow, and redefine itself in the market for many years to come.

“My hope is that this collection of essays will inspire, teach, and assist in the creation of speculative poetry while at the same time providing discourse from a diverse perspective on genre and craft,” Wytovich said.

Preorder to get a Writing Poetry in the Dark sticker

Tim Waggoner created the Writing in the Dark brand beginning more than ten years ago with his blog, and adding two craft books published by RDSP, Writing in the Dark (2020) and Writing in the Dark: The Workbook (2022), as well as a series of virtual workshops for authors run by AllAccessCon. Even so, Waggoner still wasn’t sure he was qualified to present a book on dark poetry, but thought one was needed. That’s where Wytovich, as poetry editor for RDSP, came in.

“Wytovich was the perfect person to create this book,” said Waggoner, in the book’s introduction. “She’s an award-winning poet whose deliciously dark writing is as lyrical as it is powerful, and on top of that, she’s a wonderful and highly experienced teacher. She’s gathered a group of amazing poets to help you start your writing in the dark journey, or—if you’ve been writing for a while now—to give you some new tools and fresh possibilities for composing scary verse. I wish I’d had a book like this when I was starting out, but I have it now.”

Writing Poetry in the Dark Table of Contents –

  • “To Sing Dark Songs” by Tim Waggoner
  • “Dislocating the World” by F.J. Bergmann
  • “Writing Speculative Poetry in Experimental Forms” by Linda D. Addison
  • “The Art of Speculative Haiku” by Christina Sng
  • “A Slippery World: Writing Poetry About Gender and Sexuality” by Lucy A. Snyder
  • “Do Not Fear Poetic Collaboration” by Jim & Janice Leach
  • “Here Are the Stairs to the Dark Cellar; Yes, You Must Go There: POV in Dark Poetry” by Timons Esaias
  • “World-Building…in a Poem?” by Albert Wendland
  • “Putting the Science in Science Fiction Poetry” by Jeannine Hall Gailey
  • “Like Fright on Lice: Humor and Horror Poetry” by Michael Arnzen
  • “Dark Poetry and War” by Alessandro Manzetti
  • “This Is Not a Poem” by Cynthia Pelayo
  • “Global Reflections Within Our Fear-Lit Ink” by Bryan Thao Worra
  • “Of Poison Doors and Uncarved Stones” by Saba Syed Razvi, PhD
  • “Into the Dark Woods:  Fairy Tale Poetry” by Carina Bissett
  • “Dreams as Poetry: Translating Dreams into Verse” by Joanna C. Valente
  • “I Got My Passport Stamped in Hades: Waking the Dead in the Poem” by Leza Cantoral
  • “Historical Horror in Poetry” by Sara Tantlinger
  • “Exploring the Monstrous Woman Archetype: Writing Satan’s Sweethearts” by Marge Simon
  • “Freeing the Demon: Writing Violence Into the Poem” by Claire C. Holland
  • “Dancing in the Design: Creating Blackout Poetry” by Jessica McHugh
  • “Writing the Wound” by Donna Lynch

The essays inside feature wonderful tidbits of knowledge for all levels of poets or aspiring poets, or even, anyone interested in learning how people write poetry and why. It might even inspire a reluctant poetry reader to read some!

“Writing is alchemy. You take scary, magical things like emotions—all your pain and anger, your joy and lust, everything you’re afraid of—and you let them churn around inside the brilliant galaxy of your body and brain until they can’t be contained anymore. Then you make something. Maybe you make art. Maybe it’s violent art. Whatever it is, make the thing that sets you free.” – Claire C. Holland, in “Freeing the Demon: Writing Violence Into the Poem”