COVER REVEAL: On the Subject of Blackberries
About the Book
Welcome to the garden. Here we poison our fruits, pierce ourselves with thorns, and rip off our skin under the light of the full moon. Mad and unhinged, we fall through rabbit holes, walk willingly into fairy rings, and as our hair falls out near the creek out back, we dance in the song of witchcraft, two snakes around our ankles, the juice of berries on our tongues.
This is a collection that heals as much as it scars, and it’s an honest look at how trauma can seep into the soil of our bodies and grow demons in its wake. Wytovich truly unmasks and bears her fangs, her poems imagined horrors, fictional fears, and all the unspoken murmurs of a mind lost between reality and dream. What she leaves in her wake is nothing short of horror, the children lost, the garden dead, the women feral, ready to pounce.
This special volume includes more than 25 vintage illustrations and will ONLY be available in hardcover.
About the Writing Process
Inspired by Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the poems in Wytovich’s On the Subject of Blackberries are meditations on female rage, postpartum depression, compulsion, and intrusive thoughts. They pull from periods of sleep deprivation, soul exhaustion, and nightmarish delusions, and each are left untitled, a nod to the stream-of-conscious mind of a new mother, marked, haunted, and trying to piece together her life between newborn wails and blood-soaked clothes.
Written in pieces of found poetry, and at times, under the influence of bibliomancy, Wytovich harnesses the occult power of her imagery and words and aligns it with a new darkness, something more violent and vulnerable than we’ve seen from her before. These pieces are not only visions of the madwoman in the attic, but ghostly visitations that showcase and explore the raw mental torture women can sometimes experience after giving birth, a time that is often filled with loneliness, discomfort, guilt, and shame.
“What witchcraft is this? These poems are somehow delicate as lace yet razor sharp. Lovely yet venomous. Visceral and emotional, eerie and honest. This collection is essential and in perfect conversation with Shirley Jackson’s Blackwood Sisters.” —Rachel Harrison, national bestselling author of Cackle and Black Sheep
“To read “On the Subject of Blackberries” is to be thrown into a world of dread but also immense beauty. This is a collection that is wandering the halls in the night with a candle threatening to go out. Stephanie Wytovich taps into the brutal and magical experience of motherhood with poems that are lush and barbed, connecting the maternal with the feral in ways that are unexpected and unforgettable. A hypnotic collection.”—Patricia Grisafi, PhD, author of Breaking Down Plath and Animal
Stephanie Wytovich’s On the Subject of Blackberries is an uncomfortable collection. Petal-pressed and pulsing with politeness, her poetry is unflinching in its honesty, each poem a bewitchingly beautiful slurp at the horror of motherhood. A devastating work. Wytovich is synonymous with horror poetry. —Lee Murray, five-time Bram Stoker Award winner, co-author of Tortured Willows.
About the Author
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous magazines and anthologies such as Weird Tales, Nightmare Magazine, Southwest Review, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8 & 15, as well as many others.
Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, and an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Point Park University. She is a recipient of the Elizabeth Matchett Stover Memorial Award, the 2021 Ladies of Horror Fiction Writers Grant, and has received the Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship for non-fiction writing.
Wytovich is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare, The Apocalyptic Mannequin, and most recently, On the Subject of Blackberries. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press, and her nonfiction craft book for speculative poetry, Writing Poetry in the Dark, wherever books are sold.
Follow Wytovich at http://stephaniewytovich.blogspot.com/ and on Twitter and Instagram @SWytovich and @thehauntedbookshelf. You can also find her essays, nonfiction, and class offerings on LitReactor.