Monstrum Poetica: Jezzy Wolfe
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Big thanks to Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi for sending this my way. I don’t believe I’ve read anything from Jezzy Wolfe prior to this, but I was excited to dive in. RDS Press does fantastic work and you know that the stories or poems in any collection they release will be top-notch.
I went in pretty much blind on this one. I didn’t read the synopsis, but judging from the name and cover, I was expecting some poems that were monster erotica in nature. Boy, was I wrong!
The collection is separated into seventeen sections, with each section containing three poems related to the section. Jezzy does a fantastic job of having an introduction with each section, describing the mythology around each creature.
The collection opens with an excellent introduction by Jonathan Mayberry discussing prose and how poetry can say so much more with so few words.
What I liked: With so many poems over so many sections, I decided to focus on the poem that connected most with me in each section.
Ang Siya Na Masama – an excellent poem describing the shape-shifting horror that awaits those who don’t carefully examine their environment.
Dog Deadly – a really dark poem with some truly vivid descriptions. Definitely one of the creepier poems I’ve read.
Beware the Children – an unexpected knock on the door throws us into a truly eerie poem. Loved the ominous edge that seemed to grab and hold each line.
Zeta Grey – the poem describes a person’s encounter with a black-eyed child and how unsettling it is.
Watching the Wait – a deliciously dark poem about the Bubáks arrival in town.
Beyond the Looking Glass – a dark poem about seeing yourself on the opposite of the glass, but understanding it’s not you.
Bringer – a poem about the fear one feels when confronted with a Hellhound.
Jinni – an engaging poem describing the jinn and their ways.
New Animals – a dark poem describing the lurking fear of a melon head hiding out, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
Chum – a dark, bleak poem about someone encountering a mermaid and regretting it.
Bicentennial Bridge/Could Have Been/Dead Zone – three dark poems about Mothman’s arrival and how it may have been involved in another catastrophe.
Bat Evolution – a poem about becoming a walker in the dark and accepting your fate.
Lusus Naturae (Indigenous Curse) – a poem about the shapeshifter that was gruesome but great.
Arcadian Dynasty – a fascinating poem that gives almost a folklore slant to the werewolf myth.
Along the Spooklight Highway – a poem about seeing the spooky lights ahead and the dread that grows within.
Damnatorum – a poem about a soul trapped between here and there, becoming a wraith.
Blood Clot (gogyohka) – a very unsettling paranormal poem.
Wolfe really created some truly memorable poems and there were so many stunning lines throughout.
What I didn’t like: Two of the sections didn’t really connect with me at all. The Each-uisge and Zombie sections were good, but nothing really stood out over those six poems. As with all collections, reader mileage will vary and I find that even more so with poetry collections, simply because of the individual way each person will read a poem.
Why you should buy this: Jezzy Wolfe has created a really great and wide-in-scope collection that does a wonderful job of not only introducing new creatures alongside old favorites, but then also delivering dark, creepy poems for each of them. This was a brilliant undertaking and so happy Wolfe stuck the landing.
When was the last time you walked through the woods? Checked under your bed? Walked down into your basement alone? Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe is an invocation of boogeymen, a graveyard seance, a summons to horrors both large and small. This is a collection of poems that bite, scratch, snarl, and bleed. Filled with magnificent beasts and the sounds of cracked bones and broken teeth, Wolfe takes her readers through the folklore and mythology behind some of the world’s most terrifying creatures.
Here you’ll meet jinn, vampires, werewolves, and wendigos, tangle with mermaids, wraiths, aswang and hellhounds. It’s a dance of specters and spiders, a logbook of limbs and lost persons. If you’re lucky, you’ll learn what to do when the lights flicker, when the lightbulb goes out, when darkness becomes your only friend, and the next time you hear a whisper, or feel the hot breath of fear on your neck, you’ll remember what do, where to go…
Because this is a book that teaches you how to hunt monsters, how to track fiends, how to bathe in the blood and digestive juices all of things that go bump in the night. Carry this manual with you. Hold it close, memorize its contents for these poems are warnings, a resounding alarm. I suggest you head them. They might just save your life.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can follow Steve on Instagram @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here