Tuesday, April 19, 2022

National Poetry Month: Guest Post by Eva Roslin

We’re continuing our celebration of National Poetry Month here at LOHF HQ, and we’re loving all the recommendations and reviews we’ve been tagged in so far!

In addition to book recommendations, we have a lineup of great interviews and guest posts with some wonderful women currently writing in the poetry genre. Our first of these is today’s guest post from author Eva Roslin discussing what it’s been like for her to break into the genre, and her feelings on writing poetry in general. You can also follow Eva over on Twitter at @EvaRoslin.

I’m not sure if it’s because the way poetry is taught at least in most Western nations is in the most abstract terms. There’s a fixation on things like meter, iambic pentameter, rhythm, rhyming, phrases, and while all of that is important to the understanding of poetry, it can also discourage a lot of prose writers. When I started writing, I focused on novels and short stories and that’s still true today. However, I received challenges from instructors over the years to try poetry. Whenever I did, I got this weird sense that I wasn’t doing it properly, or that my emotions were too extreme on the page, that I should just leave it to the experts. I’ve admired poems from authors I think of as goddesses like Linda Addison, Donna Lynch, Stephanie M. Wytovich, and many more. But there was always this voice in my head, and a mental wall would come up like a blockade whenever I tried my hand at poetry. This doesn’t rhyme, it’s not in the right meter, it doesn’t have the right rhythm. I felt like I was just skimming rocks across the surface of a lake but nothing stuck. 

Under Her Skin

Then I challenged myself to do more and to feel okay with sucking. Okay, so what if I have no sense of rhythm and I don’t tell mini-narratives like Chaucer? Poetry intimidates me more than novels. There’s very little space and making sure that we convey a central message is daunting. Still, poetry allows the opportunity to put raw emotions and moods on the page, different kinds of narratives with threads. Pain bleeds onto the page. We can sweep away readers and hit them in the feels, to force them to confront a reality and not turn away. Poetry is powerful. When I wrote more poems, I submitted to some of the markets out there, including an amazing project, Under Her Skin from Black Spot Books. I am delighted that one of my poems was accepted to be included, and definitely had no expectations going in. I approached it more as an anxiety challenge–that notion of feeling the fear and doing something anyway. Challenging ourselves to grow and to go for things that frighten us. This is my first published poem, and I hope that as I’ve learned from this experience that I will write and submit more poems, and that other horror authors will do so, as well. Poetry presents some of the most interesting and versatile challenges, like gymnasts who dance with ribbons and make it look effortless while putting in so much practice so that their performances look flawless. My fellow horror authors, poetry is a beautiful and scary thing. And I encourage you all to write more of it. 

Eva Roslin

Eva Roslin is a disabled horror writer from Canada with a penchant for Southern Gothic themes. She received the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship from the Horror Writers Association in 2017, a Ladies of Horror Fiction Grant in 2021, and is a Supporting HWA member. Her work has appeared in such publications as Love Bites (Mischief Publishing), Dark Heroes (Pill Hill Press), Murky Depths, Ghostlight Magazine and others. She is a librarian, instructor, and researcher with a focus on 19th century American history, particularly the Civil War, Reconstruction Era, and free people of colour in antebellum Louisiana.

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