Audio Chronicles is a series of audio-only features that endeavors to keep The Conversant conversational. Part interview, part project, part talk, part inquiry. Audio Chronicles is a place to listen and talk outside the control + f model of online reading. In this installment, Housten Donham and Sally McCallum of The Volta Blog discuss genre, horror, poetry, and multiple permutations thereof.
We like horror movies, but neither of us had read much horror fiction, so last summer we planned a horror fiction reading series for ourselves. This led us to discover some horror poetry, which is a thing we didn’t even really know existed. In this conversation, we try (and more or less fail) to define horror as a genre and think about why genre classifications (as in horror, fantasy, sf) aren’t applied more to poetry more often. We revive the largely forgotten work of HP Lovecraft’s young contemporary Clark Ashton Smith, and talk about contemporary cult horror writer Thomas Ligotti and the French novelist and critic Michel Houellebecq. Then we spend some time nudging around the internet and the current print poetry scene to find out what horror poetry is today. —Sally McCallum
Links to the poetry websites referred to in the episode:
Housten Donham and Sally McCallum co-edit The Volta Blog