Saturday, December 18, 2010
Review and giveaway: Vampyr Verse
Come spend the night with twice thirteen vampyr poets. Let their verses tickle your ribs, penetrate your heart, and even leave you bleeding. All they ask in return is a little immortality. Vampyr Verse contains 79 poems, plus a short story, all devoted to that mysterious figure-the vampyr! These selections run the gamut from pensive haiku to whimsical limericks to deadly serious free verse, and everything between. At 86 pages, the book makes an excellent gift for anyone aged 13 or older.
Poetry is a highly personal choice, more so than choosing which of the latest fiction releases you will pick up and read. You either love it or hate it, and I'll admit that up until recently poetry wasn't exactly front and center on my TBR mountain. I have my favorites (Poe, Byron, Angelou) but it wasn't until I found Ryan Mecum and his clever haikus that I rediscovered just how fun poetry can be.
Why don't we read more poetry? Is it because that we associate reading poetry with a high school lit class? Or do we make the assumption that poetry will be romantic and squishy (you know, mushy or sappy)? Or is it more that we, the casual reader, feel a bit intimidated by metaphors and iambic pentameter?
Vampyr Verse is a small collection of vampire themed poems that I found to be fun and entertaining, with a wide variety of styles and tones to choose from. Like a mood ring without the jewelry, this book has something for every vampire fan. Some poems were "in your face", blunt and stark, like Vampyr Birthday (page 16), while others were very visual with a fun, comfortable rhythm like Suburban Vampyres (page 72). And I'm embarrassed to say that in some cases I was required to grab a dictionary, another lost art, because how often do you use the words "cetacean" or "suspire" in casual conversation. In case you're curious cetacean defines any of the various aquatic, chiefly marine mammals like whales and dolphins, and suspire means to breathe. The poems containing these tricky words were good too.
A couple of favorites were Song from a Vampyr's Teeth (page 13) because it's not all that common to experience being a vampire from the POV of the teeth. It's just not a viewpoint that we consider too often, rather like experiencing a murder from the weapon's point of view. I also liked Nosferatu's Garden (page 39) for it's charm and humor. It really gave me a chuckle to think of a vampire vegetable garden, like Veggie Tales gone wrong!
In the spirit of the holiday season I'd recommend Vampyr Verse for almost anyone- finicky teen readers, teachers looking for an amusing read, moms waiting in the parent pick-up line. This slender book of poems can be enjoyed at any place, at any time. Don't be scared, reading poetry can be fun!
You might even feel inspired to create your own:
Poems are just words
Meant to be enjoyed by all
Bloody fangs and fun
And now for the giveaway...
Leave a comment telling me your favorite poet, poem, or poetry type and you'll be entered to win my copy of this book! This contest will remain open until December 25 and is only open to US addresses (no PO boxes).
*This book was provided by the publisher, Popcorn Press, for review.
*Reviewed by Anna Dougherty for VampChix