2021 Halloween Poetry Reading
curated by Angela Yuriko Smith

shimAngela Yuriko Smith is an award winning American poet, author, and publisher with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), a Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020, to find out more visit angelayurikosmith.com.

SFPA's Halloween Poetry Reading shares our enjoyment of speculative poetry with a broader audience, increases awareness of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, and promotes the individual poets who take part. All SFPA members are welcome to submit one audio file per person of themselves reading one of their spooky, haunting, ghoulish, or humorous Halloween or horror poems. See the 2020 Halloween Poetry Reading or earlier years for examples. If you are uncomfortable reading aloud or are unable to make the audio recording yourself, contact the editor or ask someone else to read your poem for you and provide the name of the reader. We also want Halloween-themed artwork! See guidelines below. Please feel free to include a brief explanation of your poems or images if desired (not a requirement).

Anubis - Gary Every
Anubis
Gary Every
 
“Anubis”
by Gary Every
Gary Every has been published over 1300 times and has authored 9 books. His work can be divided up three ways no matter how you look at it. Sometimes he divides it into prose, poetry, and fiction; other times, journalism, science fiction, and beatnik. He discovered that he needs to explore all these fields to best explore his own human condition. Nominated for the Rhysling Award four years in a row, his poetry and fiction have also received several Pushcart nominations. After four years as a bonfire storyteller at a posh resort outside Tucson, he discovered a love of performing and now performs at slams, concerts and pretty much anyplace they let him.
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“The Nightbirds”
by Blaise Langlois
Emerging author Blaise Langlois will never turn down the chance to tell a creepy story. You are sure to find her writing in between teaching and raising four beautiful children, or feverishly scratching out ideas (which, to the chagrin of her supportive husband, usually occurs just after midnight). She has a penchant for horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Her publications include short fiction and poetry through Eerie River Publishing, Pulp Factory E-zine, Black Hare Press, Space and Time Magazine, Black Spot Books and Ghost Orchid Press. You can learn more about her writing journey by visiting her blog at www.ravenfictionca.wordpress.com.
 
Halloween - pixabay
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Annie's Alibi - Jordan Hirsch
Annie's Alibi
Jordan Hirsch
 
“Annie’s Alibi”
by Jordan Hirsch
Jordan Hirsch writes speculative fiction and poetry in Saint Paul, MN, where she lives with her husband. Her work has appeared with Apparition Literary Magazine, Octavos, Liminality Magazine, and other venues. Find her on Twitter: @jordanrhirsch.

This poem first appeared with The Dread Machine on October 20, 2020: thedreadmachine.com/annies-alibi/.
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“The Sweet Sleep of Roses”
by Carina Bissett
Carina Bissett is a writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and fabulism. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in multiple journals and anthologies including Upon a Twice TimeBitter Distillations: An Anthology of Poisonous Tales, Arterial BloomGorgon: Stories of EmergenceHath No Furyand the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. V, VI, and VIII. She is also the co-editor of Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas. Links to her work can be found at http://carinabissett.com.

“The Sweet Sleep of Roses or, After the Fall” was originally published in NonBinary Review #15 We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Zoetic Press in January 2018.
 
White Rose - Mustang Joe
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Jacked - E.F. Schraeder
Jacked
E.F. Schraederh
 
“Jacked”
by E.F. Schraeder
E.F. Schraeder is the author of Liar: Memoir of a Haunting (Omnium Gatherum, 2021), the story collection Ghastly Tales of Gaiety and Greed: Unauthorized and Haunted Cedar Point (Omnium Gatherum, 2020), and two poetry chapbooks. Awarded first place in Crystal Lake Publishing’s 2021 Poetry Contest, E.F. Schraeder was also semi-finalist in Headmistress Press’ 2019 Charlotte Mew Contest.

“Jacked” first appeared in Sirens Call.
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“Abduction”
by Leslie J. Anderson
Leslie’s writing has appeared in Asimov’s, Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, and Apex. She is a cowriter on The CryptoNaturalist Podcast. She lives in a small, white house beside a cemetery with her partner, three good dogs, and a Roomba. You can follow her on most social media @inkhat.
 
Cattle, Flinders Range - Fairy Duff
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Dig It - Kyla Lee Ward
Dig It
Kyla Lee Ward
 
“Mary”
by Kyla Lee Ward
Kyla Lee Ward is a Sydney-based creative who works in many modes that have garnered her Australian Shadows and Aurealis awards. She has placed in the Rhyslings and received Stoker and Ditmar nominations. The Macabre Modern and Other Morbidities is her second collection of dark and fantastic poetry after 2011’s The Land of Bad Dreams. Reviewers have accused her of being “gothic and esoteric”, “weird and exhilarating” and of “giving me a nightmare.”

“Mary” was first published in Bloodsongs #3, 1994. It is reprinted in The Land of Bad Dreams, which will shortly be available as an ebook from P'rea Press.
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“Witching Hour in the Suburbs”
by Clarabelle Miray Fields
Clarabelle Miray Fields is a 26-year-old writer, editor, and web developer native to Boulder, Colorado. She currently holds over 100 publications, with her work having recently appeared in the 2021 Rhysling Anthology, Corvid Queen, Circe's Cauldron, and elsewhere. She earned a BA in classical languages in 2018, summa cum laude, and studied abroad in the U.K. as a Fulbright Summer Institute participant. When not writing or coding, she enjoys exploring the great outdoors and getting lost under starry skies. You can find her online at clarabellefields.com.

“Witching Hour in the Suburbs” previously appeared in Circe's Cauldron in December 2019.
 
Halloween - Clarabelle Miray Fields Halloween
Clarabelle Miray Fields
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Mountains - Cindy O'Quinn
Mountains
Cindy O’Quinn
 
“Mountain Tic”
by Cindy O’Quinn
Cindy O’Quinn is a two-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated writer. Her poetry has been nominated for both the Rhysling and Dwarf Star awards.

“Mountain Tic” was first published in SHELVED: Appalachian Resilience During Covid-19 (Mountain Gap Books, 2020).
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“Monstrous Meetings”
by Frank Coffman
Frank Coffman is a retired professor of college English, Creative Writing, and Journalism. He has published speculative poetry and fiction in a variety of magazines, and anthologies. His third collection, Eclipse of the Moon, was just released. An authority on REH’s verse, he selected and edited Robert E. Howard: Selected Poems (2006). A member of the Horror Writers Association and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. He established and moderates the Weird Poets Society Facebook group. See his Writer’s Blog at frankcoffman-wordsmith.com
 
Horror Trio - Frank Coffman Horror Trio
Frank Coffman
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Occluded Mesocyclone Tornado - OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory
 
“I Keep Going Back to that Weekend”
by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
read by Diane Severson Mori

David C. Kopaska-Merkel assumed human form in the ’50s. As a cover, he edited Star*Line in the late ’90s, and won the Rhysling award (long poem) in 2006 for “The Tin Men” (a collaboration with Kendall Evans). His poetry has been published in venues including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Polu Texni, Primate CuisineNight Cry. He has written 31 books, and edits Dreams and Nightmares magazine; @DavidKM on Twitter.

Love, loss, and time travel.
Published in Lupine Lunes (Popcorn Press).
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“The Prisoner”
by F. J. Bergmann
music "Bei Terror" by Fred W. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmannn has recently obtained a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine, has also recently enjoyed puffball lasagne, and is now looking forward to chocolate season, i.e. Halloween. Assuming she survives the lasagne.

The image is an altered composite of Creative Commons photos: dark forest by roman.schurte, puffball mushroom by skimack, and normal human brain (NIH).
 
The Prisoner - F. J. Bergmann The Prisoner
F. J. Bergmann
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The Rusk by Louis B. Rosenberg
The Rusk
Louis B. Rosenberg
 
“The Rusk”
by Louis B. Rosenberg
“The Rusk” was published in the October 2021/Halloween issue of Dark Matter Magazine. darkmattermagazine.com/issues/halloween-special-issue-2021/the-rusk/
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“A Spell for the Living”
by Brian Hugenbruch
Brian Hugenbruch is a speculative fiction writer and Rhysling-nominated poet living in Upstate New York with his wife and their daughter (and two unruly pets).  His poetry has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Abyss & Apex, Liminality, Eye to the Telescope, and Apparition Lit. His stories have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Cossmass Infinities, Diabolical Plots, and anthologies from Zombies Need Brains. You can find him online on Twitter @Bwhugen, on Instagram @the_lettersea, or at the-lettersea.com. No, he’s not sure how to say his last name, either.
 
Halloween - pixabay
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Hungry Ghost by Lee Murray
Hungry Ghost
Lee Murray
 
“Hungry Ghosts”
by Angela Yuriko Smith
Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Uchinanchu-American and an award-winning poet, author, and publisher with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), a Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020. To find out more visit angelayurikosmith.com.

“Hungry Ghosts” will be published in How to Be Human by Angela Yuriko Smith in 2022.
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“The Blue Shroud”
by Meg Smith
Meg Smith is a writer, journalist, dancer and events producer living in Lowell, Mass. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous publications including Star*Line, and Dwarf Stars anthologies. Her work has also appeared in Silver Blade, Sirens Call, Raven Cage, Dark Moon Digest, and many more. She is author of five poetry books and a short fiction collection, The Plague Confessor.

"The Blue Shroud" first appeared in Night's Island, Emu Books. Photo by Derek Savoia. Model: Meg Smith
 
The Blue Shroud - Derek Savoia
The Blue Shroud
Derek Savoia
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Skeletons - pixabay
 
“Toward Samhain”
by Ann K. Schwader
read by Angela Yuriko Smith

Ann K. Schwader’s ninth poetry collection, Unquiet Stars, appeared in 2021 from Weird House Press, weirdhousepress.com/product/unquiet-stars/. Ann is a two-time Bram Stoker Award Finalist, and has received Rhysling Awards for both short and long form work. She was named a Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association Grand Master in 2019. A Wyoming native, she now lives & writes in suburban Colorado. Find out more at schwader.net/
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“Crematorium of the Undead”
by Sumiko Saulson
first appeared in Within Me, Without Me (2021)
Sumiko Saulson is an award-winning author of Afrosurrealist and multicultural sci-fi and horror. Ze is the editor of the anthologies and collections Black Magic WomenScry of LustBlack Celebration, and Wickedly Abled. Ze is the winner of the 2016 HWA StokerCon Scholarship from Hell, 2017 BCC Voice Reframing the Other contest, 2017 Mixy Award, 2018 AWW Afrosurrealist Writer Award, 2020 HWA Diversity Grant recipient. 
 
Crematorium of the Dead - Sumiko Saulson Crematorium of the Dead
Sumiko Saulson
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Dark Soul - Lee Murray Dark Soul
Lee Murray
 
“Forever Mates”
by Lee Murray
Lee Murray is a multi-award-winning author-editor and poet from Aotearoa-New Zealand. A double Bram Stoker, and Shirley Jackson Award winner, Lee is a NZSA Honorary Literary Fellow, and the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellow for 2021 for her narrative prose-poetry work Fox Spirit on a Distant Cloud. Her debut poetry collection, Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken, a collaborative title with Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, and Geneve Flynn, was released in October 2021 from Yuriko Publishing. Read more at leemurray.info

“Forever Mates” first appeared on Destroy the Files with Kate and Brent: Episode 19 Ghost Hunting and Poemetry, 8 September, 2020, where it was performed by Brent Kelley. anchor.fm/destroy-the-files/episodes/DTF-Episode-19-Ghost-Hunting--Poemetry-ej9r2t
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“What They Left Behind”
by Richard Magahiz
first appeared in Star*Line
Richard Magahiz has a day job working with computers, originally as a physicist but more recently as a software engineer. When it comes to music, food, or books his tastes are both eclectic and idiosyncratic. He spent a long time on the East Coast of the US but has come back to his native state of California. His work has appeared recently at Danse Macabre, Dreams and Nightmares, Failed Haiku, haikuniverse, Kaleidotrope, otoliths, Star*Line, and Uppagus. His website is zeroatthebone.us
 
Clouds - Mattias
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Cemetery Justice - Miguel O. Mitchell Cemetery Justice
Miguel O. Mitchell
 
“Cemetery Justice”
by Miguel O. Mitchell
Miguel O. Mitchell, PhD (he/him) is a Black retired chemist, speculative poet, SFF author, and award-winning visual artist exhibiting in the metropolitan DC area.
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“462 First Avenue”
by John C. Mannone
John C. Mannone has poems in speculative journals such as Space & Time Magazine, Elixir, Nebo, Eye to the Telescope, and speculative poems in literary journals: North Dakota Quarterly, Foreign Literary Review, Le Menteur, Poetry South, New England Journal of Medicine, and others. He won the Dwarf Stars Award (2020) and the HWA Scholarship (2017). His latest poetry collection, Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry, is forthcoming from Linnet’s Wings Press (2021). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex, Silver Blade, Liquid Imagination, and American Diversity Report. A retired physics professor, he lives in Knoxville, TN. jcmannone.wordpress.com
 
462 First Avenue – John C. Mannone
462 First Avenue
John C. Mannone
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Witch and Cat - LindaAnn LoSchiavo
Witch and Cat
LindaAnn LoSchiavo
 
“Samhain”
by LindaAnn LoSchiavo
LindaAnn LoSchiavo, native New Yorker, recently Poetry SuperHighway's Poet of the Week, is a member of SFPA and The Dramatists Guild.  Elgin Award 3rd-place winner A Route Obscure and Lonely and Concupiscent Consumption are her latest poetry titles. Forthcoming are a paranormal collection of ghost poems, a collaborative horror chapbook, Santa Muerte, and an Italian-centric book, Flirting with the Fire Gods, inspired by her Aeolian Island heritage. She has been leading an SFPA poetry critique group for two years. linktr.ee/LindaAnn.LoSchiavo
Twitter: @Mae_Westside 
YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UCHm1NZIlTZybLTFA44wwdfg
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“The Banquet at the Center of the Maze”
by Katherine Quevedo
first appeared in Coffin Bell
First appeared in Coffin Bell in May 2021:
offinbell.com/the-banquet-at-the-center-of-the-maze/

Katherine Quevedo
was born and raised just outside of Portland, Oregon, where she works as an analyst and lives with her husband and two sons. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Common Tongue Magazine, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Honeyguide Literary Magazine, NonBinary Review, Seaborne Magazine, Sidequest, The Periodical, Forlorn, and elsewhere. She received an honorable mention in the 2020 Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching movies, singing, playing old-school video games, belly dancing, and making spreadsheets. Find her at katherinequevedo.com.
 
Drink - pixabay
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Halloween Treats by David Davies
Halloween Treats
David Davies
 
“Halloween Treats”
by David Davies
David Davies’s poems explore the traditional-made-new, something he has lived as a first generation immigrant to the USA. His writing has been published in Granfalloon, MacroMicroCosm, Rise Up Review, and Green Lantern Press, and he is a two-time winner of the King Edward Prize for youth poetry.
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“The Whitestone Grove Hotel”
by Robert Payne Cabeen
Robert Payne Cabeen’s novel Cold Cuts won a Bram Stoker Award in 2018. He is also a screenwriter, artist, and purveyor of narrative horror poetry. His screenwriting credits include Heavy Metal 2000, for Columbia TriStar, Sony Pictures, A Monkey’s Tale, and Walking with Buddha. Cabeen’s poetry book Fearworms: Selected Poems was a 2015 Bram Stoker Award nominee. Cabeen received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Otis Art Institute, with a dual major in painting and design. As creative director for Streamline Pictures, Robert helped anime pioneer Carl Macek bring Japanese animated features, like Akira and dozens of other classics, to a western audience.
 
Whitestone Grove Hotel by Robert Payne Cabeen
Whitestone Grove Hotel
Robert Payne Cabeen
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The Catty Hours - Adele Gardner photo
The Catty Hours
Adele Gardner
 
“The Catty Hours”
by Adele Gardner
“The Catty Hours… earned honorable mention in the Balticon Poetry Contest, Baltimore Science Fiction Society, 2021, bsfs.org/bsfspoetry.htm.

The accompanying photo pictures Max (the cat in the poem).

Adele Gardner (gardnercastle.com) prefers the company of black cats. This year's poem is dedicated to Max, clever and sweet, dear companion of fourteen years. Look for more black cats and their friends in Adele's forthcoming poetry book, Halloween Hearts, which should magically appear in October 2022.

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“The Witch Reconsiders Her Powers”
by Beatriz Fernandez
Beatriz Fernandez is the author of: Shining from a Different Firmament (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and The Ocean Between Us (Backbone Press, 2017). beasbooks.blogspot.com
 
The Witch - pixabay
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Were-Books - Wendy S. Delmater
Were-Books
Wendy S. Delmater
 
“Were-Books”
by Wendy S. Delmater
Wendy S. Delmater has edited the acclaimed science fiction and fantasy magazine Abyss & Apex since 2006. She’s a professional editor of science-fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. She is edited several Best of Abyss & Apex anthologies, and authored numerous non-fiction books including her chapbook, Plant a Garden Around Your Life, and a memoir: Confessions of a Female Safety Engineer. Her “how to” book for genre authors & poets, Writing the Entertaining Story, is available on Amazon. amazon.com/Wendy-S.-Delmater/e/B01C0Y19F8/
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“The Walls Opened Up”
by Jean-Paul L. Garnier
Jean-Paul L. Garnier is the editor of Star*Line and the owner of Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, CA.
 
Spill Through - pixabay
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Chupacabra - Juan M. Perez
Chupacabra
Juan M. Perez
 
“How The Chupacabra Saved 
Halloween”

by Juan M. Pérez
Juan Manuel Pérez, a Mexican-American poet of Indigenous descent and a Poet Laureate for Corpus Christi, Texas (2019-2020), is the author of several books of poetry including the Elgin-nominated Space in Pieces (The House Of The Fighting Chupacabras Press, 2020), Screw the Wall! and Other Brown People Poems (FlowerSong Books, 2020), and the forthcoming Planet of the Zombie Zonnets (Hungry Buzzard Press). Learn more at juanmperez.weebly.com
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Previous Halloween Readings

2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006

All publication rights revert to poet.
Submissions are now open.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

  • Submissions are open to current SFPA members only. (Not a member? It's quick, easy, and inexpensive to join).

  • Send up to 5 audio poems in mp3 format and/or 5 images in 300-pixel-wide .jpeg or .png format, with a 100-word-max bio, to Lee at angelayurikosmith@gmail.com with the subject line: "SFPA 2020 Halloween: [Creator's name]." No more than one poem per poet will be accepted. Preference will be given to artwork submitted by poets to complement their poems.

  • Reprints are allowed. Please provide the name of the publication and date of first appearance (If your work is available online, please include the link).

    No payment.  SFPA acquires one-time electronic rights for audio and images. (Please note that for the purposes of Rhysling Award nominations, posting on the SFPA poetry page counts as publication.)

  • DEADLINE: Submissions open September 1. Please send all material by October 26. Accepted work will be added throughout the month of October.

  • Please keep in mind when selecting a poem to record that Halloween is a popular children's holiday. If we feel that there is a problem with using a specific piece, either because of the content of the poem or the quality of the recording, the editor will contact the poet about it directly.

  • QUESTIONS? Email editor regarding submissions or the Halloween page at angelayurikosmith@gmail.com with the subject line "SFPA Halloween."

Thanks to the SFPA members who have contributed their poetry and art to this page. All recordings and images are copyrighted by their respective authors and used by permission.

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