I’m presently wrapping up a full semester of teaching Horror Writing to undergrads at Seton Hill University, and we’ve been having a blast doing all sorts of multimedia work — especially work using SoundCloud for audio critiques. Along the way, I’ve been been playing with the site, too, uploading lecture excerpts and strange sound prompts and other weird things. I even recently gave a little presentation about the class experiments for a conference we held on campus called the iTeach gallery.
During the term, I discovered the above excerpt (from my article in the wonderful book for dark authors, WRITER’S WORKSHOP OF HORROR, edited by Michael Knost — who just edited a similar book on Science Fiction and Fantasy coming out next month). The exerpt had been a featured reprint in THE WRITER magazine and therefore available in our college library’s online databases in full text format. The database included an audio player for the visually impaired, so I played it and recorded the robotic voice reading my article so I’d have a copy…then I distorted the file on my computer to give it, well, some kind of aura of the strange. Here’s the result: a mini-lecture by the ghost in the machine, about writing in the horror genre, drawing from my favorite quote by Psycho-author Robert Bloch: “Horror is the removal of masks.”
Arnzen, Michael A. “An Open Book: Writer’s Workshop of Horror” in The Writer (Jan 2010). Excerpt from Knost, Michael, Ed. Writer’s Workshop of Horror. Woodland Press, 2009.
I’ve signed up over at NaPoWriMo.net, committing to try to write and post a new poem every day throughout April for “National Poetry Writing Month”. My plan is to mix things up regularly: to post twitter poems, full-length gorelets, some audio recordings, videos, word art, and more Fridge of the Damned magnet poetry pieces. Return to this calendar page for all this, which I’m posting off the main blog to avoid clutter and confusion; things will also be tagged as #napowrimo on twitter or The Nest if you want to search for them. I invite you to join me, too, on the Instigation Showcase (see below)!
Key: Blue = Text | Black = Multimedia
Related NaPoWriMo activities I’m indulging in…
+ I’ve joined the gang over at the 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly for 30 Days of the 5-2. My particular post is going up on April 4th. Update: Scott Emerson posted a kind review of my own poetry on the 5-2 as part of this event too.)
+ I will fit some poetry reading in between the bouts of writing. And if time permits, review it.
+ I’ll post #Instigation prompts to twitter (echoed on the Instigation Showcase) more frequently throughout the month…see below for more details.
+ A new issue of The Goreletter will appear this month. Certainly it will contain a poetry-related contest with some goodies for prizes, so subscribe!
+ DO YOU WRITE? I will continue to celebrate the recent release of my ebook, Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side by posting #Instigation prompts on twitter… these (along with more) are automatically fed into the new Instigation Showcase page, so if you’re a poet/writer looking for dark inspiration, you’ve found the right place! You also can get a meaty sampler from the book of prompts over at scribd.com/Arnzen
ALERT, 4/5: in celebration of #NaPoWriMo Raw Dog Screaming Press is now offering the Fridge of the Damned poetry magnets at a discount for this month (buy yours here for just $10). Remember that I will post photos of all shared #TFOTD work in the amazing fridge fan gallery! Write a fridge magnet poem for Nat’l Poetry Month.
If you haven’t been listening to the 6′+ (‘six foot plus’) podcast, you’ve been missing out on some weird, strange and spooky music — from psychobilly to demented surf to horror spoken word. The latest episode (#45: “The Holidays are Horrible”) includes a track from my CD, Audiovile, called “Little Stocking Stuffers” — and it’s neat to hear how well it fits in with the rest of the battery of horrifying holiday beats. Stream it online, or subscribe via iTunes.
I had a wonderful time reading poetry alongside Stephanie Wytovich (who read a battery of amazing “psycho ward” poetry) at DV8 Espresso Cafe & Gallery in Downtown Greensburg, PA, this past weekend. It was standing room only, there were a lot of laughs, and weirdness was definitely in high abundance. Among other things, I got to share my current Mutterverse experiment, which featured a slideshow of strange images…until the power went out on the projector, that is. But I just continued reading in the darkness, which was perfect.
Perhaps the highlight of the night was a “Poedown Throwdown” slam poetry challenge between Stephanie and I, where we tasked one another to write a new poem inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe story and then read it live at the event. She did “The Raven” and I took on “The Black Cat.” Here are the results. I cheated a little by reading three pieces. But ultimately, she may have won. You be the judge!
Poedown with Michael Arnzen and Stephanie Wytovich, Live at DV8 Greensburg (8 mins.):
includes: “Blackbird” by Stephanie Wytovich &
“The Stuffed Black Cat,” “Burning the Witch” and “Poe’s Growth” by Michael Arnzen
Download (12.2 mb)
And I just HAVE to also share the following clip from one of my favorite parts of the night: a reading of “The Seven-Headed Beast” (from my book, 100 Jolts)…that includes creepy audience accompaniment! [Those readers who know my CD, Audiovile, will likely find this "unplugged" version even more disturbing than the original! I know I do....]
“The Seven-Headed Beast” Live at DV8 Cafe, Greensburg PA 11/10/2012
by Michael A. Arnzen (2.32 mins)
DOWNLOAD .mp3 (3.8 mb)
The good folks at Raw Dog Screaming Press hosted a semi-private party-slash-convention to launch the celebration of their ten year anniversary, and from all reports, the festivities were nothing short of transformational. The press is renewed, launching a brand new science fiction imprint called Dog Star Books — with Heidi Ruby Miller (co-editor of Many Genres One Craft) at the editorial helm. There will be a new website, a new focus on community, and pack of new books to come in the years ahead. In fact, I think this is going to be the Year of the Dog and I’m proud to be a part of the year-long ten year anniversary party.
For full coverage of the event, drop by the Raw Dog Screaming Dog Con report on livejournal or facebook. The real gem of it all is editor/publisher/designer Jennifer Barnes’ “State of the Dog” Speech, which can be seen on YouTube.
I said “I didn’t go but I still went” to DogCon. This was because I performed a reading over the internet airwaves (via “FaceTime”) which was projected on a TV at DogCon, and which involved all sorts of funky interactive hijinx (even prizes!). Here’s a cool photo from the other side of the TV, from Mike “Tricky” Mehalek, taken during my reading:
And the hosts even posted a videotape of my reading over the television on youtube:
And if you want more video action, take a look at this video — they’ve also shared snippets of my dramatic reading of the original source material from which the publishers drew the name for their press, “Raw Dog Screaming.” If stick around till the end, you’ll see a funny snippet of the quiz show I ran over the air, with rare prizes involved. (“Winners have to have courage.”) I’m sure there will be more videos to come on the RDSP YouTube Channel.
I saved a high quality audio file of the reading, which you can listen to or even download below. It includes a few new and unpublished poems (as heard on the video), followed by a recitation of my flash fiction piece from the Hazard Yet Forward charity anthology, called “The Scraper” (not on the video).
Keep your eyes on Raw Dog Screaming Press as their website evolves in the year ahead. There are a ton of great books to come from RDSP, including — drum roll — the re-release of my novel, Play Dead, in 2013.
While a new edition of an old book might not seem like much to those of you who already read it, it’s a little shocking to realize that this novel is currently only available in a long out-of-print and sold out fine hardcover or sculpture-bound edition. SO a far more accessible paperback and ebook edition will be published by Raw Dog in the year to come. Woot! Perhaps it will even feature a new cover and other fun elements. In fact, I’m working with Raw Dog on a couple of other fun things, which I know will surprise some of you. I look forward to announcing these in the year to come, too. The horror never ends here on gorelets.com. Thanks for sticking with me, and for supporting the indie publishers I’ve worked with over the years like Raw Dog Screaming Press. Here’s to their next ten years!
The Science Fiction Poetry Association has gathered together a number of new readings of poetry related to Halloween on their website, as part of an annual tradition of terror. I’ve shared a clip from my live reading at Morgantown Poets this past June, which was a lot of fun: “Attack of the Bleu Man Group.” This poem, which appears in The Gorelets Omnibus, actually had its very first publication in the form of a musically-enhanced number on this website a few Halloweens ago, which you can still listen to right here.
Visit the SFPA Halloween Readings to hear it live.
The following is an excerpt from the front page of my Fiction Writing syllabus at SHU, which I posted to scribd and soundcloud as part of the course. I was surprised to find out tonight that it was highlighted as a “Featured Document” by scribd.com! Neat.
Here’s the audio version, recorded for the students in the class to respond to.
Teaching does take time away from my writing, but it’s just as rewarding to me, and it’s fun to share in the students’ creative spirits. Our class is going to be doing a lot of experiments with social networks, ipad apps, and more. Readers who have an interest in fiction writing might want to follow my academic twitter feed, where I’ll likely share the results.
At the fun “Raw Dog Screaming Press Book Party” at the Morgantown Poets group in West Virginia last month, I opened my reading by sharing a piece I’d written for Locus Magazine, a poem about why I write poetry, which I contributed to their running Roundtable series on speculative poetry. Here’s my recitation of “On the Irrelevance of Genre Poetry,” recorded during the reading. I don’t often write things like this — an opinion essay told in the form of a poem — but the audience really seemed to laugh and also get charged up by the poem.
Press the play button below to listen, or the link below it to download the file for your own devices.
Open Locus Magazine’s page in a new window if you’d like to read along. Please also consider leaving a comment on their site or below.
Locus Magazine is a long-running trade magazine for publishers, writers and dedicated fans in the genre, featuring reviews and coverage of trends in science-fiction, fantasy and horror publishing. While you’re there, read the other great articles on the Roundtable by Marge Simon, Robert Frazier, David Kopaska-Merkel, Denise Dumars, F.J. Bergmann and plenty of other great practicing sf/f/h poets on the Locus Roundtable Blog.
If you’re a genre poet, be sure to check out the Science Fiction Poetry Association and join the community. I’ve been a member since something like 1988, and their annual Rhysling Award anthology and journal (Star*Line) alone are worth the dues. Plus they do lots of fun things, like post audio readings of horror poetry every Halloween — check it out.
Happy official Halloween day. I have a lot of work to do this afternoon. But I’m going to personally challenge myself to write at least one horror haiku poem an hour (at minimum) and post it on my twitter page all day long…till midnight.
I’m giving them all a zombie theme, partially inspired by the recent release of the sequel to Ryan Mecum’s great Zombie Haiku book from a few years ago: Dawn of Zombie Haiku and all the great #zombiehaiku he’s been publishing on twitter himself over the past few days.
To read the zombie haiku, you can subscribe to my twitter profile or just run a search on twitter for the hashtag #zombiehaiku. If you’re on twitter, come join the party — Ryan Mecum started it, and it’s open to anyone.
WHY ZOMBIES LUMBER
by Michael A. Arnzen (1.41 mins)
DOWNLOAD .mp3(1.58 mb)
Heidi Ruby Miller and I had a lot of fun in this chatty and informative 1/2 hour podcast interview for Author Magazine about our non-fiction book for authors, Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction. Click the typewriter logo to visit Author online:
[Cross-posted from the Social Network]
Kurt Newton reads his poem, “The 39 Steps,” at the book launch event for A Sea of Alone: Poems for Alfred Hitchcock (Ed. Christopher Conlon, Dark Scribe Press, June 2011). Recorded live at the 2011 Stoker Weekend in NY on June 18th. Watch Dark Scribe for news about ordering this excellent anthology.
Last June, I went on a Summer Teaching Tour at various writer’s workshops, and one of the highlights was my return as guest lecturer to the Odyssey, The Fantasy Workshop, run by Jeanne Cavelos annually at St Anselm College, in New Hampshire. My guest lecture topic at Odyssey was “Making the Reader Squirm: Sensory Immersion,” which they have just released as a podcast on the Odyssey Podcast page (it is also available through iTunes).
In this lecture, I discuss ways that science fiction/fantasy and horror writers appeal to the reader’s “sensorium” to generate a visceral effect. The class analyzed examples of how two very different writers went about describing an autopsy (one was from Michael Shea’s “The Autopsy” and the other was from Dr. Ed Uthman’s Description of an Autopsy), and though it’s not on the podcast, the class also examined the tropes of horror in Black Sabbath’s song, “Black Sabbath,” in terms of how the song structures a horrific mood. It was a lot of fun.
I was also a guest at Odyssey back in 2007, when I lectured on “Humor in Speculative Fiction.” You can still listen to that podcast here.
Writers who are looking for more instruction of this ilk should be on the look-out for Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction, a large compendium of advice that I co-edited with Heidi Ruby Miller for Headline Books. It will be in print next month, and I’ll be announcing preorder news shortly. It includes my article, “Tuning Up Your Writing,” which expands on the ways that language can set a mood, through sonic effects…and several other pieces. Yesterday I shared the introduction on scribd.com.