by Ann K. Schwader
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Schwader’s latest collection! Dark Energies released! Dark Energies is the powerful latest collection by American poet, Ann K. Schwader. New and hard-to-procure collected poems expand the vista of her artistic vision. These poems explore human plight in a dark cosmos and pitch historical, contemporary and futuristic observations in spellbinding metrical forms. As with all memorable poetry, t... [Read more]
and Other Poems of Horror (Hardcover)
Richard L. Tierney
Item type: Collection
Format: Octavo Hardcover
Poems of delectable strangeness and exquisite savagery and dread by R. L. “Terminator” Tierney, author of fantasy and the macabre for over fifty years, and wordslinger of hellish proportions are presented here by P'rea Press. Sweet cadences of darkness salted with bedevilled fright, and Lovecraft and Howard, all live in this 132-page crowded hardcover volume of 71 poems. Now see what people have said about this work.
Poems such as “All-Hallowed Vengeance,” “The Yuletide,” “All Hallows’ Eve,” and “The House on the Cliff” rival the best serious work of any weird poet of the last one hundred years.
Robert M. Price
Tierney’s sonnets are incantations conjuring a world unknown but never henceforth to be forgotten. It is a world where the Lovecraft of the Fungi from Yuggoth whispers again ... If we had not a word of his great Sword-&-Sorcery tales, we should still have to count Richard L. Tierney among the giants of the Fantastic.
Tierney remains … unrestricted in range and power of imagination. This new book of poems makes a worthy companion-piece to his earlier Collected Poems.
If there is a finer poet in the tradition of Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, I don’t know of one. Tierney has a vision as cosmic and savage as any of theirs, and his expressive skills are enviable indeed.
S. T. Joshi
In his [Tierney's] poetry there is not a word out of place, not a line that is other than musical, not a stanza that cannot be considered a triumph of quiet eloquence.
Frank Belknap Long
There is no other present-day poet in the entire Lovecraftian galaxy who treasures to quite the same extent as does Richard Tierney the fabulous valleys and high mountain peaks of fantasy, or who has captured their splendors with a greater perceptiveness.
Cover Art by Andrew J McKiernan
Cover Art by Andrew J McKiernan
Reviewed by Edward Cox (for Star*Line, magazine of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, July/August 2010)
It seems that stories and poems of the Classically Weird are more popular now than they have ever been. For writers penning tales in this style today, the legacies of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard are a fertile ground for inspiration. Certainly, these two masters have been inspiring Richard L. Tierney for years now, and they are not the only ones to have an impact on his new poetry collection Savage Menace and Other Poems of Horror.
The collection kicks off with “Autumn Chill,” in which we stumble upon the narrator in the wood where his brother Ned has just been buried. He has family secrets to share, and when brother Ned’s grave refuses to keep still, the reader knows exactly when it’s time to run. “Joe the Blowhard Surfer” rides the crest of a tsunami to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon”; while in “The Ice Gods Conquer” we take a trip to the Hyborian Age. “Alhazred’s Legacy” is a mysterious piece, where the author of the Necronomicon is collecting strange lore; and “A Song From Munich” and “A Song From Nuremburg” are a chilling reminder of our not-so-distant past.
Tierney’s respect for Tolkien is also addressed in Savage Menace with three poems. “The Orc Hordes” follows the march of Sauron’s army as it heads for Rohan, while in “Khazad-Dûm” brave travellers are advised to steer well clear of the dwarf city’s deep dark. My favourite poem of the entire collection is the third Tolkien pastiche. “Shelob” is a clever poem on the nature of evil, where our Spider-Queen has become an all-but-forgotten monster. It observes how true evil will continue to fester year after year for it knows no other way:
There age-long she had dwelt beneath the spires
That guard the pass to Mordor’s shadowed plains,
Her clustered eyes aglow with dim red fires—
Shelob, fell Spider-Queen, whose dark domains
Are hung with web-wrapped victims who await
In tense paralysis and frozen fear
The day their blood her hunger shall abate.
And there she yet abides, year after year,
Age after age, crouched in her foul, dank cave,
The last dire child of primal Spider-Gods—
Of Atlach-Nacha and Ungoliant
Who in the Dark Years on this world held sway.
She wards the pass to Sauron’s bleak enclave,
And ever and anon, as is her wont,
She hunches forth on scuttling multipods
On moonless nights to stalk her hapless prey.
It’s easy to see why Tierney was nominated for the SFPA Grandmaster Master Award . Works like this collection carry all the chills, thrills and bellyaches of the Classically Weird. He shows a deep appreciation for the past works that are so obviously an inspiration to him; but not only that, he also understands how to adapt his inspirations into tales for the modern world. Savage Menace and Other Poems of Horror is an approachable piece of entertainment; a commentary, perhaps, that remembers well its weird and wonderful foundations.
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Samples of SAVAGE MENACE
Open the shutters on strange wealth –
Let the spooky Bard speak for himself!
Savage Menace and Other Poems of Horror by Richard L. Tierney, P’rea Press 2010.
But, my God! What’s that?
You seen it too, young fellow, didn’t you?
Looked like a ’possum running fast, you say?
Well, I allow you may be right.
Just let me catch my breath a bit. ’Twas quite
A shock to see that critter scuttling from
Ned’s grave. You’re right, it must have been a ’possum. . . .
Shaking, you say? Well, yes, I guess I am.
Well that the Turks with torch and cleanly steel
Swept that foul region of the nauseous horde
Who served that monstrous toad-thing as their Lord!
May they—and IT—Hell’s flames forever feel!
It is the sad and spooky time of day
When the horizon darkens in the west
And the black trees upon the ridgetop’s crest
Cast inky shadows down upon the land.
—The Sad and Spooky Time
Then Nimrod came and raised his high, proud tower,
Stood on its top and shot his shafts of power
Into the blue of Heaven—and drew down blood!
Though some by love and tenderness
Would rule your youth and zestfulness,
Me, I would seize your soul by fright.
The sun’s last glow, like vanished hope,
Below earth’s rim lies hid,
And fleshless fingers stir and grope
Against the coffin’s lid.
—All Hallows’ Eve
Down from the dark and frowning westward hills
Of wild Cimmeria pours an unholy swarm—
A horde of blood-mad plunderers that spills
Forth from steep canyons like a thundering storm.
He’s gone now, friend, and so am I.
I ain’t never a-goin’ back there
To that hellish room of cool air.
I turned up the heat till the creep was a puddle,
Then watched him horribly seethe and bubble.
—Turn On the Heat
There is strange evil in the night.
The screech-owl sings a mournful tune
Where marble tombs stand stark and white
Beneath the cold and pallid moon.
A wild Cimmerian fierce and bold and proud,
Black-haired and sullen-eyed with sword in hand
And with gigantic strengths and lusts endowed.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Yet to this day his praise the ages sing:
Conan the Great, the Aquilonian King!
—The Conquering Barbarian
O Ancient Ones, awaken and devour
The sacrifice I offer in this hour,
And grant me in return the dark-starred Crown
That I may rule this world in boundless power!
—The Invocation of Kolat
Down Kingsport’s dark and winding lanes
Prowl evil things each Yuletide night,
While wakeful townsfolk watch in fright
From ancient diamond-latticed panes.
—Yuletide in Kingsport