In January, “Bram Stoker Award Nominee Alessandro Manzetti”
Horror, science fiction, weird fiction, and dark poetry writer Alessandro Manzetti’s work has been published extensively in Italian, including novels, short and long fiction, poetry, essays, and collections.
Many of his shorter works have been published in magazines and anthologies. English publications include his collections The Massacre of the Mermaids, The Shaman and Other Shadows, Dark Gates (co-written by Paolo Di Orazio), Stockholm Syndrome (co-written by Stefano Fantelli), and his poetry collection Eden Underground and Venus Intervention. His stories and poems have appeared in USA and UK magazines and anthologies, such as Dark Moon Digest, The Horror Zine, Disturbed Digest, Illumen Magazine, Devolution Z Magazine, Bones III, Rhysling Anthology 2015, and others. His dark poetry collection Venus Intervention (co-written by Corrine de Winter) was nominated for the 2014 Bram Stoker Award® and the 2015 Elgin Award. His poem “The Man Who Saw the World” was nominated for the 2015 Rhysling Award and his poem “Interiora” received the 2014 Sinister Poetry Award. Six of his stories were recommended by Ellen Datlow for the Best Horror of the Year 2014.
He has translated works by Ramsey Campbell, Richard Laymon, Poppy Z. Brite, Graham Masterton, Gary Braunbeck, Gene O’Neill, and Lucy Snyder. He is the owner and editor in chief of Independent Legions Publishing, HWA Italy Representative, Editor of K-Noir Series of Kipple Officina Libraria and Foreign Rights Manager of Cut Up Publishing. He lives in Rome, Italy.
To celebrate 2016, Alessandro was gracious enough to join us here on the HWA Poetry Page for an interview:
HWA: Where do you see the state of poetry in the horror genre today? Where do you see it going in the future?
AM: Currently, poetry lives a great transformation; many new talented authors are trying to expand the boundaries. I believe that the future scenarios of poetry will be characterized by a stronger connection with the virtualization of the modern world. Poetry is one of the most direct and effective ways of communication, and communication is changing.
Poetry will have to find new forms and media to spread its voice. Anyhow, poetry will continue its mission to inspire awareness and reflections on life, and will act as an antidote to the mechanized and standardized thinking, as a good venom for the ‘binary intelligentsia’ who is devouring souls more than the creatures of Hell.
Horror Poetry has the same mission, but it’s more focused on revealing our dark side. A dark poet must be a tireless ‘shadows hunter’. I imagine that these shadows in future will have more life and energy, replicating and multiplying themselves more easily inside the body of our increasingly virtual social world. A communication without face, without flesh, a world with placeless and timeless relations, will give wings to our hungry shadows.
We’ll need ‘shadows specialists’, poets who can tell all this, recognizing the bodies from the shadows, who will be able to do an honest and fierce autopsy on themselves and on others, taking out and showing everything.
HWA: Do you have a particular poem you’d be willing to share?
AM: I would like to share the poem ‘The Dead Circus’, from the poetry collection ‘Eden Underground’, published by Crystal lake Publishing in July, 2015:
‘The Dead Circus’
Around the circus,
the ground is black.
There is no life for miles.
The tiger without a tail, without teeth,
growls at the shadows
that lick its nose.
It has a lock around its neck
and a ghost as a master.
The fat lady
exploded two years ago,
eating her husband
and the bronze diamonds
of her stage python,
its radioactive skin
green, like the mud from the Apocalypse
fucking the city.
The dwarf, the tightrope walker,
who has never been afraid of anything,
married a young sow
and now goes to the slaughterhouse every morning
with his sons still alive on a leash.
The owner of the circus,
the great Hector,
the magician who could make
the faces of the audience
and their wallets disappear,
now continues to dig,
finding pieces of his daughter
trampled by the elephant’s feet
beneath the dirt of the center ring.
The bearded lady
to her throne of thorns.
At her feet is a long line
of petrified lovers,
carved from the curse of Medusa
by the acid rain of the Apocalypse
The knife thrower, Modì,
still wears his mask of death.
He is the only one to continue the show.
Ghosts applaud from the stands
while he launches his blades
toward the wooden wheel that spins,
empty, without its flesh target.
That squeaky wheel is the only noise
of the dead circus,
of that show you bought the ticket for
when you were born.
—Alessandro Manzetti 2015
HWA: What are you working on now?
AM: As for poetry, I’m working on a collaborative collection with Bruce Boston, titled ‘Sacrificial Nights’ which will be published in June 2016. I’m honored to be working with Bruce, a real ‘shaman’ of dark and surreal modern poetry. It’s an interesting and very challenging project, characterized by an alternation of pieces of poetry and flash fiction, some collaborative, with recurring characters and a unique location, a modern city and its night creatures.
As for English fiction, I’m working on a new horror story collection with Paolo Di Orazio, entitled ‘The Monster, the Bad and the Ugly‘, including a graphic novel, which will be presented in May 2016 at StokerCon, in Las Vegas. Furthermore, I’m working on many new projects in Italian language (stories, collections and anthologies) among which I would like to mention a collection, entitled ‘Carne Cruda’, (Raw Flesh) which will include a zombie novella by Richard Laymon (Mop Up) together with a novella written by me, to be published in March 2016, in Italian, in paperback edition.
Too much to do in a short time!
HWA: How vital do you find organizations like HWA to horror poetry? Is there anything you’d like to see HWA do to promote horror poetry?
AM: HWA gives plenty of space to poetry, fully understanding the mission of it: that of a magnet that can attract and inspire the rest. I think the Association is doing a lot to promote dark poetry and to help the comparison and collaboration between authors. I couldn’t ask for more.
For more on Allesandro, visit his website: www.alessandromanzetti.net