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Poets of the Dark: Interview with Janine Cross


Janine Cross is the author of Touched by Venom, voted by Library Journal as one of the top five sci-fi/fantasy novels of 2005 and the first book in The Dragon Temple Trilogy. She’s also the author of Shadowed by Wings, Forged by Fire, and a literary novel, The Footstop Cafe. As a private pilot, she occasionally writes articles for aviation magazines. She’s in a long-term relationship with the semi-colon but flirts outrageously with the comma splice. You can find her at: janinecross.ca

Perfectly Reasonable Interview Questions That I Nonetheless Struggled to Answer.

What sparked your interest in horror poetry? 

The madness behind reasonable acts, glossy white coffins, the fallibility of parents, the logic behind unreasonable acts. Clocks. 

Was there a particular event or work that inspired you to delve into the darker side of poetry?

Night-lights shaped like teddy bears, flashlight apps, campfires under indifferent stars, innovations derived from the very thing we seek when we’re afraid, when we draw the blankets over our heads and take solace behind our closed lids. Even the youngest of us do this instinctively, when the situation warrants it: shut out reality in favor of hiding in self-wrought darkness.

Can you describe your creative process when writing horror poetry? Do you have any rituals or techniques that help you tap into your darkest fears and bring them to life on the page?

I reach for the soft, weeping vulnerability of the body, the justifications behind our daily casual cruelties and destructions, the feral brutality lurking within the animals we think we aren’t.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring horror poets who want to explore the genre? 

If you can take a poetry class from Linda Addison, do so. 

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