Horror Writers Association

Poets of the Dark: Interview with Timothy P. Flynn


Timothy P. Flynn is a dark poet from Massachusetts. His previous poetry resides in Space and Time magazine, Anthocon’s book collections: Anthology Years 1-3, Wicked Tales, Wicked Creatures, Scifaikuest, haikuniverse, Haiku Journal and the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol 5 & Vol 6, and in the current HWA Poetry Showcase Vol 9. Flynn’s first chapbook, Embrace the Madness, is available via eBook on Amazon. He is a member of the New England Horror Writers, an Affiliate member of the HWA, and recipient of the 2021 HWA Dark Poetry Scholarship. Follow him on Twitter: @TimothyPFlynn or on Instagram: instagram.com/timothypflynnwriter

What sparked your interest in horror poetry? Was there a particular event or work that inspired you to delve into the darker side of poetry?

Linda Addison will always be my answer to the gatekeeper of speculative poetry. I never knew such a genre existed, and she is instrumental in who I am today. Now, for horror poetry, Stephanie Wytovich with Hysteria shook me to my horror loving core! This book showed me what horror poetry can be: scary, visceral images, and the darkness we have inside. Then came Love for Slaughter by Sara Tantlinger and I was hooked. I can never write poetry in my life like these two amazing collections, but damn I want to try to emulate them.

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?

My writing process is abysmal at best. I would have so much more work out there if my life wasn’t so chaotic. But for me, it’s always a line or image that I try to capture and the poem expands from there. Tapping into my dark primal side is easy, it’s the making of whatever I’m trying to convey read well.

How do you balance the need to be evocative and disturbing with the constraints of poetic structure and form? Are there any particular strategies you use to create tension and build suspense in your horror poems?

My personal favorite forms are the horrorku and scifaiku. You have minimal room, so the word choices are key. With longer works, I like to play around with POV to create how to read the poem. 

Who are some of your favorite horror poetry inspirations? Are there any authors or poets whose work you admire and draw inspiration from when crafting your own dark verse?

Well, I already mentioned Linda Addison, Stephanie Wytovich, and Sara Tantlinger as key inspirations. Others include Christina Sng, Michael Arnzen, Cina Pelayo, Dave Cowen, Michelle Scallise, John Lawson, Donna Lynch, Wrath James White, Angela Yuriko Smith and of course, Tom Piccirilli. There are many (new) to me poets coming out as well, like Maxwell Gold, Grace R Reynolds, Jessica Drake Thomas-  this list would be endless.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring horror poets who want to explore the genre? Are there any particular challenges or pitfalls they should be aware of, and how can they overcome them to create truly terrifying poetry?

Read. Read. Read. Write. Learn about what has been done before you. Read all kinds of poetry, all genres, and create your own style. Write poetry because you love and enjoy it. Above all else, keep a notebook with you to jot down images, lines, and whatever else. I need to follow this too. Keep it up, I’ll be cheering you on down the road.


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