Just passing along a new review of Greg Schwartz's Bits and Pieces that recently appeared on The Harrow. Schwartz's broadside Bird Ku is still available so buy it!
Bits and Pieces
Review © 2009 Dru Pagliassotti
Creative Commons License
This review is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Bits and Pieces
©2007, Spec House of Poetry
like a curtain
on a quiet inn
deep in the woods.
the perfect setting
for a horror story
the damn birds
would stop chirping.
(—Greg Schwartz, Bits and Pieces
reprinted with permission of the author)
Not too many poets turn their hand to horror, and fewer do it well enough to get published consistently, but Greg Schwartz's collection Bits and Pieces proves it can be done. The collection contains 15 snippets of the horrific that Schwartz sold to various venues over a five-year span, 2003-2007, including poems that run from the not-so-unusual love poetry to the undead to a quirkier, more original world of predatory trees and, above, cheerfully irreverent birds.
"Night Falls," a 2008 Rhysling Award nominee, is my favorite in the collection, as it confounds the reader's usual horror-collection expectations. Indeed, that's one of Schwartz's strengths as a horror poet; he's much like the birds he describes in "Night Falls," his dry sense of humor offering a humorous counterpoint to horror's oftimes drearily chilling atmosphere. We see Schwartz's humor emerge most notably in "Night Falls," "Danny, Danny," "Lying in Wait," and "The Monster in My Closet," as well as in other poems in this collection. These short, smile-coaxing works scattered amid the darker poetry add greatly to the chapbook's charm and undoubtedly contributes to Schwartz's success in getting his work published.
Bits and Pieces is a limited-edition chapbook with a cardstock cover illustrated by Cathy Buburuz. Schwartz blogs at Haiku & Horror . His poem "Under the Bed," not included in this collection, was published in The Harrow's anthology Midnight Lullabies.