DARK FANTASY PROJECT Kevin Holton – Review – “Horror Haiku Pas de Deux” by A. F. Stewart

There’s a lot to be said for a writer who self-publishes a book correctly, especially when that writer goes the extra mile to provide ISBN numbers, internal art, and dozens of pages of poetry. A. F. Stewart’s “Horror Haiku Pas de Deux” draws inspiration from the #HorrorHaikuesday trend on Twitter, spinning a social media phenomena into an entire collection.

Within these pages, Stewart has helpfully broken down her wDARK FANTASY PROJECT – Review – “Horror Haiku Pas de Deux” by A. F. Stewartork into a myriad of sections, including “Hellfire Haiku,” “Haiku and Monsters,” “Unnatural Haiku,” and many others. She tackles everything from Satan to classic horror creatures like vampires, and there’s even a holiday section, for those who want to do away with the whole ‘happy’ vibe of the season.

Haikus, being very short, are hard not to spoil, but I’ll do my best:

The poems particularly shine when dealing with the unknown, such as one poem about a child with a balloon. An innocent enough image, though looks, as we know, are deceiving. Another approaches the idea of a search party, but verges into a provoking philosophical musing. Some, more simply, provide a delightful look at a well-known beast, like Krampus.

With any collection, some poems aren’t going to do as well–haikus in particular. Without much room to elaborate, there are a few that turn to general circumstances, or get too abstract to really leave an impact. Those dealing with Death tend to miss the mark, seeming to rely too heavily on its grim presence.

Fortunately, there are plenty of poems here, including an entire section at the end with non-haiku pieces. In these longer works, Stewart gets to play around far more with form and imagery, resulting in some very interesting, creepy reads.

“Horror Haiku Pas de Deux” is already an unexpected book, taking a form usually reserved for peaceful ideas about nature, and twisting it into an expression of macabre torment. The poems themselves are, likewise, surprising, offering a sweeping array of subjects for readers to sink their teeth into. Anyone looking to start reading dark poetry would do well to take a look at this collection.

Kevin Holton is a cyborg and coffee addict from coastal New Jersey, who is usually found writing horror and sci-fi.

He’s the author of three upcoming novels: The Nightmare King (Siren’s Call Publications); At the Hands of Madness (Severed Press); and These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream (HellBound Books). He also co-wrote the short film Human Report 85616.

His short work has been published with The Literary Hatchet, Deadman’s Tome, Sci-Phi Journal, Radiant Crown Publishing, Mighty Quill Books, The Mad Scientist Journal, and numerous others. He also dabbled in poetry, screenwriting, and audiobook narration.

You can find more of his work at his website, www.KevinHolton.com, or his Patreon, at www.patreon.com/TheHoltoning.

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