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Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster / Mark McLaughlin & Michael McCarty

Skullvines Press / August 2008
Reviewed by: Michele Lee

Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty is a slim volume of poetry with a little of everything, from Jeff Strand style puns and cheesy humor to soulful, evocative stanzas more similar to Edgar Allan Poe and Clive Barker.

It's an all-in-one tribute to poetry form and traditions as well as the history of horror, from oral stories of the things that go bump in the night to modern day pop culture terrors. Nearly every part of horror has a representative. Pieces like "Hansel and Gristle" and "Ratpunzel" cover twisted fairy tales while "Of Thee I Sing" plays with dark patriotism and government conspiracies. Supernatural beasts and human horrors all get their time in the spotlight from McLaughlin and McCarty.

There are a variety of cultural flavors as well, with poems such as "Making Out With Kali", a surprisingly meaningful tale that's lust on the outside and the human habit of being attracted to our own demise at its soft center.

Even poems that seem as light and silly as "My Cannibal Girlfriend" have the potential to hit readers like an Ambrose Bierce style satire with lines like:

It ain’t easy marrying
a cannibal girlfriend.
Your matrimony ceremony
is a strange combo
of wedding, funeral and
all-you-can-eat buffet.

Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster is an excellent addition to the horror genre and it's no wonder that it's been nominated for a Stoker Award this year. The prose isn't always decadent in richness, but McLaughlin and McCarty are deft, if not clever writers who show an ability to communicate in a variety of ways and to a variety of readers with this poetry collection.

Purchase Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty.

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