Zombies are in every form of media. We can shoot them in the heads in videogames, we can watch them get torn apart in movies and in televisions shows. (Is there anyone who doesn’t love The Walking Dead?) Zombies have invaded the high-brow world of the theatre – there was a play called Zombie Porn. And without question, Zombies have bitten into novels. One prolific writer of Zombie novels is Jonathan Maberry – you can learn more about Maberry’s views on Zombie literature from my interview with him here.
However, one art form that has been resistant to the zombie plague is poetry…until now.
The New York Times recently did a piece about a new wave of poets rhyming about the undead. More importantly, this article discussed the work of Evan J. Peterson – a friend and fellow Florida State University alum.
Evan Peterson’s poem “Rebirth is Always Painful” is featured in the article and published in a collection of similar poems titled Aim for the Head from Write Bloody Publishing
When asked why he believes Zombie Poetry is becoming so popular, Peterson stated: “Zombie poetry is a novelty at the moment, like all things zombied. The challenge is to write well crafted poems about this still low-brow pop topic, to bring thoughtful exploration to it rather than settling for easy-bake rhymed crap about brains. I think that Aim for the Head made it into the New York Times because it’s good poetry on an unconventional topic.”
But a larger question remains, this being if Zombie Poetry is limited to a niche audience or will spread into larger demographics. On this note, Peterson states: “I’m not yet sure whether the zombie poetry splash is more in the poetry community or the zombie fanbase, but I hope it will cross-contaminate and open up the possibilities for each side. There’s a wealth of provocative, well written poetry out there that engages with horror and the supernatural, including the undead. Look at Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus” from 1962: “they had to call and call/ and pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.//Dying/is an art…” I read that at twenty and it changed my life.”
If you like Zombie or Horror Poetry, you can learn more about Peterson’s work from his homepage.
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