Reading Where Decay Sleeps Part 1

Many apologies to Anna Cheung, the author who worked very hard on these poems. I’m not a poet and I know it. I’m writing these thoughts as I go so I can process what I’m reading better. Hopefully, others will appreciate them too.

If anybody out there struggles with poetry, you’re not alone. There’s help out there for us. Somewhere. I’ll google it later!

What I’m reading today is the Pallor Mortis (Birth) section of Anna Cheung’s debut anthology of Chinese Gothic horror poetry, Where Decay Sleeps, published by Haunt Publishing. I got this book as part of a kickstarter reward, just so everybody’s clear. While I could write a separate essay based on the sunk-cost fallacy might combine with this fool and my money are soon parted to form a tornado of “I’m loving this book uncritically, I don’t give a damn!” James Stephanie Sterling has a whole video on the topic you can watch instead.

Old-Timey Jimquisition, everybody! It’s an oldie but a goodie! TLDW (too long didn’t watch): I bought it with money, like how I’d have to buy it after the kickstarter, or at a store. I have no personal relationship behind the publishers or the author, or anybody else involved in the project. I see no point in giving a damn, but if you give a damn, here’s a damn to damn me for. Sometimes, elders say it better.

Like Commander Sterling themself, I too will work on compiling a list a projects together. Mostly so I don’t forget what I’ve backed over the few short years I’ve been using the service.

One of the points of writing is to bring something new to the table. The new thing I’m bringing to the table is this book to your attention. Middle school, high school, and college me would be horrified that today, I’m essentially doing what I did back in school. Well, school-going me, these aren’t ye olde ancient books that millions if not billions of people have read and will continue to read for generations before and after our own. These are new books that need all the attention they can get so that their creative laborers can earn a living. While it’s important to at least try to appreciate the classics, I needed a more balanced literary diet than what was made available to me growing up. My mom didn’t even let me watch The Phantom Menace when I was little cuz she thought Darth Maul would be too scary. She never would’ve let me read horror. Fuck you, Mom! I’m reading horror now! I’m reading all the horror that I like!

Where Decay Sleeps is divided into seven sections based on the stages of decay. Today, we’re reading Pallor Mortis (Birth). So I imagine there’s going to be some gross imagery, as well as pregnancy going in. This is horror after all, birth-related horror no less. I’m writing as I read rather than gathering my thoughts after the fact. Sort of like live-tweeting, but less live (by the time y’all see this anyway). And also so that I concentrate on what I’m reading more. Part of needing to go on medically mandated rest was that I was severely struggling with memory and concentration skills for several months beforehand. While I’m pretty sure they’re back to normal, I’m hoping that this exercise may help me get these skills come back even more, perhaps even stronger than than before. Use or lose it! Besides, I’ll have to concentrate more on poetry anyway since it’s harder for me than prose. That’s how it’s always been. Poetry has never been my forte.

The book lists six content warnings for this section, which is very kind of it to do. I don’t know if Anna Cheung herself created this list, or who did it, but I thank that person / people very much. I also thank that person / people for specifying which poems the content warnings apply to.

  • Blood: Creature.
  • Death: Corpses Bloom, Ghost Brides.
  • Gore: Creature, In Utero.
  • Hospitalization: In Utero.
  • Pregnancy: Concoction, In Utero.

If these content warnings put you off, like I said, there’s seven sections in this book. I intend to focus on its first section today.

Now, if Anna Cheung gets worried about what I have to say about her poetry that she worked very hard on, that a non-poet is reading and writing about, the good news is: I’m very easily impressed! I’m a hype man, not a salesman. You gotta work to make me hate something. Even Lord of the Rings, which I’ve written over two weeks of smack-downs about, I still love at the end of the day, I just don’t vibe with Tolkien’s style anymore. The fanfiction’s better.

And like I said off the top of this essay, I backed her book on kickstarter for a reason. That reason was: I wanna read more horror things, help get a publishing company back in action, and help fellow creatives get their works out into the world.

So without further ado, the actual literature within the book!

Next Page.

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