The Art of Writing Horror Poetry
By: Lauren Groff
Horror writing is a slippery fish. Cliches lurk in the bushes, tired out tropes haunt the halls, and there is a certain demonic pressure that comes with setting out to be deliberately ‘scary.’ Writing horror poetry brings its own particular challenges but the form is, arguably, perfectly suited to the genre; verse allows for a flow, an ambiguity, a sense of dislocation and dreaminess that can serve the spooky very well indeed, when played with just the right touch. Let’s have a look at some ideas for how to make your horror poem truly horrific – in the best possible way.
Bringing the Fear
The most fundamental thing to note is that, if it scares you, and you can write about it convincingly, you’ve got a good chance of it scaring me as a reader. At the very least I’m going to buy into a level of dread or feeling of uncertainty, and these are great things to be aiming for in the world of horror writing.
Form, rhyme structure, verse length – choose whatever serves you and the poem, there are no rules here. Experiment with your subject matter, see what works well and what doesn’t, free-write and make messy drafts until you discover the form your horror poem wants to take.