WiHM 12: Riveting Verse

Riveting Verse

By Ashley Dioses


A poem should be written in such a way that it enchants all who hear it. For dark poetry as well, a poem should begin with a grabbing line and end with a line that will haunt the reader after they’ve finished it, just like any horror fiction piece.  

 The beauty of words and the evocative images they evoke are not just limited to fantasy or even dark fantasy for that matter. This is also what makes it fun to write dark, horror-filled verse. Is your poem aimed to inspire fear or is it written to disgust your audience? What senses would you want to conjure up? Make your audience taste the blood spilled in your verse, conjure that metallic taste, and that sticky hot mess on their fingertips. Make your audience feel the cold steel of that dagger or the acidic taste of poison on their lips. Inspire fear with the magic of words that will slice through the tension-filled air.

A poem should have beautiful language. Beautiful language, not necessarily the theme, makes a beautiful poem. If you describe the stiffened contours of a lifeless lover or the mangled cadaver of your latest plaything, then describe it richly, beautifully, darkly. Show the details of her crimson-stained hair or conjure the scent of his aged and rotting flesh. Do not spare a single psychotic notion in your verse.

Now enough of love! Excuse the romance and let us get back to the horror. Not everyone wants romance in their horror and dark verses but that does not excuse the lack of that enthralling language.  Make your images, your lines, your verse more haunting than any image readers can conjure up.

Whether you wish to instill fear, repulsion, or drear lamentation, do it with your language. Even if the horror is subtle and only hinted at, enthrall them with your words.  Spin your dark enchantment around your readers and spellbind them with words they can ever be haunted by.

Ashley Dioses


Ashley Dioses is a writer of dark fiction and poetry from southern California. Her debut collection of dark traditional poetry, Diary of a Sorceress, was released in 2017 from Hippocampus Press. Her poetry has appeared in Weird Fiction Review, Cemetery Dance Publications, Weirdbook, Black Wings VI: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, and others. Her poem “Cobwebs,” was mentioned in Ellen Datlow’s recommended Best Horror of the Year Volume Twelve list. She has also appeared in the Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase 2016 and 2020 for her poems “Ghoul Mistress” and “Her Heart that Flames Would Not Devour” respectively. She was also a nominee for the 2019 Pushcart Prize. She is an Active member in the HWA and a member of the SFPA.  She blogs at fiendlover.blogspot.com.

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