Author and poet Michael Hanson graciously took time to answer questions about the inspiration behind his newest collection of horror poetry, ‘Dark Parchments: Midnight Curses and Verses’. In this interview, Hanson also describes the challenges of delving into his dark side, what elements make for good horror and genre blending.
‘Dark Parchments: Midnight Curses and Verses’ is a poetry collection exploring the shadowy recesses of our most primal fears. It weaves mystery, lyricism, and otherworldly horror, creating a truly unique reading experience. The poetry in ‘Dark Parchments: Midnight Curses and Verses’ takes the reader on a journey into the nightmares of suicide, depression, murder and abandonment. Supernatural terror, spiritual evil inhabit poetic landscapes where loneliness, and death walk together and create a nerve shattering world crafted by Michael H. Hanson. ‘Dark Parchments: Midnight Curses and Verses’ is available NOW from Moondream Press, and Amazon.
Michael H. Hanson is the Creator of the Sha’Daa shared-world, horror/fantasy anthology series currently consisting of Sha’Daa: Tales of The Apocalypse, Sha’Daa: Last Call, Sha’Daa: Pawns, Sha’Daa: Facets, and the soon to premiere Sha’Daa: Inked all published by Moondream Press (an imprint of Copper Dog Publishing LLC).
He has written three collections of poetry: Autumn Blush and Jubilant Whispers whose second editions will soon be published by Racket River Press (an imprint of Copper Dog Publishing LLC), and Dark Parchments. Hanson is the Founder of the international writers club, The Fictioneers, a non-profit organization created in 2007 to encourage the writing of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, and the creative interaction of fledgling writers with more experienced professionals. The Fictioneers is loosely modeled after those fun children’s clubs of mid-20th Century radio fame (Captain Midnight, Little Orphan Annie, etc.)
Francis Xavier: What inspired your new poetry collection, ‘Dark Parchments: Midnight Curses and Verses’?
Michael Hanson: The works of Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Dr. Seuss, E.E. Cummings, and Robert Frost, the terrifying ghost stories the older boys would tell late at night on Boy Scout camping trips, and mostly, the all-too real, common-place, and everyday fears and terrors that lurk in the shadows and just around all corners in the world today.
FX: Three words to describe your writing?
MH: Short Sharp Shock
FX: Which part of Dark Parchments challenged you the most?
MH: Cutting the wrist-veins and arteries of my angst with the broken bottle of my hope, and bleeding the honesty of what chills my soul across my laptop screen … that, and conceiving appropriate titles for each work, which is often a challenge.
FX: How are the poems in Dark Parchments connected?
MH: To paraphrase famed author Janet Morris, from the Foreword she wrote to this poetry collection: “[Dark Parchments] is a brooding anthology, into an adventure of minds exploring a central thesis: into humanity’s awful heart, its crippling guilt and madness, its untoward dominion and unbridled power; even the catastrophes it creates — and due reckoning for its sins wreaked in this world and beyond.”
FX: Which of the poems is your favorite? Scariest?
MH: Oh man, you’re asking a parent to pick his favorite child, LOL. I’ll admit I’m very fond of “Shadow Puppets.” Archane imagery aside, it was born of a phone conversation I had with an old college friend who works in the L.A. film industry, where he told me how difficult it was to maintain a long-term relationship as all the women he had met and dated, were suddenly not interested in him when they realized he could do nothing to promote and/or help their potential careers. As for scariest… hmmmm… “Holda” was a real dream/nightmare from my childhood, “The Void” describes one mindset I’ve occasionally fallen into when dealing with PTSD and clinical depression, “Aging Poet in a Soho Bar” which feels like a future curse, and “Nevada Test Site Mannequins” that is filled with the dread that haunted me as a teenager and young man.
FX: What did you learn about yourself as a writer while working on Dark Parchments?
MH: That I really Really REALLY have a dark side, LOL. And yes, it was honestly a surprise. I actually write a lot of positive, upbeat, romantic, and bucolic poetry that is quite popular with my Facebook following. In fact, I wasn’t even aware I had this many dark poems in my unpublished backlog until my sister urged me to dig through my archives to see if I had a spooky collection somewhere in there. A couple of hours later I was taken aback by the 85 works of verse that I had put together for Dark Parchments.
FX: What elements make for good horror fiction?
MH: Creating believable characters, giving them back-stories derived from the writer’s personal experiences and fears and tragedies. These truths will bleed through, stain, and shape a reality readers can sink their teeth into. There is a powerful part of me, my soul, in the 90+ short stories I’ve written and have had published over the past 13 years.
FX: What are your thoughts on genre blending in works of fiction?
MH: I love it. I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories, and quite often find myself happily diving into cross-genre territory, especially in the shared-world SHA’DAA anthology series I created several years ago.
FX: Where can my readers find more about you and your work online?
MH: Visit my Facebook, Author Website, Sha’Daa Anthology, The Fictioneers and the Space Force Adventures websites.
FX: Favorite horror writer?
MH: Stephen King
FX: Favorite movie?
MH: Enchanted April
FX: What scares you?
MH: The Unknown
FX: What’s one word you overuse?
FX: Favorite place to write?
MH: On my couch
FX: Title of your first published work?
MH: “Northcountry Note” – a free-verse poem I wrote at the age of 15 that was accepted by my hometown’s local newspaper
FX: What book do you wish you wrote?
MH: Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazny
FX: What are you currently reading?
MH: Laves of Grass by Walt Whitman
FX: Coffee or tea?
FX: Favorite color?
FX: Beer or wine?
Selections from ‘Dark Parchments: Midnight Curses and Verses’
by Michael H. Hanson
Yes it is always halloween
in this particular nightmare
where no horror can be unseen
and every door leads to despair.
The trick or treaters are monsters,
the vilest creature’s kith and kin
who serve the most wicked masters
born of all primordial sin.
Their costumes never can come off,
welded and sewn into their flesh,
each one a damned condemned seraph
long fallen from the ranks of blest.
The trick is its forever night
and all the treats are plague and blight.
The Song of Rain
by Michael H. Hanson
The rain, the rain, the ramming slamming rain,
it’s wondrous might and sheer delight exclaimed,
cacophony and symphony
composed, arranged epiphany
and wet applause for all of mankind’s banes.
The dripping, dropping, wishy-washy rain,
this fickle trickle wildly unrestrained.
The splish and splash of water play
the curse of every holiday
I wish it rained each night and day
until the whole world washed away
and cleansed the earth of all its pain.
And this is why I now proclaim
the humming, drumming song of rain,
the rain, the damning dinning rain!