Poems to Read in a Graveyard, Part 2

Last year, I wrote up a list of five death- and graveyard-themed poems to ponder as you enjoy a solitary stroll through someone’s final resting place. Now that graveyard picnic season has come once again, I figured it was time to add to this list. When researching for my previous post, I discovered that the tradition of graveyard poetry was far more robust than I had previously realized, and I kept finding more poems that I wanted to share. As before, my collection contains works by a few of the pre-Romantic “Graveyard Poets,” as well as a couple of poems by later Romantic poets. Enjoy!

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Steampunk World’s Fair 2017: Where Goth and Steampunk Meet

Last weekend, I went to one of the largest steampunk events in the world, Jeff Mach’s Steampunk World’s Fair. For those who are unfamiliar, steampunk is an alternative fashion/music/literature scene, which can essentially be summed up as Victorian futurism—imagine a world where, on the cusp of the industrial revolution, technology advanced through steam power and gears instead of electricity and computers. The fashion blends corsets and top hats with brass and goggles, while the literature tends to feature dirigibles, automatons, and mad scientists. And the first weekend in May is when hundreds of steampunks from around the country take over two hotels in the middle of Piscataway, New Jersey. I’ve been attending Steampunk World’s Fair for many years, and two weeks ago I gave you a preview of what I was looking forward to at this year’s convention in particular. Read on to see how last weekend lived up to my expectations. Continue reading Steampunk World’s Fair 2017: Where Goth and Steampunk Meet

Review of As Time Goes By–A Mary Higgins Clark Mystery

Time to delve back into a long-loved genre! I used to read a lot of adult mystery/suspense novels in middle school and early high school before I fell too deeply into my young adult sci-fi and fantasy reading hole. I remember especially loving the prolific Queen of Suspense, Mary Higgins Clark. So last week while browsing through audiobooks available from the library, I decided to start my foray back into the genre with one of my old favorites. I picked one of her more recent novels, As Time Goes By, which is part of her Alvirah and Willy mystery series.  Continue reading Review of As Time Goes By–A Mary Higgins Clark Mystery

Preview of Steampunk World’s Fair 2017

The biggest steampunk event of the year is just around the corner! Steampunk World’s Fair is one of Jeff Mach’s most popular events and the largest steampunk convention in the world. Earlier this year, I attended and wrote about my experience at two of Jeff Mach’s brand new conventions: the fairy-themed Glimmerdark and the three-day goth party that was Dark Side of the Con. Now it’s time to return to one of my old favorites. I have been attending Steampunk World’s Fair for about five years, and it never fails to impress. The convention takes over two hotels in Piscataway, New Jersey, and will be taking place next weekend, May 5–7.

Tea and a Cthulhu cookie from a World’s Fair past

While I was thrilled to attend two events this year with a more overtly dark aesthetic, I always feel at home at Jeff Mach’s steampunk events, despite not quite ascribing to that subculture myself. Goth and steampunk have much in common, which I’ve written about at length for the Steampunk Tourist blog. In short, though, I can always rely on a steampunk convention to bring me together with other people who enjoy literature, Victorian fashion, and tea. Below, I’ll share with you a few things that I’m looking forward to at this year’s SPWF in particular: Continue reading Preview of Steampunk World’s Fair 2017

The Gothic in Shakespeare

Yesterday, April 23, was Shakespeare’s birthday—and also his death day! In honor of the Bard, I figured I would take this opportunity to discuss his connection with the Gothic tradition. William Shakespeare was writing his plays and poems two centuries before the advent of the Gothic novel. However, his influence on the genre has been much attested, and proto-Gothic elements can be seen in a number of his plays. In this post, I will highlight these aspects in three of his darkest plays:

Goth Shakespeare, courtesy of my excellent Photoshop skills

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Stardust Review–A Neil Gaiman Fairytale

When I first started writing this blog, I had barely read any Neil Gaiman. Now, I am slowly making my way through his oeuvre. My latest read was Stardust, one of Gaiman’s earlier novels. I had heard about this story before, mostly in terms of the movie adaptation (which I still haven’t seen), but it’s not usually the first book that comes to mind when you think “Neil Gaiman.” I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find how much I enjoyed this book, especially compared to how disappointed I’ve been with some of his more celebrated works. Continue reading Stardust Review–A Neil Gaiman Fairytale

Horror Stories for Each of the Passover Plagues

Tonight is the first night of Passover—the Jewish holiday commemorating the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and freedom from slavery. The story is one of triumph and celebration, but in some ways it’s also one of the darkest tales in the Jewish tradition. You know the story: Moses is called upon by God to free the Israelites, so he approaches the pharaoh with the demand, “Let my people go!” Each time that the pharaoh refuses, God afflicts the Egyptians with a new plague intended to terrify them into releasing their slaves. The ten plagues are the stuff of nightmares—both realistic dangers, like disease and infestations, and supernatural terrors, like rivers of blood and unnatural darkness. Whether you are celebrating Passover this week or not, enjoy these ten short stories to go along with each plague inflicted upon the Egyptians:

The plague of locusts from the 1890 Holman Bible

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Zombie Romance–A Trend I’m Not Sad to See Die

Tall, dark, and decaying? Yeah, that’s not my type. In the post-Twilight era, after the vampire genre had been worked almost to death, there was a rush to find the next hot creature for supernatural romance. A few years ago, zombies made a pretty serious bid for that prestigious position. Leading the way was Daniel Waters’ Generation Dead, published back in 2008, which quite cleverly presented zombies as the next marginalized group in our society—second-class citizens who are not protected by the law and who are feared and hated by the dominant group. When goth girl Phoebe falls in love with a zombie, she discovers social awareness along with the thrills of infatuation. Another popular one was Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (2010) which was made into a rather successful movie in 2013. This book is told from the perspective of a zombie named R who bites off more than he can chew when he begins to fall for a human girl. Other books followed, including Lia Habel’s Victorian spin on the zombie romance genre, Dearly, Departed. But while I thoroughly enjoyed reading some of these books, the genre as a whole still squicks me.

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Dark Side of the Con 2017: A Rundown of America’s First Goth Convention

Last weekend I went over to the Dark Side, at Jeff Mach and VampireFreaks’s newest convention, a three-day event designed specifically for goths. Dark Side of the Con came right on the heels of another brand new convention, Glimmerdark, which I attended and posted a rundown of last month. In my overview, I noted that Glimmerdark hit a few snags trying to figure out what kind of convention it was and what audience it wanted to cater to. Dark Side of the Con, I felt, had no such problem. The convention was geared toward a very specific audience—goths—and with VampireFreaks helping to run the show, it was an audience that the organizers knew well. A few weeks ago, I posted a preview of which aspects of the con I was looking forward to most. Overall, my expectations fared pretty well against reality, despite the fact that a poorly timed sore throat and headache prevented me from getting as much out of the weekend as I wanted to. Read on for some highlights of the convention.

The spooky DJ stand for Dark Side’s Friday and Saturday night parties

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Bloggiesta To Do List: Spring 2017

It snuck up on me this year, but apparently it’s time for another Bloggiesta! Spring Bloggiesta is a week-long blogging marathon hosted by bloggiesta.com. From today (Monday, March 20) until Sunday March 26, bloggers around the internet will come together to support and inspire each other while working on bettering their own blogs. I always find Bloggiesta events to be a helpful reminder for me to take care of long-term blog-related goals and to get some great advice from more experienced bloggers.  Continue reading Bloggiesta To Do List: Spring 2017