REVIEW: The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes

Poetry is hard to write. Good poetry is even harder to write. If you add in a horror element, it just makes it that much more difficult. In today’s publishing landscape, it’s an underdeveloped genre, mainly due to the awe of having to write it.

And then comes The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes by poet Sara Tantlinger. If you’re not aware of who H.H. Holmes is, THC recommends that you read up about him, as it adds to the overall reading experience; but in short, he was a serial killer and a very sadistic man.

With that, this collection puts Tantlinger into dangerous territory. When you base work on fact, on a figure from history, you leave yourself open for scrutiny. However, she makes sure she has everything earmarked with some very fine research. If you add to it a gorgeous writing style and a prominent, poetic voice, you basically have this collection.

And what sticks out most is Tantlinger’s ability to take you through history poem by poem, switching to a different voice per poem, telling an all-round story. Each poem is given its time to shine, from the very first poem, Metamorphoses, to the final poem, Unblessed Excavation.

It is Metamorphoses that sets the tone with such lines as “I am H.H. Holmes (do you know me yet?),” giving us a taste of what this person was like. It continues throughout the collection, inter-changing, each poem a personal story within a much a larger one.

The Devil’s Dreamland is a stunning collection. It is one that should be read by experienced poetry readers and those hoping to get into the genre. And if you have any serious aspirations to become a poet within the horror genre, then this collection must be on your reading list.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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