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November '21 Madhouse Recap

Hello friends and fiends— Happy December! Can you believe we’re approaching the end of the year? I certainly can’t, and what’s even crazier to think about is how in a couple weeks I’ll have a little one snuggled up to me soon while I’m writing to all of you. November was filled with a special type of Wonderland magic as we celebrated our babe with a whimsical tea party/baby shower. There were Mad Hatters, white rabbits, flamingos, and lots of other beautiful, curious decorations, and it felt surreal to be sitting there, drinking tea, all the while knowing I’ll get to share my love of Alice in Wonderland with our kiddo soon. Again, I want to thank everyone who took time out of their schedule to visit, send gifts, check in on me, and/or come to the shower to share in our joy. My college roommate, Kat, even went on this insane 570+ mile round trip adventure to spend less than 24 hours with me, and it was the best present I could have asked for. Truly, I feel lucky to have such wonderful,
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Creating Strange Nests Out of Blackout Poetry: An Interview with Jessica McHugh

Hello friends and fiends, Today in the Madhouse, I'm sitting down with my pal Jessica McHugh and talking about her recent blackout poetry release, Strange Nests , which was formed/inspired by the novel The Secret Garden . If you haven't checked out her Bram Stoker award-nominated collection A Complex Accident of Life , you'll want to be sure to do that and check out this Madhouse Interview as well.  Lost in the garden,  Stephanie M. Wytovich SMW: What about The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Barnett called to you for this project? JM: It was a couple of weeks after my brother died. Except for meeting up with family to help clean out his room, I’d been holed up at home since he passed away from an overdose on January 11th. By the 25th, I was desperate to be around people again. So I went to my favorite bar, White Rabbit Gastropub, for some comfort. I was chatting with my bartender-turned-friendo Kahla Moon about potential books for my next collection--I wasn’t looking

October '21 Madhouse Recap

Hello Friends and Fiends— Blessed Samhain and Happy Belated Halloween! I’m writing to you after a month of shrieks, screams, chills, and haunts, and honestly, I’m sad to see it end (even if I do celebrate Halloween all year round!). I kicked off the month by drinking too much apple cider, eating some caramel apple slices (and okay, some candy apples), and doing some holiday baking—all of which, let’s be honest, I continued to do throughout the month only to top it off by seeing a shadow cast production of Rocky Horror Picture Show on Devil’s Night (which was also Apollo’s 5 th birthday!). This month, Dennis and I celebrated our 4 th wedding anniversary (5 th year together) by going up to Seven Springs for the day. We walked through their fall craft festival, shared some Halloween macaroons, and then rode the ski lift and took a beautiful walk together. We also treated ourselves to dinner at Polymath Park, Tree Tops Restaurant, which I seriously can’t recommend enough! The view?

September '21 Madhouse Recap

Hello friends and fiends, September was filled with the start of a new semester, the beginnings of a few classes, and finals weeks in one of the graduate courses I’m teaching (pray for me, I’m still grading). It was also filled with Mabon (one of my favorite sabbats), our little one’s anatomy scan, the start of a new job/career path for Dennis, and my brother’s wedding. Needless to say, we all had and continue to have full hearts this month as our family got a little bit bigger and filled with more love and happiness. On a personal note, I’m noticing that I’m starting to slow down a bit in terms of what I can and can’t do throughout the day, which is a bit frustrating because I’m a lunatic, but I’m coming to terms with it. My body is swollen, I’m retaining water, and my heating pad has become my best friend. In terms of pregnancy cravings, I’m leaning toward lemon, honey, raspberries, and pineapple, and I can’t get enough coconut/pineapple bubbly; I’ve also been rewatching The Vampir

Tortured Willows, Skydiving, and the Magic of Poetry

Hello friends and fiends,  Today in The Madhouse, I'm excited to share a guest post by Geneve Flynn in celebration of the upcoming poetry collection, Tortured Willows, a collaborative effort from  Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, and Geneve Flynn.  On Being a Baby Poet and Jumping Out of a Perfectly Good Plane by  Geneve Flynn I once paid money to jump out of a perfectly good plane. As I walked to the tiny aircraft, I started to have serious doubts. The weather was glorious: typical Australian sunshine and endless blue skies. It seemed much more sensible to stay on the ground and enjoy being alive for longer than the next hour. “Don’t worry.” My tandem skydiving instructor grinned as he did a final check on my harness. “You’ll be strapped to me, and I’ll be looking after myself.” The terror of imminent, splattery death evaporated, leaving behind the fierce buzz of adrenaline. We circled up to ten thousand feet. When he asked if I was ready, I said yes. We s

August '21 Madhouse Recap

Hello friends and fiends— August is always a hectic month, but we’re here, we’re moving, and school is back in session baby! I’ll be teaching seven classes during the fall semester…yes, you heard that correctly. Seven! They’ll be filled with horror, monsters, and all things that go bump in the night, and I’m beyond excited to dig into the material and have some great discussions with my students. In my undergraduate short story class, I always start us off with a deep dive into Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s work, and we’re tackling her masterpiece “The Yellow Wallpaper” to kick things off. We’re at the midterm point in my MFA class on editing via Southern New Hampshire, and then I started advising two thesis students at WCSU as well. Also on deck at WCSU is a class on horror and the mystery novel, and then a class on middle-grade literature and speculative poetry. If you’re interested in the reading list for the horror/mystery course, we’ll be reading: The Final Girl Support Group by Gr

HWA Poetry Showcase, Vol 8: TOC Announcement

Good Morning, Poets and Poetry Lovers! Today in the Madhouse, I'm thrilled to share with you the TOC and cover reveal for the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. 8. We had a ton of wonderfully dark and delicious submissions this year--close to 200!--which made the competition incredibly intense, so I want to take a moment to thank all of you who submitted to the anthology; it was, and remains, a true honor to read your work. I also want to send out a special thanks to Sara Tantlinger and Angela Yuriko Smith for all their hard work and insight as judges--as always, it was wonderful working with you ladies!--and to Robert Payne Cabeen , who not only provided us with a beautiful poem but who provided the cover art for the showcase this year. Bob's artwork is always absolutely stunning and I'm thrilled to showcase his talents in this respect, too. I also wanted to highlight our top three poets this year, whose work will be featured in a separate spotlight courtesy of the HWA Poetry Blog