2017 Halloween Poetry Reading
curated by Ashley Dioses

The Halloween Poetry Reading presents enjoyable speculative poetry to a broader audience, increases awareness of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and promotes the individual poets who take part. All SFPA members are welcome to submit one audio file per person of themselves reading one of their spooky, haunting, ghoulish, or humorous Halloween poems. See the 2016 Halloween Poetry Reading for examples. If you are uncomfortable reading aloud or are unable to make the audio recording yourself, contact Ashley or ask someone else to read your poem for you and provide the name of the reader. We also want Halloween-themed artwork! See guidelines below. Most recent are at top of page.

The Frightful Night - Celena StarVela
The Frightful Night
Celena StarVela
Little Monsters - Marie Vibbert
Little Monsters
Marie Vibbert
The Fetch - Deborah L. Davitt
The Fetch
Deborah L. Davitt
Ghoul Cloud - John C. Mannone
Ghoul Cloud
John C. Mannone
The submitted photograph that I had taken was enhanced with software in my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone. A special kind of apophenia, pareidolia (parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon in which the mind responds to a stimulus, usually an image or a sound, by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists (e.g., in random data) and most especially faces. Algol (β Persei) also known as the “Demon Star” or “Ghoul Star,” is a bright multiple star system of eclipsing binaries in the constellation of Perseus. Algol is a 2.1 magnitude star but dims to 3.4 magnitude every 2.86 days. It is clearly visible during Halloween.
Previous Halloween Readings

“Little Monsters”
by Marie Vibbert

Marie Vibbert's poetry has appeared in Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Abyss & Apex, and other fine venues. By day she is a computer programmer.

Human beings are the scariest monsters. At least once a year we acknowledge it.

“The Fetch”
by Deborah L. Davitt

Deborah L. Davitt was raised in Reno, Nevada, but received her MA in English from Penn State. She currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and son. She’s known for her Edda-Earth novels, Rhysling-nominated poetry, and increasing number of short-story publications. For more about her work, please see edda-earth.com

A fetch is a spirit known in Irish folklore that's similar to a doppleganger, in that it resembles a living person. If you meet yourself, or see your double, it's a sign of impending death. I wonder, however, how the fetch feels about the arrangement. Are they angry at being summoned? Are they lonely? Do they long for the touch of a human hand that doesn't cringe away from theirs? Or are they just hungry for a little warmth, no matter the cost?

“Ghoul Cloud”
by John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone has work in Blue Fifth Review, New England Journal of Medicine, Peacock Journal, Gyroscope Review, Panoply, Inscape Literary Journal, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, and Pirene's Fountain. He’s the winner of the 2017 Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian literature and the recipient of two Weymouth writing residencies. He has three poetry collections: Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing), nominated for the 2017 Elgin Book Award; Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wings Press) featured at the 2016 Southern Festival of Books; and Flux Lines (Celtic Cat Publishing). He’s been nominated for several Pushcart and Rhysling awards, and two for the 2017 Best of the Net from Eye To The Telescope. He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other venues. He’s a professor of physics living near Knoxville, TN. http://jcmannone.wordpress.com

“Ghoul Cloud” is a 100-word prose poem stimulated by a smoke cloud from a 2017 4th of July fireworks display in north Knoxville, TN.

“The Skull beneath the Skin”
by Ashley Dioses

Ashley Dioses is a writer of dark fantasy, horror, and Gothic poetry from southern California.  Her debut collection of dark formal poetry, Diary of a Sorceress, is forthcoming from Hippocampus Press in October.  Her poetry has appeared in Weird Fiction Review, Spectral Realms, Weirdbook Magazine, and elsewhere.  Her poem “Carathis,” appeared in Ellen Datlow’s full recommended Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven list. She has also appeared in the HWA Poetry Showcase 2016 for her poem “Ghoul Mistress.”  She is an Active member in the HWA and a member of the SFPA.  She blogs at fiendlover.blogspot.com. “The Skull Beneath the Skin” will be published in Ravenwood Quarterly Issue 5 by Electric Pentacle Press.

“The Jack-o'-Lantern Trail”
by K. A. Opperman

K. A. Opperman is a poet of horror and fantasy influenced by H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Edgar Allan Poe, and David Park Barnitz.  His debut collection, The Crimson Tome, was published by Hippocampus Press (2015).  His poems, “In Fits of Wildest Dreaming” and “The Blood Garden” appeared in Ellen Datlow's full recommended Best Horror of the Year Volume Eight list.  His poem “The Lady in White,” appeared in the HWA Poetry Showcase 2016.

"The Jack-o'-Lantern Trail" is written both as a description of my spiritual summons to the realm of eternal Autumn, and the land of death beyond, and as a solemn love-letter to the ineluctable black path we all tread toward Halloween. It was first published in Ravenwood Quarterly, Issue 2.


  • Submissions are open to current SFPA members only. (Not a member? It's quick, easy, and inexpensive to join.

  • Send a 100-word bio with a brief explanation of your submission, a 300-pixel-wide .jpeg or .png file of any accompanying artwork, and/or an mp3 of your poem to Ashley at SFPAHalloween2017@gmail.com.

    Members may submit more than one image for consideration. Preference will be given to artwork submitted by poets to complement their poem.

  • Reprints are allowed. Please provide the name of the publication and date of first appearance.

    Participation is voluntary and unpaid. The SFPA acquires one-time rights only for audio and images. (Please note that for the purposes of Rhysling Award nominations, posting on the SFPA poetry page counts as publication.)

  • DEADLINE: Please send all material by October 26th, 2017. Accepted work will be added throughout the month of October.

  • Please keep in mind when selecting a poem to record that Halloween is a popular children's holiday. If we feel that there is a problem with using a specific piece, either because of the content of the poem or the quality of the recording, the editor will contact the poet about it directly.

  • QUESTIONS? Send questions regarding submissions or the Halloween page to Ashley:

Thanks to the SFPA members who have contributed their poetry and art to this page. All recordings and images are copyrighted by their respective authors and used by permission.

background image sfpa logo