Exploring the Weird through Poetry: Spectral Realms

Exploring the Weird through Poetry: Spectral Realms

Spectral Realms 9

I’m not much a poetry buff, I admit. But I want to be.

Coincidentally, I’m also a huge fan of Hippocampus Press, whom I first discovered when I stumbled on their amazing booth at the World Fantasy Convention in 2015. I’ve been sampling more and more of their wares over the years. BG blogger James McGlothlin famously labeled them “A very excellent publisher, and at the forefront all things Lovecraftian and weird – new and old,” but in the last few years they’ve been expanding well beyond their original Lovecraft-esoterica focus with popular titles such as Simon Strantzas’ collection Burnt Black Suns, John Langan’s acclaimed The Wide, Carnivorous Sky, and John Langan’s upcoming Sefira and Other Betrayals.

One way to make modern poetry more accessible to casual readers like me is to produce it in an attractive and easy-to-read package, and that’s precisely what Hippocampus has done with their bi-annual weird poetry journal Spectral Realms. It’s been published since Summer 2014, and the 9th issue (above) includes poems by John Shirley, Ashley Dioses, Fred Chappell, Darrell Schweitzer, Wade German, K. A. Opperman, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, and many others. As usual, it also includes a few classic weird poems and non-fiction articles as well.

Issues are perfect bound, 130+ pages, and retail for $10 — and frequently have terrific art, like the wraparound piece above by Daniel V. Sauer. You can order copies (with free shipping) right from their website, as well as through online booksellers like Amazon.

The latest issue, Spectral Realms 10, cover-dated Winter 2019, is now available as well. A two-issue subscription costs just $15 (including shipping), or you can order any two back issues for the same price.

Our previous coverage of Hippcampus Press includes:

The Best Pulp Horror and Weird Tales: The Fantasy Catalog of Hippocampus Press
Burnt Black Suns by Simon Strantzas
Haunted Worlds by Jeffrey Thomas
And Death Shall Have No Dominion: A Tribute to Michael Shea by Wade German
A Confederacy of Horrors by James Robert Smith

Spectral Realms is edited by S.T. Joshi and published by Hippocampus Press. Issues are approximately 130 pages and priced at $10 each. Order copies directly from the website.

See all our recent magazine coverage here.

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Thank you so much for covering a poetry journal. The poets appreciate it!


‘Lo there, John! You may have noticed that I placed a poem in issue #10 of Spectral Realms (“One Who Walks Alone”). In a brief bio/publishing credits blurb at the back of the journal I reference BlackGate by name, as I placed a story with you back in the long ago. Small world, eh? As you might say: “Cheers!” I finally found an outlet and direction for that “too ornate and flowery” prose of mine, heh! PS. If all goes as planned I hope to see new poems by Yours Truly published in issue #11 of Spectral Realms. Wish me luck and riveting weird midnight visions, John! Now, if only we could talk you into re-launching BlackGate as a bookstore-carried periodical. . . .

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