Poems about Vampires, vampirism and related creatures...Jean Jones writes regarding Scott Urban's poems, "how can a mature writer respond to the vampire myth which by its sheer repetition through pop culture has become a cliche in poetry and writing much less movies and T.V. show. It is almost impossible to go into this venue and not walk through trite expressions and empty cliches. What is there new to say about vampires? The connection between sex and death, sex and fear, fear and desire, etc. etc.? Well, thankfully, Scott Urban walks into the Count's castle, so to speak, most especially in "By Way of Reply," where one can almost literally hear "Bela Lugosi is Dead" by Bauhaus, and the quite undead Count writes a letter back to one of his latest victims, the person's blood drippling off his face, as he recounts the sorrows of his life; and in "Lamia," the poor narrator, like an Edgar Allan Poe character, both fears and desires after what will happen to him. Scott Urban writes of Bruce Whealton's work, "Whenever it seems as if the figure of the vampire has been finally laid to rest — truly dead instead of undead — a new take, a fresh interpretation comes along and shakes up the bat-drenched mythos. Anne Rice did it in the 1970s with Interview with a Vampire, Nancy Collins did it in the 1980s with Sunglasses After Dark, and Stephanie Meyer did it in the 2000s with the Twilight series. Nor is the vampire a stranger to the poetic arts; authors as wide-ranging and well-known as John Keats, Charles Baudelaire, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge have all offered us poetic descriptions of life after the first death. Walking straight into this cobwebbed realm is North Carolina's Bruce Whealton. Bruce peels aside the flimsy faÃ§ade of society to reveal the corroded, crumbling underpinnings below. Perhaps not surprisingly, the vampire seems to be supremely adapted to survive in the barely-contained chaos we call modern life. All around us, we see structures and institutions we once thought eternal brought low in less than a day. But those who drain not just blood but souls, as we see in "Shelter" and "Amanda's Eyes," care nothing for the dissolution of civilization; in anything, they welcome the reversion to a more basic, primitive existence. Bruce even looks back in time, in "First Transgression" and "On the Run," to to an Edenic golden age, but to a primal conflict between the forces of evil and humanity's better nature — if we can even claim that much of an advantage over the beasts. Here, in terse, emotion-packed lines, are both the seductive allure and rampant savagery of the vampire, significantly re-invented for our time. Read on — while you still can.
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