Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Maxwell I. Gold, author of Oblivion in Flux.

After so many years of writing and networking, I’ve had the pleasure of making many friends who also enjoy a good scary story. Recently, one of those friends had a collection of prose poetry, Oblivion in Flux, released, and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to Rami Ungar the Writer my fellow HWA Ohio member and creator of the Cyber Gods, Maxwell I. Gold!

Rami Ungar: Welcome to the show, Max. Tell us about yourself and your career as a writer.

Maxwell I. Gold: I’ve always had a passion for storytelling and believe it or not, poetry was not my first love. Growing up I read mostly literary fiction and fantasy (Robert Louis Stevenson, Dante, Victor Hugo) and was only exposed to weird horror and cosmic fiction much later in my post-graduate years. I didn’t begin my career, not my favorite term, as an author until 2017 when I had my first prose poem Ad’Naigon published in Spectral Realms from Hippocampus Press. Since then, I’ve published over 100 poems and short stories in both print and online formats.

RU: For many readers, prose poetry is something they’ve never heard of before. The name itself sounds kinda contradictory. Can you tell us a bit about what prose poetry is and some famous examples?

MIG: Prose poetry is not a new art form, I’m merely another creator who’s attempting to shed some light on this exquisite act of poeticism. A lot of confusion that arises when reading prose poetry is people tend think there must be a narrative, and there certainly can be, but it’s not a requirement. For me, when I am writing a new piece sometimes, I imagine brief snippets of a memory possibly forgotten, or a broken dream. All jagged pieces of something bigger that connect in a mad Escherian jigsaw puzzle.

A few famous and favroite examples of mine are Clark Ashton Smith’s Memnon’s of the Night and Arthur Rimbaud’s The Drunken Boat.

RU: Look those up if you’re curious, folks. Now tell us how Oblivion in Flux came to be.

MIG: There’s no fluid answer to this question as it arose out of a few serendipitious conversations with editors, and I wanted to have a collection of prose poems that painted a broad picture of the vivid world where the Cyber Gods dwelled.

RU: Great segue, actually. What are the Cyber Gods you feature in your work and how do you come up with them? And is there any influence from the Cthulhu Mythos?

MIG: Strangely enough, this has been a continuously evolving question and that was purposeful. The Cyber Gods began as a thought experiment, like something meant to be beyond the scope of human reason still borne of our own confused, deranged, and quietly destructive philosophies. Something worse than any Elder God or Old One. I was not directly influenced by Lovecraft’s pantheon of gods as much as I was by this concept of cosmic nihilism, that no matter the value placed on a thing or a valued system of things we’re still like mites scrambling to justify meaning in a world we’ve either doomed to oblivion or worse.

As for the Cyber Gods themselves, they aren’t esoteric as much as they are conceptual. This doesn’t mean they aren’t personified in my stories or poems. For example, Hazthrog is a cosmic virus, but appears in one story as a literal ball of sludge that consumes the planet. Ad’Naigon, the first Cyber God, exists 14 billion light-years away at the edge of known space as a yellow neutron star. This is because at the time I created the character the farthest humans could see towards the edge of known space was 14 billion light-years.  

RU: What is it about prose poetry and dark fiction that draws you to them?

MIG: As I mentioned previously, I enjoy creating terrifying moments sometimes more than writing longer pieces of fiction.

Oblivion in Flux by Maxwell I. Gold

RU: What are you working on now? Any projects in the near future you can tell us about?

MIG: I’m currently working on a collaborative book of poetry with Bram Stoker nominated author Angela Yuriko Smith, titled Mobius Lyrics. I’m also working on a novella titled The Unspeakable: A Cyberland Tale.

RU: Cool! What are you doing when not writing?

MIG: Watching too many shows on Netflix or reading or playing the piano.

RU: I know two out of three of those way too well. What is some good advice you would give to another writer, regardless of experience or background?

MIG: Never stop writing. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true, persistence pays off in the end.  Always write when you can, and always try something new when you can.

RU: Final question: if you were stuck on a desert island for a while and could only bring three books with you for the duration of your stay there, which would you pick?

MIG: Craig L. Sidney’s Sea Swallow Me, John Langan’s The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies, and Matt Cardin’s To Rouse Leviathan.

RU: Thanks for joining us, Max. It’s been a blast!

If you enjoyed this interview, you can find Maxwell I. Gold on his website, The Wells of the Weird, as well on Instagram as @CyberGodWrites, and on his Amazon Author Page. And of course, make sure to read Oblivion in Flux if you’re a fan of dark poetry like what Max writes! You can find it here.

You can find more conversations with my fellow authors on my Interviews Page here.

And finally, if you’re an author with something coming out soon and want to talk about it, hit me up at ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com. If I’m not too busy, we might be able to make some magic happen.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m sure I’ll have more to talk about soon. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

I made a nice graphic for “The Pure World Comes.” It’ll work till I get a proper cover for the story.

If you read the poem in my last post, you probably noticed a key phrase in the last stanza. How did it go again? Oh yes. Now I remember.

Behold! THE PURE WORLD COMES!

That wasn’t just some incomprehensible poetry mumbo-jumbo (though I wouldn’t blame you if you thought it was). No, this poem has been a prelude for something big.

As many of you are aware, last year as we were all in lockdown, I wrote a novel set in Victorian England. The novel followed a young maid who went to work in the home of a mad scientist. I then did another draft, sent the novel to a couple of beta readers, and then made a third draft based on their feedback. Then I started shopping the book around, seeing if I could get anyone interested.

I’m happy to say that one company did show interest. And after some back and forth of the terms, we came to an agreement, culminating today with my signing the contract. So with that said, I can now say, my novel The Pure World Comes will be published!

Specifically, the novel will be published by VitaleTek, a company that releases stories through its app Readict. Which, honestly, is kind of Victorian: novels were released through periodicals like newspapers or magazines before being collected in hardcover and paperback (I think the latter, like now, is for more commercial books). And apps like Readict can be the newspapers and magazines of today.*

Anyway, I’m super excited to have this novel come out. The Pure World Comes is a love letter to all I love about the Victorian era (and probably won’t be the last). That several people, from my beta readers to the folks at VitaleTek, thought so highly of my story and that it’s been accepted for publication only a year after being written (Rose took five) is a huge deal for me.

As of right now, we don’t have a release date. However, I can tell you that the latest draft of the novel has been sent to the company and I’m sure their editing department will be in touch soon so we can polish this novel up. I cannot wait to share this book, its protagonist Shirley Dobbins, and the strange going-ons at the Hunting House mansion, very soon.

Thanks to Ms. Keheaku and the team at VitaleTek for taking on this project; Patrick Freivald for introducing me to the company; to Ruth Ann Nordin, Tim Purvis, and Angela Misri for beta reading the book; and many more people who helped me get to this point. It could not have been done without you.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have posts and videos to make on my other social media platforms, pizza and ice cream to eat, mead to drink, anime and movies to watch, monsters to summon, and so much more. Until next time, pleasant nightmares and God Bless Queen Victoria!

*As for whether The Pure World Comes will get a print edition, you’ll just have to wait and see.


Oh, one more thing, my Followers of Fear: there’s just over two weeks left to submit questions to the Ask Me Anything, or AMA, to celebrate my ten-year blogging anniversary. Send your question in an email to ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com by 11:59 PM on July 28th, 2021 and you’ll get entered for a prize. I look forward to reading your questions!

Also, if you’re looking for something to read until The Pure World Comes releases, you can check out any of my previous work below. People are still discovering my stories all the time, and apparently they’re enjoying them too (thank you for the review on Agoraphobia, Jennifer Patino). Who knows? You may find something that will give you one or two…pleasant nightmares.

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Across the plains of the imagination,
What terrifying creature
With head and neck of snake and body of a thousand arms and eyes
Slithers forward to the realms of reality,
Waiting to be spread?

Anticipation builds.
Come forth, child, pathogen of the mind.
You are wanted and desired.
Naglaeria fowleri, this imposter, envies how you burrow
Into the heads of all who come upon you.

The signature has been put down
Through an app the meme-like transmission and infection will begin.
Let us pray to the dark gods and give our thanks with blood and wine.
The denizens of the Underworld shiver and tremble. For
Behold! THE PURE WORLD COMES!

Across the plains of the imagination,
What terrifying creature
With head and neck of snake and body of a thousand arms and eyes
Slithers forward to the realms of reality,
Waiting to be spread?

Anticipation builds.
Come forth, child, pathogen of the mind.
You are wanted and desired.
Naglaeria fowleri, this imposter, envies how you burrow
Into the heads of all who come upon you.

The poem reappears, and the poem grows. It’ll be done when a certain project comes to fruition. Whenever that is. So the longer the poem gets, the longer this project is taking. Let’s hope I can post the final verse soon, shall we?

Also, sorry I’ve been so quiet since last Sunday and haven’t posted anything since. There’s plenty going on behind the scenes that I can’t speak of yet, including the above project. Doing so before it’s time would just be problematic. But I’m hard at work on stories and finding them home.

And I can guarantee, this July will have several blog posts. Announcements and anniversaries, reviews and maybe even a musings on various aspects of writing and horror. Also, probably one essay on an issue this country is facing right now, but I’m having someone check that one over before I publish it.

Anyway, plenty coming up, so get excited. Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares!

Across the plains of the imagination,
What terrifying creature
With head and neck of a viper and body of a thousand arms and eyes
Slithers forwards to the realms of reality,
Waiting to be spread?

Can you figure it out?

If not, you’ll have to wait to find out.

So if you’ve seen some of my most recent posts, last night the Ohio Chapter of the Horror Writers Association, of which I’m a proud member of, held its first public reading event at Kafe Kerouac in the University District in Columbus. And you know what? It was a great program. We had a decent-sized crowd, and there were about eight or so different readers showing off their poetry, flash fiction, or short stories. I actually had a few ideas for stories listening to other people’s works. We even had an acquaintance of mine from one of my Facebook groups show up and read a short story he’s been working on.

Unsurprisingly, all of the stories and poems read to us were really good. Some were kind of funny, others were pretty dark. All were quite imaginative, and reminded me how many different kinds of stories can be written between a thousand and ten-thousand words.

Of course, when my turn came up, I read part of Rose to the audience. This was my first public reading of Rose, and I was really excited to share part of the story with an audience.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, Rose is my upcoming fantasy-horror novel from Castrum Press and is currently on schedule to be released on June 21st, 2019. The novel follows a young woman who starts turning into a plant creature (and that’s just the start of her problems). Just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same metaphorical page here.

And as promised in my last post, I did get my reading on video (thank you to Jennifer Carstens for holding my phone and filming this for me). It took about three or four hours to upload the video to YouTube from my phone, but in the end, I think it was worth the wait. Enjoy.

Now as I said in the video, what I read to the people at Kafe Kerouac won’t be the final version of Rose. In fact, after I got home last night I started working on the edits my publisher sent me. But you get the idea. This is what you can expect from the final novel. And I hope this intrigues you enough to check out the book when it comes out.

Thanks to Ohio HWA for putting together and hosting this event. Thanks to Kafe Kerouac for being an awesome venue for our first public reading. And thanks to all our readers–Lucy Snyder, Sarah Hans, Anton Cancre, Maxwell Ian Gold, Megan Hart, Jennifer Carstens, Rob Boley, and Mark Dubovec–for making the night so creepy and inspiring. I hope we can do it again sometime very soon.

Now if you need me, I’m off to do a ton of editing (while also spending time to celebrate my birthday). Until next time, my Followers of Fear, pleasant nightmares!

It’s happened folks, I finally did a post about my school life that doesn’t have a sports metaphor or analogy to it.

In four days, I will start my third year at the lovely Ohio State University. Yes, my Michigan relatives, I said “lovely”, and don’t use the fact that we’re without a president to troll. Our football team will still kick your butts come Thanksgiving weekend, so go watch Downton Abbey and be glad the people on that show never get hit by giant football players wearing scarlet and grey!

So now that I’ve sent some wolverines running with their tails between their legs, let me tell you what I’m looking forward to this semester: first, I’m taking five classes this semester, though it feels like six since one is split up into a lab and a lecture. That class happens to be Introduction to Biology, which I’m predicting will be my most challenging class this semester. However I’m determined to get all A’s this semester, something that I’ve been trying to do ever since I got here. On the off-chance that doesn’t happen, I’m making sure to come away from this class with at least a B.

Another class I’m taking is an online Introduction to Sociology class. It looks like it’ll be a challenge as well, but if it’s anything like my Anthropology and Psychology classes of past terms, I’ll most likely get anywhere between a B- and an A, which is what I plan to work towards. I’m also taking an English class required by the English department called Writing For English Majors. You think with a title like that the class would be self-explanatory, but it’s not. Trust me, I’ve read the description and it probably won’t make sense till I read the syllabus. How typical is that?

And there are two classes that I’m really psyched up for this semester: a class called Science Fiction and Fantasy that’s a literature course, and Holocaust as History. The first one is as its title suggests, a class that examines themes in sci-fi and fantasy fiction and applies it to what we read and our world. There are some very interesting books in this class, and we’ll also be watching 2001: A Space Odyssey for class. Looks like I’ll be able to pull out my HAL 9000 impression for this class. And it’s also a chance to possibly advertise Reborn City.

The other class is also pretty obvious from its title. The Holocaust is the focus of my History major, so I’m looking forward to the subject matter. We’ll be reading, among other books, both volumes of the comic book Maus, which if you haven’t read I seriously suggest you do. I’m hoping to learn a lot about the Holocaust from this class, more than I already know, though I don’t think you can read or learn anything about the Holocaust without learning something new.  I can’t wait for it!

Some other things are coming up that I’m looking forward to: my roommate Morgan and I moved into our new apartment a couple days ago, so it’s going to be an adjustment for the both of us, paying rent and bills, cooking and cleaning, getting along with another person in the same living space (though we seem to get along pretty well already). Plus we’re the resident managers of our building, so there are responsibilities for that. Hopefully we can hack it!

Also there are the usual things with classes, getting homework done and doing all my requirements for my classes and whatnot. Plus I have work three days a week, so I want to get a lot done with that and keep my paycheck, maybe earn a little extra with a few extra shifts. And I want to finish Video Rage and Laura Horn, get RC out and finish the final edits on Snake.

And there’s some new stuff this semester: in September I’ll be applying for a trip abroad to see some of the most important sites of World War II Europe, and trying to get as many scholarships for said trip as possible. And I want to be a bit more sociable this semester, instead of spending every evening in front of the TV. Meet new people, make friends, and maybe go out on a date or two. Who knows? I just want to see what happens.

But of course, the ultimate goal is to get good grades. And I will work hard for that, believe me.

Finally, I would like to leave you with a little poem in honor of Morgan and I moving into our new apartment. It’s called “Night-Night Flat” and if you can’t guess what it’s based on, then you’ve been missing out, my friend.

Nighty-Night Flat:

In the land of the Bucks,
There is a two-bedroom flat.
It’s apart of a building
Which may have bats.

In the flat there’s a novelist and an engineer
The novelist writes scary stuff,
But his roommate has nothing to fear.

There’s a Doctor in the fridge,
He doesn’t travel through time or space,
His last name is Pepper,
And he has an excellent taste.

There’s a very creepy ghost over there,
Who we hope will be good to his hosts.
You see, it’s not the renters,
But the ghost who should beware.

On the TV there are four funny nerds.
The tallest one is very absurd.
And in a large rectangular box,
Is a vacuum cleaner that totally rocks.

There are several characters running out of the novelist’s imagination,
They somehow become physical and fill the room with their talk and animation.
And in the engineer’s room is a bunch of books,
Each with a very special opening paragraph for a catchy hook.

Nighty night flat.
Nighty night bats.
Nighty night building.
Nighty night other flats.

Nighty night novelist.
Nighty night engineer.
Nighty night to all their friends and peers.

Nighty night Dr. Pepper,
With your wonderful taste.
Nighty night ghost, who won’t disturb his hosts.
He just learned that the novelist’s parents are rabbis,
And quite possibly also exorcists.

“Oh, so you’re the one who stole my boxers! You’re going to get it when I sick the cheerleading team on you!”

Nighty night nerds on the TV,
We’re not really sure what the really odd one’s girlfriend sees.
Nighty night vacuum that totally rocks.
You are powerful in the way that you suck.

Nighty night characters from the novelist’s imagination.
Nighty night engineer’s books, which are good enough to cause sleep deprivation.

Nighty night Buckeyes everywhere.
And nighty night Brutus Buckeye’s underwear.
Yes, I said that, and I went there.

After this stressful week, I figured I should do something to commemorate that we all got through it. And since I’m still very upset with the Senate for its failure to pass sweeping gun control measures that would’ve benefited many people, I decided to write a poem, something I don’t do often but that I think for this situation can be very helpful to get the point across. So before I do, I’d like to remind people that you are free to agree or disagree with me, but please be civil and respectful in your comments.

So without further ado, I’d like to bring you Change For The Dead:

We say that I’m against our right to bear arms.
What about our right to feel safe on the streets?
We say after every massacre that more guns is the remedy.
Are we going to tell Boston that every citizen needs a bomb?

We say gun restrictions don’t work,
That there are people who won’t submit to them.
Tell me, if I decide not to follow our laws on stealing, drugs, or traffic,
Should the nation do away with those laws?

We say we fear a dictatorship if we change our ways.
How about the fear of children and the fear of their families?
We say this is the way of America,
But I thought that was life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our constituents wanted action.
Why did we deny them that?
We won’t do anything for the living.
How about we bring change for the dead?

How about I do a séance on the Senate floor,
Summon the many who’ve died?
They are legions, they are many,
They want only that no more join them.

Can you hear their cries?
Can you listen to their complaints?
Many lost all potential before they could achieve it.
Are we going to let them down?

Listen to them, open your hearts.
Don’t let your fear keep us from helping them.
Something’s wrong with this world,
But now I hope we can make it right.

I’m not big on Valentine’s Day. Not only is it Christian in origin and over-commercialized by the candy and card industries, but the whole thing started because an early Christian priest performing illegal marriages in pagan Rome got caught and was fed to the lions for his faith. How romantic.

But even if I don’t care very much for the holiday, and even though I’m not really into looking for a relationship, I thought I’d at least write a poem for the girl who might make me change my mind, settle down, and have a kid or two (though I’m still kind of gung-ho about adopting when I’m ready for kids). So here’s a little Valentine’s Day poem for that girl, wherever she may be. I hope you enjoy it, and Happy Valentine’s Day:

To the love I have yet to meet,
Where you are, I am unsure,
But you will be dear to me.
So dear in fact, that the thought of living without you,
Will take the breath out of my lungs.

Where are you, darling?
Since I am without you, I act like a monk,
Living in chastity without much interest in the opposite sex beyond friendship.
I wait for you to open my eyes, to make me aware of a world I only write about and see,
But never experience.

Oh, when will destiny bring us together?
When will I gaze upon your face,
Converse with you and laugh with you,
And realize that I’m crazy about you?
When will you show me that you love horror movies
(Or at least tolerate them for my sake)
And critique my work with a kind and loving smile?

I wait. I wait, and wait, and wait.
Someday we may meet.
Someday we will know that we are meant for each other and fall madly in love.
Until then, I sit at my computer,
My only lovers the written word and the darkest corners of the human mind.
Until then, my dear.
Au revoir.