Here is a sample poem from The Pop-Up Book of Death:
I place my face inside her skull-mask
as I peer through the blur-hair;
the blizzard of her bangs
descends over my eyes
in white-out erasure.
I crawl into the dog,
a silky-white cocoon.
My foamy tongue dangles past my chin,
and I am helpless to tuck it back inside my lips.
The passages inside my nose branch and turn,
multiplying into the labyrinth
of the dog's odor-understanding.
I feel the white hair blear the clarity of my eyes,
and I transmogrify into the dog again
just like the old movie with Tommy Kirk.
I place the white dog costume
between myself and the camera
in this black-and-white family comedy.
I place the white dog’s mammalian warmth
between myself and the world.
Her image, her symbol, the idea of the white dog
filters my secret.
Her hair turns as black as a shadow,
as black as a pubic hair
with what the white dog filters.
The white dog costume
bleaches my fear of the dark.
I clutch her like a flotation device
as the shadow flash floods the neighborhood.
She buoys me up from the drowning,
buoys me up like a coffin
in which you will find me.
Monday, June 06, 2011
The Pop-Up Book of Death is a collection of vivid and startling poems from Chad Helder. These poems navigate a humorous and unsettling landscape where horror movies transgress the boundaries of the screen, sinister words strike out from books like trapdoor spiders, and true love extinguishes every apocalyptic flare-up. In this bizarre terrain haunted by the white dog, Helder offers a pastiche of childhood memory, dream journal, and surrealist fantasy, confronting the horrors of The Closet and the anxieties of The Apocalypse.
Jon from Evil on Two Legs writes:
Chad Helder’s “Pop-Up Book of Death” makes enough references to zombies, disease, and dismemberment to satisfy any fan of the horror genre, but this is real poetry written by someone who knows his craft, and Helder uses the conventions of horror to do what good poems always do, whether or not they make reference to the horror genre. These artfully written poems offer fresh insight to the darker and more absurd aspects of the human condition.
Jory Mickelson from Literary Magpie writes:
There is something in this book for most readers. The horror fan will finally find poetry that speaks to him or her. A casual reader will be disarmed and drawn in by the use of humor. Queer readers will find new representations of themselves. In short, Pop-Up Book of Death is entertaining and uncomfortable at the same time. It will stay with you just as long as your reoccurring dream about the man behind your bedroom door with the knife.
Wander on amazon.com writes:
This is NOT a pop-up at all....Sad to say, I am a collector of pop-ups and was disappointed to receive this last night and discover it is not one. Not sure why the title, but.....whatever...
Listen to the interview about Pop-Up Book of Death on Artclectic PDX: