Columns > Published on May 22nd, 2023

Meet the 2022 Bram Stoker Awards® Poetry Nominees

Once again the Bram Stoker Awards® have served up five incredible new collections for poetry readers and lovers of dark prose to enjoy. Here we look at each collection in turn, with quotes from the poets on what they hope readers learn from their poetry.


"Sifting the Ashes" by Michael Bailey and Marge Simon (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Over a hundred individual poems make up this collaborative collection that explores what it takes to survive. Michael Bailey and Marge Simon dissect a fiery world’s relentless destruction, sifting salvage from tragedy with “lessons about love, loss and devastating grief,” say the poets.

Get Sifting the Ashes at Bookshop or Amazon

"Girls from the Country" by Donna Lynch (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

A record of dark events, this deeply confessional collection from Donna Lynch confronts wild things from the in-between spaces of the country. “Girls From the County was [my] hardest collection to write, so far,” says Lynch. “We often associate familiar places with comfort, but the places in the book still hold the ghosts of past experiences, sinister acts, and all the things we couldn’t say back then, as young girls. This collection was me, trying to say it now—for all of us.”

Get Girls From the Country at Bookshop or Amazon

"Crime Scene" by Cynthia Pelayo (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Cynthia Pelayo “sings a song” for the victims in her new poem-story collection that weaves a tale of the discovery of a brutal crime scene and those who bear witness. “I wanted to capture how crime is so fleeting in our society, how we move from one tragedy to the next, never pressing pause to process the weight of loss,” says Pelayo. “I wanted to stress that crimes are 'seen' but not really and truly felt, given the frequency with which crimes are committed. We're all sort of left numb. We consume crimes as entertainment through true crime, and I feel as though we've become desensitized, uncaring, as to what happens to others. It's not just a tragedy for investigators, but it's a tragedy for all of us.”

Get Crime Scene at Bookshop or Amazon

"The Rat King: A Book of Dark Poetry" by Sumiko Saulson (Dooky Zines)

Blending light-hearted horror with serious topics like homelessness, mental health, and death, Sumiko Saulson’s newest confronts topics that society prefers to ignore. “We live in a terrifying world,” says Saulson. “The political climate is frightening, especially for marginalized people. Horror finds its ancient roots in fear of the unknown and fear of the other, but for those of us who are routinely othered, there is also a fear of harm at the hands of those who do not understand us."

Get The Rat King at Bookshop or Amazon

"The Gravity of Existence" by Christina Sng (Interstellar Flight Press)

A collection of tiny terrors, Christina Sng’s collection gives voice to classic heroines and puts a new spin on creatures of myth—werewolves, basilisks, sirens, and more. “[The Gravity of Existence is] a love song to brevity and how the story of a universe can be told in a handful of words,” notes Sng.

Get The Gravity of Existence at Bookshop or Amazon

Winners will be announced at StokerCon 2023 in Pittsburgh.

About the author

Lindy Ryan is an award-winning author/editor, short film director, and professor. She is the founder of Black Spot Books, a small press with a mission to amplify voices of women-in-horror. Ryan previously served on the Board of Directors for IBPA, and is currently co-chair of the Horror Writers Association Publishers Council. She is an active member of the HWA and ITW, and was named one of Publishers Weekly's Star Watch Honorees 2020.

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