I recently finished reading Notes from the Shadow City, a poetry chapbook collaboration between two widely recognized speculative poets, Gary William Crawford and Bruce Boston. The book is scheduled to be out on September 18 from Dark Regions Press, but I was able to score an advanced copy! I’m a big fan of both poets and have quite a shelf full of their books in my office. The “Shadow City” is a powerfully macabre creation of Crawford’s, and Bruce Boston plays beautifully in that imagined urban landscape.
My first exposure to the Shadow City concept came in Crawford’s 2005 chapbook from Naked Snake Press, simply called The Shadow City. It was nominated for the Bram Stoker award from the Horror Writers Association. I’ll be surprised if the new, and much expanded collection, Notes from the Shadow City, doesn’t get nominated as well. As a member of HWA, I’ll nominate it myself.
The language in “Notes,” from both poets, is simple and stark, which accentuates the horror described in such poems as “A Night Storm in the Shadow City,” and “The River Magnus Winds Through the Shadow City.” There are no pastels in this world, no light hearts, no thoughts that are not twisted in ways both subtle and profound. Image builds upon image; weight builds upon weight. Not to numb the mind but to scour it free of layers of complacency and rust. I highly recommend such a scrubbing for everyone.
You can find out more about Gary William Crawford at the Gothic Press site, which Crawford founded. For information on Bruce Boston, check out his website.