Books

Horror Poetry Collections That Are Both Engaging and Eerie

Addison Rizer is a writer and reader of anything that can be described as weird, sad, or scary. She has an MA in Professional Writing and a BA in English. She writes for Book Riot and Publishers Weekly and is always looking for more ways to gush about the books she loves. Find her published work or contact her on her website or at addisonrizer at gmaildotcom.

Welcome to the wonderful world of horror poetry! What’s horror poetry, you ask? Well, it’s more or less what it says on the tin. It’s poems that incorporate elements of horror into them, whether that be a terrifying monster, a psychological scare, or a chilling setting, much in the same way a horror movie or horror novel might. These poems come in all different forms and lengths too, from a Shakespearean sonnet to a pages-long free-verse to anything in between. The Bram Stoker Awards, run by the Horror Awards Association, even have a category for superior achievement in poetry!

Some classic examples include Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” and Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” which I’m sure many of us had to read in English class at one level or another. A more recent example is “To Live in the Zombie Apocalypse” by Burlee Vang, a poem about survival and adaptation to a new world. There are many more examples out there for anyone who might like to explore this fun and frightening intersection of horror and poetry.

For anyone wanting to check out a collection or two in this realm, check out these eight horror poetry collections to get you started!

Cover of Underworld Lit by Srikanth Reddy

Underworld Lit by Srikanth Reddy

A novella-length prose poem, Underworld Lit delves into academia, mythology, and mortality through the lens of a college professor in the midst of a mid-life crisis. It’s both funny and scary as it plays with form, including quizzes throughout the poetry. This story will take you from normal life to the classroom to various underworlds and their horrors!

Cover of Into the Forest and All The Way Through by Cynthia Pelayo

Into the Forest and All the Way Through by Cynthia Pelayo

This Bram Stoker award-nominated and highly emotional collection is full of true crime poems about different missing and murdered women. While this topic might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s impactful as the author pays tribute to the women at the heart of real crime.

How to Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend Cover

How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison

Bram Stoker award winner Linda Addison combines horror, poetry, and science fiction in this delightful collection. From stories of zombies to UFOs and everything in between, Addison writes great humor and eeriness into each poem in the collection.

Cover of The Rat King by Sumko Saulson

The Rat King: A Book of Dark Poetry by Sumiko Saulson

The Rat King covers a variety of dark subject matter that tends not to be shown in the light of modern society. Mental health, homelessness, and death intermingle with supernatural creatures to expose the ways we hide away or ignore the scariest parts of our real world.

Cover of The Devil's Dreamland by Sara Tantlinger

The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes by Sara Tantlinger

Taking inspiration from serial killer H.H. Holmes, Tantlinger’s poetry collection combines truth with fiction to form her own version of the famous figure. Told through various perspectives, including objects and even settings, this gory collection dazzles with sadness, anger, and passion seeping out of each page.

Cover of A Collection of Nightmares by Christina Sng

A Collection of Nightmares by Christina Sng

Christina Sng is a bit of an icon when it comes to horror poetry and this collection is no different. Her beautiful writing collides with horror and science fiction to create an uneasy but highly enjoyable read!

Cover of Monster Verse Edited by Tony Barnstone and Michelle Mitchell-Foust

Monster Verse: Poems Human and Inhuman Edited by Tony Barnstone and Michelle Mitchell-Foust

This collection full of hard-hitting authors like Neil Gaiman and Lewis Carroll is all about monsters, human and otherwise, for all you creature lovers out there! Both classic and new authors come together to explore where the thin barriers between humanity and monstrosity blur.

Cover of Can You Sign My Tentacle by Brandon O'Brien

Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien

Hip-hop meets classic monsters meets poetry in this fun and funky collection by Brandon O’Brien that explores cosmic horror and the very human problems of racism and violence at the same time. You’ll get a kick out of the imagery as O’Brien mixes together Lovecraftian horror and hip-hop culture.


I hope you found something both beautiful and scary in this list! If you’re in the mood for more, check out these horror poetry collections or these scary poems!

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