It’s not traditional for us to publish our reviews right here on the blog, but with Women in Horror month just ended and Stoker season already here, I wanted to share a review here that showcases a book belonging in both categories. This will appear on the site as well, as soon as there’s an opportunity to post it. Sumiko Saulson also published an interview with Linda Addison about Four Elements, which I’ll link to here.
And now, the review.
Four Elements by Charlee Jacob, Marge Simon, Rain Graves and Linda Addison
Bad Moon Books/Evil Jester Press, 2013
Available: New paperback, Kindle edition
Four Elements is a collection of poetry and short fiction by four women of horror who are all Bram Stoker Award winning poets. Each writer takes on one of the four elements of nature—earth, air, fire and water—and brings their own vision to each.
“Earth” by Marge Simon contains poems and stories that all deal with various consequences of people’s actions including war, desolation, destruction and death, including “A Time For Planting” about the consequences of love and lust and “Quake” about how short our time can be.
“Water” by Rain Graves which includes many pieces dealing with destruction through mythology, including a series of six poems, which I loved, titled “Hades and Its Five” that encompasses all of the myths of Hades, the river Styx and the ferryman.
“Fire” by Charlee Jacob that includes works dealing with death and destruction. My favorite here is “Accidental Tourists” about a couple of voyeurs who find love at the scene of a horrific car accident and their many names for the color red—the color of life and death. There is also a series of ten poems called “Reaching Back to Eden” that involve the consequences of the actions of Adam, Eve, Lilith and Satan.
“Air” by Linda Addison contains poems about the power of the wind to shape life and our environment as well as describing the soul as air versus the body. “Lost in Translation” is one of my favorites here, about air as a hidden, living being. “Upon First Seeing Ongtupqa” is a beautiful description about air moving through canyons, wearing away the earth and exposing millennia of past life.
All of the prose and poetry is dark, beautiful and vivid in its imagery. There is emotion behind the words that will draw a visceral response from the reader. All of the poetry by these four amazing women is so powerful you will find yourself reading Four Elements again and again. I have already read through it twice. If you are a fan of dark poetry then Four Elements is for you. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Colleen Wanglund