A little fright relief?

Simon Widdop: Be very afraid and enjoy yourself. (Photo: artist’s own).

If you’re a writer in dark times what do you write about? Most choose to write about the darkness and tell you little else apart from (a) how dark it is and (b) that darkness is very, very bad. 

However, Ossett poet Simon Widdop is bucking the trend. His new collection, Poet from the Black Lagoon, is a heartfelt hommage to horror and heavy metal.

“It started life last summer after I had a bad comedown after doing my show Stained at the Greater Manchester Fringe. For a while I really struggled with my mental health. My partner cheered me up one night by showing me the original Poltergeist and we decided our movie nights would be horror films that the other hadn’t seen. Baby, Be My Poltergeist was the first poem I wrote. But as well as watching movies, I decided to revisit albums I’d not listened to in years after getting my old CD collection down from the loft. Bands like Cannibal Corpse and Cradle of Filth, who are unashamedly influenced by horror in their music.”

The collection is published by Lincolnshire indie publisher Plastic Brain Press and, appropriately, was scheduled for a Halloween release. Then Covid-19 intervened to make vampires and familiars all seem a bit tame.

“The lockdown gave myself and my editor Richard Daniels  a chance to really narrow it down and bolt the pieces together, tweaking and tinkering until our monster was ready to be born. I knew from the get-go that there had to be a visual element to this collection and Melody Clark absolutely knocked it out of the park. The design of the cover really captures the tone. The internal illustrations blew me away when I first saw them. I can’t wait to see the reactions.”

In performance, Simon gives it his all and the poems, whose subjects range from classic horror movies to the work of Cradle of Filth, are a love letter to the genre. Fans of Poe, Lovecraft, Gaiman and Barker will definitely spot some deep cut references in there. In addition, if you’re a fan of bands like Ghost, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, My Chemical Romance, Twin Temple and The Misfits then this may be for you.

The Poet From The Black Lagoon is Simon’s second full collection, following on from Sending A Drunk Text Whilst Sober and the live show Stained which won a Hive Award for new writers at Greater Manchester Fringe in 2019. 

With Covid-19 putting a stop to conventional promotional appearances, Simon will be promoting the new collection on podcasts and livestreams over the coming weeks. 

For more information go to Simon’s website and or Twitter:

You can pre-order The Poet From The Black Lagoon from Plastic Brain Press right now.


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