Monday, February 08, 2010

Karen Newman - Mistress of the Dark

An update: Karen's poetry book, "Toward Absolute Zero," has been nominated for a Stoker award. Congratulations to Karen and all other nominees. I thought it a good time to re-run my interview with Karen.

Today, we're talking with Karen L. Newman: poet, editor, evil mind. Karen has the perfect combination of talents to succeed in the strange and dark world of horror poetry. She has authored two poetry collections, Eeku and ChemICKals, in addition to over 150 of her poems and short stories have been published, both online or in print in places such as Dreams and Nightmares, Star*Line, Cthulhu Sex, Aoife's Kiss, and The Sword Review. She won the 2005 Mary Jane Barnes Award, been nominated for a Dwarf Star, and received two honorable mentions in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror.

ChemICKals is available from Naked Snake Press.
EEKU is available from The Genre Mall.

Find Karen at MySpace and her website.

Karen is a busy lady. She's an editor at Sam's Dot Publishing for the poetry journal Illumen and Appalling Limericks. She's also an editor for Afterburn SF.

Marva: Thanks for dropping by, Karen. How is a nice girl like you involved in all this dark stuff?

Karen: I always liked horror movies as a child because of the wide range of emotions that were brought out. I feel "dark stuff" is easier to work with because of these emotional responses it evokes.

Marva: Your new collection, ChemICKals, is based on actual chemicals, with poems for several of the common household products, metals, gases, and drugs. Here's an example for the readers:


As emphysema ate her lungs,
Faye chain-smoked
while being
constantly connected
to an oxygen tank.

Thin and bedridden,
she huffed and puffed
until she lit herself up,
forming a human cigarette
that left a long cylindrical ash,
as the flaming tank
torpedoed the house.

Yup, that's not exactly romantic poetry. Tell us a little more about ChemICKals. What sparked (haha) the idea for the collection?

Karen: I have an MS in chemistry and I used my chemical knowledge to write the collection.

Marva: Well, that explains it. Going back in time, when did you start writing poetry and, more specifically, the dark poems and stories?

Karen: I wrote my first poem as a senior high school English assignment for entry in a local poetry contest. I won honorable mention for a poem entitled "The Prisoner", about a man awaiting execution. I wrote some poetry in college, but never tried to publish them. I quit writing until late 2003. My first sale was the poem "Atomic Mistress" in Scared Naked Magazine in March 2004.

Marva: I included some of your biographical information at the top of this post. Is there anything else you'd like to add? Home, family, pets?

Karen: I live in Kentucky and have two cats, Fluffy Buddy, a 14-year-old girl, and Tri-Paw, an 11-year-old boy with three legs. I write and edit full time. I started, sponsor, and judge the Speculative Poem Award for the Kentucky State Poetry Society Contest.

Marva: Here's the spot where I leave it entirely up to the interviewee to say anything you want to my blogreaders. 500 words or less. Go for it.

Karen: My current projects include a third poetry collection, Toward Absolute Zero, which contains over forty dark mainstream poems. I’m looking for a publisher for that. I’m working on a horror/science fiction novel, tentatively titled No More Lawn Mowers and set mostly in Kentucky. My short story "Red Leather Jeans" will appear in the next issue of Cthulhu Sex Magazine and I have poetry upcoming in Star*Line, The Written Word, and Beyond Centauri. On the editorial front, the next issue of Afterburn SF will go live around July 14 and contain eight action-packed science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories. I’m currently reading for the September issue. Please stop by. There are four great stories in the current issue and many others archived. I’m also reading for the spring 2008 issue of Illumen. Visit Sam’s Dot at for guidelines and to read and order their other fantastic magazines. Thanks for the interview, Marva, and to everyone for reading it.

Marva: Thanks for stopping by, Karen. See you on the dark side.


  1. nice website
    very informative


  2. TC: Not too egregious (doesn't really try to sell anything) and from all the way back when I first ran the article.