POETRY REVIEW – “Hysteria: A Collection of Madness” by Stephanie M. Wytovich

Hysteria: A Collection of Madness
Stephanie M. Wytovich
2013, Raw Dog Screaming Press
ISBN: 978-1-935738-49-7, 160 pages; $13.95

Horror and poetry don’t often come together in a collection as entertaining and disturbing as Stephanie M. Wytovich’s Hysteria. By turns, this is a wild romp through a cast of unhinged minds: serial killers, violated corpses, mental patients, betrayed lovers, and suicidal lunatics play out their darkest fantasies in Wytovich’s demented verse.

Although most of the entries are quite brief, there are just over 100 poems–each piece delightfully dark and many sexy, perverse, horrible moments to be savored. So many of them in fact, that a singular complaint may be that it seems the editor gave up on any semblance of organization of the book, opting to simply deliver all of the content as one contiguous section in alphabetic order by title. Regardless, the presentation does offer an arbitrary randomness which likens it to the proverbial “box of chocolates,” allowing the reader freedom to choose how best to tackle to consumption by either dipping in and out, or selecting a predetermined order.

To illustrate, one could pick a number, for example, 73, turn to the page and sample, in this case, the title poem, “Hysteria”:


. . .You’re diseased, he said
But I can cure you
If you let me
He turned the lights off
A vibrator up my cunt
And told me to
Calm down,
Told me to relax and
Let go. . .



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