Contemporary Bloody Literature: Stories & Poems
by Martin Connolly
Snowchild Press

"...I saw my words
exposed for what they were,
rhetorical devices, no less,
and revisionism...
an artefact of fancy phrases
that wouldn’t bring him back"

Not many authors write and publish short stories anymore. More's the pity, as proven by Connolly’s book which demonstrates the appeal of this diminishing art form. Use of “Blood” as part of the title hints that the macabre is the focus of the short collection, and with shades of Rod Serling it delivers. The result, however, is meant to be more engaging and thought-provoking than spine-tingling.

The poems included vary in form and in length, but each tells a portion of some tale. The record player turntable does the work of a narrator. For the damaged crow there is no crow-ambulance, only a mystery left behind. One story included is about a film set and the strange interaction between Character E, Camera One team, and the director.

The signature story, the pièce de résistance, shares the name of the book’s title. Saved for the end, it perhaps completes a full circle. In this tale, an erudite speaker at a conference for publishers and writers proceeds in authoritative tones to tear down everything that his esteemed audience believes true. He lambasts trends as not really being a sign of the times but rather opinions which are pushed forward in order to control the market and keep out those whose creativity does not match the publishers' goals. Along with the story’s audience, the reader’s response will vary between shock (disgust) and merriment (agreement), depending on which side one bleeds on this issue affecting every would-be author.

Connolly stacks one prose piece upon a poem, adds another poem, and then puts on another piece of prose. This technique repeated artfully creates a 115-page sandwich, of sorts, that can be consumed at the reader’s leisure or gulped down in several huge bites. The reader may long for one last morsel—information about this talented author.

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