Subject A. Verses from the Underlands. gnOme, 2016. ISBN-13: 978-0692621578. ISBN-10: 0692621571. 52pp. $6.00.
A collection of the fantastical verses of the suspected serial killer known as Subject A, written during his incarceration in a secure psychiatric facility from 1977 to 1980. The poems, baroque reflections of an alternate eldritch reality referred to as “the Underlands,” give seductive and haunting dimension to the poet’s undisproven claim that he never murdered but only “transfigured” his victims in locations “not to be found on any map of the world.”
Everyone should be aware that there is a strain of poetry that embraces stricken visions, hopelessly so. They should know that there are bibles of verse, Maurice Rollinat’s Les Névroses for instance, that elegantly sing of sick nightmares and thereby critique the wholesome norm. They should be force-fed this knowledge, if only that they might be robbed of some parcel of their contemptible health. Verses from the Underlands excellently contributes to this mission with its revelations of a supernatural malady with neither a cure nor even an earthly diagnosis. – Thomas Ligotti
Some books should be encased in iron and buried in the deepest, blackest hole, never to be read. This is one of them. – Amy Ireland
This collection is a valuable and timely addition to the serial killer literature that has emerged from the madness and malaise of 1970s America. Excellently contextualized by a criminologist of patent accomplishment, it has, however, less in common with the poetic invectives typical of the genre, and more, it would seem, with the lyrical tradition of a simultaneously burgeoning heavy metal culture. Taken collectively, Subject A’s charnel verses constitute something like a concept album that—meticulously detailing the terrain of an illimitable and unbounded nullity—reaffirms, for a new generation, the mutually complicit, blackening enamor of heavy metal and serial killing. Verses from the Underlands is metallic mythopoeia at its finest. – Edia Connole, co-author of Floating Tomb: Black Metal Theory
Outside the grasp of clinical psychology, exceeding the grip of some penal system, and beyond the pale of civilization altogether, the Real is Subject A’s first victim. These verses traverse vast labyrinthine worlds of doom and slaughtered universes where language is left only two choices: to fall silent or turn into a scream. Lucid and deranged, they allow no hiding place or escape into some system of preservation, for nothing will remain untouched here: and all that stands shall fall “in carnage-fields of blood and flames.” – Cergat, author of Earthmare: The Lost Book of Wars
Being someone who generally hates poetry that attempts to beautify life, there is something instantly likable in a poetry that twists life into a dagger aimed at itself. These verses stitch together a Dunsanian dream world, but one made of mortuary cloth. – Ben Woodard, author of Slime Dynamics
Worth buying just for the blurbs. – Nick Land