I’m obsessed with spooky poems, as anyone will tell you. Deeply obsessed. One could call it a curse. If you repeat my name three times into a mirror, I’ll… well, I won’t reach out through the glass and strangle you. You seem nice. I wouldn’t do that to you. But you might feel a chill on the back of you neck, just for a moment. And when you turn your back, you might find a spooky poem written on the wall.

‘Spooky’ is a broad category of course. It stretches from The Nightmare Before Christmas to The Grudge. Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven is a classic spooky poem. But a limerick about a clumsy ghost would also fit the bill. And if you use a classic horror trope as a metaphorical cover to write about something else entirely? Still counts. We love that here.

So what is Spooky Poem Month? Well, you might know by the false name of October. It’s okay, I’ll forgive you for not knowing. October is also Black History Month, but that’s outside the scope of this particular blog post. The point is: October is the month where I write and perform spooky poems, and encourage everyone else to write and perform them too! It started in 2022, as a bit of fun. I posted some writing prompts on my Instagram each week, posted my own spooky poems and encouraged others to do the same. It was great! I even got to headline an event for the Loud Poets on Halloween. It was an absolute blast. But that was just the beginning.

Fast-forward to 2023 – just when the dust had settled, just when the world thought it was safe, I began my unholy labours anew. Writing workshops. In-person AND online. Twice as many writing prompts. The Loud Poets made a video of one of my proudest works of spooky poetry, The Tall Man’s Coat, and another was published by Coin-Operated Press in their 4th annual Hallozine. I even got to talk about Spooky Poem Month on the radio!

And even that was merely heralding the arrival of… the Spooky Poet Club:

Show Image Credit
Logo created by Charlie Care (used with permission), parchment background created by Caleb Kimbrough (Wikimedia Commons)

Wow! But what is the Spooky Poet Club?

The Spooky Poet Club is a community of writers and poets I’m building, complete with a shiny new Discord server, which is free to join. It’s also a way that you can support me as a poet to keep putting out free art into the world! Even poets gotta eat.

Of course, you do get something in return. For a pay-what-you-feel subscription starting at £1 a month, you get access to monthly online writing workshops, a growing backlog of prompts + exercises, and a downloadable copy of my illustrated poetry pamphlet Middle Spirits. AND my eternal gratitude!

So that’s what I’ve been cooking, but October was so much more than just me skulking under a bridge stirring a big cauldron full of poems. Other people got involved too! Approximately 27 distinct poets by my count, who between them wrote and performed over 40 poems, pushed #SpookyPoemMonth to over 100 posts on Instagram, took part in five different workshops and packed a venue to the metaphorical rafters for the grand finale; Spooky Poem Night.

The turnout was even better than I could have hoped – we had over 50 people in attendance! The open mic was packed with talented local poets, many of them performing poems written in response to the weekly writing prompts and challenges, with Kym Deyn and Haley as the headline performers. Not to mention my partner-in-crime, incredible poet and queen of the gothic: Megan Pattie.

We had poems about devil dolls and wicked fairies, cryptozoology and eldritch cats, psychological torment and Halloween goofs, friendly ghosts and malevolent phantoms, capitalist horror, queer and feminist gothic. I knew the spooky theme would allow for a broad range of topics, but I never suspected just how broad!

And that’s everything I got up to in October! Who knows, maybe this poetry thing has potential after all…