Jeffrey Ford reviews Knife Fight

David Nickle’s Knife Fight and Other Struggles is a collection of thirteen unique glimpses into the weird. Dynamic imagination, masterful writing of both the every day and the nightmare, characters that breathe, and a dark sense of humour make this a keeper. If you’ve not yet read Nickle’s fiction, Knife Fight is a great place to start. If you have, you’ve no doubt already bought this book.

Hellnotes on Night Inside

Inside is at times bleak, rife with captors that love torture and snuff films and create both. However, within this story of incest, greed, necrophilia, and a multitude of other horrors, Baker pens some beautiful descriptions. I appreciated her ability to get at the core of what motivates her characters and lay it bare for the reader to see, no matter how disturbing that truth may be.

CZP Monthly Release Sale!

Celebrate the release of Undertow Publications' Shadows & Tall Trees, P.T Jones's Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly, Caitlin Sweet's The Door in the Mountain, and the anticipated anthology from Ellen Datlow, Fearful Symmetries, and receive a free ebook!

The Winner of SPoM!

The winner of CZP's Shitty Poetry Month is Mike Bryant for his poem "A Stark and Wormy Blight."

Congratulations, Mike! You will take home the Shitty Poetry Championship Belt and your poem will be featured in the CZP May newsletter.

We want to thank all of our poets for sending in their shitty poems; we had some pretty terrible entries this year! And a big thank you to our readers for participating each week by reading and voting. We hope you enjoyed these poems as much as we did!

Shitty Poetry Month Finals

We present the 4 final poems for the CZP Shitty Poetry Month. It is up to you, Gentle Reader, to decide which one of these terrible poems will reign as the shittiest poem of them all! Click on the "Read more" tab below to view each poem, then cast your vote for the worst poem in the poll below. Voting ends May 2nd, and the grand champion will be announced next week and will take home the Shitty Poetry Championship Belt.

Good luck to all our champions, and may the shit be with you!

Poem 1

Shitty Poetry Month Week Four Winner

The winner of week 4 of CZP's SPoM is...

"A Stark and Wormy Blight" by Mike Bryant! Congratulations, Mike! You will go to the final round of SPoM.

Tune in tonight at 6pm EST for the final linguistic battle between our 4 weekly champions as they compete to win the Shitty Poetry Championship Belt. We will post their poems up one final time and ask you, Gentle Reader, to cast your final vote to determine which poem is the shittiest poem of them all!

Shitty Poetry Week Three Winner!

The winner for week 3 of SPoM is John W Sexton for his poem "Dissimilar Familiars." Congratulations, John!

This week is the last week of SPoM. Head on over to to view the final shitty poems for week 4 and cast your vote for the worst poem! Next week our weekly champions will go poem-to-poem to battle it out for the Shitty Poetry Championship Belt!

My EMO Starcommander and the Voyages We Never Took

He wooed me like you tow an asteroid
to fling into a planet you don't like.

He promised googly hyperdrives
to farflung planets, but his particle accelerator was always "down."

He boasted about smuggling
jazzonite into the Minotonkan
Convent, but he had no proof
of dancing and nun
saw him leave.

His excuses for why we never left
the solar system were always colourful: "I need to fly under the radar
lest the Hesteride Belt Mafia find us. You wouldn't want that, babe." Then he'd describe what he thought of
as torture, but I was starting to think might just be kink.

"I know, Saturn in the shadow
of three moons would be awesome,
but I hate crowds, and we can buy
the digital wall display for 20 geffes."

It was always more practical not to leave our apartment. His moods wrapped around him like a nebula shroud. It was a no-communication zone.

I wanted to go all comet on him, but he offered me Cheetos and a place on the couch and his warm arm and said, "Babe, we don't need all that running now that we got each other."

And I settled into the couch like that asteroid settles into a planet's surface, all cozy and devastating, wiping out all life around it.

The Lament of the Paranormal Paramour

Vampires don’t sparkle
And werewolves aren’t adorable
So please keep your romance
Away from my paranormal

The real urban fantasy
Is mixing love and horror
I’d only buy my sweetie Twilight
If I wanted to bore her

Everybody knows
The undead and teens don’t mix
So keep your vamp-human love affair
Away from my private dicks

The distance between genres
Can be near or far
Say no to paranormal romance
Long live supernatural noir

Increase Breast Size–Guaranteed!

O dear bulk-mailer, here’s my query;
make them bigger? much, or very?
Will they bulge like two balloons,
or rising suns, or lucent moons?
Will you give me your assurance
the stuff is safe? Do you have insurance?
What if one gets more enormous
than the other? Will you warn us
of potential side effects?
Blisters? Pimples? Auto wrecks?
It must be worth it—lucky me,
you’ve saved me from deficiency!
Bust size is now my only worry,
so send it quick—I’m in a hurry!

A Stark and Wormy Blight

by Mike Bryant

It was a stark and wormy blight
That killed the tree
The Poet Tree!
Poe, a tree!
A tree, Poe!
The branches tapping
A-rapping at my chamber pot
Your chamber? Not!
Not? Knot!
Knot a tree
Poet Tray
Poe! It tray!
A tray, a tray, a tray!
A tray, poe!
A tray of pie!
The beating of its hideous filling!
Four and twenty blackbirds – RAVENS!
Ravens! Black! Black, Rebecca.
Rebecca Black, so named after the dead roses in her hideous heart
The blackened pie of her soul
Eat it! Eat the pie! Filled with ravens!
Eat it today!
For it is pie day
Pie day, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
My humps.

Some Greeks Walk Into a Poem

Icarus and Orpheus walk
into a poem and Sisyphus
is serving drinks.

"What kind of poem is this?"
asks Orpheus, King of Songs.

"I don't know," said Sisyphus,
who pours another round.

Perseus, Theseus, and Odysseus
are sitting at a table nearby
and can't help overhearing.

"It's a great poem,"
says the one.

"You can tell because of the line
breaks and allusions,"
says the other.

"But mostly it's the Greeks.
Gotta have Greeks,"
says the last.

And I guess he was right?


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