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Bookstories 12: Joanne Morcom’s A Nameless Place

libraryofbabelEvery book tells its story, but what of the other story, the story behind the book? Bookstories offers an opportunity to tell that story. If you have a story about a book or poem you would like to share, contact us and we’ll help you make it happen. Thanks for letting us know the rest of the story!


In 2004, I heard about Scifaikuest, a journal that publishes scifaiku and related speculative poetry. Intrigued, I submitted some poems, and was pleased to have a few of them published. Later on, I was invited by Teri Santitoro, the co-editor, to be the featured scifaijin for the November 2004 issue. Eight of my haiku and haibun appeared in that issue.

I continued to write mainstream haiku, as well as scifaiku and horrorku. Probably my strongest influence was the writer H.P. Lovecraft, whose poems and stories were weird and frightening. If I could write poems of that nightmarish nature, I’d be happy.

In the summer of 2006, Teri asked me if I’d be interested in writing a scifaiku chapbook under her editorship and published by Sam’s Dot Publishing. Of course I said yes, and immediately started writing poems for the collection. So that’s how I spent most of my summer vacation in 2006—cooped up in my house, thinking about scary things and turning them into poems. I loved it!

That November, I received several copies of my chapbook titled A Nameless Place. I still recall tearing open the package all the way from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and marveling over the books. My books, written by me. Then I read one of them, over and over. I had achieved my goal of writing a collection of spooky little poems. And others enjoyed the collection, because for a while it was a bestseller on the Sam’s Dot Publishing website. I was (possibly) the toast of the Cedar Rapids literary set, if there was such a thing.

I don’t write as much scifaiku as I used to, but every so often I’ll read an issue of Scifaikuest or a Lovecraft story or something equally inspiring. Then I start to imagine, in the words of Lovecraft, “strange, far places” and “the dark universe yawning.” If the imagining leads to the kind of writing that keeps me (or somebody else) awake at night, then I’m happy.

—Joanne Morcom

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