Oct 30

Haiku Author Interview: Ryan Mecum

Posted: under Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , October 30th, 2009

by Kelly

by Kelly

Halloween is upon us. To commemorate the holiday in haiku fashion, we interviewed Ryan Mecum.

Mecum is the author of two books of haiku. Zombie Haiku was released in 2008 while Vampire Haiku was just published this fall. Both are written from the point of view of a monster.

Since neither one of us is a real monster-lovin’ sort of gal, we were curious to learn how the world of haiku and the world of things-that-go-bump-in-the-night fit together in Mecum’s mind.

In what ways does haiku lend itself to monster stories?

Haiku are so fun because they can be quick and loud, like most good monster stories, yet they can also be slow and quiet, like all the other good monster stories.

One haiku can focus on the extravaganza that is a monster, such as this following vampire narrated haiku… “You know that your drink / is down to the last few sips / once the toes curl up.”

But then another haiku can take a quieter look that is more introspective such as this zombie narrated haiku… “My shoes are slushy / with my decomposing feet / leaking clear liquid.”

Both of your books are written in the first person as though you are the zombie/vampire. Was it hard to put yourself into this monster mind set?

It was easier to put myself into the mind of a vampire because their perspective is so often told in film and novels.

It was more fun for me to put myself into the mind set of a zombie simply because I had not ever seen that done before, so it was a much more exciting world to explore.

Neither were particularly hard for me simply because I see both monsters as playful and fun. I would have a much more difficult time if I had to write haiku narrated by a serial murderer, which is a mind set I wouldn’t want to spend much time in. Zombies and vampires are fun.

Was it difficult to compose a full-length story in haiku?

Short answer, yes. Long answer, yeeeeees. But what’s even more difficult is realizing that my months of writing will take the average reader about a half hour.

Do any of your monster haiku give you the willies?

A few of my haiku can still get a grossed out smile out of me. It’s usually the haiku that involve the description of how certain things might taste.

You are a youth minister, a profession most people wouldn’t readily associate with a love of gore. How do you reconcile these two sides of your personality?

I have never read a book more creepy than the Bible. The Bible, thankfully, has a lot of love in it, but it also has stories about demon-possessed, unchainable, naked people who can send their demons into thousands of pigs. That keeps me up at night more than The Shining ever did.

Are there more monster haiku books in the works?

Werewolf Haiku, Fall 2010. After that, who knows? I really love writing them, so hopefully there can be some ghosts and witches in my future as well.

Read our review of Zombie Haiku.

Read our review of Vampire Haiku.

Comments (3)

Oct 14

Vampire Haiku by Ryan Mecum

Posted: under Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , October 14th, 2009

by Kelly

by Kelly

Thank God for Vampire Haiku!

This book, by Ryan Mecum, is the second in his series of haiku books with a monster theme, and since Halloween is just around the corner, we thought a review of some scary haiku books was in order.

Mecum’s first title is Zombie Haiku, but it was so intense and frightening that I could hardly look at it. Instead, I packaged it up and shipped it to Alison (I know, I’m such a nice friend), with instructions that it was her Halloween pick to review, while I kept Vampire Haiku, Mecum’s second and far gentler book, to myself.

Vampire Haiku is in the form of a journal written entirely in 5-7-5 haiku. The journal belongs to a vampire named William Butten, and because he is vampire, the journal takes place over the course of three centuries.

The haiku recount this vampire birth:

Our first kiss was bad,

for when she began necking,

I began bleeding.

And his vampire eating habits:

Blood tastes like cherries

mixed with a lot of copper

and way too much salt.

Sprinkled throughout the journal are love haiku. William is in love with a beautiful vampy bloodsucker named Katherine. She was the vampire who turned him, yet she refused to stick around and ride out eternity with him.

He pines for her and every couple years, meets up with her over the 4th of July. There are fireworks, but then she leaves again. Then finally, one year, the same year the diary ends, William finally discovers why Katherine has been avoiding him all this time.

Sometimes the journal pages are splattered with blood. William is, after all, a vampire. Other pages hold photographs of images that correlate with his haiku. Some of these images are eerie and others are kinda gross. I flipped by those pages quickly.

See, I’m not really a monster-lovin’ sort of gal. I don’t do horror films, haunted houses or other scary Halloween stuff. It’s just not my thing. I was surprised, therefore, that I not only made it through Vampire Haiku, but that I also turned the last page thinking the whole shebang was pretty clever.

Maybe the Twilight series had something to do with this. A few months back I did read all four. Perhaps that vampire-reading experience allowed me to approach Vampire Haiku with some interest. And Twilight is mentioned in Vampire Haiku. A few times:

Those were not vampires.

If sunlight makes you sparkle,

you’re a unicorn.

Ah. Unicorns. Now that’s my kind of make-believe.

Comments (5)