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 22

Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum

Posted: under Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , October 22nd, 2009

by Alison

by Alison

My apologies to Ryan Mecum, but I never would have picked up Zombie Haiku in a million years if Kelly had not assigned this review to me in the early stages of Haiku By Two.

You see, I hate slasher flicks. I hate blood and guts. I hate the idea of unattached limbs. And I can’t stand the current horror movie craze. Has anyone seen the trailer for the newest slash-fest Sorority Row? Ugh, don’t even get me started…

Still, Zombie Haiku was my “job” and so I went ahead and read it. Although it certainly isn’t my cup of tea (I’m with Kelly in that I prefer my imaginary worlds to contain unicorns), it turns out that Zombie Haiku is an entirely different beast than I had imagined.

Zombie Haiku is a horrifically funny little book of haiku written in story format that chronicles the day in the life of a new zombie. New zombie dude checks out and curbs his zombie appetite in the city, at a retirement home and–of course–a cornfield!

Sure it’s disgusting. But it’s B movie humor disgusting versus disgusting-disgusting. As in this haiku:

Getting trampled on

used to eventually kill you.

Now it just annoys.

Kind of funny, huh? And even this gross haiku caused me to smirk:

Elbows bend one way,

except on this guy screaming.

His bends two ways now.

Although the tone of the book is B Movie, other haiku were over the top for me and were simply disgusting-disgusting. Such as this haiku:

His finger digs deep

down the hole where his nose was

and pulls out a toe.

Okay, I can see the humor in this one, too. But still – Ick!

I must admit I enjoyed the slick and cool comic book styling of Zombie Haiku.The book is splattered with cherry kool-aid colored blood and each haiku is hand scribbled, apparently by a maddened zombie. To add to the effect, Polaroid pictures of zombies, victims, cornfields and malls are littered throughout the book.

Okay, so Zombie Haiku is nothing like that horrible Saw series of films, thank God. Instead, it’s funny and cleverly written as a haiku fantasy Zombie story, and if you are one to like a dark sense of humor, it might just give you some kicks.

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