Combining 25 poems by Todd Hanks with the gorgeous artwork of Juan McGowen, Grave Bits is a masterpiece of the dark and weird. Among vampires, scarecrows, and other creatures from various cultures, the reader will experience ritual sacrifice, intimacy, and madness. Juan’s artwork accompanies each, bringing the poems to life with fantastic detail.
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(by Todd Hanks)
He saw a scarecrow on the outskirts
of a farm long forgotten,
guarding nothing from black birds,
feeding from lost gardens.
The sun had burned the corn
to the color of early evening.
In the hills of black oak trees
and autumn breeze, through failing sunlight,
blackened logs were wrapped in fog.
There was a smell of death around him,
and he could see the scarecrow’s face,
in a patch of withered leaves.
He built a fire by a pond,
against the chill children of dusk.
They played between flame and shadow,
and danced before a cliff.
Water snakes in cold, pale grass
parted trails that never vanished.
Near midnight, the crescent light,
the flames died to smoldered embers.
The last sparks had climbed,
the endless steps of darkness.
Dogs howled with starving yearning,
to feed before the morning.
In the last coal’s red demise,
he saw the scarecrow’s eyes.
“With vivid imagery and dark imagination the poems in Grave Bits both conjure their own mythic figures and re-invoke those from diverse cultures. Todd Hanks is a poet to watch.” ~Bruce Boston, Bram Stoker Award-winner for Excellence in Poetry (Pitchblende, 2003, Shades Fantastic, 2006, and The Nightmare Collection, 2009)
“Todd Hanks is a compelling new talent, and Grave Bits combines his truly striking macabre imagery with lots of fine illustrations by Juan McGowen. A darkly gorgeous book — perfect Halloween reading.” ~ Mark McLaughlin, Bram Stoker Award-winner for Excellence in Poetry (The Gossamer Eye, 2002)
“Todd Hanks’ poetry collection opens like a dark, beautiful dream, delivering fire in edgy songs screaming gently on each page.” ~Linda Addison, Bram Stoker Award-winner for Excellence in Poetry (Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes, 2001, and Being Full of Light, Insubstantial, 2007)