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Unwelcome Guests by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Unwelcome Guests by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

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The signed trade paperback edition of Unwelcome Guests is in stock and shipping!

Unwelcome Guests is the twenty-third weird poetry collection from mild-mannered geologist and Science Fiction & Fantasy Association Grand Master David C. Kopaska-Merkel, winner of the SFPA Rhysling and Elgin awards. Hilarious and horrible in turn (or simultaneously), these poems never fail to surprise … like whatever’s lurking behind the washing machine in the basement when a fuse blows and the lights go out.

Praise for Unwelcome Guests

“The first half of Unwelcome Guests slithers in and out of side-alleys in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, while the second strides avenues of science fiction. Gotta love “June Lockhart’s Recurring Nightmare”. And when “Medusa Buys a Car”. There’s so many environs of speculative poetry visited here, penned with a convincing voice and deft whispers of experimentation.”
— Robert Frazier, three-time Rhysling Award winner and author of Phantom Navigation

“At turns disquieting and quirky, playful and poignant, the poems in Unwelcome Guests, like their titular subjects, will stay with you long after you’ve put the book down and gone to bed (perhaps leaving the light on). A welcome addition to any genre poetry lover’s collection!”
— Marsheila Rockwell, Rhysling Award winner

“David Kopaska-Merkel’s poetry is like a twisted vein of black gold, with subtle tweaks of darkling humor. He brings to the fore other images that are like watching a glistening pool of oil, beneath which something moves. Whether disturbing sites near Carcosa, the unsuspecting traps of relationships, or unusual visitations, his poetry will inspire, entertain and make you think.”
— Colleen Anderson, Rhysling Award winner

Review of Unwelcome Guests by David Kopaska-Merkel

The high calibre of this 127-paged ‘delectables’ is not surprising—David C KopaskaMerkel is a well-published, distinguished poet with a deft touch at editing poetry through the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association’s (SFPA) publications Dwarf Star, Star*Line, Eye to the Telescope and Rhysling anthologies. His unique mastery of the craft shows in the accessibility of his text. Unwelcome Guests displays in two themed parts—the first opens with a cosmic horror ‘Hazing Incident’, where a spell opens a portal. The thematic poem ‘Opening Night in Carcosa’ hurls the reader onstage in a dance of death. Startle and regret appear in ‘Carly’s Cleaning Service’ that unravels an unproductive doctorate and a mysterious Chair of Esoteric Research with a gluttonous penchant for this student. There’s relatability and strangehood in the offerings, some miniature in haiku, a beautiful symmetry and ominous obscurity in the text, dread in the unspoken. Where some poets hero the impact of the closing line, Kopaska-Merkel’s poems strike in the power between the lines. The reader can never predict what potency the text might disgorge, as in ‘Essential Guide to the Land of Dream’: It begins with a door of heavy blackened oak, hinges of brass and brassy inlays intricate, disturbing, fanciful, we hope, mantled in corrosion, that mercifully obscures features you fear to discern. We were there already. There’s a lavish interspersion of prose poetry for the reader more at ease with this cousin of poems and sudden fiction—visible in the dialogue-hued ‘The Perils of Fluffy’. The arrangement of one-pager haiku teasers in poetry-within-a-poem, cast in the table of contents as [polls close], [shrill cries], [unwelcome guests], [the ghost wife]… create exhilaration in each encounter, leaving the reader to decide whether they are part of or an addendum to the preceding poem. Where some poets delve so abstract that they alienate, a masterful feature of Kopaska-Merkel’s poems is the familiar darkliness, approachability in the eerie, for example in ‘Wake-up Call’ that’s about friends and family, aliens too, and ‘Wholly Yours’: We came together on a night of dreams and whispers; dark things swept and banked across a cloud-wracked sky. Or ‘Loose’, in first person, about an ex-wife with a habit of turning up, killed in a threshing accident, yet still coming out of banks and drugstores, wearing a trench coat and a fedora. ‘Life Goes On’ is a second-person gem full of yearning and revenge. Meet the undocumented Baba Yaga in ‘Old Wolf, New Tricks’. ‘In the Land of Giants’ is an adaptation of Alice’s Wonderland and Jack’s beanstalk, and there’s Blackbeard’s wife in ‘Treasure’. We haven’t even got to Part 2: The Martian Body Bag! Superheroes, metal, dogs, Martians, droids, UFOs, cannibals, AI, rivers of stars… Unwelcome Guests is a spectral lover’s touch—tender, yet dooming. It’s a perfect marriage of poetry and prose, warm and chilling, starkly intelligent and reachable. Ideal for anyone.
— Aurealis #170

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